Bikes on a Plane!

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  • Bikes on a Plane!
  • Stu McGroo
    Member

    Any tips, bad experiences, good experiences. Ta.

    (hopefully Birmingham/East Midlands to Geneva)

    wideboy
    Member

    Top tips, if you can spare the extra cash, buy a bike bag.
    Available for £60 – £300!

    MUCH easier to trek through the airport/town with a bag with wheels.

    If not hit up your LBS and grab an old cardboard bike box for free.

    If you can afford the weight, grab a box and stick it inside your bag for max protection.

    The rest is easy, wrap everything and make sure nothing can rattle in the box wrecking your nice paintwork. Remove calipers, discs, rear mech.

    Easy money!

    Stu McGroo
    Member

    Cheers wideboy, will be using a bag, a mate says pack it so that you’d be happy to throw it down the stairs!

    Flying is not certain yet, just weighing up, might do another road trip!

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    Darn. Thought this might have been a sequel to another film 😉

    plop_pants
    Member

    I’ve got a Scicon Aero bike box. I was going to recommend it as it has
    been faultless on about 10 trips now, but I’ve just seen it is now £760 on wiggle!!! Jeez, all that money for a bit of plastic!

    Get those things that act as a brace between the frame and fork drop-outs, or just bodge your own using qr’s. Beef up you bag using cardboard, bubble wrap etc.

    Try and weigh your bag beforehand and get it just below the limit (heavy enough for the baggage handlers to not throw around too much). If you’re over the limit at least you will know what the rough cost is if you weigh it before leaving.

    nikxl
    Member

    Bikeboxcompany.co.uk cheap as a padded bag might have to strip the bike a bit for a MTB but I wouldn’t use a bag, no way

    Do you want to get the motherhucking bikes on the motherhucking plane? (No attempt to avoid swear filter btw – bikes huck, planes do the mother of all hucks) 😉

    Premier Icon Northwind
    Subscriber

    Stu McGroo – Member

    Cheers wideboy, will be using a bag, a mate says pack it so that you’d be happy to throw it down the stairs!

    Good advice that. FWIW Geneva easyjet had a pretty good crack at mine, the bike was packed well enough to survive a nuclear war so they had to settle for mauling the bag.

    If you’ve got the leeway in your weight, try lining a soft bag with a hard box- bike boxes are usually more or less the same size (no surprise there tbh!). Gives more protection but also makes it much easier to handle, a soft bag likes to fall over a lot.

    The weights are pretty frustrating tbh, the only reason you need a heavy bike bag is to protect it from the slingers, so facing restrictive weights or excess charges just gets you coming and going. Then you get these excellent heavy duty bike bags- but with some airlines, I couldn’t take my bike in one of those because it’s instantly overweight.

    Premier Icon mikewsmith
    Subscriber

    Over 32kg and they wont take it full stop.
    pack it well and you can get away with using your armour and bike gear as “Padding”
    Dont leave anything loose on the bag/box as if there is a hole it will fall out. I use my cambel back “saddle bag” for this
    Remove Rotors and Rear Mech
    Brace dropouts old hubs are good for this.
    When they ask if its just the bike say YES
    Also take helmet as hand luggage.

    If your going to the alps in summer the excess mud and water you can collect can get you right up to the weight allowance.

    I’m just packing mine up to take to Frankfurt. Lufthansa are charging me 100 euros!?

    Reckon I could get it it flown for free if I had no other luggage? (or just a small hand luggage rucksack)

    Stu McGroo
    Member

    Cheers guys, good advice there, glad to see there are no real horror stories.

    gribble
    Member

    [quoteReckon I could get it it flown for free if I had no other luggage?[/quote]

    Think BA used to allow you to take one regular bag and a bike bag as a piece of sporting equipment for free on long haul flights. Definitely worth checking the options, I think my brother has flown from Geneva to LHR with his bike bag for no additional cost. I have definitely done it to USA with no charge, but flight luggage allowances are different outside Europe. If you can keep it sub 23 kg, not only do you avoid any additional charges on some carriers, you may find it a bit less of a pain lugging the bike on and off buses, even if only to the car hire pick up. I am lucky though, as my bike was a hard tail xc, so hardly a heavy weight monster.

    Good advice re: cardboard, helps give soft bike bags some shape and hopefully protects against angry baggage handlers. My wife and I have taken bike bag to the USA twice, both times bikes were fine. I would advise ‘locking’ the zips with cable ties – apparently customs officials like to search bike bags, so rather than lose a lock, I just let them cut the cable ties.

    Stu McGroo
    Member

    Out of interest, anyone using a EVOC bike travel bag?

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    Yep, one of the original design ones, used it for a couple of road and MTB trips and it’s great (I’m usually the first one ready with the bike at the other end as all I do is detach the rear mech hanger, unbolt and turn the handlebars and remove the wheels and pedals to pack it up). I’d advise getting some front & rear drop-out spacers from your LBS (should be free as otherwise thrown away).
    I think if I ever get a 29er that I want to travel with I’ll have problems but from what I understand the newer EVOC version has bigger wheel pockets anyway.

    Handy things to help are

    corrigated carboard – give the bag shap

    blocks of polystyrene – you can scrap it out to make solid protection for various expensive and awkwardly shaped bits (mechs, brakes)

    Dropout spacers are good to use, too.

    Premier Icon akira
    Subscriber

    Pipe lagging from your local diy store is very useful for some added protection.

    andyrm
    Member

    Get some of the scaffolders’ pipe lagging from a builders merchant (or your local council tower block when it’s under repair 😉 – use this on stanchions, key tubes etc.

    Zip tie EVERYTHING secure so it can’t vibrate.

    Remove your rear mech.

    Let down tyres, forks & shock – some say you don’t need to, I wouldn’t risk it.

    Take a bleed kit for your brakes – flying can sometimes upset them.

    Stu McGroo
    Member

    FuzzyWuzzy –
    I think if I ever get a 29er that I want to travel with I’ll have problems but from what I understand the newer EVOC version has bigger wheel pockets anyway.

    Yeah their website says that 29ers fit, according to reviews most other bags seem to have trouble. Did a search after I posted and it seems the EVOC bag is well thought of.

    Thanks for all the replies, I shall bare all the advice in mind and share it with my travelling mates.

    Not saying I’d advise this but I had some one turn up with the bikes in a giant transparent bag, zip tied at the top. The logic being that the handlers would see its an unprotected bike and handle it carefully.

    Its what a baggage handler mate of theirs said was the best way and they’d been all over the place like that with no problem.

    hmmm…

    Edit: They did put card and foam over a few bits

    Premier Icon franksinatra
    Subscriber

    I met a couple of guys in the airport who were heading over to spain for a few days touring. They go away for long weekends about 4 times per year. The both rolled their bikes up to the desk, turned handlebars around and lowered the saddle. I think a bit of bubblewrap around the mech.

    They subscribed to the idea that baggage handlers are more careful when they can see the bike. Neither of them had aver experienced any damage over many years of travelling.

    Premier Icon dave360
    Subscriber

    That stuff they make estate agents for sale signs out of is great for lining soft bike bags. More rigid and lighter than cardboard.

    jota180
    Member

    I met a couple of guys in the airport who were heading over to spain for a few days touring. They go away for long weekends about 4 times per year. The both rolled their bikes up to the desk, turned handlebars around and lowered the saddle. I think a bit of bubblewrap around the mech.

    They subscribed to the idea that baggage handlers are more careful when they can see the bike. Neither of them had aver experienced any damage over many years of travelling.

    Most carriers insist on bikes being bagged

    shermer75
    Member

    Warning: Me and the Mrs used BA for a flight to Granada because they let u take bikes for free (at least they did at the time). It wasn’t direct, we changed at Madrid. The second half of the journey, unbeknownst to us, was with Iberia, who charge 75 euros per bike each way, so that added 300 euros to our holiday. Hrumph. Lesson learnt!

    Premier Icon Alex
    Subscriber

    I met a couple of guys in the airport who were heading over to spain for a few days touring. They go away for long weekends about 4 times per year. The both rolled their bikes up to the desk, turned handlebars around and lowered the saddle. I think a bit of bubblewrap around the mech.
    They subscribed to the idea that baggage handlers are more careful when they can see the bike. Neither of them had aver experienced any damage over many years of travelling.

    I saw that with monach last year. We’re waiting for our superbly packed bike bags that had to be 20kg or less (mate had to take his tyres as hand luggage) fretting over damage, when a fully build bike came through the large baggage carousel and bloke picked it up and rode off. Gobsmacked!

    Agree with above. Bit of care at each end tends to reduce damage. I insure mine as well.

    Premier Icon BoardinBob
    Subscriber

    Mine before it went in a CRC bag on its way to Morzine

    We at http://www.bikingandalucia.com see about 100 bikes a year come in by plane, and have had 13 years experience of bikes on planes. In my opinion cardboard box (free) from your local bike dealer is as good as any bag. We also suggest detaching the rear mech, and using extra cardboard, bubble wrap and pipe insulation, for the frame tubes, as extra protection. To be on the safe side, you might also want to bring a spare mech hanger out with you, and detach disc brake rotors.

    crush83
    Member

    i just roll or ride mine up the ramp of a Hercules or C17 and put one strap over it to stop it falling over lent against the wall. then when we get to wherever just ride it off 🙂

    love being in the RAF.

    I work as a mover (read: part of my job is to handle baggage on RAF transport planes)and have moved/loaded many bikes in bags and boxes to aircraft. I would have to agree that bikes that are less protected or more visable are without thinking handled with more care. For example not having cases stacked on top of them.

    you have to remember that un-cycling types that load planes just see a bag/box not a bike and thats another reason IMO to keep the bike visable like the one in the poly bag above.

    Premier Icon FuzzyWuzzy
    Subscriber

    I’m not convinced by the plastic bag argument, whilst I see some of the logic you’re still relying on people doing a hard job on shit money to treat your bike as if it were their own – I just don’t see that as realistic. Given you’re actually making their job harder (no handles to pick it up etc.) I’d say it’s a risk not worth taking.
    Cardboard boxes (bike ones) work well and I’ve flown with one a few times (only once had damage) but if you’re going to travel once or twice a year I reckon it’s worth investing in a proper bike bag. With something like the EVOC you get more room inside, better protection and importantly WHEELS. No faffing about looking for trolleys at the airport and having to squeeze through people with the box sideways on etc. Small differences I know but for me at least it’s been worth it.

    _tom_
    Member

    I had my bike in an avenir padded bag with bike box cardboard in the sides to line it. Foam pipe lagging on all the tubes, take the mech off, bars/stem and forks off and zip tied to the frame. pedals off and put in a box. Discs off and zip tied together to make them harder to bend. tyres deflated a bit to help fit in the bag better, leave some air in to protect the rims. If your mech hanger isn’t removable then i found a shoe with the heel bit over the hanger then taped to the chainstay seems to do a good job of protecting it! Tennis ball would probably work as well.

    Stu McGroo
    Member

    EVOC ordered 😀

Viewing 32 posts - 1 through 32 (of 32 total)

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