Bikes on planes

Discussion in 'The Bike Cafe' started by Paul Warren, Nov 30, 2012.

  1. Paul Warren

    Paul Warren New Member

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    Afternoon all. Can anyone advise of recent experience taking a bike to Europe as part of the luggage allowance. I am thinking of buying a hybrid for the trip - my wife and I have a mountain and road bike each, though neither seem suitable for cruising in Europe. In particular - what seems the best packaging. I have seen big bike-specific cardboard boxes at airport terminals but much on-line advice favours some sort of hard case (expensive). Any advice or experience appreciated. Paul
     
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  2. maxroadrash

    maxroadrash New Member

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    Hi Paul-
    This is my very first post on this forum so I'm sure I'll get flamed unmercifully...
    I did a LOT of research before my last trip (October) to Switzerland. I wanted to take my own bike this time.
    Ultimately, I put my carbon frame road bike in a Pika Pack soft case. I did so with a lot of fear about the outcome
    I have to say. It went perfectly however and the the bike arrived in both directions without a scratch. I was also able to get it
    in a taxi and rental car with no problems and put it on my shoulder and carry it through airports.
    The whole package came in "underweight" and on the flight out of JFK to Geneva, I paid nothing extra. Unfortunately, the travel agent made some kind of reservation for the bike and I paid about $150 for the return flight.
    I was advised by a pro to tell them at the counter that the bag contained "sporting equipment." That worked perfectly at JFK.
    Happy Trails!
    Max
     
  3. dhk2

    dhk2 Active Member

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    Paul, rather than buy a hybrid bike and take it with you, have you considered renting a bike in Europe? Lots of places rent hybrids by the day or week. Rather than worry about the expense of shipping containers, airline fees and lugging a bike around with you on public transport, you may be able to have a rental bike delivered to you.

    Max, good first post. Not sure why you expected to be "flamed" here on your first post...plenty of time for that later :) Welcome to the forum.
     
  4. alienator

    alienator Well-Known Member

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    +1 on all counts. I think you could spend less renting bikes than buying bikes just for the trip paying the fees for the bikes on the airline.
     
  5. Paul Warren

    Paul Warren New Member

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    Thanks very much maxroadrash and dhk2. The rental does seem more sensible, especially after looking at the price of the Pika Pack x 2. Sometimes you just need someone who knows how it is to tell you. We are hiring bikes to do the Otago rail trail in January so we’ll follow the same pattern when we get to Germany later in the year. Many thanks boys. Safe riding. Paul
     
  6. maxroadrash

    maxroadrash New Member

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    dhk2-
    Thank you for your response and welcome! You are correct in that I shouldn't have expected to be flamed. One of the reasons I signed up here is that this seems to be the most mature cycling forum I've visited.
    Max
     
  7. JSWin

    JSWin Member

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    Stupid travel agent looking for a commission so now we know. I like that just pack it up and tell them it's sporting equipment. Might be easier just to rent something while you are there or even buy something cheap. Whatever makes you happy I guess. It just seems like a lot of effort for such a long trip.
     
  8. Susimi

    Susimi Well-Known Member

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    Can you actually take a bike on a plane with you? I've seriously never seen it done before.
     
  9. Damien Lee

    Damien Lee Active Member

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    Europe is generally bike friendly, at least Western European countries are. I don't have much experience with how things are in Eastern Europe. But you should be able to rent a decent bike at most Western European countries, and even be given a map and some spots to visit by the bike rental shop.
     
  10. ZXD22

    ZXD22 Member

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    I am pretty sure you can bring bikes on the planes with you. There shouldn't be much of a problem at all. It's like bringing your car with you on the plane, you'd just have to pay an extra fee. It could tend to get a bit pricey depending on the airliner though.
     
  11. sharkantropo

    sharkantropo Member

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    I'm sure you can bring foldable bikes with you as luggage on airplanes. There must not be any restriction for that.
     
  12. cyclenthusias44

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    You need to pay some extra fees to carry a bike. After all, why will they restrict the bikes? There is no reason to do that.
     
  13. Djordje87

    Djordje87 Member

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    I really do not know anything about this. What I do know is that I called a certain company to ask about my guitar and they told me I have to pay another ticket like it was a person sitting next to me. I guess it depends on many things but I was in economy class and in a normal company and plane. I guess if they might charge you something but you should call a company you want to use and check out what conditions they have.
     
  14. Weatherby

    Weatherby Well-Known Member

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    Back in the day, you could take a bike with you as checked baggage without any fee on virtually all airlines. As of last Summer, Air Canada, British Airways, Singapore, and JAL were the only ones that did not charge or at least according to my review. Most airlines nail you for $150 each way although I think Southwest and Alaska only extract $75 each way. I have managed to argue my way out of the $150 fee with United a couple of times because of the wording on the baggage agreement and I play dumb and the Agent is usually confused too. You pay the $150 if the bicycle is more than 50 pounds and 62 inches. I just say, this makes no sense....I'm under 50 pounds.....if this were a Cello, it would be free. They sometimes laugh and agree. One even enered it as a musical instrument. I notice a new sentence in the baggage limitations clause.....50 pounds OR 62 inches. Some riders have told that gent that the box holds conference training materials and avoided the fee. My small foldable BikeFriday flys under the radar screen.

    Bikeflights.com will ship within the US for around $50 and delivery to your hotel or home is a big plus.
     
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