getting my bike on the plane ...

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getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby malverncyclist » 24 Jun 2012, 4:43pm

... seems to be a bit of a "challenge".

I am planning a one way cycle trip from Malvern (where I live) to my birth place, Bonn in Germany. Plan is to cycle there in May/June 2013 and fly back from Cologne airport to probably Birmingham or Bristol.

So far, I have only been able to find some info from KLM who say they take bicycles but the bike box they can provide (at a cost) is only available from Shiphol Airport (Amsterdam). Hmpfff.

Anyone any experience of this type of operation??? Any thoughts on how to make this work (and I don't want to go on the Eurostar, as my wife will be 'welcoming' me in Bonn and then fly back with me).



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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby swscotland bentrider » 24 Jun 2012, 5:07pm

Best bet is a carton from a bike dealer in Bonn. And they are usually free!



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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby hondated » 24 Jun 2012, 5:47pm


I was where you are now three weeks ago as I too had never taken a bike on a plane and I also had your concerns but the good news is that my flight to the I.O.M. went ok.
Prior to leaving home I brought a CTC Bike bag from Wiggle £6.99 so attached that to the top of my panniers and then I used pipe lagging on the frame held on by electrical ties but you could use tape if you wanted to.Because I wanted to ride to the station I took some lagging with me to cover the lower rear stays when I reached the airport and I also took some ties and lagging to cover the rear mech as well.Because I wanted to do the same when I returned I took some ties and tape with me.
At the airport I lossened the handlebars and tied them how the air line wanted me to, removed the pedals and placed them with the tools in the panniers and booked them in as luggage.I removed the front wheel and attached it to the cross bar by the use of some old toe straps deflated both tyres placedit into the bag and gaffer taped it up.

Because I was a bit paranoid about taking anything through security I also made sure that my cleated shoes were packed into the panniers along with anything that could be construed as being dangerous to take on the flight by the authorities.

So it turned out it was not as difficult as I had thought it would be and hopefully it will be the same experience for you.

I was even lucky enough when I landed in the I.O.M to meet a security guard who said that he would secure my bag in his office for when I returned and one of his colleagues as I was over there for the TT even offered to loan me his motorbike for the week which I of cause declined but given how hilly the Island is I did regret not taking him up on his offer at times. Good luck.

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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby DougieB » 24 Jun 2012, 8:55pm

I've flown a few times with a bike. I, personally, would not trust the airport/security staff on the day, and would (as suggested) pick up a cardboard bike box from a bike shop in the town you're flying out of. presumably your wife is going a day or so early, and could maybe do a recce for bike shops. remember to ask for an adult sized box, especially if you're on a tourer (and are adult sized!).

Normally it's just front wheel off and slotted in last, bars turned (if drops possibly need to undo them from the stem), let some air out of the tyres and then duck-tape the box firmly closed (paying attention to the corners). at checkin you'll be directed to the over-sized luggage area to drop the box off.

I think it does pay to be prepared, either with a bag or box, before arriving at the airport. airport staff are a law unto themselves these days, and it's just not worth enduring the stress they sometimes dish out.


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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby Vorpal » 24 Jun 2012, 9:19pm

There's a good and fairly comprehensive, but slightly dated information sheet on the old CTC site ... /bikes-air

I flew a few weeks ago with my bike in a CTC polythene bag, and followed the directions there (and on the airline website) and had a problem-free journey.

The only thing I didn't follow exactly was, the information sheet suggests using PVC insulating tape. I found some clear, heavy tape at Wickes that was labelled for polythene, glass, greenhouses, etc. That worked very well.
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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby RickH » 24 Jun 2012, 9:36pm

Bike frames usually arrive at the bike shop with plastic spacers to fit in between the fork dropouts (& the rear dropouts too). Mine, at least, was happy to give me some which I use when wheels are taken out for transit to help prevent crush damage when the dropouts aren't braced by a wheel in between them. You could also make your own if you felt that way inclined.


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Re: getting my bike on the plane ...

Postby simonhill » 25 Jun 2012, 11:18am

Check out the airline's bike policy BEFORE you buy your ticket. I think KLM charge a lot for a bike (Eu50?). Ryanair and Easyjet also charge, but less I think and it should be on their websites. With BA you will probably get away with it as part of your luggage.

What was said about local staff being a law unto themselves is very true. Try to get info from website and print it off and carry with you. This is why it is often best to pay for bike, then there is less chance of any hassle.

Although many are successful with plastic bag, there are still some check-ins that see the only way to carry a bike is in a box. Again, as said above, just go to bike shop in Bonn and pick one up for free, airlines will probably charge +£10 for one. Also note that the cardboard boxes weigh between 3 and 4kgs.

Try searching this forum with meaningful keywords - there are plenty of posts that may help.

Good luck, enjoy the ride and don't worry about the bike - plenty of people fly with their bikes (me about 6 - 10 times a year).