Flying with a bike - airport advice log

Old Feb 5, 18, 10:17 am
  #31  
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Originally Posted by Forever in Seattle View Post
It used it be additional to your checked baggage allowance, now it is part of it.
Still better than the majority of carriers nowadays, where it is classified as sports equipment and chargeable as such.
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Old Feb 5, 18, 10:51 am
  #32  
 
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Back in the late 1980s I took my bike around the Highlands and Island with BA (well, a BA painted aircraft!)

In GLA, it was handlebars turned to be in line with the frame, tyres deflated etc.

In Stornaway and Benbecula, the ground staff watched me starting the prep and asked: what are you doing? I explained.

"So how are we meant to push the bike to the aircraft?" they, not unreasonably, asked. I explained it was the rules.

"Those people in Glasgow have nothing else to do with their time than think up some crazy rules!" came the reply!
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Old Feb 6, 18, 4:10 am
  #33  
 
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Originally Posted by s1362083 View Post
I know this is a BA forum but since many of us fly QR, be very aware of their bike policy. I was flying in J from India to DOH and then connecting in F to BKK. They tried to charge me 1500USD oversize/sports equipment fee for my 30kg bike box and I think they were right to do so going by the Qatar bike policy. Luckily I escaped it after kicking up a fuss and demanding to speak to someone in Doha!
Originally Posted by s1362083 View Post
https://www.qatarairways.com/en/baggage/excess.html

Never seen sports equipment charges so high!
Just for future reference of anyone wnting to take a bike on QR, the webpage referenced above under sports equipment does start with:

"Qatar Airways accepts any sporting equipment as checked baggage as part of the passenger's free checked baggage allowance mentioned on the ticket."

Though if they interpret that as also referring to the max size of the item, you may have problems if travelling to/from Brazil, Argentina, US or Canada...
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Old Feb 18, 18, 2:56 am
  #34  
 
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Originally Posted by flygod View Post
Back in the late 1980s I took my bike around the Highlands and Island with BA (well, a BA painted aircraft!)

In GLA, it was handlebars turned to be in line with the frame, tyres deflated etc.

In Stornaway and Benbecula, the ground staff watched me starting the prep and asked: what are you doing? I explained.

"So how are we meant to push the bike to the aircraft?" they, not unreasonably, asked. I explained it was the rules.

"Those people in Glasgow have nothing else to do with their time than think up some crazy rules!" came the reply!
This still happens occasionally and is what I attempted at Cagliari last year, however as with many things it is very outstation dependent. The luggage- handlers would probably rather deal with a wheelable bike over a cumbersome box and if they see it has a bike I highly doubt they're going to throw it around wildly.

It's quite annoying especially as it's inconvenient everyone and a total waste of resources. At least it's not as bad as the Italian train who insisted then instead of taking the bike whole I took everything apart and put some flimsy bin bags over it. The train was basically full and the only space for me was in the narrow section next to the toilet where every 2 minutes I had to move all four I think of those bags so someone could get into the toilet. Had it been a complete bike it would have been no bother but those are the rules I guess...



Originally Posted by greg5 View Post
Anyone out there that has experience with if you can get away with a Brompton as your carryon?
A while back I wanted to do this as I thought this would be a pretty cool way to see a city. Zipp off the plane with all the carry-on only business men and then zoom out of the terminal in under a 1 minute on your Brompton ready to check out the city. Obviously if it's a far-out airport, like London Stansted, you can still hop in a taxi/take the train).

If you Google the topic there are quite a few websites on it and this seems quite reliable and well informed: How to Take a Brompton on a Plane as Carry-on Luggage - Our Life Unfolded

It seems you'll need to take the saddle-off and probably board early especially if you're going short-haul to guarantee the space. So as long as you don't carry any CO2 cartridges and bring a pump to reinflate your tyres I can't see it being an issue (although is this deflated tyre issue one if it's in the main cabin?) - you'll probably get more interest than concern from the security agents. God, I want a Brompton again!

A few other tips:
  • I mistakenly took my multi-tool in my hand-luggage once and it was spotted by security. I've heard many stories of people losing them but luckily after a few photos of me cycling and the fact that I had my helmet with me as hand-luggage I was set free and wishes a pleasant cycle.
  • Make sure to tape things and bolts to secure parts of your bike. On one trip I hadn't properly secured a wheel skewer and it fell out of my box. From now on I either tape these things to the frame or put them in another bag.
  • Good quality insurance is imperative when traveling with your bike, especially if you have lots of gizmos.
  • Depending upon your bike maintenance skills make sure to know the location of a decent bike-shop upon arrival, sometimes things get broken or you forget your tools!
  • I always use my clothes, in a plastic bag to avoid grease, as additional padding.
  • My bike didn't show up at once and I was planning to cycle out of the airport - I tried to get BA to cost of a taxi it but they weren't having it. To be honest, it wasn't the worst deal as my bike was hand delivered to my house the next day, hassle-free. If you're planning a big cycle trip make sure to leave some time in your destination city in the unlikely chance that your bike does not make it.
  • Remember grease and lubricant for when you rebuild your bike. I hadn't put enough on one of my pedals and it took quite a lot of effort for it to come off. In fact, I couldn't get it off for the return journey so I had to cut a hole in my box for the pedal to stick out of.
As you can see I've made a lot of mistakes.

I've got a question that someone might be able to help with:

Are you able to take more than 1 bike if you're a status flyer or if you're flying in a higher cabin? I'm thinking that it certain scenarios it may indeed be economical to have 1 person fly in CE whilst the other 'slums' in ET?
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Old Feb 18, 18, 5:11 am
  #35  
 
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Originally Posted by cambridge.joe View Post
I've got a question that someone might be able to help with:

Are you able to take more than 1 bike if you're a status flyer or if you're flying in a higher cabin? I'm thinking that it certain scenarios it may indeed be economical to have 1 person fly in CE whilst the other 'slums' in ET?

Afternoon.
My perception / understanding of this is that the bike box just counted as one of your 23kg luggage bags, so if you were normally entitled to 2 x 23 (or 32) kg bags, by status or travelling class, then you would be allowed to take 2 of them. In the scenario you describe, you'd get 2 bikes boxes through, with a standard suitcase, for example, to share between you. This could be used for sticking the CO2 cartridges in - I've never had a problem with these in my checked luggage - as well as all the things you may not want to stick in your bike box e.g pedals, shoes, helmet - if you're of the mind that you'd like to have these with you in the event that your bike didn't make it to the other end of the flight with you. As ever with these things, I await correction by those more in the know.......
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Old Feb 18, 18, 5:20 am
  #36  
 
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In addition to the above airports.......

TFS - oversized baggage pops out on a conveyor belt down a short escalator towards the back corner of the baggage area - use the slightly concealed lift down there to come back up with your bike box as opposed to lugging the box back up the escalator to depart arrivals, as I watch someone do earlier this month...... no problems checking in bike boxes on the cusp of the 23kg weight limit on the way back.

LGW / T5 LHR - never had any problems checking in a hard bike box at oversized luggage, always at about 23kg-ish.

PMI - bike boxes come out at oversized baggage off to the left hand side of luggage arrival zone (when facing exit into arrivals area). Only had 1 incident when Iberia tried to charge for a bike box on the return journey (as only check-in bag), but staff member was corrected by a colleague quickly.

Thanks for setting up this thread - very helpful and informative.
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Old Feb 18, 18, 8:08 am
  #37  
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And thank you for joining up with us today rtl198, it's certainly good to hear of your experiences, and this is where Flyertalk can be so useful. Welcome to the BA forum and I hope you have both good flights and good bikes ahead.
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Old Feb 18, 18, 8:16 am
  #38  
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To answer the question above about one person taking two bikes on their luggage allowance - yes it is fine, I do it all the time when we travel to a race. One of the major benefits of Silver/CE for me. It was even better when the highest single allowance rule applied - one segment in CE meant double baggage both ways and saved about £240 for the two bikes. Now one of you needs to be in CE both ways, so it can still work out cheaper but not as much (assuming no status).
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Old Apr 12, 18, 4:45 am
  #39  
 
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I'll chuck in some bits:

I use a BikeBoxAlan, which I find to be fantastic. It swallows my roadie easily (I loosen the stem faceplate to rotate the bars down - marking the bars with tape means putting the whole thing together again is very easy and very quick). My tri bike is a bit trickier and I have to take the base bar off the stem and take the aero extensions off the base bar. Again, tape around the fixing points, and to mark the seatpost height, makes re-assembly a lot easier. You don't need the brace pole in the BBA, which means you can take a disc wheel easily. I clothe everything in pip lagging and make sure everything is secured inside the box. Zip loc bags are your friend for things like pedals. A BBA also fits nicely into the rear of a small hatchback (sub-Golf sized) with the rear seats down.

Pack tools in your hold luggage. All of them.

Never had a problem carrying CO2 cartridges in my BBA, even when it has been opened and inspected. Carry spare zip ties though for inspections.

LHR T5 (departing): as others have said, easy drop off point close to south security. Never had a weight issue.
LHR T5 (arriving): BBA comes out with the regular luggage.

LHR T3 (departing): bit more of a faff dropping off - I have once been dragged into the bowels of the building for a full search. Time consuming.
LHR T3 (arriving): bike boxes come out slowly at the far end of the baggage hall (far right as you look at the carousels).

YVR (departing): drop off is about 50m from the BA desks, leftwards as you face the desk. Never had a problem there.
YVR (arriving): bike boxes are delivered to the oversize baggage belt in the far left corner as you exit immigration heading to the carousels.

GVA (arriving; can't remember much about departing, so that's probably ok): bike boxes come out at oversized bag delivery, on the immigration side of the baggage hall rather than the exit side.

BCN (arriving; ditto GVA for departing): again, an oversize bag carousel delivery, on the far left of the hall as you look at the exit. Unbelievably slow.

HAM, Palma: Can't remember any problems with either of these, which is what tends to stick in the mind more than an easy experience, so I'd say these two are OK.


ETA: agree with the OP about buying CE tickets within Europe for the baggage allowance when travelling with a bike box. Excellent thing to do.
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Old Mar 28, 19, 8:46 pm
  #40  
 
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CO2

Currently flying NZ to UK with Korean Air and am delighted with their service treating our bikes as checked luggage but in Seoul was called to transit luggage where they had spotted a CO2 cartridge in my gold bag. They asked to open it in front of me and insisted on disposing if it before my bag could be sent to London despite it having already flown in from Auckland! Not a big deal but this could result in bags being delayed or not arriving. I wonder if they will spot the other CO2 cartridges in London Heathrow on its way to Manchester?
I think Iíll. it risk it in the future
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Old Mar 29, 19, 1:54 am
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I've given up on CO2, while it's lighter, I've got a pocket pump that attaches to the frame and that's good enough for me

Originally Posted by TheFlyingCyclist View Post
GVA
Arriving, the bike comes out in the far right hand side of the reclaim area. Departing, they are extremely fussy about weight - they have variously told me it has to weigh 23kg (even in CE / SCH), that it counts as an extra bag and that it won’t be insured. You need to know your rights, have the relevant page open on ba.com and/or ask to speak to someone else. Rental cars are via a bus so best to stick the bag up by the driver out of the way.

Funny enough, I had seen the same happen in GVA when I got my bike... the two folks in front of me had to argue, but luckily I had splurged for a light bike case (thanks to the cycle to work scheme) and arrived at 22kg. Overhearing what the two cyclists in front of me had to deal with I had to take a deep breath and get ready to argue. But thankfully it wasn't necessary.
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Old Aug 4, 19, 1:54 pm
  #42  
 
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Originally Posted by thebigben View Post
I've given up on CO2, while it's lighter, I've got a pocket pump that attaches to the frame and that's good enough for me



Funny enough, I had seen the same happen in GVA when I got my bike... the two folks in front of me had to argue, but luckily I had splurged for a light bike case (thanks to the cycle to work scheme) and arrived at 22kg. Overhearing what the two cyclists in front of me had to deal with I had to take a deep breath and get ready to argue. But thankfully it wasn't necessary.
Never had to argue about this with staff at GVA, and I use a Scicon hard case...

Does anyone know the situation re CO2 and Canada, I know it is a complete no-no in the USA.
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Old Aug 5, 19, 12:18 am
  #43  
 
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Originally Posted by SWISSBOBBY View Post
Does anyone know the situation re CO2 and Canada, I know it is a complete no-no in the USA.
As above - in and out of YVR a few times itís never been an issue for me.
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Old Aug 22, 19, 3:53 pm
  #44  
 
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Originally Posted by Greg66 View Post
As above - in and out of YVR a few times itís never been an issue for me.

This week had real hassle at YUL with CATSA saying NO to my CO2 in my bike box when their website says "Check with airlines"

From CATSA website
Certain exemptions apply for carry-on baggage, such as compressed gas cylinders for medical use or as part of a self-inflating life jacket. Your air carrier may agree to transport compressed gases for non-medical use (e.g. paintball cylinders/guns, scuba tanks, self-inflating life jacket), in checked baggage only, provided certain conditions are met.
The BA duty manger at YUL then said No until we showed him an email from BA safety for a previous trip saying the BA would allow up to 4 in hand luggage, depending on the country but that they recommended that we carry them in checked baggage, and we showed him the BA website.
From BA website
Maximum four cartridges up to 50ml water capacity for other devices such as a bicycle pump.
Eventually, the BA manager accepted they were allowed.

Additional note YUL international departures do not have an x-ray machine big enough to scan bike so the whole contents of the case other than bike had to be removed and scanned and then repacked.

Last edited by SWISSBOBBY; Aug 22, 19 at 4:11 pm
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Old Aug 22, 19, 7:52 pm
  #45  
 
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Reminds me of a simpler time and place. May/June 1977 transAtlantic with a TANDEM bicycle.....
No problems in either direction (well in the air). On the ground - ignorance was bliss.. but we survived the trip around SW England and across Ireland....

Keep peddling - it assists wandering
Fred
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