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jcard14
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154 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have never flown with a bike before but will be doing so a few times in the coming months...what choice of travel bag/box has anyone out there used and what were their postives/negatives?

Any tips in relation to flying with a bike would be much appreciated...

Thanks!
 

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Premium Member
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10,683 Posts
Are you flying domestic or International? Is it a DH bike or a SS bike?

I would have flown with my bikes (either AM, DH, SS) some 100 plus flights a year for the past 2 years....

There is loads of changes taking place at present with many airlines around the globe, loads more are charging for extras etc.... Hence if you give some more information, I can share with you what I have learnt and know.....

Cheers
 

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jcard14
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154 Posts
Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I will be traveling both domestic and international.

It is an AM bike (SJ FSR)...I've checked on the fees...not cheap but I'll just have to suck it up.

Thanks
 

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Well in general, most airlines will not carry Specialized bikes......LOL, only joking...

Genrally for domestic flights in the USA, it is around 70 USD per bike...... Each way..

Going International is generally speaking free, only time I had ever paid was in the USA, but it all changed a month ago. My main route is New Zealand to Europe, with a stop over in LA for work..... With some 19 baggage issues from 20 flights through London Heathrow, I started to only check my bags one flight leg at a time. So when I picked up my bags and bike in London to travel on to Barcelona, they now charge a flat rate for bikes and golf clubs of 150 Euro (250 USD) each way...... So keep away from Iberia Airlines like a bad sexual disease.....

British Airways, probly the WORST airline in the world are now not accepting surf boards at all, and I hear thoughts that they will also start charging for bikes....

I flew from Spain to London the other day on EasyJet, that was 50 Euro return for my bike, which was ok...

See the link attached.... http://www.setteusa.com/show.php/Accessories|Bags|travel_bag

I have had a great run with these bags, I can almost get 1 year out of one, keep in mind I am a travel whore..... They are a really reasonable price at PricePoint....

I have tried hard cases, far more hassle to break the bike down....

Using the Sette bag, I remove of course the wheels, handlebars from the stem and the rear der....... And the pedals of course......... The straps are what binds all together, the seat and the stem keep everything tight if that makes sense.... I do in the sleeves inside the bag on each side have a cardboard box flattened to give it support....

The worst I have had is a bent disk rotor, of which I now remove the disks.....

Hope that helps, the more stopovers with flight changes, the greater the risk is for damage and loss of bike..... So when you can fly direct somewhere, sweet as....
 

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Hey Whafe...

I have a carbon fiber framed bike, do think the Sette bag would be supportive/protective enough to take my bike on the plane without damaging it? Also, with suspension parts, do you have to take the air out of them for possible changes in pressure while it flight?

Thanks, I really appreciate the help.
 

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Leprechaun said:
I have a carbon fiber framed bike, do think the Sette bag would be supportive/protective enough to take my bike on the plane without damaging it? Also, with suspension parts, do you have to take the air out of them for possible changes in pressure while it flight?

Thanks, I really appreciate the help.
Good question Leprechaun - I have taken my road bike which is full carbon. I had no issues.... For me, the most important part is the cardboard cartons that I have flattened and popped in the wheel sleeves inside the bag... For me, this really helps to enclose the bag as like a case....

Am not to good at explaining in words, but by removing the handle bars, having a flat line if you can imagine with the saddle and head stem, keeps it really square and straight. The straps also really bind it all together, cause the top end strap sort of pulls under the saddle along with under the headstem....

Back on air, I do release the pressure in my shock and forks, and of course the tires....

Hope that helps, let me know any other thoughts or questions, and will for sure help out if I can... Cheers
 

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Five is right out
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3,176 Posts
I used to travel a lot with my bike (tourer). I always avoided boxing it if at all possible in the belief that baggage monkeys were less likely to stack it under other cargo that way. This worked fine, but it does result in a lot of minor scratches to the paintwork.

If I were to travel with a bike with more fragile parts (ironically the things that make FS bikes so good for rough terrain- things like suspension and hydro cables) then I'd certainly get a Crateworks case. It's made of corrugated plastic, so it's far tougher than soft bags and it folds down for easier storage than something like a Trico.

One rarely mentioned tip for flying: Turn up for your flight early and be really pleasant to the check-in people.
 

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shipping

I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
find a scale on return flight home.
 

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Praise Bob
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490 Posts
Well done!

^^^

That's the way to do it. I just bought Thule 699 cases only to find out that most airlines wont accept baggage over 62 linear inches/50lbs. If you keep it under that limit you can get it on standard check in baggage. You are allowed to check in oversize baggage of up to 80 linear inches for an additional fee, but my Thule cases are 84inches. Doh! What really sucks is that the cases are awesome. The bikes fit in there really well and you dont have to take much apart. The cases have wheels and handles too. I ended up shipping with UPS and got a suprise bill 2 weeks later for fuel surcharges and oversize package fees.
 

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is buachail foighneach me
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i've actually had really good luck with cardboard bike boxes. get a small size, reinforce all the handholds (top bottom and sides) with packing tape, and pack as stated above. best of all they're free from the dumpster behind any bike shop, and only a few dollars for the tape. granted i'm travelling with a steel, rigid ss, so i don't have much to worry about, but it works if you're on a budget.
 

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Five is right out
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mtbmitch2 said:
I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
find a scale on return flight home.
That is a bloody excellent box :thumbsup:
 

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a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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1,138 Posts
2 boxes might be the way to go now

mtbmitch2 said:
I made a wooden box that fits everything except the wheels. now most airlines on domestic
routes only allow 1 piece free, I ship the wheels together in a separate box to where I am
staying via ups. The wooden box is just under the 62 linear inches. they almost always
measure it. just fill it up with clothes and keep it under 50 pounds. going to make a new
box out of foam, fiber glass and resin this summer to get weight down a bit and not have to
find a scale on return flight home.
Just last year I bought the smaller of the 2 boxes that Performance sells (the trapezoid shaped "Team" box) and flew with it a couple of times. I once got away with no fee, but usually had to pay about $75. The box works great and I was able to keep the total weight to less than 50lbs.

Now these jacked up fees are a big problem. I leave on Monday for a week in Wyoming and I'm afraid that I'll get to the airport and get slammed by AA with an oversize + bike fee (if they figure out it's a bike, I sure as h3ll won't tell them). I might not be able to keep it below 50lbs either since I have a new bike that I haven't weight-weenied yet.

I might try getting a wheel box and cutting down a bike box instead of using my fancy one... not sure. Problem with that is I'd have 2, maybe 3 checked bags... and I'd get hit with big fees for that too.

Maybe we'll see some smaller "2 piece" bike boxes hit the market soon.
 

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hello!
ways to transport you bike:
1. Bike cases.
pros - yeah! you travel in style. its like having the louie vitton or gucci of bike bags. good protection.
cons - bike cases are heavy so most of your baggage allowance goes to it. you pay alot of excess baggage. ouch!
2. cardboard boxes.
pros - light and cheap!
cons -not much protection. bike gets a beating. airline peeps throw boxes around drops them etc. etc. no matter how much fragile stickers you stick on it. usually when transporting luggage, they pile it up putting the bigger boxes underneath smaller ones. so if you can squeeze your bike in a shoe box then maybe your bike won't be under all that heavy suitcases/luggage.
3. crate it.
pros - light. good protection. won't stress bike.
cons - haven't tried it but..... disassembling the bike almost part by part? this is ok i think if you're moving to a diffrent place permanently or at least stay in just one destination for a long time but if your on a tour flying from airport to airport, then for me thats a lot of work.
4. wrap it. with glad wrap! just kidding....:D

high density white foam cut to size, strapped with velcro. easy and reusable. this one's my fave!
pros - easy, light, roll on/ roll off feature, not part of the piled up luggage, no disassembly/assembly required, can be ridden to and from airport (if you're hard core and if you travel light).
cons - not much protection(but if they see that it's a bike wrapped in foam they somehow feel that its very fragile probably because there's too much foam on it making them sense how anal the owner is). am not sure about airline baggage size policies outside our country but here in the philippines it's not a problem.
 

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I'll be flying to Europe in 2 weeks and am not sure how to pack the bike, so it won't be too big and bulky. I don't think the trans Atlantic flight will be an issue, but my concern is a flight I have from Duesseldorf to Milan on Air Berlin. Anybody have any experience/advice?
 

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If you disassemble it anyways, just take a normal hardcase suitcase. They're often offered as a set of two. The wheels will fit in the bigger one, and the frame will fit in the smaller one (if your frame is a full suspension size S or M).
All you have to do to get it boxed is: Take off the bar and the fork, separate the rear trinagle from the main frame, unmount cranks, pedals and saddle. That will fit in the first suitcase. The wheels with the tires taken off fit in the second one.
It took me about 35min to package the bike and another 35min to put it back together at the destination. There's still plenty of space left in the suitcases for your other stuff.
Of course this solution implies no additional charge. If you don't have a set of hardcase suitcases yet- be careful with the size. If there's something like a big handle on the tp or a bulky hinge on the bottom, your bike won't fit.
 

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a.k.a. BicycleKicks
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Got back from Wyoming on Sunday... cost me a lot to bring the bike in my box. The only way to avoid these high fees is to have 2 checked boxes right at the size and weight limit (62", 50lbs). You might still get hit with the checked bag fees, but they're a lot lower than the bike/oversize fee.

The wooden box above looks great, but what about making one out of sheet plastic (similar material to the Trico case) and plastic angles for the edges? The sheet could be glued and rivited to the angle and a lid could somehow be devised also (maybe using a hinge?).

Anyhow, does anyone know what kind of plastic the Trico is made of and where you can get sheets of it? And extruded angles? Or, is there a better plastic to use? I stopped by the homeo depot today and didn't see anything suitable.
 
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