ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
rainbow462
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 Dec 2013, 2:02pm

ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby rainbow462 » 16 Aug 2017, 3:42pm

Hi

As a family, we're off on a one way danube trip in a few weeks time getting to and from the UK via BA. We therefore need to use CTC bags for our bikes so I was just seeking feedback/advice from anyone who has used BA recently with the plastic bags and how they got on?

Any tips for check in/packing/BA staff very welcome

Rainbow

robjordan
Posts: 13
Joined: 4 Nov 2009, 2:29pm

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby robjordan » 16 Aug 2017, 9:28pm

We used this method to return from Bucharest a few months ago. It worked fine bar a couple of very small snags. Make sure you have printed BA's policy, which says they accept bikes in a recognised cycle bag, just in case local staff aren't familiar with the policy. We had no arguments or issues in Bucharest, they were happy to receive the bagged bikes. We simply removed pedals, turned handlebars through 90 degrees, dropped the saddle and rolled the bike into the plastic bag, sealing it with tape. Once the bike is in the bag, it's a bit more tricky to move, so you probably want to do this in in a quiet corner of the check-in hall. I'm sure you know that the bike will consume your checked baggage allowance, so we paid for one extra bag and stuffed two sets of panniers into one large holdall for our additional luggage allowance (just under the max 23kg).

The snags:
1. They say to deflate the tyres, it's a nonsense, there's no real risk of exploding tyres in the luggage hold, so I only let mine down by a token whiff, but our man in Bucharest was quite strict about it, and sent us away to deflate them further. Which was quite annoying because the bag was already packed, so I had to poke my fingers through the polythene.
2. My frame is quite big and, as well as rotating the bars, I also rolled them to hook the drops under the top tube. This made the bike marginally taller. When they tried to put the bike through the luggage security scanner (which happens behind closed doors in a private area of the airport), it wouldn't fit through the scanner. They had to take me down to assist, and I needed to drop the front wheel out of the forks (again, working through the plastic bag) to allow it to be scanned. Then remount the wheel in the forks. No such trouble for my wife's smaller frame.

It's a pretty good approach, the bags weigh 750g, so you could potentially carry them while touring, or what we did, post them to your final destination accommodation to collect before departure.

mjal
Posts: 16
Joined: 4 Jul 2011, 2:22pm

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby mjal » 17 Aug 2017, 11:33am

I made attempts several years ago to persuade (all) airlines to cease enforcing the stupid practice of deflating tyres.

I was especially incensed by BA who previously made it clear that deflation was optional but then changed the wording on the website to read "deflate the tyres to reduce the risk of damage". Further correspondence elicited this email which I printed off to show to airport employees :

"Thank you for your email. Our advice remains the same and as per our information on ba.com, customers are advised to deflate their tyres. This is to minimise damage to the tyres. If you chose not to deflate the tyres, it is your choice to do so.

Here is the information as stated on ba.com:

http://www.britishairways.com/travel/ba ... blic/en_gb"

The link (which still has the same wording) does not say "advised" but simply "deflate the tyres" as I quote above. Having said all that, the printed copy of the email (which dates from 2014) usually does the trick. I have a similar email from easyJet which has also been useful (so far). Before anyone chimes in that easyJet does not require deflation, my experience of the situation "on the ground" is that many employees (especially of the airports as well as airlines) are convinced that deflation is a must. I spent many months in 2011 trying to convince the CAA to take action ; they eventually decided that responsibility lay with the DfT who latterly informed me that "each airport and airline is also permitted to set their own requirements for the carriage of items on aircraft" ...

Regarding the use of CTC bags with BA, we had no problems from 2010 through 2014 but were obliged to sign a waiver at Luxembourg airport because we were not using "proper" bike bags. It also seems fairly clear that the risk of damage increases when a terminal change is required at Heathrow.

Colgrenfell
Posts: 27
Joined: 13 Aug 2015, 11:17pm

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby Colgrenfell » 17 Aug 2017, 1:14pm

We flew BA Gatwick to Bordeaux rtn last month for a couple of weeks touring round the beaches we found last year... Used the CTC bags and a lot of pipe lagging.. BA were fine on both legs with this... Unfortunately my partner's left hand shifter was damaged on the outer leg - I had rotated the drop bars and rolled them under the top tube and this probably exposed the shifter to some knocks - I wish I had cable-tied the brake handle shut to the bar to avoid this.. We also used the bopworx derailleur guards which seem to have done their job..

On arrival we binned the pipe lagging (sorry recycling gods) and toured the bags which came in handy on a couple of camp pitches as a makeshift tarp...
Picked up more lagging for the return journey.

The bags were fine but I think in future I'm more likely to use a cardboard box from a local bike shop...

simonhill
Posts: 3137
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby simonhill » 18 Aug 2017, 10:27am

Depending on how you are getting to the airport, you could box on the way out when damage is more of a problem. You can bin the box when you arrive,

Then carry your plastic bag for the return trip.

This would also solve the problem of possible damage to the plastic bag on the way out and you can sneak out fully inflated tyres in the sealed box.

borisface
Posts: 157
Joined: 19 Feb 2010, 3:48pm

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby borisface » 18 Aug 2017, 1:59pm

I've been pioneering telling airlines that regretably I am unable to deflate my tyres as they are solid and therefore don't have any air them. Its worked four times so far.

User avatar
Gattonero
Posts: 3730
Joined: 31 Jan 2016, 1:35pm
Location: London

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby Gattonero » 19 Aug 2017, 10:20am

mjal wrote:I made attempts several years ago to persuade (all) airlines to cease enforcing the stupid practice of deflating tyres.....


It is very stupid indeed, as you can travel with fully inflated forks/shocks done to 150psi! :lol:
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

rainbow462
Posts: 3
Joined: 17 Dec 2013, 2:02pm

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby rainbow462 » 19 Aug 2017, 3:16pm

thank you for all taking the time to reply and offer such good ideas.

Fingers crossed then....

MartinBrice
Posts: 454
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

Re: ctc bike bags and british airways anyone?

Postby MartinBrice » 19 Aug 2017, 10:25pm

In Vienna we were told to let the air out of the tyres, so let out a bit. This was evidently not enough because the front tyres on both bikes were slashed with the Stanley knife the security chap had lent us to cut the plastic to deflate the tyres. Both front tyres had slashes in them that were not there before.