Front panniers debate and wizz air

Cycle-touring, Expeditions, Adventures, Major cycle routes NOT LeJoG (see other special board)
tomglasser
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Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby tomglasser » 6 Jul 2015, 12:49pm

Hello all, I'm planning a tour to Belgrade via Amsterdam, Leipzig, and Budapest. My previous tour was around the Western Scottish Isles during which I only used back panniers and a handlebar bag. This proved enough but I could never carry much food as my bags were completely full. As I did in Scotland, I'm planning to camp and to be largely self-sufficient (hence the squeeze in the bags).

So first question: Has anyone gone as far as Belgrade with just back pannier bags? I'm sure it's feasible.The only issue is...

Q2: The only thing that's putting me off is the question of getting back. I'm planning to fly back with Wizzair and to pack my bike up in a cardboard box. But with front pannier bags as well, I'm concerned that I'd have to pay loads in extra baggage to get them back. I phoned Wizzair and they said that they think I could put other items in the box along with the bike. Has anyone had any similar experience/problems?

Would be very, very grateful for any tips or suggestions.

Many thanks,

Tom G

simonhill
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Location: Essex

Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby simonhill » 6 Jul 2015, 1:26pm

I presume you are camping.

I have ridden to and from Brussels with only back panniers and camping. I have also spent 2 months camping touring New Zealand with only 2.

Normally I don't camp when long hauling it eg Asia so obviously 2 are more than adequate.

Lots of people stuff extra stuff in their bike box. I have never known the airline to look inside my box. I have had it opened by security,but they are not looking for smuggled luggage. Like everything, if they say bike only in box (like Easyjet do) then there is always a risk.

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andrew_s
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby andrew_s » 6 Jul 2015, 2:20pm

If it's the number of bags that you are worried about rather than the total weight, you can take a lightweight bag or two and put pairs of panniers into the bags for the flight.

whoof
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby whoof » 6 Jul 2015, 2:21pm

I'm not 100% sure I understand your problem. Are you planning to fly back with only hand luggage and your bike boxed up?

I've flown not flown with Wizzair but have with Easyjet and Flybe dozens of times. Easyjet now have an annoying price per bag policy for hold luggage instead on weight (up to the weight allowance).

I box the bike, removing the wheels and front rack to be able to get the box in a car and to the airport. I use a standard cardboard box free from a bike shop. This is booked as a piece of 'sports' equipment, probably to the annoyance of some on here.

I (or usually we as I travel with Mrs Whoof) carry one rear pannier each as cabin luggage. The other panniers, bar bags and tent go in a box or taped up plastic bag to make one single hold luggage parcel and therefore incurs a single charge.

Hope this helps in some way.

22camels
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby 22camels » 6 Jul 2015, 2:45pm

I agree this is a major hassle when you have 4 panniers and airlines charging per bag, rather than by total weight.

viewtopic.php?f=16&t=91468

So far the only times I've flown with bike and panniers, were with BA. Only done 2-pannier trips, first pannier inside the bike bag (or box) along with a few other extras. The second pannier goes with you as carry on. This way the total weight of the bike+first pannier+extras+containing bag can just about be kept under the 23kg BA limit. I am not sure it would be feasible with 4 panniers (*). Even if the 2 front ones stayed empty, there is the weight of the front rack. So I would have to buy and additional hold bag from BA - which on some short haul European routes will cost me almost as much as the flight.

I'm going with 4 panniers to Iceland with Easyjet soon (Iceland being one place where 4 panniers are necessary I think whereas I would happily go to Belgrade and back with just 2). First I just paid extra for one bicycle. Then I paid some more for an extra hold bag. Decided that even if I could 'get away' with stuffing 4 panniers into the bicycle bag and stay under the weight limit (which with Easyjet is either 30 or 32kg) it would make for an extremely heavy bag and increase the likelihood of the bike getting damaged. The plan is to put the 4 panniers into a chinese shopping bag and check it in as one item.

In summary I think flying with 4 panniers will cost you more than flying with 2 panniers. Unless you find a sensible airline.

(*) it might just be do-able if you have an airline with a very high or unlimited cabin bag weight limit such as BA and are able to distribute your items in such a way that most of the heavy stuff goes with you in the single pannier you bring into the cabin (and is also cabin-friendly i.e. no D-locks, tools, tent poles etc.).

el flaco
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby el flaco » 6 Jul 2015, 3:34pm

I use a dry bag on top of my rear panniers. It folds up to nothing and weighs nothing. I carry my rain jacket in it plus food when bought.

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foxyrider
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby foxyrider » 6 Jul 2015, 8:20pm

I use one of those big laundry bags - I get all 4 bags plus stuff like shoes inside easily. It sits in the bottom of a bag for the trip and can double up as a sitting mat. If it gets damaged - well it cost £2.99, the current example is @ 6 years old!
As others have done, I have also done stuff in bike box and rest cabin luggage - it can be a nightmare sorting it out - the stuff that's easiest to put in hand luggage has to go in the hold and the resulting pile is all the bulky stuff! It's doable but it's a faf
Convention? what's that then?
Airnimal Chameleon touring, Orbit Pro hack, Orbit Photon audax, Focus Mares AX tour, Peugeot Carbon sportive, Owen Blower vintage race - all running Tulio's finest!

tomglasser
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby tomglasser » 6 Jul 2015, 9:03pm

Thanks everyone for the helpful tips! I totally didn't think about compiling all four pannier bags together for one hold item! The real reason I'm considering taking front pannier bags is because I like to stock up on food for the days ahead.

So if I do decide to take 4 I think I'll follow your advice and just whack them all in a bigger back as one piece.

I'll be sure to let this forum know if I have any problems with Wizzair!

Safe travels everyone!

Tom

cjs
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby cjs » 6 Jul 2015, 10:37pm

I use cheap ikea zipper bags all the time and not only for the panniers, I.e. 2 kites (kitesurf) fit in, clothes, whatever......

I get them from Ikea but here's an ebay link to give an idea....

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/like/201353271480?clk_rvr_id=862389948832&rmvSB=true
Kind Regards
Chris...

simonhill
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Location: Essex

Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby simonhill » 7 Jul 2015, 8:07am

Just thought.

I flew Wizzair last year to Macedonia, no bike. They were OK. Their hand luggage was a lot smaller than Easyjet and in the queue to board a member of staff walked the line checking bag size.

I advise you check the regs carefully.

InfiniteView
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby InfiniteView » 7 Jul 2015, 8:16am

I recently cycled from the UK to Serbia and then flew back from Belgrade with Wiz Air. First, be aware that on Wizz Air, your free carry-on size is far smaller than other airlines. It's about the size of a handlebar bag. You have to pay to take normal size carry on.

As with other posters, I used a dry bag on my rear rack to carry my sleeping bag. I had 2 Ortlieb Back Rollers, and on my front rack I had a Tesco chiller bag with my food. It worked well and meant I could throw it away when I came to return home. That left me with the boxed bike, 3 bags and my handlebar bag as carry on.

As a reasonably inexperienced tourer, I found the traffic around Belgrade to be horrific. There were many large trucks and there was no verge on the roads. The bit just south of Novi Sad was pretty scary too.

There is a bike shop in the centre of Belgrade, on the edge of the Danube roughly where it meets the Sava river. I think it's called Markoni Sport. They had bike boxes, although they were too small for a tourer frame and I had to cut them up and tape 2 together. I found large rolls of parcel tape at a Chinese market on Jurija Gagarina (street) a little to the west of Delta City Mall.

A ticket to Luton with Wizz Air at short notice with bike and 3 checked bags cost me 130 pounds. I thought that was reasonable.

I had winter clothes but was still pretty close to getting away with just 2 panniers. I think you could do it if you really minimise and your tent and sleeping bag are small. I put my clothes in a compression sack and cinched it tight. That gains you some space in your bags.

All the best,
James

22camels
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Re: Front panniers debate and wizz air

Postby 22camels » 7 Jul 2015, 10:38am

Going from this and other things I've read, it is funny that most people seem to think it is par for the course to be paying for additional checked baggage allowance, that is, over and above your first allowance which contains the bike. In my mind it is completely outrageous and I will try my best to avoid it. With a 2-pannier set up I know I can. I guess that makes me a cheapskate. :) Or perhaps I am just too used to BA, whose policy and pricing possibly encourages you to not go beyond your first allowance - I'm flying with them again in autumn Gatwick-Malaga-Gatwick, paid £100 for self+bike+2 panniers, an additional checked bag would cost £70, it wouldn't square up.