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Anybody taken a bike on a plane lately?(25 posts)

Anybody taken a bike on a plane lately?STEELYeyed
Jan 8, 2002 7:30 PM
I will be going to SoCal in March for meetings and am thinking about taking a bike,since I always have a free day.
I am assuming I will have to unpack the bike at least twice for inspection at the airports,so what is the best way to pack it? With the extra charges and all the hassles maybe I would be better off to rent a bike in Ontario,CA.
Also does anybody have any good bike routes to the mountains or the ocean from Ontario?
Try this...Ahimsa
Jan 8, 2002 7:38 PM
At the baggage checks when they ask about the contents of the bike carrier, tell them it is "exercise equipment" and you might avoid the charge.

DISCLAIMER: I have not tried this. It is something I was told works. But hey, why not see, eh?


Try this...fuzzybunnies
Jan 8, 2002 8:01 PM
wasn't reacent but I told them it was archeology equipment and put a label with the address of the dig site on top. Got me through 4 countries without a glance. Russ
These workfirstrax
Jan 8, 2002 8:10 PM
These work
"Its my lighting equipment" Have a camera hanging around your neck.
"It's an aquarium for a tropical fish show"
"It's a wheel chair for a demonstration"
No problemBipedZed
Jan 8, 2002 8:06 PM
Flew with my bike packed in a Trico case from Denver to Baltimore and back on United for Cyclocross Nationals in mid-December with no problems at all. In fact it was easier to check-in because I was able to go to the oversize check-in line which was empty.

FWIW I used a USCF bike voucher both ways and showed them a racing license at check-in so maybe that made it easier.
re: Anybody taken a bike on a plane lately?Nessism
Jan 8, 2002 8:21 PM
Not lately, but I packed my bike in two seperate boxes before and just checked them through. No fuss and no extra fee. Just make sure everything is packed well and carry everything else on. Good luck.
re: Anybody taken a bike on a plane lately?MeFlyOften
Jan 8, 2002 9:50 PM
Don't lie. Airlines can really give you hell if you have to open your luggage and they catch you.

However, this works: Tell them you are transporting "bicycle parts." You will not be charged the extra, guaranteed. And you are not lying because, in effect, the parts themselves cannot be ridden. They must be assembled in order to become a bicycle.
No problemsLuis
Jan 8, 2002 10:14 PM
I've taken my bike on three trips since September in a Triall3 case. It's never been opened. I've got a big serious looking label on top that says "display material" and three our four other work stickers. The only time I've been charged was in the Kona airport last year when there were two other people in line with the same box who told them they had bikes.
Why are we discriminated against?Duane Gran
Jan 9, 2002 4:37 AM
Does anyone know why we (cyclists) are expected to pay a fee to bring a bike on board a plane when all manner of other items (of equal weight and girth) are allowed? This is rediculous. Is there any sort of advocacy group that is working on this problem on our behalf that we can support?

It makes me not want to do business with airlines, but every now and then you have no choice.
Why are we discriminated against?pmf1
Jan 9, 2002 5:27 AM
I was told by a United agent that they try to discourage large items being brought on planes by charging those ridiculous fees. I've always wondered whether guys bringing their golf clubs or skis face the same charge. Somehow, I doubt it. For some reason, the fee only applies on domestic flights. Its free on an international flight if its one of your two pieces of luggage.

I've tried all kinds of ways to get around this. Once I claimed it was conference display materials -- the agent said "well here's a reciept so your company compensate you". Dammit. I tried using a skycap who, after sticking a big tip in his pocket, wheeled the damn thing up to the airline desk. Dammit. One thing that did work was paying half the fare on the way out and then claiming I'd already paid the entire fee on the way back. I think that depends on how sharp the agent is.

Yep, its a rip-off, but I figure if I'm taking time off work for a vacation, spending money (usually on a bike tour), then I want to ride my own bike and would be willing to pay the fee to do so. I'd much rather do that than pay $100 for some POS rental bike with lousy components that doesn't fit right. I suppose the other route would be to UPS it to your location. That seems like a hassle too.
Why are we discriminated against?TJeanloz
Jan 9, 2002 1:32 PM
I think it's pretty reasonable that the airlines charge an added fee for exceptionally large baggage- as most bicycles end up being. Airlines move more than passangers; subsidizing my $199 ticket to Denver next month is the cargo in the plane's hold. It could be mail, packages or anything else. But for every bit of baggage passengers bring on board, there's less space for cargo.

People are not charged for golf clubs, and are usually charged for skis. The rules vary from airline to airline. But there is a VERY good reason that they don't charge for golf clubs- businessmen (and women) like to take their golf clubs with them on 'business' trips, and the business segment of the market is very, very important to the airline. So it makes sense that they'd waive the 'excess' baggage fee for the businessman traveling with his golf clubs and not the tourist traveling with their bike.
Jan 9, 2002 5:35 AM
If you are a member of the League of American Bicyclists, and you buy your tickets through their travel service, you can fly bike for free. Details on their website.
Are you a memberpmf1
Jan 9, 2002 5:41 AM
Ever done this? I've been curous about it. Membership is only $35/year. I've always been suspiscous that their travle service is not good, or that you're constrained to use a particular airline which might be more expensive in the end.
Not nowtarwheel
Jan 9, 2002 6:02 AM
I was a member years ago when it was still called the League of American Wheelmen. I thought about joining last year to take advantage of the flight service, but decided against it after I realized you had to buy your tickets through them. I already had my tickets (vouchers) for the trip and it would have cost me more to buy tickets through them then pay the bike fee. As it turned out, I didn't bring my bike on the trip but borrowed someone elses. It's worth checking out though. I can't remember their web address but it should be easy to find with a search. They have more info about the program on their website and you can also send them an email with any additional questions.
Hasn't worked for us.MB1
Jan 9, 2002 10:15 AM
Too many restrictions on the LAB program. Can't use frequent flyer milage-available on a limited number of flights-and get this THERE IS A $35.00 PROCESSING FEE!!!!! for the LAB "Bikes Fly Free" Program.
I suspected so muchpmf1
Jan 9, 2002 10:38 AM
A processing fee ... what a rip-off. That's downright dishonest. Glad I never joined.
For those who have been charged the fee, how much was it? -NMTig
Jan 9, 2002 5:42 AM
$80 each way for the bike on Northwest.(nm)STEELYeyed
Jan 9, 2002 6:41 AM
$75 each way on Americanpmf1
Jan 9, 2002 6:56 AM
Last summer from DC to Denver. I paid the first $75 on the way out and argued my way out of it on the way back.
Yeah, for free!!DWridesGT
Jan 9, 2002 5:53 AM
Get this, I put my steel road bike in a CARDBOARD Cannondale box and flew to Northern Italy. I flew from Washington DC to Paris, France and then to Verona, Italy. I went thru 3 airports without a single hassle or raised eyebrow. Didn't pay a red penny in excess fees. BTW, the cardboard Cannondale box worked perfectly. They are strong boxes that only weighs about 5 pounds. Bike and box together were about 29 pounds. I was never asked what was in the box or given any problem whatsoever. It all depends on the agent working at the ticket counter.
Yeah, for free!!pmf1
Jan 9, 2002 6:01 AM
Typically, they do not charge these fees for international flights. The fees are collected on domestic U.S. flights.

And why do they make you pay for luggage carts too? They're free everywhere else in the world.
Not to be a smarta**ashleyrenfroe
Jan 9, 2002 6:45 AM
But in the United States, everything revolves around the Dollar. Capitalists are everywhere. You cannot even get an opinion anymore without paying somebody. It's rediculous, but a small price to pay for what we have.
or a Richard-head ...pmf1
Jan 9, 2002 6:54 AM
I do find it curious that U.S. airline carriers don't charge on foreign flights, but do on domestic.

On the bright side ... opinions are often worth what you pay for them.
not lately butdzrider
Jan 9, 2002 6:08 AM
The only time I flew my bike I got a tag for the flight I was flying and put it on the bike. I then found the baggage handlers for the airline I was flying, asked one of them if he would put the bike on the plane for me and reached for my wallet. He smiled and said yes and I tipped him $10.00. It might cost $20.00 today. I left the panniers on the bike for some cusioning and explained my idea of a safe spot for it. When I got to New Orleans, my bike, safe and sound, was the first item off the plane. I tipped the guy who wheeled it out. The tips were much less than the going rate for flying the bike, the money went to working guys not the airline, and I didn't take anything apart.
This has worked twiceMike D.
Jan 10, 2002 4:30 AM
Told the guy that it was my trade show booth and I needed it hot priority for the union to setup for the cosmetic show, so both times they put a priority sticker on it and it came out FIRST on the belt and never cost me a dime.