WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby bigjim » 24 Sep 2012, 4:46pm

I've often stuffed clothes, sleeping bag, tent etc on the bike and just took frame bag as hand luggage. I could not understand how they could enforce the rule as check-in do not x-ray the bike. That is the job of airport security who do not work for a particular airline. However I once put a bike through security at Manchester and the guy had a trainee with him. He said to the trainee to check that there was only bike related gear in there as "they sometimes try to sneak clothes and stuff in with the bike". Luckily that time I had only left a bar bag attached as I was travelling light so was not challenged. There again, what would he have done anyway. I was already checked through and I thought security was only there to assess any flight risk? I have always found Large item security to be pretty laid back about the bike and contents as long as it fits through the machine. Two days ago I came back with Ryanair and left sleeping bag, some food and clothes on the bike in a see through bike bag. They never bothered and it would not fit through the machine at Beziers either but it was all accepted. If you can get past Ryanair without hassle and extra charges you can usually get anywhere.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby henry_chinaski » 24 Sep 2012, 6:09pm

BeeKeeper wrote:This got me worried as I am flying with EasyJet on 1 Oct to Geneva and am intending on using the CTC bike bag (aka a big sheet of clear plastic). I have just given EJ a ring - after the usual problem of finding the contact number which is now 0843 104 5000 - and spoke to a lady who stated that a bag does not need to be padded "so long as it [the bike] is wrapped in something". The lady was called Nadine and I shall quote her if I get any hassle. However, as often stated with cases like this much depends on the individuals at the check-in and baggage desks at the time of the flight and their particular take on the rules.

Dear Beekeeper
Think carefully about risking it.
I contacted Easyet and asked about a the bag that I intended on using; I was assured that a CTC type polythene bag was OK but at the boarding steps they asked who had a bike and I was told that it was not going to be put on board . It didn't matter that I had confirmed before hand, it was just no.

The confirmation is below and if you are at all interested there is here link to my letters to Easyjet afterwards.



I will be travelling to Bilbao and back in June/July with a bicycle.

I understand the requirements for pedals etc. but want to ask about bike bags. I work in a bike shop;the bikes arrive in thick polythene bags that cover the bike entirely.

I have used one before but do not want to be surprised on the day so I just want to check if this will be acceptable to Easyjet?

Thank you for your help.



Dear Mr *************,

Thank you for contacting us.

As it was mentioned before, the bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box/bag. So that I am happy to confirm, that you can pack your bicycle in the bag. We do not have any restrictions regarding the material of the bag.

I do hope I have been able to answer your question fully, if I have not, please click here and we will be more than happy to assist you further.

Yours sincerely,

Aleksandra Romanko Customer Experience Champion

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby Sweep » 24 Sep 2012, 9:04pm

They don't seem to know what they are doing do they?

With regard to Chris's comment above about not understanding the rule about putting extra stuff in bags and the weight issue, I had another look at Easyjet's bike terms - I know that the low-cost airlines are forever changing their rules on all sorts of things.

I find what I've found for ages under "sports equipment" and a bike is classed as sports equipment they say elsewhere:

"Payment of the non-refundable sports equipment fee entitles you to an additional weight allowance of 12kgs and increases your checked in hold baggage allowance to a maximum of 32kgs. A single item cannot weigh more than 32kgs in total."

So, you just get 12kg extra - I once took a bike which with its extra case weighed more than 12kg and in line with this, the extra came out of my normal 20kg allowance - ie: I had 32kg altogether.

BUT then under "bicycles" it now says:

"Bicycles are permitted for carriage provided that specific criteria is met:

• The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag
• Only one bicycle per box/bag is permitted
• No other items can be carried in the bicycle box/bag (i.e. clothing)
• The handlebars must be flush with the frame
• Pedals must be removed or flush against the flame

Bicycles with hydraulic suspensions or brake systems will be accepted.

A non-refundable sports equipment fee will be charged. The bicycles are exempt from additional excess baggage charges.

A bicycle can be added at the time of making your booking. Alternatively if you wish to add a bicycle once your booking has been confirmed and your booking was made online at easyJet.com please login to your My easyJet account, locate the required booking and click on 'Add Sports Equipment'.

If your booking was made through our contact centre, at the airport or by a travel agent you can add a bicycle by contacting our Customer Service Team."

My underlining. What the hell does the underlined bit mean when read together with the other quote?

That you can take, for instance, a bike and bag weighing 14kg and effectively take 34kg with no penalty?

I haven't a clue.

No wonder their staff are confused. No wonder innocent cyclists who have been as careful as they could possibly be by getting written advice in advance are caught out.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby cycleruk » 24 Sep 2012, 9:39pm

Easyjet = 32Kgs for sports equipment.
You can also book "hold luggage" = 20Kgs.
So in effect you can have a total of 52kgs hold luggage made up of sports equipment and "normal" luggage.
The "rules" do state though 32kgs max' for sports equipment.
My bike box weighs 13kgs so bike has to be no more than 19Kgs, which it just is.
I fit all the bike extras such as spares, seatpack, shoes and helmet in as well.
You can also have "hand luggage" upto 10Kgs but has to be able to fit in their "measuring box".

Last year went from Liverpool and one row had their bikes weighed and our row didn't. :?
Coming back from Majorca I don't remember anyone having their bikes weighed. :roll:

As stated above take a copy of the relevant Reg's with you and any notes (emails) from the company.
You'll never know if you don't try it.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby CJ » 25 Sep 2012, 4:01pm

It is essential to print out the airline's bike carriage conditions, plus records of any other correspondence you've had, and take them with you to check-in. Ninety-nine times out of 100 it'll be so much waste paper, but this is your best insurance against the 1% of awkward check-in clerks. When they see that you know the rules and come armed with proof, their attitude moderates. I've never heard of anyone who's followed all the rules and taken a copy, failing to check-in okay.

Someone said print out the rules shortly before you fly, which is poor advice. The conditions of carriage are part of a legal contract between you and the airline. A contract has a date: the date you paid for the service, so the rules that apply are those which applied WHEN YOU BOUGHT YOUR TICKET, or more specifically, the date you paid for the bicycle. So do not wait for the rules to change to your possible disadvantage, but print them IMMEDIATELY.
Chris Juden
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby CJ » 25 Sep 2012, 4:42pm

Portland wrote:They don't seem to know what they are doing do they?

With regard to Chris's comment above about not understanding the rule about putting extra stuff in bags and the weight issue, I had another look at Easyjet's bike terms...


I haven't a clue.

No, most people haven't. That's why EasyJet has yet another page on their website to explain the rules on all those other pages in simpler everyday terms, with a few worked examples to make it abundantly clear that a single person CANNOT take 34kg of luggage - no way.

And the reason it says sports equipment buys exemption from excess baggage charges is that it does.

Normally, a passenger pays the fee for one bag and can take one bag up to 20kg. The passenger can pay for another bag if he likes, but that will NOT entitle him to another 20kg. It won't even buy him another 12kg to get him up to the 32kg limit which is the most any EasyJet passenger is allowed under any circumstances. Nope, all that paying for a second bag gets him is permission to bring two bags totalling 20kg instead of one 20kg bag. If his total luggage weighs more he has to pay excess baggage charges for each and every extra kg up to the 32kg limit.

Sports equipment is different. When you pay for that you DO get permission to bring an extra 12kg, which takes your baggage total (assuming you have also paid for an ordinary item of hold luggage) up to the 32kg maximum without paying any excess baggage charges. Since the sports item costs £25 and excess baggage costs £10 per kg, this is a bargain. And that is probably why EasyJet are keen to ensure that you really do have sports equipment in that extra bag.

Since they now allow passengers to pool weight allowances, so that it doesn't matter where those extra 12kg are distributed between your luggage plus that of any other people you're travelling with (providing no single bag exceeds 32kg of course): it will not make any differnce to the amount of money taken by EasyJet if some stuff that might have been in a pannier is instead packed around a bike.

Where it could make a difference is with some other much lighter items of sports equipment. I imagine that a skier might be able to avoid all other charges by packing a few extra clothes around his skis and carrying everything else as hand luggage. But if your packaged bike is going to weigh more than 12kg anyway, you'll need to buy that 20kg entitlement even if you don't need all 32kg, and might as well check in the panniers too (securely strapped together as one item of course).
Chris Juden
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby nirakaro » 26 Sep 2012, 10:17am

Henry, What a superb lesson in the art of negotiating with unhelpful customer service departments. I think it should be in Too Good to Lose – I’d certainly like to be able to refer back to it.
Perhaps if enough people contacted them before booking, explaining our anxieties and requesting chapter and verse to print out and show to check-in staff, it would poke them into sorting the matter out?
By the way, whenever I’ve taken my bike on Easyjet, the service has been excellent – but you never know…

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby IanCh » 26 Sep 2012, 3:21pm

Last year, I organised a bike tour returning by easyjet from Paris and advised everyone to buy the wiggle plastic bag. A couple of our party tried to use these in advance of the Paris tour and were refused at Liverpool airport and had to leave their bikes in their car. Worried about the Paris trip, I engaged the CTC who campaigned with easyjet on my behalf. i was able to print off emails to wave at check in staff if there was a problem. At Paris, the bikes checked in OK but we were made to totally deflate the tyres and the baggage handlers were a joke. We watched from the aircraft as our 12 bikes appeared on a baggage trolley stacked like mattresses. At the other end, there was quite a bit of chipped paintwork, broken mudguard stays and missing lights, computers etc. i would never fly this way with my bike again unless i had a hard case. Ferry or euraopean bike express in future.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby Mick F » 26 Sep 2012, 3:47pm

I would never fly with my bike unless it was in a hard case. The idea of luggage staff even touching my bike makes my flesh creep. It's bad enough on a train with my bike being stowed in a place I can't get to.

A hard case is the only way ahead for me.
Mick F. Cornwall

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby bigjim » 26 Sep 2012, 4:35pm

I really don't know what the answer is. If you live in the North of the UK it is at least a days journey to reach the ferry. Bike express is expensive and IMO a lot of hassle to get to a destination beyond Northern France from my location. It is an hour for me to fly from Manchester to Paris so I personally will choose to fly and chance the damage. I paid £17 for a flight to Paris this year and £36 for the bike. I flew back from Beziers for £80incl and a two hour flight. It was so convenient and inexpensive. However I accept I was probably lucky as I had no bike damage. I took an old but nice 531 Raleigh Royal bike that was probably worth no more than £200. So any damage would probably come to less than £100. It was boxed and well padded on the outward journey but homeward it just had a thin bag thrown over it. It was great at Manchester to just take the bag off, adjust bars and pedals and ride away. I have given up taking an expensive bike to Mallorca and I hire one. Not worth the worry and hassle.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby johnonhisbike » 26 Sep 2012, 4:52pm

Me and my wife recently flew back with our bikes from Sofia to Manchester with Easyjet. Despite complying fully with their company's stated policy [packed in a bicycle bag (CTC's finest), pedals removed and handlebars turned flat] and with derailleurs wrapped for protection, we were told that we also had to remove the derailleurs, and let the tyres down. We argued and eventually they allowed the derailleurs to remain attached but insisted on the tyres being fully deflated. The only explanation offered was a dismissive a shrug and repeating the word 'security'. Once 'approved' we then had to get them through the 'oversized' baggage channel which wasn't big enough for a bike to pass through without an alarming bout of rough manhandling and a complete disregard for damaging our beautiful bikes! The whole affair was a disappointing and stressful end to our cycle tour ... and contrasted completely with the start ... by ferry.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby BeeKeeper » 26 Sep 2012, 5:02pm

Removing the derailleurs is a sensible thing to do - it reduces the chance of them being damaged. It should just require one bolt to be undone and the thing can then be tied to the chain stay. Letting down the tyres is because they are worried they might explode at high altitude due to the reduced air pressure outside. You really need to only let a little air out and unless the tyres were inflated to their maximum you may not have to let any out at all but the airlines do tend to insist, some asking for complete deflation others only partial but they don't always check.

I shall do battle with EasyJet next Monday but I have their Customer Service desk number on my mobile and will ring it if I get any hastle - quoting the helpful Nadine - see my earlier post on page 1 for the number.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby simonhill » 26 Sep 2012, 6:42pm

I use one of those derailleur cages (favoured on old MTBs) to protect my rear mech. It is often bent showing that it has taken the strain that the derailleur would otherwise have taken.

Unfortunately I think you have to accept that your bike is likely to suffer some damage if it is in transit. I travel a lot and it is not just on planes that it suffers. Scratches, etc can happen on trains, buses, boats, etc, even carrying it up narrow stairs to my hotel room. For me it is an occupational hazard of going longhaul. I prefer a scratch to winter cycling in the UK - its only a bike after all!

I can see the dilema about getting EJ to sort this out as they may just decide to say no bikes. However, I guess that they are making money out of bikes and hence want the business. If this is the case then maybe (just maybe??) it might be in their interest to sort it out. AirAsia, (a budget airline I fly in Asia) seem to have realised that there is money in sports equipment and have developed a clearly defined (payable ) policy. So maybe EJ could do with a poke.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby nmnm » 26 Sep 2012, 8:20pm

BeeKeeper wrote:Removing the derailleurs is a sensible thing to do - it reduces the chance of them being damaged.
Beware with alu frames, it's quite possible to break the fragile hanger in the process of removing/reattaching the mech. I almost sheared the thread at the airport this year on day 1 of my hol. I bought a spare hanger as soon as I got back - hangers are quite tricky to buy (many different shapes that won't fit your frame) and broken/sheared hanger = no chain tension = no pedalling.

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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby CJ » 27 Sep 2012, 11:01am

IanCh wrote:At the other end, there was quite a bit of chipped paintwork, broken mudguard stays and missing lights, computers etc. i would never fly this way with my bike again unless i had a hard case. Ferry or euraopean bike express in future.

All those problems have solutions.

If you're worried about chipped paintwork, you should cover all the tubes in pipe lagging. (Or get a titanium bike that has no paint! :) )

Broken mudguard stays? Surely you mean the plastic fittings on the ends of the front stays, which I have also broken - once. Since then I always unbolt them from the mudguard eyes and secure INSIDE the fork ends with PVC electrician's tape - that can give if excess force is applied.

Lights, computers etc should always be removed, likewise their brackets if plastic and likely to be near the outside of the package. (I once suffered a broken computer bracket too - since then I always detach any computer bracket from the handlebar and tether it to a nearby brake cable.)

Any protruding cantilever brake arms I also detach from the frame (replacing bolt of course) and tether to the cable above using PVC tape.

I could go on. There's a whole lot more things I do to my bike when flying, having learnt from all the odd bits of damage suffered by myself and other CTC members over the past quarter century. You can find them on this page here. It's a lot of work, takes me at least an hour to prepare and pack a bike for flying, but so long as that's the only practical way to get a bike to the places I like touring, it's worth it.
Chris Juden
One lady owner, never raced or jumped.