flying with a bike

Discussion in 'Observed Trials Discussion' started by Nikolai, Mar 1, 2004.

  1. Nikolai

    Nikolai Member

    I'm headed home for 10 days this spring. I want to bring my bike with me so I don't have to converse with my parents or perhaps go shopping with them. Does anybody have any advice for traveling with a bike? I'm working on getting a hard plastic travel case. If that fails, have any of you thrown your bike in a cardboard box with good results? Have any of you bluffed your way out of the bike surcharge? Should I even risk the damage and just mail it home?
  2. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

    if you put in cardboard box, your shit will get messed up....don't put anything loose (even taped up) in there, you won't find it upon your arrival- graham lost all the tools he owns. I've only flown w/bike pre-9/11 bullshit- no charge at all, i have a hard plastic case, no dammage or 9/11 they have to take open it up and look at it etc, I don't trust those talking monkeys to do anything so fuck them- if I'm going somewhere for a week I'll just leave the bike, If I'm going for 3 weeks or so I'll ship it.

    ps- if you are (or at least were) a norba member you could get the charge waved one some gay airline, can't remember which one...that or talk smooth- but now adays they are charging for the #

  3. KenC

    KenC Member

    If you are a norba member you can get vouchers for United Airlines. I believe you get two per year.

    This just me ranting, but if you ship it, i recommend not using UPS. After they bent my disc rotor and broke a nipple on my front wheel, (and my helmet in the other box) they refused to pay for the damages even though the bike was packaged better than they come from the factory, and had $2,000 of insurance on it. Apparently, they don't heed any "This side up", "fragile", or any instructions like that. :down:
  4. xumbyx

    xumbyx Guest

    ive flown twice with a cardboard bike box, no problems with it, just dont leave stuff loose like andrewT said. Try to put a little padding in there some how (i am sure you've seen them throw the luggage around before.....) I don't believe they open the box up if you go through a large enough airport (large airports have the new large x-ray machines, but smaller ones (such as omaha, NE airport) still search everything by hand), but i could be wrong...

    Last time i flew with a bike was when i was home from vail on the night of Sept. 10th, 2001, so I dont know the price and everything since 9/11, but it was $75 each way last thing i knew, unless you are both a norba member and flying united so you can use the vouchers....

    hope that helps?

  5. AndyT

    AndyT New Member

    pre - 911 i flew 3-4 times with a the huge plastic box, never charged me once on continental- denver and newark intl airports.
  6. smudge

    smudge Central Scrrrrrrrutinizer

    I flew from Baltimore to Providence 15 times in 12 months and took my bike with me every time but one (when I shipped it and UPS broke the frame). Each time, I packed it in two double reinforced boxes and wrote "FRAGILE! SCULPTURE!" on the outside of the boxes. I packed the wheels in a wheel box and the rest of the stuff in a frame box, both of which I reinforced with tons of extra cardboard. I was stopped by the checker one time, he opened the box so I told him it was for a kinetic sculpture.

    With regards to UPS. Their insurance claims are handled by an outside agency. I've found that the best practice is to show up at the UPS counter with the box open and let the desk clerk check it out and add packing material. When they add packing material to your box, that (in my case) transferred the packing liability to them. Get the name of the clerk that added material to your box, make a note of the time of day and obviously all the other pertinant info for your package. UPS almost always does a great job of jacking up something on a bike. In my case the broke the frame. Luckily I got my $2000 check AND got to keep everything. They essentially paid for most of my new Taylor acoustic.

    By keeping meticulous notes and allowing UPS to handle my packages every time I ship something of great value, I've managed to make out handily the two times they've really screwed something up.

  7. dingus

    dingus Member

    thats good advice.
  8. ascentrek

    ascentrek Original power yuppie

    From what I understand, most Airlines like to charge us bike riders $80 each way (United). So, if you have to keep it in one box, call it art (claim you paint metal tubes), and they won't charge you. I travel with my company quite a bit, and I'm coming up with the ultimate way to travel with my bike.... here's what I have so far:

    Find an oversized Guitar case (carry on) or Snowboard bag. You'll need to take your bike further down, but it may be worth it in the long run. I was looking at some old Guitar cases for my PX, and one would've worked (now I'm getting a koxx). As for the wheels and other accessories, you can find a large enough std. looking checkin bag for those.
  9. durkie

    durkie Member

    I've been told that the bike charge is waived on international flights, and have seen this to be true, but only in two cases (there and back) on the same trip. If you have something that can't take a hit, like a chainring or a disc rotor, then take it off and zip tie it to the wheel. Zip tie all of your parts (wheels, frame, pedals, etc) together so that you don't lose anything. Put the bolts and such in a plastic bag and ziptie that on too, or screw them back in to the part you took off.