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

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
sail&fish
Posts: 14
Joined: 2 Jun 2014, 1:28pm

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

Postby sail&fish » 8 Jun 2014, 10:16pm

We flew from Gatwick to Izmir in 1987. When we got to check in they asked us to let the tyres down, we left the queue to do so and when we rejoined the flight was full!. Holiday delayed. We flew to Sofia a few years later. In both cases the bikes were fine.

What we did do was obtain 2 bike boxes of different sizes such that one could be fitted inside the other. We then left this 'single package' in left luggage ready for our return.

colinb497
Posts: 2
Joined: 14 May 2014, 10:43am

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

Postby colinb497 » 25 Jun 2014, 11:15am

BA LHR-TXL - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays
BA LHR-TXL - checked in fine in box, bike arrived with rear stays and forks bent. Foolishly, no blocks between stays and forks Replacement frame ordered, fully reimbursed by BA
BA TXL-LHR - checked in fine in black nylon bag (btwin I think, perhaps DHB), no protection on frame. Bike arrived fully in order
BA LCY-DUS - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, asked to let the gas out of the tyres, bike arrived fully in order
LH DUS-MUC - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, no questions r.e. gas in tyres, bike arrived fully in order
LH MUC-PUY - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, no questions r.e. gas in tyres. Catastrophe in transit though - bike lost for 4 days, eventually arrived having gone via CPH and ZAB. Bag had taken immense punishment over the course of that transit, miraculously the bike was fine though
LH LHR-MUC - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays. Bike arrived fully in order
LH MUC-PUY - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays. Catastrophe in transit though - bike lost for 4 days, eventually arrived having gone via CPH and ZAB. Box was basically annihilated at time of delivery, having been forcibly opened several times for security clearance. Fortunately no loose bits in the box, hence nothing lost
BA VEN-LGW - checked in fine 2 bikes in CTC poly bags (one brand new, the other more packing tape than poly bag after LH's treatment of it). Asked to let gas out of tyres, bikes arrived fully in order

Bottom line - the only problem I've had has been the MUC-PUY flight, from which I extract the lessons - 1) boxes are worse than CTC poly bag, and 2) if at all avoidable, do not plan to take a bike on any aeroplane smaller than an A318 or 737. If forced to take a routing involving smaller planes, consider the typical passengers on that route at that time of day/week/year (e.g.LCY-DUS was on an Embraer 170, but it is a business route (i.e. most handluggage only) so there was plenty of space in the hold).

Gearoidmuar
Posts: 2135
Joined: 29 Sep 2007, 7:35pm
Location: Cork, Ireland. Corcaigh, Éire má tá Gaeilge agat.

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

Postby Gearoidmuar » 25 Jun 2014, 5:12pm

colinb497 wrote:BA LHR-TXL - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays
BA LHR-TXL - checked in fine in box, bike arrived with rear stays and forks bent. Foolishly, no blocks between stays and forks Replacement frame ordered, fully reimbursed by BA
BA TXL-LHR - checked in fine in black nylon bag (btwin I think, perhaps DHB), no protection on frame. Bike arrived fully in order
BA LCY-DUS - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, asked to let the gas out of the tyres, bike arrived fully in order
LH DUS-MUC - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, no questions r.e. gas in tyres, bike arrived fully in order
LH MUC-PUY - checked in fine in CTC poly bag, no questions r.e. gas in tyres. Catastrophe in transit though - bike lost for 4 days, eventually arrived having gone via CPH and ZAB. Bag had taken immense punishment over the course of that transit, miraculously the bike was fine though
LH LHR-MUC - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays. Bike arrived fully in order
LH MUC-PUY - checked in fine in box, bike protected with pipe lagging and blocks of wood between forks and stays. Catastrophe in transit though - bike lost for 4 days, eventually arrived having gone via CPH and ZAB. Box was basically annihilated at time of delivery, having been forcibly opened several times for security clearance. Fortunately no loose bits in the box, hence nothing lost
BA VEN-LGW - checked in fine 2 bikes in CTC poly bags (one brand new, the other more packing tape than poly bag after LH's treatment of it). Asked to let gas out of tyres, bikes arrived fully in order

Bottom line - the only problem I've had has been the MUC-PUY flight, from which I extract the lessons - 1) boxes are worse than CTC poly bag, and 2) if at all avoidable, do not plan to take a bike on any aeroplane smaller than an A318 or 737. If forced to take a routing involving smaller planes, consider the typical passengers on that route at that time of day/week/year (e.g.LCY-DUS was on an Embraer 170, but it is a business route (i.e. most handluggage only) so there was plenty of space in the hold).


I've been on literally dozens of flights with bikes and if you factor in my pals we'd have had hundreds of bike flights.
Like you, ONLY BROKEN FRAMES were on one flight from Milan to Cork via London when 3 of seven bike suffered broken frames. On this flight we were made put the bike in bike boxes in Milan.
Have had superficial damage with bikes in bags or naked, only.

MartinBrice
Posts: 443
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 11 Mar 2015, 8:35pm

Heathrow to Santiago in Chile, January 15, 2015, bike in plastic bag, perfect on arrival.
Santiago to Heathrow, March 2, bike in a box I constructed from cardboard bits nicked from the supermarket and wrapped in clingfilm, then cardboard, with clingfilm on the outside to help hold it together. Bike was perfect on arrival in London. Flew with LAN/TAM. Delighted.

JosephCallard
Posts: 31
Joined: 17 Dec 2011, 9:21pm

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

Postby JosephCallard » 11 Mar 2015, 8:39pm

Flew Stanstead to Lyon with easyjet last year, used a CTC bike bag and padding, fine on the way there, on the way back my front wheel was buckled a fair amount, although I didn't notice until I was back home :(
Joe

TimP
Posts: 106
Joined: 25 May 2015, 6:15pm

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

Postby TimP » 13 Jun 2015, 7:48am

For drop out and front fork protection during transit consider a couple of pieces of plastic pipe cut to length and held in place with your QR skewers from your wheels. The pipe will cost pence and weigh almost nothing. They will also take no space in the bottom of your luggage the rest of the time.

Bonefishblues
Posts: 4365
Joined: 7 Jul 2014, 9:45pm
Location: Near Bicester Oxon

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

Postby Bonefishblues » 13 Jun 2015, 8:34am

Completely off-topic (ish!) but I love this riposte by an unhappy but talented guitarist whose favorite (sic) guitar was broken. Enjoy :D

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

MartinBrice
Posts: 443
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 19 Jan 2017, 1:15pm

Unashamed thread resurrection I know, but this:
TimP wrote:For drop out and front fork protection during transit consider a couple of pieces of plastic pipe cut to length and held in place with your QR skewers from your wheels. The pipe will cost pence and weigh almost nothing. They will also take no space in the bottom of your luggage the rest of the time.

strikes me as a very good idea.

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TrevA
Posts: 1793
Joined: 1 Jun 2007, 9:12pm
Location: Nottingham

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

Postby TrevA » 19 Jan 2017, 6:25pm

MartinBrice wrote:Unashamed thread resurrection I know, but this:
TimP wrote:For drop out and front fork protection during transit consider a couple of pieces of plastic pipe cut to length and held in place with your QR skewers from your wheels. The pipe will cost pence and weigh almost nothing. They will also take no space in the bottom of your luggage the rest of the time.

strikes me as a very good idea.


I have used a QR axle with cones and a QR skewer. I also have a couple of lengths of plastic that came with a new frame I bought. These fit in the front and rear dropouts and prevent the frame getting crushed. I have also used a complete front hub, cut out of and old wheel.

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matt2matt2002
Posts: 843
Joined: 25 Oct 2009, 7:45pm
Location: Aberdeen Scotland UK

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

Postby matt2matt2002 » 19 Jan 2017, 8:51pm

Thorn Raven
Turkish airlines
Edinburgh to Bishkek
Bike boxed
No probs either way

Turkish airlines
Edinburgh to Sri Lanka
Bike boxed
Damage to front of box. Corner ripped off. Forks badly bent.
Local guy fixed me up.
No probs coming back.
2014 Scottish End2End 1 month
2015 Pamir Highway Tajikistan & Kyrgyzstan for 2 months
2016 Sri Lanka for 1 month.
2017 Herbrides Lewis Harris 2 weeks
2018 Ethiopia.5 weeks.
2018 Marrakech 2 weeks.
On a Thorn Raven/Rohloff hub.

MartinBrice
Posts: 443
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 5 May 2017, 11:08pm

unashamed bump as we go into the summer touring season.

irc
Posts: 4323
Joined: 3 Dec 2008, 2:22pm
Location: glasgow

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

Postby irc » 6 May 2017, 6:53am

Glasgow - Heathrow - Vancouver, Canadian Affair
Boston - Ireland - Glasgow Aer Lingus

Glasgow - Heathrow - Washington DC, BA
San Francisco - Heathrow - Glasgow, BA

Glasgow - Heathrow - San Diego, BA
Orlando - Heathrow - Glasgow, BA

Outward journeys - Bike boxed in cardboard box with corners re-enforced with rolls of cardboard. Pipe lagging on frame. Rear wheel left on. Front fork protector in axle. Roll of cardboard tape to R side of rear rack to keep box away from rear derailleur.

No issues for me though on arrival at Vancouver there was a recumbent in pieces in a plastic bag. Looked terminal for the frame. Also going to San Diego the airport was fog bound. Landed at LAX instead and BA supplied free shuttle buses to San Diego.

Return journeys also cardboard box though less well protected depending what was available - on basis a damaged bike on the way home is a hassle but less so after a holiday.

Only issue was I once arrived at Glasgow and bike hadn't made it (with a fast connection at Heathrow). Reported to BA and it was couriered to my house the next day.

Bike box always opened for inspection then re-taped. As bike and anything in the box is cable tied together as one piece - no issues with loss or damage.

bohrsatom
Posts: 376
Joined: 20 May 2013, 4:36pm

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

Postby bohrsatom » 6 May 2017, 8:34am

Gatwick to Faro - in CTC poly bag. Pedals off, seat down, bars turned, front wheel off and cable tied to the frame, protection the rear derailleur. Small plastic spacer used to protect front fork, no additional protection. Bike arrived in order.
Porto to Gatwick - Same as above, bike arrived in order.
Gatwick to Basel - Same as above, except QR skewer foolishly used instead of plastic spacer. On arrival QR skewer missing and two sizable dents in down tube. Sadly I didn't notice the dents for some time so it was too late to claim.

All 3 times my partner also brought her bike and she has had no issues.

In the future I will use more protection on the outbound flight and chance it on the way home.

Stickleback
Posts: 7
Joined: 8 Mar 2017, 10:53pm

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

Postby Stickleback » 20 May 2017, 12:54pm

BA Amsterdam to London City. Bike in CTC poly bag. Stem turned and bars rotated down, pedals fitted inside-out, tyres partly deflated, poly bag stuffed with clothes to protect rear deraileur. Both wheels left in place.

On arrival, discovered they had cut the bag to fully deflate the tyres, but otherwise totally unscathed.

Stickleback
Posts: 7
Joined: 8 Mar 2017, 10:53pm

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

Postby Stickleback » 20 May 2017, 1:06pm

Oh - has anyone got a link to the CTC poly-bike-bag letter, or an electronic copy of it? This link is now dead: http://www.ctc.org.uk/sites/default/fil ... ikebag.pdf

edit: Web Archive to the rescue! It's now available at
https://web.archive.org/web/20150905192 ... ikebag.pdf