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Best way to talk planes on at baggage check(29 posts)

Best way to talk planes on at baggage checkSprint-Nick
Mar 6, 2003 9:43 AM
I have an idea how to do it myself since am a student, am staying so long and have some notoriety. By the way it is an international flight... I'm going Canada->US via 2 flights then US->international via a seperate airline. Does anyone have any ideas of how to talk to them? Please be as detailed as possible.


PS Don't even bother flaming.
Err bikes on plane... (nm)Sprint-Nick
Mar 6, 2003 9:43 AM
Mar 6, 2003 9:55 AM
Given the security issues with airlines and the airlines' cap on liability for international baggage, the only way to deal with the airlines is honestly and pay whatever price you need to pay to ship your bikes and ensure that the airlines will compensate you fully if your bikes are damaged or lost. There has been a fundamental change in the way that airlines deal with baggage (and passengers) since 9/11. Gone are the days when a wink and a nod or a claim that you are traveling with meeting supplies will get your bike on a plane for free.
Yes. Honest is best policy...Brooks
Mar 6, 2003 10:05 AM
However you are packaging the bike(s), the airlines will charge for oversize boxes, whether "displays", "parts", or "meeting supplies". Just be honest and tell them you have a bike(s) in the case. They will charge you (amounts are different with each airline) and give you a receipt. This extra charge may be tax-deductable or reimburseable depending on Canada's tax laws and/or your sponsorship deals. In the US you can't check oversized boxes at the curb (skycap) you must go to the regular airline check-in.

Good luck in your training/racing in Australia.
Thanks :) (nm)Sprint-Nick
Mar 6, 2003 10:09 AM
Not trueSprint-Nick
Mar 6, 2003 10:08 AM
Thats not true. Airlines are stricter now but they are still lax depending on what notoriety you have and how you talk to them. I've flown post 9/11, had teammates fly and they have been batting at least 500 for evading the fee. However, this is my first time travelling alone instead of with a team so it's a completely different scenario for me.

Yes it isms
Mar 6, 2003 11:31 AM
I do not doubt that some people have been able to talk their way out of the fee post 9/11. One gate agent waived the fee for me last summer when there was a very long line behind me. She decided that it would be better to waive the fee and save the time that it would have taken to process my charge than to hold up the line. However, I was up front with her as to the contents of the box.

Airline baggage security continues to increase. Additional security measures went into effect in the US at the beginning of 2003. See my response to your post of a day or two ago -- my experience on Monday at LAX is what you can expect, at least in the US. Also, insofar as the liability cap is concerned if the bike flies free on an international flight that is something else of which I have first-hand knowledge. If your bike(s) is(are) worth more than $600, beware.
MS is right on this one...teoteoteo
Mar 7, 2003 7:37 AM
The real news is luggage=revenue and with the 9/11 factor you are going to have to pony up.
huh? nmNo_sprint
Mar 6, 2003 9:50 AM
re: Best way to talk bikes on at baggage checkjaybird
Mar 6, 2003 10:34 AM
OK Nick here is the scoop. I travel over 100k miles a year for work so I spend a ton of time talking to gate agents and airline personell. The typical baggage restrictions are 2 checked bags that must weigh less than 75lbs and smaller than 109 linear inches. (add length, width, and height) The airlines do allow some athletic gear to travel at no additional cost but all of the airlines I have ever flown have charged $75 each way for a bike. The main reason for this charge is the oversized case that is required to carry a frame. Even if your bike has the S&S couplers so that it fits into a normal sized bag, they can charge you because it is a bike....

The only way that I have ever seen people get by without getting charged for an oversized or overweight piece of luggage is if it is close to the os/ow parameters and it is the only peice of luggage you check.

I have heard people say that if you call your bike "tradeshow material" it might somehow be exempted... I don't buy it. I travel with legitimate tradeshow material sometimes and if it is oversized, i get charged. Also, with all of the new security measures in place, they check the contents of every bag. If you lie about what's in your bag, they will find out.

My advice is to UPS or fedex your bike to your destination. You can usually do it for less than the airlines will charge you. The airlines are not responsible for more than about $1500 woth of damage whereas with a shipping company you can insure it for the whole value.

What airlines are you flying? Are all of your flights on the same day or are you going to spend several days in the US?

You might also do a search for this subject on
but what about notoriety?DougSloan
Mar 7, 2003 8:02 AM
But, if you have "notoriety", don't you get lots of perks, including free bike fare if you say the magic words at check-in?
I guess Nick is pretty notorious...nmjaybird
Mar 7, 2003 10:13 AM
According to FAA regs...joekm
Mar 6, 2003 10:52 AM
I won't bore you with the exact quotes. but the bike cannot be carried on unless it can be broken down to fit under the seat in front of you or in the ovehead compartment. If anybody tries to let you carry a typcial road bike on a commercial aircraft, they, and the airline they work for are subject to being found in violation of that regulation.

I.E. - it's not something that can be negotiated.

Get a good hardshell padded transport case and have it go with you in the luggage compartment.
According to FAA regs...jaybird
Mar 6, 2003 11:08 AM
The fees that he is trying to avoid are for the larger padded transport case. They charge you extra for oversized or overweight bags that you check. All checked bags get screened now in addition to all of the carry on bags. Nobody said anythig about carrying the bike on...
I mis-understood mistake (nm)joekm
Mar 6, 2003 11:19 AM
Mar 6, 2003 11:27 AM
I made a mistake on the size, it is 62in/157cm. Here is what is says on American's website. American's partner airlines, including Quantas and Air NZ should be the same.

Sports Items
Excess charges always apply to the following sports items:
Bicycle (if exceeding 50 lbs/32kgs or 62 in/157cm)
Scuba Tank (empty)
Wind surfing equipment
Hang gliding equipment

The following items are free in place of one of the 62in/157cm bags within the free baggage allowance:
Bicycle (if within 50 lbs/32 kgs and 62 in/157 cm)
Boogie/Knee board
Bowling equipment (bowling case with up to three bowling balls and shoes)
Fishing equipment (2 rods, reel, net, tackle box and 1 pair of boots)
Golf equipment (1 bag, 14 clubs, 12 balls and 1 pair of shoes contained in a self-provided travel bag or box) is not subject to the $25 charge for baggage weighing over 50lbs. but no more than 70lbs
Hockey/Lacrosse stick
Shooting equipment
Ski equipment (1 pair of skis, poles, boots, and bindings. These items will count as 1 item.)
What, I can't carry on my shooting equipment? (nm)53T
Mar 6, 2003 11:41 AM
from someone who actually flies with bikes 20x per yr.....ekdave
Mar 6, 2003 11:40 AM
I fly with my bike all over the country during the race season. sometimes 10-20 times per year

I only time I EVER have to pay is if there is no curbside check-in.

Roll up to curbside. Let one of the friendly (their pay is nearly all tips) curbside guys "assist" you with your bike case. A mere $10 "thank you" will lubricate your bike box right onto the little conveyor belt.

In 3 yrs Ive literally paid the 80 dollar fee ONE time. That airport did not have curbside check-in helpers.
One thing that has worked for me in the past...J Olson
Mar 6, 2003 11:44 AM
...Carry your bike up to a skycap on the curb with a $20 bill conspicuously hanging out of one of your hands. The Skycap is usually more concerned about getting the $20 in his pocket than following airline procedure. It aint free but it beats paying full price. If he tries to gouge you for the $80 just be prepared to pony up the other $60.

Unfortunately, I have not tried this post 9/11. At one point the Fed's banned curbside baggage checks but I thought they brought it back.

Good luck.
Don't say high strength bike tubes ideal for gas centrifuge nmContinental
Mar 5, 2003 8:47 AM
re: Best way to talk planes on at baggage checkmsmootsiemartin
Mar 7, 2003 7:17 AM
We recently, (last week), flew with our bikes to Hawaii on United and checked in at the counter. We had no way to get around the $80 fee/ bike both ways! However, the agent did tell us that there is no charge for bikes on international flights...figure that one out! Also, be aware, in Hawaii, they opened both bike cases and went through everything. I was horrified at the time that they wouldn't get it repacked right, but so far everything seems to be fine.

Good luck!
Give it a try, but don't hold your breathmmaggi
Mar 7, 2003 7:29 AM
Last summer I was visiting family in Italy and decided to bring my bike.

At the Delta Air, JFK-NYC, I checked in. I was asked what was in my large, hard-plastic case. I replied "cycling equipment". I wasn't charged a dime.

2 weeks later, I was checking in at Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy and presented my luggage. The checkin lady asked me if there was a bicycle in the case. I replied in Italian (I speak fluent Italian) "No. It's cycling equipment". The lady immediately responded that there was an $80 fee for the oversized luggage piece. I replied to her that I was not charged for the oversized luggage checkin at JFK-NYC. Why should I be charged in Milan, Italy? She responded that I was lucky in NYC since the luggage is clearly over the maximum. I insisted to her that what she were doing to me was clearly wrong, but to no avail. I knew that they had a point, but I gave it try anyway.

The bottom line is this: whether or not there's a bicycle in that oversized case, they could very well charge you for it since it is over the size limit.
might be cheaper and easier to overnight FedEx the bike nmDougSloan
Mar 7, 2003 8:03 AM
Thought about it... too stubborn not to travel with bikesSprint-Nick
Mar 7, 2003 8:28 AM
I thought about fed exing it. But from the standpoint whenever I am racing it is not an option so I'd rather not make it one this time.

Just lived it! Heads UpMootsie
Mar 7, 2003 9:01 AM
Just to add my 2 cents here. Just flew with our bikes to Hawaii. Got charged $80 for each one both ways so $320 for 2 bikes round trip. They let the Trico cases go through untouched out of Denver, but on the return through Kona, they pulled them all apart. So be warned. Idiot proof your packing by taping into the case any small parts, pumps etc. Also they will remove any CO2 cartriges that you have in your saddle bags. International trips will not charge for the bikes. So skip Hawaii and go to Italy. Its probably cheaper in the long run. :>
compare to shipper ratesDougSloan
Mar 7, 2003 10:33 AM
I just checked. Plugging in size numbers for a UPS-able bike box, 41.5x30x11 ( from Excel ), and going about 2000 miles, 25 pounds, and declared value of $2000, here is what I get (not cheaper than airlines, apparently):


Service Delivery Commitment Rate (USD)
FedEx Priority Overnight® 10:30am the next business day to most cities 215.34
FedEx Standard Overnight® 3:00pm the next business day to most cities 196.01
FedEx 2Day® 4:30pm in 2 business days to most cities 153.90
FedEx Express Saver® 4:30pm in 3 business days to most cities 135.09


UPS Next Day Air®
Guaranteed by 10:30 A.M. -- Next Day
Total Rate(USD) 219.29*
UPS Next Day Air Saver®
Guaranteed by 3:00 P.M. -- Next Day
Total Rate(USD) 199.75*
UPS 2nd Day Air A.M.®
Guaranteed by 12:00 Noon -- 2 Days
Total Rate(USD) 174.33*
UPS 2nd Day Air®
Guaranteed by End of Day -- 2 Days
Total Rate(USD) 155.75*
UPS 3 Day Select®
Guaranteed by End of Day -- 3 Days
Total Rate(USD) 116.88*
UPS Ground
Guaranteed Day-Definite***
Total Rate(USD) 50.30*
compare to shipper ratesjaybird
Mar 7, 2003 11:36 AM
Interesting... I have a couple of friends that traveled to Hawaii for the Ironman and they said it was significantly cheaper to ship their bikes than to mess with the airlines. I wonder if UPS gave them a special rate to Hawaii for the Ironman... I seem to remember them saying that it cost them less than $50 total and they used tricor cases.
some things make it cheaperDougSloan
Mar 7, 2003 11:38 AM
Some things can make it cheaper. If you ship business to business, and use an account, it's cheaper. Lesser declared value will be cheaper. Particular ZIPs can be more or less. Also, rates, with fuel costs, could have just gone up recently.

compare to shipper ratesMootsie
Mar 7, 2003 2:15 PM
We asked the United agent about this and she said they issue coupons at the time of the Ironman that reduce or eliminate the charge. Apparently as an incentive to choose their airline over another.