Flying with a Bike

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
ubert767
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Joined: 4 Aug 2013, 8:16pm

Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby ubert767 » 22 Sep 2018, 9:11pm

I too use a LBS bike box for the outward leg where damage to the bike would be more upsetting!!!!!
For the return leg of a tour I use the CTC type polybag method. In addition I add scrounged cardboard cartons from supermarkets etc to beef up the protection around the front forks and rear hub area (Rohloff with ex-box) before bagging. As well as protection, some visible cardboard can help to persuade the check-in staff that your bike is acceptably packaged for flight.
The world is awash with cardboard.

Ivor Tingting
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby Ivor Tingting » 23 Sep 2018, 2:20pm

I always put my bike in a bike box, generally Giant as these are the best size, not too small not too big, then I can put other stuff in it as well that I can't take on the plane. I would never just use a plastic bag for my bike. I would be panicking what might happen to it. Flying with it in a bike box is traumatic enough. I have never had any damage done to the box. I would NEVER fly BA and certainly not on Ryanair with my bike. Ryanair is only short haul which makes me wonder why people couldn't ride instead or take a train? Far Eastern long haul carriers are pretty good.
"Zat is ze reel prowoking qwestion Mr Paxman." - Peer Steinbruck, German Finance Minister 31/03/2009.

hamster
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby hamster » 24 Sep 2018, 1:33pm

Ivor Tingting wrote:Ryanair is only short haul which makes me wonder why people couldn't ride instead or take a train?


Try doing a week's tour in Denmark now that the Harwich ferry is gone. Half the week would be spent getting there or back.

Antbrewer
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Joined: 1 Jul 2016, 9:14am

Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby Antbrewer » 6 Oct 2018, 5:50pm

I have just returned from a fortnight's touring in the Salzgammergut region of Austria and a foray into Germany . Flying from Gatwick to Salzburg via BA. All new to me.
I used the CTC polybag to pack the bike as this is allowed by BA and as long as it is within the weight allowance the bike goes free. Fine.
So packed the bike up with front wheel and handle bars removed and tucked under the crossbar and pedals off and all taped up in the bag. Checkin desk was fine and the pleasant young girl took me (with the bike on a trolley) across to the bulky items area where an Indian guy was operating the conveyor belt system. He took one look at the bike and said emphatically ''No''. ''That will ruin the belt and I will lose my job''. He then suggested that I remove the crank. I said that I would not unpack the bike and remove the crank. How b---dy riduclous! The young girl was astounded on my behalf and said she would sort it. She found an old cardboard box and undid it and we lashed to the side of the bag. This in effect smoothed out the side of the bag and the crank which only stuck out slightly anyway . The Indian then accepted it.
Bike arrived in Salzburg perfectly unharmed.
On my return to the Salzburg airport two days ago I stopped at a supermarket and got two boxes and did the same (as at Gatwick) before presenting it to the bulky items chap. No problems whatsoever.
Moral of the story is use cardboard to smooth out both sides of the poly bag.

I would take my bike this way again although I found packing and unpacking the bike quite a bit of effort. Though I could fold up the polybag and carry it in the panniers along with the string, tape and foam I used to protect the frame. With other boxes and bags this of course is not possible.

Just as a rider having to fly from Gatwick and living in Solihull West Mids I drove down to Gatwick and used the 'Meet and Greet' car park arrangement. That too worked really well in a very professional way.

Anthony

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bigjim
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby bigjim » 6 Oct 2018, 7:16pm

Thing is [some people will not bother about it] that CTC polybag weighs about 1kg. I dislike having to haul it about on tour with me. I know some, and me too, use it as a groundsheet etc, but IMO it is still a pest.
Oh for the days, when some well mannered serf saluted you at the airport, before wheeling your complete bicycle onto the plane. Then you could retire to the lounge for a stiff G&T. Eventually, tapping your pipe out, adjusting ones cravat and strolling out to find ones seat. Where did it all go wrong?
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MrsHJ
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby MrsHJ » 7 Oct 2018, 9:26am

bigjim wrote:Thing is [some people will not bother about it] that CTC polybag weighs about 1kg. I dislike having to haul it about on tour with me. I know some, and me too, use it as a groundsheet etc, but IMO it is still a pest.
Oh for the days, when some well mannered serf saluted you at the airport, before wheeling your complete bicycle onto the plane. Then you could retire to the lounge for a stiff G&T. Eventually, tapping your pipe out, adjusting ones cravat and strolling out to find ones seat. Where did it all go wrong?


Love that image. I turned up in Madrid once 45 mins before a BA flight home, bought a ticket and they just wheeled the bike away!

Interesting point about the poly bag weight. I have chopped the end off mine-probably about a quarter of it. I then rolled it as tight as possible. I think strapping under the rack would be possible but strapped mine on top with the tent. Next flight is transatlantic though to D.C. so I'm expecting to have to box it and am already making overtures to the LBS who have already been working on the bike to prep it. I'm planning to stay near a bike shop before my flight home from St Louis and I'll probably reach out before I travel to find the friendliest one. This next trip I'm also planning on ditching the camping gear for and going earlier in the season i.e. May to miss the worst of the heat.

Bristol by the way put the bike on the belt-I was very peed off and expressed my displeasure in unprintable form to the staff when it stopped the whole belt.

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mjr
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby mjr » 8 Oct 2018, 9:00am

hamster wrote:
Ivor Tingting wrote:Ryanair is only short haul which makes me wonder why people couldn't ride instead or take a train?


Try doing a week's tour in Denmark now that the Harwich ferry is gone. Half the week would be spent getting there or back.

It's only ~12 hours of trains between the Hague (near the Hook) and Copenhagen, so could be done in a day.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
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hamster
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby hamster » 8 Oct 2018, 11:51am

mjr wrote:
hamster wrote:
Ivor Tingting wrote:Ryanair is only short haul which makes me wonder why people couldn't ride instead or take a train?


Try doing a week's tour in Denmark now that the Harwich ferry is gone. Half the week would be spent getting there or back.

It's only ~12 hours of trains between the Hague (near the Hook) and Copenhagen, so could be done in a day.


Plus travel to Harwich in the UK, plus the ferry - that's another 12 hours. You also end up in an overnight each way...3 days there and back, as I said.

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mjr
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Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby mjr » 8 Oct 2018, 12:25pm

hamster wrote:
mjr wrote:
hamster wrote:Try doing a week's tour in Denmark now that the Harwich ferry is gone. Half the week would be spent getting there or back.

It's only ~12 hours of trains between the Hague (near the Hook) and Copenhagen, so could be done in a day.


Plus travel to Harwich in the UK, plus the ferry - that's another 12 hours. You also end up in an overnight each way...3 days there and back, as I said.

Oh well, how was I to know you use 6 day weeks? ;-) Anyway, I'd overnight on the ferry and Harwich is 1½h from London, or 2½h from where I am, so it's only just over a day each way, so about 2 days (a third of one of your weeks). Most airports take as long to get to, plus their checkins are more awkward, there's all the bike wrangling and you don't get a night's accommodation, so I don't think I lose much real time.
MJR, mostly pedalling 3-speed roadsters. KL+West Norfolk BUG incl social easy rides http://www.klwnbug.co.uk
All the above is CC-By-SA and no other implied copyright license to Cycle magazine.

bg
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Joined: 5 Nov 2007, 10:12am
Location: Kent

Re: Flying with a Bike

Postby bg » 8 Oct 2018, 4:01pm

I have flown with BA Gatwick to Nice twice now with my bike in the CTC poly bag with just the handlebars turned and pedals removed.

The staff have all been very helpful and no problem with the oversize luggage.

To date the poly bag has not suffered any damage let alone the bike.