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Tips for flying with bikes(9 posts)

Tips for flying with bikesSprint-Nick
Mar 4, 2003 8:18 PM
Anyone have any tips for flying with bikes? At the most I'm going to have 2 bike boxes, a roller bag stuffed with clothes and a suitcase or duffel bag.

Am I pretty much guaranteed to get charged with this much stuff?

Would they look favourably on a duffel bag instead of a suitcase?

re: Tips for flying with bikesDERICK
Mar 4, 2003 9:58 PM
I've had good luck with FedEx. It was cheaper than flying and the bike was waiting for me at the place I was staying. The best part was I didn't have the hassle of bringing a big box to the airport or getting it into the rental car on the other end. 2 bike boxes can be pretty difficult to fit into a car. If you ship them it won't be an issue. you could also ship it to a bike shop in the area or have them hold it for pickup at the local FedEx office if you don't trust the hotel. I personaliy felt the bike was safer with FedEx than the airline.
Good luck with it.
Question about FedExFattrax
Mar 5, 2003 7:58 AM
I'm planning to live in Japan for 1-3 years starting in August, and I was planning to take my bike with me. Based on info in the thread, FedEx may not be such a bad idea, especially since I don't have a time constraint for when I need to have the bike available. Does any one have experience FedExing bulk items overseas? Does FedEx have oversea offices where I would be able to pick up the bike?
re: Tips for flying with bikesmjbmx5
Mar 4, 2003 11:14 PM
If you are using the paper bike boxes double box them. Also get a fork guard that comes with a new bike to keep the fork from being bent. Put foam around the tubes. Make very sure every thing is zip tied down. Last summer the airlines were charging $80 each way to ship a bike. They didn't charge for wheel safes and trainers if you can meet wgt requirments and total # of bags. If extra is pd to ship a bike box it doesn't count as one of two bags you get free. Bikes are oversized and get charged. If you join USA Cycling you get 2 bike vouchers to fly your bike on United free for one trip. It takes a voucher each way. Good luck
re: Tips for flying with bikesclimbo
Mar 5, 2003 5:46 AM
call the airline. I presume this is to Australia so those vouchers from USCF won't work. Good thing is that you probably will get away with one bike box becasue it's an International flight. There is usually a well defined baggage policy on the airline websites, after that you have to get lucky at check-in. A bag is a bag so duffel or suitcase, it doesn't matter to them.
My experience this past weekend, plus last summer . . .ms
Mar 5, 2003 6:53 AM
I do not know if Canada has imposed the same baggage inspection standards that the US has, so most of my experience may be irrelevant, but here it is:

1. A bike box will not go through most baggage x-ray equipment, so the box will be inspected by hand. On my outbound flight from BWI last Thursday, I do not know how the inspection was done (i.e., the airline took the bag and the next time I saw it was in LA). But, on the return flight from LAX on Monday, I had to wait with the box while it was inspected. The inspector did not know how to open the box (Trico Iron Case) or deal with it. I was not allowed to touch it, but I had to yell instructions as to how to open it. Once the box was opened, he told me to be quiet, he then pulled everything apart. I had packed my saddle bag, some spare tubes in boxes and a Camelbak in the box. Each of the items was opened and prodded (including the inspector's opening the Camelbak's bladder). Once the inspector was finished, he quickly repacked the box, much more carelessly than I would have liked, and it was whisked away. I was worried that the bike would be damaged in transit, but fortunately, it was fine upon arrival. In the future, I would pack nothing other than the bike in the box.

2. When I traveled to and from France last summer, my bike was damaged on the return trip when it was repacked by the airline, which had to take it through US customs because the bike did not make a connecting flight. I did not have to pay a fee for the bike on the flight, because it was an international flight. But, the catch is that my damages were limited to approximately $600 because of an international convention on limitations with respect to baggage claims. If you want the airline to be responsible for larger potential losses, you have to declare the value of the baggage and pay an additional fee.
You will get charged, especially with 2 bike boxesbrider
Mar 5, 2003 9:21 AM
As suggested, FedEx or UPS would be the way to go. I had the pleasure of seeing some one with their home-made set-up in Moab several years ago. Basically, it was a hard shell box (wood construction, so it was heavy) with two built-in axle mounts (front AND rear) so all he had to do was take off the wheels, put it in, clamp it down, put inthe wheels, and lock it up.

I'm sure it wasn't cheap to ship, but it was secure, no possible damage to the bike (short of nuclear explosion, which would render all other problems irrelevant), and always arrived where he wanted it (without having to lug it around). Seemed like a good way to go in my book.
you'll need to improve your power-to-weight a lot nm :-)DougSloan
Mar 5, 2003 9:24 AM
you'll need to improve your power-to-weight a lot nm :-)russw19
Mar 5, 2003 12:12 PM
Nick, if the price is not outrageous, go FedEx. They will handle your bike way better than the airlines. They are in the business of moving freight, commercial airlines move people. They don't give a crap about your cargo. Let people who are paid to move cargo move your cargo. You may worry about shipping it out two days ahead of time or not getting it right away, but the truth is you are more likely to have it delayed by the airlines then FedEx. If you ship it FedEx, you can almost bet it will make it's connecting flights.

Other than that, call your airline company or the travel agency you made your trip with. They will know more than any of us. Sweet talk the airline and you may get it for free, but it's all in the hands of the person you talk to and how well you sweet talk them.