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Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 18 Dec 2016, 1:23pm
by ericonabike
Planning next year's excursion, which will involve getting my Dahon PrestoLite folder back from Rome in June. Initially, wanted to train it, but then the lure of a £40 flight back to East Mids [20 miles from home] was too great...

However, paying another £50 for the wee bike [16" wheels, folds a bit bigger than a Brompton] jars the nerves a little. And a checked in bag could be had for only a fiver. But that would mean not declaring it as a 'bike' presumably. Does anyone have any experience or suggestions? Ta.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 18 Dec 2016, 5:38pm
by MartinBrice
I'd have thought if it adhered to the company's baggage requirements you'd be OK. For them, a bike is something with two big wheels not a small parcel wrapped in cardboard that can be treated just like a suitcase.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 18 Dec 2016, 9:31pm
by Sweep

I personally wouldn't take a chance on anything with Ryanair.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 18 Dec 2016, 9:57pm
by Gattonero
Take the bike apart, put it well wrapped in a suitcase and say is "personal belongings"

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 19 Dec 2016, 9:57am
by ericonabike
Thanks all - decided to follow Gattonero's advice, and have booked ticket plus 20 kg checked baggage - figured that if worst happened, I'd just have to pay an excess *crosses fingers*.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 19 Dec 2016, 9:57am
by simonhill
If your bike is in a nondescript box or bag, how are they going to know its a bike? It will go through security screening, but that is by the airport, not the airline.

If questioned, you can say its bike bits in a bag. They will have to go to a fair amount of effort to assemble it to prove it is a complete bike.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 19 Dec 2016, 3:28pm
by Gattonero
It's a bicycle when is rideable, when inside the box there's several parts not assembled together, then is hard to say it's a "bike", they're surely "bicycle parts" :wink:

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 20 Dec 2016, 9:23am
by foxyrider
I have in the past flown RA with my Airnimal in both hard and soft cases and in a basically open bag - all as checked luggage rather than bike. There was never any issue as long as it was below the paid for weight. A couple of times I did book a bike space as it had a higher weight allowance which meant I could get bike and all the camping gear and bags in together.

I have flown my bikes about quite a bit over the last dozen years and never had any issue other than keeping to weight limits! I'm more inclined to use scheduled flights these days as the extra cost is negligible by the time you add the 'extras' and you get treated better.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 21 Jun 2017, 11:06pm
by gmc500
Interesting that you say that if you pay for a bike space, you can get your bike, camping gear and bike bags in together as a checked bike.
I am not sure if Ryanair specifically forbid this, but most times I remember flying with a checked bike (not folding one, however) I have been told by whichever airline that I must declare that all I have in the checked bike bag is a bike, with deflated wheels.
I have told them sometimes I have also a pump attached, panier racks attached, bottle (completely empty) and toolbar, but no actual luggage.

They said that was fine and then made sure to check that there was no luggage behind the bike attachments, because that couldn't be checked with the bike as a bike place. They said they had to be able tp check all luggage, their duty, while the outsize luggage person would check the bike and he didn't work for the airline and then wasn't allowed to check luggage extra to the bike.

They also said the checked bike regulations were to do with the airport itself and not with the airline, but the airline keeps things the same through all their airports so there is no confusion - at least in advertised and contracted terms.

So if they're saying that it may be ok to put luggage in with a bike in some airports, but not in others, I am not sure.

But definitely for some airlines it was not acceptable to use the special bike checking option to include luggage in there.
Any luggage extra to the bike had to be checked as hand luggage and if it were over your normal baggage limits, paid for by the extra kg.

I have used a few airlines with my bikes from the same airports, and this includes Ryanair, actually maybe mostly Ryanair.
I just can't remember if this policy was from Ryanair or not, just the other airlines.

However, I'd think it was really, really risky to try to pack extra luggage in with your bike before asking by phone or Ryanair online help or email help if you are permitted to do this.
I think most airlines won't allow it, and I can only guess but I doubt Ryanair will also.
It is losing them their extra kgs if you are overweight - generally checking a sports equipment piece means just the piece, maybe some attachments with go with it in use, but not luggage.

I suppose, as we are not sure of Ryanair's policy exactly there, just now (though I haven't gone through their website with a tooth comb), you could conceivably try it.
They may not make a check through of your bike bag / box, so you could get away with it.
I mean if they would stop the luggage going with the bike if they knew about it.

But if they ask you, you have to tell them it is there.
If they ask and you don't tell them you have actual extra luggage in your bike bag / box, and they check (they have checked my bike bag in the past numerous times), you can lose your ticket with no refund and be barred from both airline and the airport you are at for the future (as a security risk).
You could also potentially be barred from any other airport owned within the same airport group.
It may be discretionary as to whether you can be barred from other airports (by being put on a list of security risk passengers who refuse to abide by airline and airport terms and conditions).
If you present as hostile or argumentative as to losing your ticket and flight (etcetera), for being a potential security risk, you can be charged with a crime by the airport police.
Even for being slow and failing to understand!

It's just stating there are potentially pretty disastrous circumstances possible for you if you simply try to pack luggage in with sports equipment, lie about it if asked, and are then found out.
Again it absolutely depends on the policy applying - which may be airline's, airport's, or the nation's you are in or a combination or all of those.

But if you are not sure what the Ryanair (etc) policy is, is it worth risking things?

Of course, if you don't know the policy, I guess it may be possible to stash luggage with your sports equipment and then be ready to move it into your checked luggage (paying extra kgs where necc), ready to apologise for your not knowing.
That should be ok, no lying, you genuinely don't know.
This would apply only in the case where you have checked regulations of both the airport and the airline (and I'd suggest national regs) and there is clearly no mention anywhere that it is forbidden to check anything more than the sports item as a sports item.

Because if it does state in the T and Cs or somewhere on the website, or your booking, and you stash luggage, all those bad things might still happen because you missed reading the rule somewhere.

- bike with luggage as checked luggage = yes fine, where tyres totally deflated, and no undeclared gas pumps present.
- luggage put in with bike as special checked sports item = depends on the policy, but quite unlikely, usually to be fine at all.

Assume it is really unfine, unless you've been through all the airline and airport info and you can't see anything forbidding it.

Even then, it can be a risk, so be ready to be very deferential and open and flexible and even apologetic at airport and ready to move luggage into your normal luggage allocation, and ready to pay for excess weight if relevant.
Leave a lot of time also.

Also, checked sports equipment shouldn't be thrown around.
Often checked luggage will be, so if your putting a folding bike in with standard luggage, depending on how fragile your bike parts could be, have a think.

Re: Folding bike and Ryanair

Posted: 22 Jun 2017, 7:39am
by Graham O
Actual experience of flying with Ryanair last month.

The only conditions in Ryanair's published T&C's, associated with shipping a bike as a bike, is that it's weight must not be over 32kg. There is no stipulation about turning handlebars, removing pedals or not having anything in the bag with the bike. To be absolutely certain, I emailed them asking if there are specific requirements about handlebars, pedals and explicitly asked about other gear in the bag. Their reply was that there were no requirements other than the 32kg limit. I took a copy of the email with me in case anyone asked. This was the reason I chose Ryanair over Easyjet.

The bike was packed with the handlebars removed and lashed to the top tube. One pannier was left on the rack and the other was located at the front wheel. At Liverpool airport, it was just accepted, even though it was obviously more than a bike. At Porto on the return, the check in person asked if there was anything in the bag with the bike to which I replied yes, but I could show her an email from Ryanair saying that this was not excluded. She accepted this and off it went. (One advantage of traveling with a bike, rather than normal luggage, was that I was waved into the quick check in counter, so didn't have to wait.)

I was able to see the bike being loaded at both ends and it was carefully lifted into the plane by 2 guys, and came back from it's holiday unscratched, dented or damaged. I cannot fault Ryanair at all, although this is only 1 experience.

Would I do the same again? Probably not. With the panniers in the bag, it is very large and very unwieldy and hence more likely to be damaged, not by a deliberate act, as much as by falling or being dropped because it isn't balanced left and right.

If the OP is travelling next summer, I would check again with your airline to get an upto date ruling and would carry a copy of any emails which back up your position.

gmc500 - can you provide a link to your statement about the "nothing but a bike" regulation being due to airport, not airline regulations please? Not doubting it, but just for reference.