Colgrenfell wrote:Flew Easyjet LGW to Montpellier and back.. sort of..
Two bikes both wrapped in new Wiggle CTC plastic bags, plenty of pipe lagging and Bopworx derailleur guards.
After checking in and boarding; we wait on the plane, and then without warning due to ATC strike in Marseille, flight cancelled; we disembark.. and get to see just how much care the Gatwick baggage handlers take - the answer being not much.. ON a round trip from check-in to plane to baggage collection both CTC bags ripped to shreds, and both derailleur guards snapped.. IMG_1801.jpg
I think the problem is that baggage handlers frequently don't return bikes on the oversize luggage route, and simply send it on the normal luggage conveyor belts where the damage occurs..as bikes jostle with suitcases and sharp bends on the luggage belt.
After an enforced break of a couple of days whilst waiting for new flight out I decided I'm done with plastic bags... a very helpful guy in the Gatwick Evans Cycles gave us a couple of cardboard boxes for the outbound flight.. returning from Montpellier picked up cardboard boxes from LBS near Montpellier airport - Culture Velo.
Both flights damage free.. was boring to have to remove rear rack, front mudguard, bars from stem (and cable tied to top tube), and reassemble on arrival but have decided that on future flights this is the way forward..manufacturers use cardboard boxes to transport new bikes to LBS for good reason.. strong and cheap!
Ouch, that doesn't look good. Gatwick (and I suspect other larger airports) have long been a bit of an issue as they are managing the flow of huge amounts of luggage so it all has to blend into the standards. One thing that helps with the bigger airports (I'm sure that Colgrenfell is already aware of this but for newbies) is to make sure that the bikes can flow over any baggage belts easily so smoothing things out with bubble wrap etc helps-you don't want things getting caught. I tend to fly to smaller airports where the Gatwick issue is less of one (Exeter being my preferred choice but Bristol was ok the last time I used it and I'll use it again this summer). I, going to get a rohloff bike so derailleurs should be less of an issue but it's going to be an even more expensive bit of kit to put at risk.