When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
MartinBrice
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When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby MartinBrice » 23 Feb 2013, 6:44pm

This thread is for details of your experience when you flew with your bike (not when someone you heard of did it, the thread should be actual experience, not hearsay).
It is designed to help make decisions on whether to fly or drive or go by train, etc.
For instance, I flew with Norwegian from Gatwick to Stavanger and back in 2007 and the bike was completely unscratched, not a mark, I had put it in a CTC-ctyle plastic bag.
I flew with EasyJet from Gatwick to Montpellier and back in 2008 with the bike in a plastic bag and it was fine.
A friend and I flew from Gatwick to Gibraltar with Easyjet in January this year with the bikes in cardboard boxes and my mate's rear wheel was distorted and very much out of shape on arrival, prompting the purchase of a new wheel. My bike was fine, by luck. On the return from Madrid to Gatwick the bikes were in cardboard boxes and were fine.
Any other experiences?
Last edited by MartinBrice on 23 Feb 2013, 9:15pm, edited 1 time in total.

irc
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby irc » 23 Feb 2013, 6:49pm

In 2009 I flew Glasgow - Vancouver with Canadian Affair and Boston - Shannon -Glasgow with Aer LIngus

In 2011 I flew Glasgow - Heathrow - Washington DC and San Francisco - Heathrow - Glasgow with BA.

On all flights my bike was packed in a cardboard box and was undamaged.

Arriving in Glasgow in 2009 my bike hadn't made the connection at Heathrow. BA brought it to my house by courier the following day.

ossie
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby ossie » 23 Feb 2013, 8:17pm

2011 flew with Ryanair from Bournemouth to Girona in Spain. The bike was packaged in a cardboard bike box. I saw the bike box get unloaded from the luggage train next to the aircraft. It was loaded last, however (I could see all of this from the departure lounge) for some reason the baggage handler stood the box up on its end ? I thought why the hell would you do that ?......it then blew over, smack onto the tarmac.

I then walked out to the plane as we boarded and had a go at the bloke for his stupidity. I would add that the baggage handlers are nothing to do with Ryanair. Anyway, it arrived in once piece.

gordy
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby gordy » 24 Feb 2013, 3:23pm

well. you did ask...

East Midlands to Glasgow, BMI Baby, several times
Glasgow to East Midlands, BMI Baby, several times
East Midlands to Edinburgh, Easyjet, several times
Edinburgh to East Midlands, Easyjet, several times
East Midlands to Cork, BMI Baby
Cork to East Midlands, BMI Baby
Barcelona to Birmingham, Easyjet
Lyon to Birmingham, Easyjet
Manchester to Halifax (Nova Scotia,) Thompson
Toronto to Glasgow, Thompson
Gatwick to Orlando, Virgin
Los Angeles to Auckland, Air NZ
Auckland to Sydney, Air NZ
Perth to Singapore, Singapore Airlines
Singapore to Hanoi, Singapore Airlines
Siem Riep to Kuala Lumpur, Air Malaysia
Singapore to Rome, Singapore Airlines
Genoa to Stanstead, Ryanair
Manchester to Kirkenes (Norway), SAS
Tallin to Stanstead, Easyjet
Manchester to Los Angeles, Aer Lingus
Calgary to Manchester, Thompson
Birmingham to Christchurch, NZ, Emirates
Queenstown to Christchurch, Qantas
Christchurch NZ to Athens, Emirates (should have been B'ham - diverted due to Icelandic volcano)
Athens to Barcelona, Adriatic Air?
Tolouse to Bristol, Easyjet
Liverpool to Szczecin (Poland) Ryanair
Rzeszow to Birmingham, Ryanair

I think there may be a few more. I usually fly with a soft bag, although I've also used a cardboard box about half a dozen times. I also used a survival bag twice and some random plastic from a market stall once.

I don't use any padding at all, but make merry with lots of cable ties. I try to keep the back wheel in the frame. On a couple of occasions the brake levers have been displaced on the handlebars and I had a single bent tooth on my chainwheel after landing at Los Angeles. It was easily straightened with pliers. I have had no hassle, ever, at check-in or at baggage collection. I am bemused by the fuss that flying with a bike causes on this forum, and others.

John Holiday
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby John Holiday » 25 Feb 2013, 9:14am

I have flown numerous times from various airports with my Thorn Raven in a CTC poly.bag,with few problems.
However, I think that this is more to do with robustness of cycle rather than handling,as things do tend to get dumped on top of it etc. when throwing the bags onto the planes.
A bit of extra foam on corners,impact points might be prudent?

gordy
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby gordy » 25 Feb 2013, 7:21pm

John makes an excellent point about travelling with a tough bike... (and not being precious about it.)
I'd happily stand on my soft bike bag once the bike is packed and would expect it to be treated like a normal suitcase in the handling process. It probably gets a few scratches on the flight - but much less than the inevitable bumps and scrapes on a normal tour - the cursed thing always falls over a few times when loaded with panniers.

Some bikes are less tough than others. Anything with drop bars and a derailleur is fragile, IMHO. My tourers have neither.

durhambiker
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby durhambiker » 25 Feb 2013, 7:50pm

wow gordy,,,,,anybody must be impressed by the number of flights you have had,,plus bike,never mind the arrival condition!!i am off via emirates to bangkok this weekend with my koga miyata randonneur in a soft bag,,,will let you know the arrival condition,,,,,not to mention the condition of my marriage after 3weeks in thailand celebrating my 50th birthday!!

The Mechanic
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby The Mechanic » 26 Feb 2013, 9:59am

My son and I flew BA from Gatwick to Toulouse in 2005 for l' Etape du Tour. Bikes arrived intact with no issues. On the return journey we had to wait for approx 45 minutes on the tarmac at Toulouse while, according to Pilot announcements, we waited for them to load 40 bikes onto the plane. When we arrived at Gatwick there were only 4 bikes on the plane. Fortunately one was mine but my son didn't get his until 3 days later.. Just as well it didn't happen the other way.
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Big T
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby Big T » 26 Feb 2013, 12:32pm

Flown twice to Majorca from East Mids with the now defunct BMI Baby. Bike in a padded bag with wheels removed and bars turned round. Pipe lagging on the frame. No problems, except that they were very keen on you sticking to the 18kg limit for bike and bag, mine was just over but we had spare allowance from our normal luggage. A friend got charged £60 in excess baggage because he had a hard case bag and was over the weight limit.
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francobaresi
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby francobaresi » 6 Mar 2013, 1:26pm

I have used a cardboard box a few times and only had one problem- flying back from LA my front wheel got destroyed. However, I think it was mullered by over-zealous/ careless security checking at LAX, rather than anything to do with the box or carrier (Air Canada). I moaned and Air Canada forked out for a replacement no fuss.

However, make sure you check your bike and log any problems on arrival. Your carrier should make a note of any problems and this ought to mean you get reimbursed. If you don't notice breakages until you get home, you may well find they won't help.

IanCh
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby IanCh » 6 Mar 2013, 7:12pm

2005 Liverpool/Mallorca/Liverpool via easyjet - cardboard box - no problems
2011 Paris/Liverpool via esayjet - Wiggle plastic bag - scratched frame, missing computer and rear light

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foxyrider
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby foxyrider » 10 Mar 2013, 2:20pm

2006 Manchester - Hamburg (Air Berlin) - soft bag
2007 Leeds - Dusseldorf (Jet2) - hard case
2008 Leeds - Berlin (Jet2) - hard case - watched case drop off escalator several feet onto tarmac in Leeds but no damage
East Midlands - Lubeck (Ryan Air) - soft bag - rear wheel dinged on return flight
2009 Leeds - Dusseldorf (Jet2)- hard case
2010 Manchester - Zurich (Easy Jet) - soft bag
2011 Leeds - Copenhagen (Easy Jet) - soft bag - twisted ergo unit - fixed in couple of mins on assembly
2012 Manchester - Berlin (Easy Jet) - hard case
Manchester - Dusseldorf (Easy Jet) - hard case

My use of hard case or soft bag is dependant on whether theres a storage point for the case at my destination - i leave it with friends if i go to Dusseldorf for example. Only thing to go missing has been an 8mm ak. As the bike is an Airnimal in the hard case its just a big suitcase so it has even gone straight through with other luggage on occasion. :D
Convention? what's that then?

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eileithyia
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby eileithyia » 10 Mar 2013, 7:15pm

no problem on all the occasions i have flown however


twice now we have come to mallorca (we hire our bikes so no concerns re bikes) to be with or know of people in the hotel who have bikes left at departure airport as plane was full!
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travelling
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby travelling » 11 Mar 2013, 11:32pm

last week flew from denver to heathrow with BA with my surly moonlander in a cardboard 29er box and the bike with pipe insulatation around the frame parts

cost $60 at the check in and no damage when we arrived although the tsa did have a look
I have the lightest bike in the world....then I put my fattest body in the world on it...the only pounds that have been lost are from my bank account

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bigjim
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Re: When I flew with my bike this is what happened......

Postby bigjim » 23 Mar 2013, 2:50pm


twice now we have come to mallorca (we hire our bikes so no concerns re bikes) to be with or know of people in the hotel who have bikes left at departure airport as plane was full!

I've never had my bike left behind, but I also have given up taking my bike to Mallorca. The cost and hassle is no longer worth it.
However, having become more risk averserse as I have aged, I'm beginning to wonder about the safety of carbon forked hire bikes. You, or even the hire company, do not know whether or not they have been abused by previous hirers and therefore due to fail.
Last year, the bike I hired ,creaked at the headset when I rode out of the saddle but the shop was not concerned.
Probably me being paranoid but........
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