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

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 20 May 2017, 6:49pm

Gatwick to Seville, bike in plastic sheeting bought from diy store. Best to have 125 microns thick plastic.
Handlebars turned on my mate's bike, pedals turned inwards, derailleur removed. All fine.
My Thorn Raven: handlebars off, front forks removed with the wheel intact then all cable tied to the frame. All fine on arrival. Good old easyjet.
Let's hope it's the same when we return from Santiago to Gatwick.....

User avatar
bigjim
Posts: 2841
Joined: 2 Feb 2008, 5:08pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

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

Postby bigjim » 20 May 2017, 7:12pm

Good old easyjet.

But it is nothing to do with Easyjet. It is the baggage handlers that may damage your bike. They work under contract for all the airliners. So luck of the draw I'm afraid. I have known baggage handlers gently carry my bike out to me in the customs hall and others that will throw the bike on the conveyor belt with the result that it catches something and tumbles onto the floor. I once saw some young prats waiting for their case in Palma throw a carbon bike off the belt onto the floor.
Nothing left to prove. http://adenough1.blogspot.co.uk/

MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 20 May 2017, 7:24pm

Yes that's true, now I think about it.

simonhill
Posts: 1832
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

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

Postby simonhill » 21 May 2017, 8:30am

It also often applies to check in and other ground staff as well.

At airports that only have one or two flights a day or even a week, the check in staff are usually agency people. This often leads to them having generic knowledge about such things as carriage of bikes rather than knowledge of a specific airline's rules.

User avatar
Gattonero
Posts: 3110
Joined: 31 Jan 2016, 1:35pm
Location: London
Contact:

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

Postby Gattonero » 21 May 2017, 8:43am

bigjim wrote:
Good old easyjet.

But it is nothing to do with Easyjet. It is the baggage handlers that may damage your bike. They work under contract for all the airliners. So luck of the draw I'm afraid. I have known baggage handlers gently carry my bike out to me in the customs hall and others that will throw the bike on the conveyor belt with the result that it catches something and tumbles onto the floor. I once saw some young prats waiting for their case in Palma throw a carbon bike off the belt onto the floor.


One more reason to use at least a cardboard box!
Recently I've used a soft bike-bag, slightly padded, in which I've put two pieces of cardboard cut to size. The result is still light and can be rolled to save space. If I was to travel abroad would take arrangements with a shop to keep the bag, less materials to dispose after a flight and more safety for my bikes.
It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best,
since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them.
Thus you remember them as they actually are...

hufty
Posts: 476
Joined: 28 Jan 2011, 7:24pm

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

Postby hufty » 19 Jul 2017, 3:01pm

Manchester - Dushanbe and back with Turkish airlines.

Outward: bike in CTC bag, check-in staff cucumber-cool about this and gave me no hassle, bike arrived completely undamaged.
Return: bike wrapped in polythene sheet from the market, check-in staff again completely unfazed, bike arrived completely undamaged.

A few notes:
Pedals and bottle cages removed, saddle dropped, bars turned 90deg. Rohloff gears so no dangleur to worry about. I released a token amount of air from the tyres although I don't think they were fussed. Three hold luggage panniers went in a laundry bag to make one piece of luggage, 4th pannier was cabin baggage.

With Turkish you have to pay an eye watering 90euros for a bike. You need to find the Turkish Airlines counter and pay for your bike before you check-in otherwise if your a lone cyclist you will have to lug everything back and forth. At least once you've paid it adds weight to the idea that they are going to take your bike.

At Manchester the bike wouldn't fit through the oversize scanner so there was a long wait for a swabbing. They wouldn't let me prop it up on anything. At Dushanbe they did allow me to prop the bike up on one of the trays that you send your bits through the X ray machine in, so it fitted through nicely.

The hardest thing with Turkish was getting email confirmation that bikes in polythene are okay. As I said, the check-in staff were so good that I didn't need it, but it's always a just-in-case thing. I emailed a few times, and either got referred immediately to the telephone contact centre, or got an obviously made up response for example "bike must be dismantled". In the end, I twigged and sent an email asking a closed rather than open question and this worked a treat. Something along the lines of "I have been in touch with the 7/24 Contact Centre who told me that unboxed bikes will be carried provided the pedals are removed, the bike is covered in polythene, the fee of 90eur is paid etc etc...could you please confirm in writing whether this is correct so I have something to refer to it at check-in if necessary. Unfortunately the Contact Centre staff are not able to send out emails..." Just to say I had rung the Contact Centre and everything I said in the email was correct - no porkies or missing bits out!

I had great success welding the polythene sheet together using a cigarette lighter to warm the plastic until it went transparent then squeezing it together between gloved forefinger and thumb. It was already folded in half, so spot welding up two sides made a pouch that the bike just popped into, just like a CTC bag. Then I used loads of tape as normal. The welds are stronger than simply taping the sides together. You might want to do the welding the night before, not at the airport, but it didn't take long.
Please do not use this post in Cycle magazine

MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 19 Jul 2017, 10:32pm

MartinBrice wrote:Let's hope it's the same when we return from Santiago to Gatwick.....

It was fine.
On the trip we had two problems with check-in staff:
1. At Gatwick my bike was in thick plastic, wrapped a couple of times in a few places so it was hard to see through it. The oversize luggage bloke let it through. My mate's - like mine - had the pedals removed then put back the other way - this is so if it dropped the pedal underneath will protect the chainring. The oversize luggage bloke saw the pedal and said it had to come off: he'd never ridden a bike and didn;'t realise it was the "wrong" way round. We just said repeatedly it was OK and he let it through.
2. At Santiago de Compostela the check-in chap was on his first day and told us they had to be in boxes: I showed him the Easyjet website saying it could be in a box or a bag and he said it had nothing to do with easyjet, it was to do with the company that ran the airport. He phoned his boss. And 10 minutes later his boss rang to say they were OK in bags.

So OK in the end. Stressful though. In future I'd be tempted to get that company in Santiago to box it and send it to my house for €100 - it costs €50 to fly with it and it's a pain. But on this trip we didn't want to go into Santiago, we rode straight to the airport.

MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 25 Feb 2018, 1:33pm

I'm flying back to Seville in March, planning to use the same plastic sheeting bought at B&Q.
*makes mental note to find it in the bike shed*

pj76
Posts: 26
Joined: 3 Jul 2008, 12:08pm

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

Postby pj76 » 14 Mar 2018, 7:51pm

Flew sleazyjet Bristol to Barcelona.

Bike boxed and pipe lagged, bit of double walling. All good. Bike ready and waiting when I got there. Sadly not built up through.

MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 15 Mar 2018, 11:16am

Gatwick to Seville. Bike with front fork removed with wheel inside, and cable tied to the side of the frame. In a box for a child's bike, which I discover is much easier to handle. Slept most of the way, very smooth flight. Bike delivered no problems, reassembled after thirty minutes.

Now that Gatwick easyjet now has about thirty self check in machines, where you scan your boarding pass and it prints the stickers for your luggage. All very quick and easy.

Whiteyboo
Posts: 2
Joined: 15 Mar 2018, 1:41pm

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

Postby Whiteyboo » 15 Mar 2018, 1:46pm

Read through A LOT of the posts/replies on this topic but can't quite find an answer so hoping someone can help. My husband and his friend are cycling from Oslo to Hamburg in June. they are flying their bikes out in cardboard boxes from Manchester and My husband has asked me to find out how they can obtain a cardboard box at Hamburg Airport to return their bikes in. I speak fluent German and have been talking to the airport who have been less than helpful and have not given me any info on where/how they can obtain one (buy or free!). Does anyone have any advise on the best place to get 2 bike boxes at or near Hamburg Airport please? I've suggested they use the plastic bags but they both say no as they need protective packaging on the frame etc. Or does anyone have any other ideas please? Any help and advice greatly appreciated. Thanks

MartinBrice
Posts: 441
Joined: 13 Nov 2007, 9:57am

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

Postby MartinBrice » 15 Mar 2018, 2:13pm

You can't do it. No airport that I know of sells cardboard boxes for bikes.
They can either:
Go to a bike shop and obtain a cardboard box there, this may need a phone call first. Once obtained, the box can be collapsed and rolled up then carried while riding the bike, with difficulty, using some rope to make a sling and put over one shoulder. This is tricky but not as impossible as it sounds.
Or
Use plastic sheeting bought at a DIY store. The notion that a cardboard box offers any real protection to the bike is a fallacy. Some pipe lagging might stop a few scratches but serious damage can only be avoided for sure by using a rigid, purpose-made, plastic reinforced bike box. Airlines want the bike wrapped up so other luggage is not made oily by the bike.
Pipe lagging can be used even if you have a plastic bag, of course.
To avoid damage I remove the front forks, with the wheel in, and cable tie that to the side of the bike, with the handlebars cable-tied to the crossbar. Derailleurs are best removed from the frame and cable tied to the rear stays, so they won't be knocked. I allow an hour at the airport for this, it usually takes half that.

Baggage handlers, by and large, are pretty careful.

PJ520
Posts: 841
Joined: 23 Mar 2008, 3:49pm
Location: Seattle WA USA

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

Postby PJ520 » 16 Mar 2018, 5:22pm

MartinBrice wrote:You can't do it. No airport that I know of sells cardboard boxes for bikes.
Me neither.
Once obtained, the box can be collapsed and rolled up then carried while riding the bike, with difficulty, using some rope to make a sling and put over one shoulder. This is tricky but not as impossible as it sounds.
Not with any bike box I've ever come across. It would have to be awfully flimsy cardboard. Even if you could, hauling it around when you can scrounge up another one at tour's end would be a major PIA. Riding with some such over your shoulder sounds like misery.
To avoid damage I remove the front forks, with the wheel in, and cable tie that to the side of the bike, with the handlebars cable-tied to the crossbar.
I've always used the plastic spacer that new bikes ship with in the drop outs and left the forks in without any problem but I suppose you could do that.
Derailleurs are best removed from the frame and cable tied to the rear stays, so they won't be knocked.
Yes
Baggage handlers, by and large, are pretty careful.
The handlers maybe but not the conveyor systems. Do make sure you use tape that really sticks, some tapes come off really easily. Some bike box cardboard has a glossy finish that cheap tapes don't stick to very well (learned that the hard way)
"An expert is a person who knows some of the worst mistakes to be made in a subject and how to avoid those mistakes" - Niels Bohr

User avatar
bigjim
Posts: 2841
Joined: 2 Feb 2008, 5:08pm
Location: Manchester
Contact:

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

Postby bigjim » 16 Mar 2018, 5:52pm

Not that it is any useto the OP, but they sell bike boxes at Beziers airport. Maybe many more do, but we don't ask.
Nothing left to prove. http://adenough1.blogspot.co.uk/

simonhill
Posts: 1832
Joined: 13 Jan 2007, 11:28am
Location: Essex

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

Postby simonhill » 18 Mar 2018, 12:06am

I think the bit 2 posts above about folding or rolling and then carrying didn't mean for the whole tour.

If you open up the bottom of the box you can then lie it flat. You can then fold it into 3. Like this it can be carried over shoulder or fixed (awkwardly) to rack. You can then cycle from bike shop or hotel to airport.

Done it a few times. Don't recommend long distances or heavy traffic.