Results 1 to 24 of 24
  1. #1
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
    Reputation: iliveonnitro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5,878

    How to bring a bike on the plane?

    I searched and for some reason didn't find anything. Either I suck at it or it hasn't been talked about in a loooooong time.

    Anyways, I am going to see the Tour of California and ride for 4 days while there. I will be staying with a friend's Aunt, so shipping my bike is a small possibility. Either way, I have to get my bike from Madison to San Francisco.

    What is CHEAPEST and easiest way to bring my bike with? Emphasize cheap, but I would really want the bike to follow me on the plane so that I can ride it right away.

    Cardboard bike box? Soft or hard plastic case? Ship it (somehow) with like, 2 day delivery? HTFU and ride it to California within 7hrs?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by iliveonnitro; 01-22-2009 at 01:56 PM.

  2. #2
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    13
    I looked into this for a trip last weekend. If you go with taking it on the plane, you should use a hard case, and the airline will likely charge you at least $50 bux each way. I was on Southwest, and just called their 1-800 number to find out what the cost would be. Good luck!

  3. #3
    banned
    Reputation: buck-50's Avatar
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
    Posts
    7,258
    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    I searched and for some reason didn't find anything. Either I suck at it or it hasn't been talked about in a loooooong time.

    Anyways, I am going to see the Tour of California and ride for 4 days while there. I will be staying with a friend's Aunt, so shipping my bike is a small possibility. Either way, I have to get my bike from Madison to San Fransisco.

    What is CHEAPEST and easiest way to bring my bike with? Emphasize cheap, but I would really want the bike to follow me on the plane so that I can ride it right away.

    Cardboard bike box? Soft or hard plastic case? Ship it (somehow) with like, 2 day delivery? HTFU and ride it to California within 7hrs?

    Thanks!
    Prolly be cheaper and easier to buy one off craig's list when you get there...

  4. #4
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,495
    not worth it. rent one instead.
    you would either need a hard box ($200 unless you can borrow one). Then the charge for plane ride (america airlines charges $100 each way).
    If you dont use a hardbox, you will be sh!tting your pants for the whole flight after you saw how the luggage is being loaded.


    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    I searched and for some reason didn't find anything. Either I suck at it or it hasn't been talked about in a loooooong time.

    Anyways, I am going to see the Tour of California and ride for 4 days while there. I will be staying with a friend's Aunt, so shipping my bike is a small possibility. Either way, I have to get my bike from Madison to San Francisco.

    What is CHEAPEST and easiest way to bring my bike with? Emphasize cheap, but I would really want the bike to follow me on the plane so that I can ride it right away.

    Cardboard bike box? Soft or hard plastic case? Ship it (somehow) with like, 2 day delivery? HTFU and ride it to California within 7hrs?

    Thanks!
    Blows your hair back.

  5. #5
    corning my own beef
    Reputation: JustTooBig's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005
    Posts
    5,658
    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    I searched and for some reason didn't find anything. Either I suck at it or it hasn't been talked about in a loooooong time.

    Anyways, I am going to see the Tour of California and ride for 4 days while there. I will be staying with a friend's Aunt, so shipping my bike is a small possibility. Either way, I have to get my bike from Madison to San Francisco.

    What is CHEAPEST and easiest way to bring my bike with? Emphasize cheap, but I would really want the bike to follow me on the plane so that I can ride it right away.

    Cardboard bike box? Soft or hard plastic case? Ship it (somehow) with like, 2 day delivery? HTFU and ride it to California within 7hrs?

    Thanks!
    If you have a GREAT relationship with your LBS, they may have one (a bike case) they're willing to let you borrow. Otherwise, there is no cheap way to fly with your bike, since buying a travel case will be $200 (used) to $1000 (top of the line), along with the up-charges from the airlines.

    Shipping is an option, but gotta plan ahead, and no immediate gratification if you're making a trip with intermediate stops.
    ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    People who say, "Laughter is the best medicine.." have never been on the receiving end of a morphine drip..

    ноожеяз ай вщоw?
    -VaughnA


    A fool and his money were damned lucky to have bumped into each other in the first place.

  6. #6
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
    Reputation: iliveonnitro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5,878
    I can borrow a hard shell case...I'm looking at rental prices in cali and they're all around $70/day. Ouch.

  7. #7
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Jokull's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Posts
    346
    I've travelled with a bike on planes a fair bit, and never owned a hard case. There are a few options, but a lot depends on the Airline.

    First, find out what the airline is going to charge. Option 1: Some airlines still allow some specified sporting goods to be carried as an extra allowance on top of your other luggage. Typically though, this is usually on international flights, and the list of airlines that does this gets shorter every year. (2) Other airlines have a flat fee for carrying a bike - often it's $50 each way. (3) Other airlines simply weigh all your luggage, including the bike, and charge excess if your total weight exceeds their allowance - this way always works out very expensive.

    The no-worries way of transporting your bike is using a hard case - but this method is a problem if the airline charges using option 3 - hard cases are very heavy even without a bike in them.

    Soft cases and nylon bike bags are the worst option - they are still a pain in the ass to carry around, and because the baggage handler will treat them rough, they are the most prone to ending up with a damaged bike when you get to your destination.

    Some airlines (EasyJet in Europe is one that I can think of) like you to put your bike in large sturdy, clear plastic bag, with the handlebars turned in, pedals removed and the saddle dropped. This works better than you might suppose - because the baggage handler can see that its a bike, it gets treated a little more delicately than some anonymous case.

    I have had most success with scrounging a cardboard box from a bike shop - the sort that they receive the bikes in from the supplier. If you can be there right after they've unpacked a bike then you usually also get the bubble wrap and foam pipe lagging that the manufacturers use to protect the bike in shipping. These boxes are usually pretty sturdy (they have to be, or the manufacturers would be sending damaged bikes around the world), lighter than a hard case, and pretty easy to carry (most have holes punched out to make carrying handles). I've never had a bike damaged in one of these boxes.

    All that said, for a 4 day trip where you're only going to ride once or twice, I'd look at renting a bike.

  8. #8
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Posts
    8,495
    Quote Originally Posted by iliveonnitro
    I can borrow a hard shell case...I'm looking at rental prices in cali and they're all around $70/day. Ouch.
    closer to 50 it seems. unless of course you have to have a look 595 with zipps.
    Blows your hair back.

  9. #9
    Large Suburban Male
    Reputation: murbike's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    4,434
    Why has no one suggested having the LBS box the ride up, and then UPS or FedEx it to a shop at the destination?

    I understand the desire to have the box with you, but dragging that thing with you through the airport has got to be worse than dragging two kids and a stroller. Either way, you can't sit at the bar.

    If you have the shop FedEx/UPS it, and it gets hosed, you have someone to blame.
    “The 'Net is a waste of time, and that's exactly what's right about it.”
    William Gibson

  10. #10
    180
    180 is offline
    .·*°¤`*·.·*´¤°*·.·*°¤`*·.
    Reputation: 180's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Posts
    2,041
    I just checked fed ex from here to san diego 4 day shipping was only like 50 bux for a 25 lb pkg. I may have done that wrong but it seems having it boxed and shipped to the house you'll be staying at would be the way to go. Then just schedule a pick up return delivery.

  11. #11
    Matnlely Dregaend
    Reputation: DrSmile's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    3,876
    If you travel enough get a travel bike, either with S&S couplers or a Breakaway. I got sick of renting and having to make do with odd components like long cranks on a small frame bike.
    "I haven't @#&$ed like that since I was an altar boy." - Hank Moody
    “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” - Susan B. Anthony 1896
    "Genuine Campagnolo Spares - Inserts for Dura Ace pattern brake shoes." - PBK

  12. #12
    Go Blue
    Reputation: MarkS's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Posts
    10,059
    Quote Originally Posted by 180
    I just checked fed ex from here to san diego 4 day shipping was only like 50 bux for a 25 lb pkg. I may have done that wrong but it seems having it boxed and shipped to the house you'll be staying at would be the way to go. Then just schedule a pick up return delivery.
    A bike is not your normal 25lb package. Most boxed bikes have dimensions that incur an extra surcharge on Fed Ex or UPS over and above the usual shipping rate.
    I try to be perfectly civil, until someone really pisses me off.

  13. #13
    Old and Fixed, Moderator
    Reputation: Dave Hickey's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2002
    Posts
    20,856
    +1.. Volume(chargable) weight is closer to 80lbs for a bike....
    Dave Hickey/ Fort Worth

    My 3Rensho Blog: http://vintage3rensholove.blogspot.com/

  14. #14
    MB1
    MB1 is offline
    Enjoying Post-Employment
    Reputation: MB1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Posts
    21,883
    Airlines + Bicycle = The suckage nowdays (actually, now that I reflect on it Airlines + Luggage = The suckage nowdays)!

    Rental = Much better and a whole less worry about transit loss or damage. Just bring your own seat and pedals.

    That being said we travel enough that getting S&S couplers and cases has been well worth the expense.
    Quote Originally Posted by the_dude
    these are better than i was expecting, and my expectations were already rather high.

  15. #15
    Resident Curmudgeon
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    14,108
    I have a hard case, and always shipped my bike ahead of time. I had it delivered to the motel where I'd be staying. Natch, I called the motel 1st. to see if that was OK with them, and also so they'd be expecting it. I like to make sure it arrives at least 1 day ahead of me. I've always used UPS for shipping. I like them because there's a depot near me, and because Fed Ex is a colossal PITA.
    Before you criticize someone walk a mile in their shoes. That way when you criticize them you'll be a mile away & you'll have their shoes.

  16. #16
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    5,943
    Quote Originally Posted by murbike
    Why has no one suggested having the LBS box the ride up, and then UPS or FedEx it to a shop at the destination?

    I understand the desire to have the box with you, but dragging that thing with you through the airport has got to be worse than dragging two kids and a stroller. Either way, you can't sit at the bar.

    If you have the shop FedEx/UPS it, and it gets hosed, you have someone to blame.
    Simple: you are going on a trip for a limited time and MUST have your bike there on time. To be competitive with the added cost to take it on the plane you need to select ground shipment. It could get delayed. I want my bike with me on the plane so I know I have it when I get to the other end.

    You check the bike with the baggage so you are not dragging it to the bar.

    While I have a hard case, it is large. The owner of my LBS swears by soft cases even for carbon bikes due to the ability to roll it up and stuff it in a rental car. I prefer the security of a hardcase and just rent a mini van to haul the family and gear.

  17. #17
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
    Reputation: iliveonnitro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5,878
    Great news. The friend I'm staying with has some friends out there and they're letting me borrow a bike for free. No need to deal with this shipping mess.

    I think I would have taken it on the plane on the way there, in a hard case, to make sure I would have it with me. Then, for the return trip, ship it home for cheaper.

    It would suck not being able to ride the trainer (oh damn?) for the few days, but I would have sufficed.

    Doesn't matter anymore, though!

  18. #18
    SloPost
    Reputation: zdrifter's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Posts
    63
    This LINK may be of some help ... it shows airline bike regs .. as others have said ... airlines see bikes as a) revenue stream b) pita ... c)customer service, you have got to be joking.

    Cheers
    I started out with nothing & I've almost got that paid for

  19. #19
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: 32and3cross's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2005
    Posts
    2,852
    Quote Originally Posted by den bakker
    not worth it. rent one instead.
    you would either need a hard box ($200 unless you can borrow one). Then the charge for plane ride (america airlines charges $100 each way).
    If you dont use a hardbox, you will be sh!tting your pants for the whole flight after you saw how the luggage is being loaded.
    Disagree have used a softcase for many many flights - no issues in fact I get the bike on free from time to time because the case is not marked as a bike case. I have seen the handles take hard cases and chuck them out of the hold cause the figure its a hard case so it can take the abuse.

  20. #20
    crj
    crj is offline
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Posts
    136
    I went from Atlanta to Tucson last September on United. Used a hardside case and it cost $125.00 each way.
    "If it ain't broke the government will keep fixing it till it is."

  21. #21
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation: Rodder07's Avatar
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    82
    Shipped buddies bike in LBS recycled box. $82 UPS with insurance each way..STL/San Jose. probably mute now, but just FYI
    Everyone is entitled to MY opinion...

    "Chancho. When you are a man, sometimes you wear stretchy pants in your room. Just for fun."

    biketoad.com

  22. #22
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    34
    I've used a soft-shell bike bag many times but you need to pack the bike well with extra foam padding etc. The damage I've had so far has consisted of two bent large chainrings and a bent derailleur hanger (which I now remove for packing.)

    As others have said, it's the fees that really suck. One good thing about a soft bike bag is that I can often pass it off as regular over-sized luggage and not get charged extra. It's hit-or-miss though..

  23. #23
    RoadBikeReview Member
    Reputation:
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Posts
    9
    For all of you who suggested renting a bike at a destination, at tried that before. Beware. All but two (of about eight) of the LBS I tried on a recent trip only rented cruisers or hybrids. And one didn't have any in my size. I finally found one 40 miles from where I was. And even then the ride was pretty uncomfortable.

    Borrow or ship if you can.

  24. #24
    Impulse Athletic Coaching
    Reputation: iliveonnitro's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Posts
    5,878
    That's good to know. I'm borrowing a friend-of-a-friends. I decided to throw on my own saddle, water bottles, pedals, and tires. I'll just let him keep the tires as a thank you.

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  

INTERBIKE

Contest

Hot Deals See All Hot Deals >>

Interbike Featured Booths

Check out the hottest road bike products from these brands!



















See All Interbike Coverage - Click Here »


Latest RoadBike Articles


Latest Videos

RoadbikeReview on Facebook