Do BA still accept bikes in the CTC polythene bag ?

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Do BA still accept bikes in the CTC polythene bag ?

Postby AndrewClark » 10 Jan 2009, 12:36pm

I'm flying with BA to Seattle in May, riding down to San Francisco then flying home.

Previously I've always used the "big poly bag" with lots of pipe lagging and had no problems.

BA now has pictures of various bike bags, big poly bags are not amongst them. Can anyone confirm if BA still accept these bags ?

I have a Velox bike bag. I can put the disassembled bike in this with lots of foam, bubblewrap & cardboard. Dispose of the packing in Seattle and mail the folded up bag to a hotel in San Francisco. Or I can use the S&S couplings on the bike, break it down completely and fit it into a S&S Backpack , again with lots of padding and mail this to be collected in SF.

Decisions, decisions...

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Re: Do BA still accept bikes in the CTC polythene bag ?

Postby vernon » 11 Jan 2009, 7:43pm

Wouldn't it be best to confirm with BA themselves?

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Postby jezer » 12 Jan 2009, 10:57am

We flew with BA to Nice last September. The tour organiser had sent us poly bags prior to the flight, but we did check direct with BA to make sure they were ok. They said NO, bikes had to be in proper cases or at least heavy duty bags. This was a couple of days before departure, so we scrabbled round trying to borrow cases, which are not very suitable on bikes with mudguards, racks, etc. Someone suggester asking CTC for advice, and they said poly bags are fine on BA, and so it proved. Incidently, one lady turned up at departure on her bike and checked it in without any packing at all, not even turning tha bars or removing pedals. The handlers took it without a murmur and it came out the other end perfectly. I wouldn't recommend this method though. :shock:
Power to the pedals

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Postby simonhill » 12 Jan 2009, 11:47am

Unfortunately there are a number of different 'rule makers' when it comes to flying with bikes:

the written rules - often on the web;
what the staff in their offices say;
what the checkin staff will allow; and
what the airport (staff, union, H&S, etc) decree.

Sadly these 4 often vary widely. In practice it is the last two who have most say in what happens, resulting in very different practices in different countries.

If the written rules favour your case, print out and keep - but don't expect them to always overule the last two 'deciders'.

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Postby AndrewClark » 12 Jan 2009, 5:28pm

Just received the following from BA:


I will be flying to Seattle via Heathrow on 30/04/9 and returning from San Francisco on 29/05/08

I will be travelling with a bicycle. Your website ... blic/en_gb gives pictures of bikes in a variety of bags. I have 2 questions:

1) Is the carriage of bicycles in cardboard bike boxes still permitted ?

2) Is the carriage of bicycles in large polythene bags still permitted ? (see

This last is my preferred method and I used it the last time I flew with yourselves (to Delhi).

A: When you fly with us you can take certain types of sporting equipment, up to 23kgs, in addition to your normal checked baggage allowance.

Firstly, the bicycle should have a recognized bag. We will accept all single bicycle bags. We accept only non-motorised bicycle. Special rules apply for bicycles, when groups with more than 4 bicycles travel together. While taking the bicycle onboard, the conditions applied are:

- Bicycle pedals must be removed (or fixed inwards).
- Handlebars must be fixed sideways.
- The bicycle must be contained in a protective case or bag.
- You may wish to deflate the tyres to reduce risk of damage.

We cannot provide you with any information for the purchase of a bike box, by email. To do the same, you will need to contact our local sales office. Their details can be found at:

Which I don't think really answers my question


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Postby simonhill » 13 Jan 2009, 11:54am

The usual standard reply....however, "Firstly, the bicycle should have a recognized bag." well I would recognise a large poly bike bag, wouldn't you?

Bet you have more problems ex US though.

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Postby Cyclenut » 14 Jan 2009, 8:47pm

Normally I'd advise to print out the ctc shop web page where it describes this bag, then poke it under the nose of the check-in staff in case of difficulty. So I went to the new ctc shop pages to get you the link ... :shock: :x :roll:

It looks like the only bike bag CTC now sells, that packs small and light enough to carry on a bike, is one that's probably too small for a touring bike and even declares itself not suitable for flying.

After I went to the trouble of sourcing the same specification of polythene bag as BA used to hand out for this purpose. Even buying the first £700 batch out of my own money to prove to the non-touring sceptics in the office that there was a demand ... I'd better stop now, before I write something I later have cause to regret!
Chris Juden (at home and not asleep)

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Postby CJ » 15 Jan 2009, 5:47pm

Today I learnt the CTC big poly bike bag will be added to the new shop stock list, along with a whole bunch of other special CTC items that need to be transferred from the previous contractor. Whew, that's a relief.

In the meantime I'll see if I saved a full html copy of that page anywhere.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.

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Bike in bags on BA

Postby MikeAris » 16 Jan 2009, 5:00pm

I flew to Mexico City from Heathrow with BA last March and I just wrapped the bike up in two (one inside the other to give more protection) of those polythene bags you get from CTC, turned round the handlebars, and removed the pedals and taped them on top of the rear carrier. I also stuck a bit of foam pipe lagging from Wickes around the frame and the more sensitive parts like the gears. I stored the packaging with a hostel and used it again on my return. My bike was undamaged on both flights and BA staff at Heathrow were extremely helpful and bike friendly. The bike did not count as part of my baggage allowance and just went free.. The clear polythene bag wrap is a good idea because the authorities can see that it is a bike and do not need to investigate further. The only drawback is that wrapping a bike in polythene makes it awkward to handle. Next time I will try and tape on some sort of handle.

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Postby AndrewClark » 17 Jan 2009, 10:50am

Poly bag & pipe lagging is my normal method as well,, then I can just ride away from the airport. Sometimes I leave the pipe lagging on the main triangle in situ for the tour.

I've had to argue about it a few times, mainly on Easyjet and the last time I flew via Manchester they walked the bike through security for a manual explosives check as it was too big to fit through the X ray.

As Simon said, I'm expecting more resistance at San Francisco.