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Body Shot Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Four companions and I will be flying to Arizona in mid October for a 10 day MTB Vacation. The airline (America West) charges $125 Canadian each way for each bike. So, we will be charged $1250 to fly our bikes! (5 people x $125 x 2 = $1250.) Everyones tickets (which by the way, includes a free soda and a tiny bag of pretzels) cost $1750 total tax incl..

We are thinking about taking apart our bikes, (fork, pedals, bars, seat & swing arm) and packing them into a large suitcases along with our clothes and gear.

Passengers are allowed to check 2 pieces of luggage less than 50lbs each and less than 62 inches in over all dimension (length + width + depth) We are also allowed one carry-on under 40 pounds that will fit into the overhead compartment.

I'm told that bike boxes get caught right away at check-in cause they are considered oversized.
(BTW: Golf clubs, skis, some strollers, wheel chairs and snowboards are oversized but passenger are not charged for these items. No fair!) OK. OK.. Let the wheel chair and strollers slide.)

Has anyone ever done this? Any troubles from airline security? Any problems with theft?

Any input/experience you can share would be appreciated.

Tequila!
 

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Airline Strategies

It is a screw job, without a doubt. Skis and golf clubs are free, bikes are big $$$. What a crock.

Your strategy would probably work, if you didn't have a lot of other extra luggage coming along. HOWEVER, if the airline determines that you are shipping a bike, they will hit you with the charge.

-or-

1) UPS to a friendly local shop. This could be a problem if you are not renting a car to get you to the shop, or you are arriving on a day or time when the shop is closed. You also lose use of the bike while it is being shipped both ways. This is what I have done the last few times I've travelled with my bike. Or, see if the hotel/lodge whatever where you are staying will accept the box.

2) Pack the bike into a generic case, and tell the airlines that it is a trade show display. Trade show displays pack into these huge boxes that barely meet specs, but airlines don't charge extra because they don't want to lose business travellers.

3) In the good old days of closets where you could hang a suit bag, I once dissassembled my bike and put the frame in a suit bag and hung it in the closet, and put the wheels and the bars in a different bag. Of course, your carryon has to be a lot smaller these days, so this doesn't work anymore.

tequila joe said:
Four companions and I will be flying to Arizona in mid October for a 10 day MTB Vacation. The airline (America West) charges $125 Canadian each way for each bike. So, we will be charged $1250 to fly our bikes! (5 people x $125 x 2 = $1250.) Everyones tickets (which by the way, includes a free soda and a tiny bag of pretzels) cost $1750 total tax incl..

We are thinking about taking apart our bikes, (fork, pedals, bars, seat & swing arm) and packing them into a large suitcases along with our clothes and gear.

Passengers are allowed to check 2 pieces of luggage less than 50lbs each and less than 62 inches in over all dimension (length + width + depth) We are also allowed one carry-on under 40 pounds that will fit into the overhead compartment.

I'm told that bike boxes get caught right away at check-in cause they are considered oversized.
(BTW: Golf clubs, skis, some strollers, wheel chairs and snowboards are oversized but passenger are not charged for these items. No fair!) OK. OK.. Let the wheel chair and strollers slide.)

Has anyone ever done this? Any troubles from airline security? Any problems with theft?

Any input/experience you can share would be appreciated.

Tequila!
 

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tequila joe said:
Four companions and I will be flying to Arizona in mid October for a 10 day MTB Vacation. The airline (America West) charges $125 Canadian each way for each bike. So, we will be charged $1250 to fly our bikes! (5 people x $125 x 2 = $1250.) Everyones tickets (which by the way, includes a free soda and a tiny bag of pretzels) cost $1750 total tax incl..

We are thinking about taking apart our bikes, (fork, pedals, bars, seat & swing arm) and packing them into a large suitcases along with our clothes and gear.

Passengers are allowed to check 2 pieces of luggage less than 50lbs each and less than 62 inches in over all dimension (length + width + depth) We are also allowed one carry-on under 40 pounds that will fit into the overhead compartment.

I'm told that bike boxes get caught right away at check-in cause they are considered oversized.
(BTW: Golf clubs, skis, some strollers, wheel chairs and snowboards are oversized but passenger are not charged for these items. No fair!) OK. OK.. Let the wheel chair and strollers slide.)

Has anyone ever done this? Any troubles from airline security? Any problems with theft?

Any input/experience you can share would be appreciated.

Tequila!
I highly recommend that you send your bikes via Fed-Ex. It's cheap and you can insure the bikes against damage. I shipped 2 bikes from Santa Cruz to Moab for $35 each.....including $4000 insurance on each bike.
You can call the hotel where you're staying and they will receive and hold the bikes for you.

If you send the bikes with the airlines and you pack them like luggage....and they get damaged....you're SOL. Not to mention just plain getting lost.
 

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Brass Nipples!
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2 other solutions

1. IMBA members who book throught IMBA's travel agent get to take their bikes free.

2. If you travel a lot, you can get a travel bike. S&S couplers can be put into round tubed steel or ti frames and the whole bike comes apart and fits in a 26x26x12 inch case. There are other less elegant (but less expensive) solutions for travel bikes as well.
 

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Body Shot Specialist
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I looked into the courier option and will probably go with Fed-Ex Economy Air through my company. We get a huge discount based upon the volume of packages we ship. It will cost us only $350 for round trip delivery with $5000 insurance. They will be delivered in 3 days. This is a way better option than paying the airline $1250.

The airlines biased, price gouging policies toward folks that bring bikes on thier trips really suck.

Thanks for the input.
Tequila!
 

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Alaska Airlines

I've taken two boxed bicycles on Alaska Airlines, both from Seattle, WA to Ketchikan, AK. Note: this was two seperate occations, not two boxes at once. I spoke with a agent on the phone knowledgable about the bicycles a few days before the first flight. Her answer was the same 50 lbs and 62 inch stuff. However she said that they charge $50 to box a bike at the airport (call ahead and get there REALLY early on that one) and that it's free if I'm within size/weight/# of bags restrictions. Both times they tried to charge me $50 for having a bike box, the first time when the agent checked around she got conflicting opinions and let me go for free. The second time the agent had a cargo guy right there, by chance, and he confirmed the policy. I did have to waive insurance, but both bikes survived intact and without problems. Note that Seattle to Ketchikan is a non-stop flight, Ketchikan is the southeastern most city in the state (excluding an indian reservation) and therefore the first stop.

Regardless of what you decide pack the bikes in a sturdy box with lots of pipe insulation, bracing between the chainstays (I use an old hub with bad bearings I removed from the wheel). I also tie the frame and parts to the side of the box, and if you have easy access to a lot of packing peanuts that will make the box virtually bomb proof.

Good Luck
 

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those other things, skis, golf clubs, snowboards, generally take up a fraction of the space a bike-box does.
 

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Doesntplaywellwithmorons!
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Jm. said:
those other things, skis, golf clubs, snowboards, generally take up a fraction of the space a bike-box does.
The cargo compartments on commercial aircraft are usually at the bottom of the fuselage, and on larger jets, are competing with center fuel tanks when it comes to space. The bottom of the fuselage is a smaller radius also so there's a finite limit on what you can stuff in there. And a bike box is like 5 feet long, 3 1/2 feet high, and about a foot deep. Golf bags are fewer cubic feet, and a lot easier on the cargo loaders to store in the planes. That's part of the high price tag. Someone has to load and unload, and its unionized wages people.

But if you think bikes are bad, try transporting pets. Dogs cost about twice as much as people on some airlines.
 
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