Author Topic: Bikes on Planes  (Read 7638 times)

Bikes on Planes
« on: August 20, 2013, 02:48:32 pm »
We don't seem to have a topic for this (although it has been discussed at various times).

So lets have a collation topic - and add it to the Useful topics sticky.

Someone's bad experience https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=1891.msg27477#msg27477

A hard case rental service
http://www.bikebox-online.co.uk/


<i>Marmite slave</i>

shyumu

  • Paying my TV license by cheque since 1993
    • Balancing on Two Wheels
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2013, 02:54:05 pm »
I was hoping for something Samuel L. Jackson related here.  Apparently the L. stands for Livid.
a journal of bicycle rides I have enjoyed:

http://balancingontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2013, 02:56:45 pm »
OF the two times I have flown with a bike I have had one wheel bent (not past rideable, and as it was a disc braked wheel it mattered less, anyway).

The key to flying with a bike is to READ THE AIRLINE REGS.

Don't try to wing it (no pun intended), what works for one airline doesn't for another, even from the same airport.

The CTC clear bag is usually fine (worked for Ham earlier this year), but I prefer to use the clear construction plastic that you can get in nice big lumps from Homebase, B&Q etc.

I take my panniers and bar bag off the bike, remove the front wheel, pedals and seat post, then wrap it all up in the plsatic (taping and tie wrapping bits to other bits to keep it all safe and secure).

The panniers and barbag go into a holdall along with knife and packing tape.

At the other end the bike gets rebuilt and the holdall, tape and plastic are dropped off at left luggage.

Return trip the same task it repeated, ready for flying home.

The one thing I would ignore on airlaines regs WRT bikes is NOT to let the tyres down.  The risk of the tubes and tyres causing a problem is minimal and the extra rigidity a full blown up tyre gives the wheel can be the difference between a fun tour and a wasted journey.  It also saves a shedlod of time at the other end when you come to rebuild the bike ready for the off.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

hellymedic

  • Just do it!
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2013, 03:03:45 pm »
There are public bike pumps in Denmark which can come in handy. I would not fancy arguing with airline staff though none ever expected me to deflate the pneumatic tyres on my wheelchair.
Gone are the days when you could carry tools and spares in your hand baggage.
Keep your pedals in the same bag as your pedal spanners if you remove or turn your pedals.

Vince

  • Can't climb; won't climb
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #4 on: August 20, 2013, 03:06:05 pm »
I've only taken a bike on a plane once 12 years ago; My Moulton Delux from Bristol to Schiphol via KLM.

I did nothing to protect it, just twisted the bars, removed the pedals and let the air out of the tyres. As this was before 9/11, there were no raised eybrows about carrying a pump and tool kit into the cabin.

It arrived safely.

One issue I had was that a change of plane meant I needed to move to a later flight - Fokker 50s can't carry bikes but Fokker 70s can. Not a problem as I had notified the airline that I intended to bring a bike and had documentation to that end.

I probably wouldn't take the same approach with a less robust machine such as my Bianchi.
216km from Marsh Gibbon

LEE

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #5 on: August 20, 2013, 03:15:08 pm »
I was hoping for something Samuel L. Jackson related here.  Apparently the L. stands for Livid.



Taken from the YACF Mythology thread

https://yacf.co.uk/forum/index.php?topic=55669.0

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #6 on: August 20, 2013, 03:18:27 pm »
Ryanair return flight for a bike = £100

Renting a nice bike in Europe= £80

no worrying about the Rourke and a chance to go to some interesting bike shops

my bike box has been used 10 times- and will be used no more!

shyumu

  • Paying my TV license by cheque since 1993
    • Balancing on Two Wheels
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #7 on: August 20, 2013, 03:18:46 pm »
Fantastic - I didn't know that thread was there.  Brilliant. :)
a journal of bicycle rides I have enjoyed:

http://balancingontwowheels.blogspot.co.uk/

Euan Uzami

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #8 on: August 20, 2013, 03:30:23 pm »
My strategy is to use one of these: http://www.bikeboxalan.co.uk/
It's been great for all the times I've used it.
There are three main risks as I see it:
1) Damage from being thrown. Solution: make it too heavy, in the hard case with all luggage padded around it it's near, if not over, 30kg, so it'd be pretty impossible for one person to throw it on their own, the only way to throw it would be for two people to do it between them by swinging it back and forwards, even then they probably wouldn't be able to throw it far. Far easier to wheel it.
2) Damage from being crushed by having things stacked on top of it: bikeboxalan have thought of this and it has a pole in the centre of the box to provide rigidity.
3) Being lost. You can't really avoid this so I just hope it doesn't happen and try to get insurance for it in case it does. I do however always remove the old stickers as I'm paranoid that if I leave them on it might get left at/sent back to the wrong place! I also try to avoid changing planes.


Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #9 on: August 20, 2013, 03:33:20 pm »
I'll probably be flying Easyjet - you aren't allowed to add anything other than the bike to the bike case/bag.

Pretty much rules out padding with clothes or attempting to get everything into the case.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #10 on: August 20, 2013, 03:44:32 pm »
As Tiermat said, the CTC clear bag worked for me.

When asked I said that I had let the pressure down, which was true, but just not recently. The additional pressure differential on a  low volume bike tire of, say, 15psi max (which it isn't) does not present a risk at all. On a high volume tire (tractor, truck) it could be lethal.

I did fashion a piece of 1/8" ply into a protector for the rear mech, not sure if it was an advantage.

Remember that BA count sports equipment as part of your 23Kg weight allowance so you are unlikely to have to pay extra for luggage, what with hand luggage coming on top. My experience of the application of the rules is that furrin airports are often more strict than the UK. In the UK, I had no problem checking in bike and pannier as the total was under 23Kg. Returning, I was told it was restricted to 1 piece only, so if I checked in the pannier it would cost me. No problem, it turned into hand luggage. With warning I could have kept it on the bike had I chose. Another similar pernickety incident was returning through Bangkok. There, the check in agent whinged because we had two bags, one slightly over, the other under. Cue a couple of moments shifting stuff around, all fine.




Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #11 on: August 20, 2013, 03:49:03 pm »
On my last tour I did a combination of naked bike and CTC bag on the flights. Handlebars sideways, pedals off and roll the bike up to the check-in counter, with the CTC bag handy in case the airline staff insist on it. This has worked fine with British Airways flights for a number of years.

On the tires inflated/deflated issue, I tried to leave the tires inflated for all four flights last spring. After checking the bike and baggage for the Denver-London flight and going through the security line, I was called back to the BA baggage counter and made to deflate the tires. This meant a second trip through the security screening line (being in a US airport, this was not a trivial process), which could have caused some major problems had I not arrived at the airport with a generous amount of time to spare. BA staff at Gatwick, Pisa and Heathrow asked me to deflate the tires but weren't too upset when I refused.

More on tires: BA allows CO2 cartridges to be carried in baggage, provided they are declared. I'm not sure why inflated tires are dangerous and CO2 cartridges are safe, but it does save time re-inflating the tires when you get off the plane.

One of my rules when flying with a bicycle is to arrive at the airport quite a bit earlier than usual, and allow at least a few hours of layover time if the trip involves a change of aircraft. That way there's time to resolve any issues about whether the bicycle is packed properly, and whether or not the tires need to be deflated. This also improves the odds that the baggage handlers will handle the bike and other luggage carefully, since they won't be under as much pressure to get the aircraft loaded and underway. I also try to do the entire journey on one airline, so that I don't encounter the problem of different airlines having different rules. This also might reduce the risk of baggage getting lost when transferring from one aircraft to another.

Note to Ben T: bags that weigh more than 23 kg frequently attract an extra charge, and some airlines simply will not accept a bag that weighs more than 32 kg.

Removing stickers and labels is an excellent precaution, as well as making sure the name tags on the bag don't have the wrong airline name printed on them.


Euan Uzami

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #12 on: August 20, 2013, 03:49:36 pm »
I'll probably be flying Easyjet - you aren't allowed to add anything other than the bike to the bike case/bag.

Pretty much rules out padding with clothes or attempting to get everything into the case.

Yes, but if you've got less than 20kg of other hold luggage, or some space free in cabin bag even, then if they get anal you could just take stuff out of the bike box and put it in there.
As long as the total weight of the bike doesn't exceed 32kg, your other hold bag doesn't exceed 20kg and the total doesn't exceed 50kg you're fine.

I know it doesn't give you a guarantee, but I have put other stuff in there on easyjet before and they haven't checked. I suspect because the person at the oversize check in area isn't specific to any particular airline, or knows/remembers the rules for each and checks against your ticket.

Another tip - use cable ties to lock it rather than a padlock, so if a genuine security person decides they really need to open it, they can (and you won't waste a padlock, or worse, they'll fail to open it and have a fit about it) - but if it's just a check in clerk who decides they want to have a peek on a whim, they'll be discouraged and probably won't bother.

LittleWheelsandBig

  • Whimsy Rider
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #13 on: August 20, 2013, 03:53:28 pm »
Our bikes fly a few times a year, both big and little wheeled. Both fit into S&S soft bags. I've previously flown with my Brompton in a drop-over cover too.

Don't identify it as a bike, particularly for a low-cost airline. The fact that it is a standard piece of luggage in both size and weight cuts no ice. You'll be charged and have to fight to get the money back later on. I usually take a mobility aid in my luggage. It helps that I naturally limp a little.

Keep inside the weight limit, check in early and smile.
Wheel meet again, don't know where, don't know when...

Euan Uzami

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #14 on: August 20, 2013, 04:01:32 pm »
Note to Ben T: bags that weigh more than 23 kg frequently attract an extra charge, and some airlines simply will not accept a bag that weighs more than 32 kg.


yeah, I know the absolute limit for any one bag is 32kg due to the rules about what baggage handlers are allowed to lift so you should definitely make sure it's below that.
But i've taken my bike bag on easyjet and ryanair though and never had to pay anything extra* and I'm pretty sure it's normally about 28kg. Might have tipped 30kg when I took the mtb from bristol.

* at the airport that is, not counting the extortionate fee they charge at the time of booking for taking a bike at all...

I'm going on another flight soon and with the bike fee it wasn't that much more expensive to go BA, which seem to just have "one hold bag" included in the fare and don't seem to differentiate whether it's  a bike or just a bag - iirc their rules state that a bike just counts as one hold bag. I rang them up when I booked and asked whether it mattered that it's over 23kg and they said "oh no, you'll be fine".

Ryanair was still cheaper, but as they charge £50 or so for the bike it wasn't cheaper enough to make it worth the (probably) less enjoyable experience... although never been on BA so probably have more of an opinion on whether it's worth the extra when i get back!

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #15 on: August 20, 2013, 04:05:10 pm »
Ryanair return flight for a bike = £100

Renting a nice bike in Europe= £80

no worrying about the Rourke and a chance to go to some interesting bike shops

my bike box has been used 10 times- and will be used no more!

Fair point, and when I went Majorca last year, this is what I did.

However, if you are going on a tour it is no use trying to fit a rack, Brooks and Carradice to a CF Moser, Bianci or the like, so taking your own bike is the only option.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #16 on: August 20, 2013, 04:06:14 pm »
Easyjet - £10 per kilo for each kilo over weight allowance

£27 per flight for a bike.

That £27 starts to look cheap compared to excess luggage charges.
<i>Marmite slave</i>

JStone

  • E=112
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #17 on: August 20, 2013, 04:13:15 pm »
My bike's now flown 3 times with EasyJet with no problems - CTC clear plastic bag, pedals off, bars turned etc. Whether this is useless anecdata, tempting fate or a sign of careful luggage handlers is unknown. Never had to deflate the tyres.

Remember to take a copy of the full booking details as well as the print-your-own boarding pass, as only the former has any mention of bike reservations. And try to sit on the left of the cabin - looking out of a window on the right at bikes being loaded / unloaded just causes unnecessary stress when it's too late to do anything about it  ;)

An advantage of the clear plastic bag approach only became apparent when stopped at the security check last week. We'd forgotten to pack the cable lock with the bikes but, instead of having to bin it, the v helpful security man remembered having just seen two bikes, went off with the lock and just made a small hole to feed it into one of the bags. An advantage of flying from a small airport? (La Rochelle).
Néophyte > 2007 > Ancien > 2011 > Récidiviste

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #18 on: August 20, 2013, 04:14:28 pm »
Remember, also that they reserve the right to refuse to carry anything like a bike, golf clubs or other oversized luggage, if not pre-booked (some charlatans even reserve that right for stuff you have booked!)

FWIW, as a reference and comparison, Jet2 charge £30 per trip for a bike upto 22Kg and in a package no bigger than 6' X 3' (no width mentioned).  The reason for this? The OS scanner can only handle that size as a max.
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #19 on: August 22, 2013, 10:44:17 pm »
Never travelled with a bike on a plane but did put my ICE Adventure trike in a standard bike bag last year for a trip to Austria. Flew Edinburgh to Munich with Easyjet and paid for an extra hold bag, into which went my tools, headrest, lock, tools and pedals as well as clothing. I used some spare PVC waste pipe as spacers for the rear triangle and to protect my bar end shifters.

Slight damage to the rear triangle (my packing to blame) which I think happened on the trolley the baggage guys used to bring it to the baggage hall. It was at the bottom of a pile of 5 bike boxes!

I bought my bike bag early and practiced taking the trike apart and trying different packing combos. Fortunately I could use my 3 wheels to protect the more delicate bits of the trike. 20" trike wheels are pretty strong  ;D. I was asked at check-in if I'd 'taken air' out of the tyres - yes I replied, I'd taken about 10 psi out!

marcusjb

  • Full of bon courage.
    • Occasional wittering
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #20 on: September 16, 2013, 10:18:17 am »
I rented a bikeboxalan on my recent trip to the Pyrenees.

These were the people - http://www.bikebox-online.co.uk/

It all worked well and the bike was unharmed during the trip.
Right! What's next?

Ooooh. That sounds like a daft idea.  I am in!

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #21 on: October 21, 2015, 10:44:32 am »
Are Ryanair taking the piss with their £60 bike bag cost each way????? Easyjet is £70 for return flights. with 3 people that's an extra £360!

Bloody extortionate!

tiermat

  • According to Jane, I'm a Unisex SpaceAdmin
Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #22 on: October 21, 2015, 11:12:49 am »
Are Ryanair taking the piss with their £60 bike bag cost each way????? Easyjet is £70 for return flights. with 3 people that's an extra £360!

Bloody extortionate!

I agree, Jet2 only charge £30 each way (unless they have put it up recently)
I feel like Captain Kirk, on a brand new planet every day, a little like King Kong on top of the Empire State

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #23 on: October 21, 2015, 11:15:52 am »
Are Ryanair taking the piss with their £60 bike bag cost each way????? Easyjet is £70 for return flights. with 3 people that's an extra £360!

Bloody extortionate!

I agree, Jet2 only charge £30 each way (unless they have put it up recently)

Thing is, I am trapped, we don't want to hire a care for the Pyrenees so we want to fly into Lourdes and then get a taxi to the hotel/accommodation etc and use Lourdes as a base to climb mountains for 4 days. Biarritz and Toulouse are better options in terms of cheaper easyjet bike charges but the money saved will be spent on car hire and petrol costs and crap flight times! Fuming!

Re: Bikes on Planes
« Reply #24 on: October 21, 2015, 11:59:39 am »
Are Ryanair taking the piss with their £60 bike bag cost each way????? Easyjet is £70 for return flights. with 3 people that's an extra £360!

Bloody extortionate!

Absolutely taking the piss. Was looking at a trip last night - flights £81, bike an extra £120. That's 50% more to put a bag in the hold than me in a seat. The only other option for the destination is to go all the way to Gatwick for an Easyjet flight, bikes are "large sports" at £30 e/w. Or take the Brompton.

Wizz Air charge £25.
Quote from: tiermat
that's not science, it's semantics.