Flying with a bike - airport advice log

Old Jan 27, 18, 2:01 pm
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Flying with a bike - airport advice log

I thought this might be of use to fellow travellers. Here’s a summary of the (few) places I’ve flown to with the bike over the past 3 years. Be good to get others to contribute.
Club Europe is often worthwhile as it is frequently less than £60 extra, and that’s how much a bike costs each way anyway for non-status pax. As SCH, this is one of the most valuable benefits to me as my TP come mostly from holidays, so the bike trips are usually on super-cheap BA holidays Flight+car deals in Y.I use an Evoc bag - wrap the entire frame in bubble wrap and remove the rear mech too. I always take a spare hanger and a spare disc rotor too in case they get bent. Worth putting dropout spacers in (ask your LBS for some from a Bike packaging box) and also something over the top of the seat tube. I pack the wheels with the rotors to the inside.Weirdly, at times times the brake hose banjo at the calliper has come loose post-Flight. I wonder if it is to do with the changing air pressure as I never have it otherwise.

CO2 cartridges - you can usually take two in the bag. More than that is excessive.
Take helmet, one set of clothing, pedals and shoes in your carry on in case they loose your bike.

LHR T5
Oversize is down by the Business check in. As a SCH they have never really been fussed about weight. All very easy other than having to drag the bag from the pod which is the opposite end of the terminal! Arriving back it comes out on the belt, but occasionally a man brings it through the door. A couple of times someone has left it on the other (locked) side of the door, took a bit of locating even though it was only a few yards away.

LHR T3
Usually quite easy as you take it round to the oversize in the centre of the terminal. Occasionally I’ve had to take it down into the bowels of the terminal which was a bit weird. Arriving back is easy enough.

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.

HEL
They are very fussy about aerosol cans. I’ve had notes left inside saying “excessive aerosols” due to a tiny GT85 can. OK for weight.

BCN
No worries with weight, very helpful agents and easy to find oversize. On arrival it comes out of a lift door - in true Spanish style they occasionally need a nudge to go and look for it. Long walk to/from rental cars.

NCE
Very easy, although as a small airport they won’t accept it until 2-3 hrs before the flight.

VCE
Very easy.

VER
Long oversize wait, no issues though.

LUX
Comes through a door adjacent to the baggage reclaim. Usually takes ages. No worries with weight.

FAO
Long wait for bikes out of the reclaim at the back wall of the terminal, big signs. They have even provided Bike stands and a track pump which is remarkable! No worries with weight.

KRK
Arrival - turn left as you go into the baggage reclaim. Oversize is in the left hand corner. Comes out of a lift and they often need a nudge to go and fetch it/check for it. On departure, they wanted to have a good rummage around inside and ask you to wait whilst they x-ray it. Funny about CO2.

GLA
No issues.

BRU
Major issues checking in - they insisted the weight allowance for SCH was 23kg, even after showing them the BA website they argued it, eventually they just said my 30kg bag was 23kg as the chap accepted they were wrong but he said the system wouldn’t let him override it. Arriving was very slow - oversized is staffed by, as far as I could make out, two rather slovenly chaps who drag your stuff over as slowly as possible. It took an hour from landing to collect the bikes.

LIN
Bike comes out of a small door between the baggage reclaim belts. No signage to indicate this so we wandered about for a bit until we noticed it. Airport is a maze and a mess, it was like stepping back into the 80s.

PRG
Arrival very easy, bikes came out in oversize area. On returning, they let us check in early as SCH. Bikes went to oversize where we had to remove all CO2 cartridges and throw away - none allowed apparently (which is incorrect but they were insistent). We had a moment of panic when the chap doing the scan flatly said “you have bombs in luggage”. Turns out “bombs” are what they call CO2 cartridges in Czech.

Last edited by TheFlyingCyclist; Aug 5, 18 at 12:40 pm
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Old Jan 27, 18, 2:05 pm
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Very useful thread, I look forward to your trips to a few unusual locations! Can we perhaps a photo + description of the wrapping / protection / bagging you would recommend?
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Old Jan 27, 18, 5:29 pm
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I normally just take a cardboard box because they're very cheap (free often) and disposable so at the airport so you can cycle away.

It's worth mentioning that there is supposedly a 190 x 75 x 65cm limit on box dimensions. I've certainly gone over this limit a few times and the only time it was ever mentioned was at Tokyo Haneda however they took it anyway without any persuasion on my behalf.

Another point is some airports require screening before you get into the main arrivals such as IST so when travelling there make sure you don't put too much tape on your box so if required security can take a look inside. There is a problem with this because often you are not allowed to take any tape in to secure it if you've had to open up your box for security.

LHR T5:
Departures: Complete pain bringing it in via the tube, you quickly learn that none of the doors are wide enough for a horizontal bike box. Also there is an oversized drop-off at the North which maybe convenient if you're using the wrapping service. Unlike a lot of wrapping services they only charge you the standard price for a bike.

CAG (Cagliari)
Departures: no issues. Separate oversized drop off on the floor below if I remember correctly.

DEL (New Delhi)
Arriving: no issues. Separate oversized collection in the centre of the baggage area. The biggest pain is trying to find a taxi that can take a box.
Departures: no issues. Oversized drop off at the end of the baggage area however I was escorted there.

FCO (Rome)
Arrivals: no issues
Departures: no issues, however had to open up the box and show that I had properly deflated my tyres.

GVA (Geneva)
Arriving: no issues, separate oversized area - presumably equipped for skis during winter.
Departing: as above very picky about weight - despite there being three of us and overall we were below the limit they forced us to move some things across.

HND (Tokyo)
Departing: got out the measuring tape and my box was over the limit but took it anyway.

IST (Istanbul)
Departing: no issues, separate oversized drop-off an

MUC (Munich)
Arriving: no issues, they bring the baggage out through a door and leave it next to the belt.

NRT (Tokyo)
Arriving: no issues, baggage left near the belt.








Typically I turn with a box like this:

...however once at Cagliari CAG I was unable to source a proper bike box so I made do with some boxes from the bookshop inside the terminal and some wrap:
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Old Jan 27, 18, 7:22 pm
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I used to travel a lot with my mountain bikes. Sometimes up to 15 times a year. Still fly a few times a year now but only with Air Canada. I just use one of their old clear plastic bag bike bags from the early 2000's. Does BA allow them in a bag or do they have to be boxed? I have it down to an art using pipe insulation for padding and zip ties. I just remove the front wheel,pedals and handlebars and turn the fork to the right and lower the seat. None of my expensive mountain bikes have ever been damaged in 25 years of packing them that way and that includes once when one was lost and had to be flown on a tiny prop plane to Moab from Denver. The advantage of this way over hard cases and boxes is that you don't have to have a massive rental vehicle to carry the case/box at the destination
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Old Jan 27, 18, 7:52 pm
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Just a few to add from me:

JER (Departures) very straightforward and not weighed. Take to outsize baggage at far left of check in.

LGW (Arrival) Bike through main luggage carousel but had to put vertically on trolley to get through glass doors..

LHR T3 (Departure) Not weighed and had to take to outsize baggage. The guy mentioned security sometimes require them to be opened so went into the bowels to the security scanner but no issues arising, just a bit of a tour!

YVR (Arrival) Bike arrived on outsize carousel to left of exit where skis buggies etc also arrive.

Only 1 experience but all very easy. My second suitcase was golf clubs which followed an identical process!
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Old Jan 27, 18, 8:51 pm
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Originally Posted by corporate-wage-slave View Post
Very useful thread, I look forward to your trips to a few unusual locations! Can we perhaps a photo + description of the wrapping / protection / bagging you would recommend?
there are dozens of YouTube videos showing how to pack a bicycle for plane flights. Go to the hardware store and get foam pipe insulation to protect the tubes of your bike frame, particularly if you have a carbon-fiber frame.

OP, if you are travelling with CO2 cartridges in your bike case, you are taking serious chances that your bike (and you) will be pulled off the flight. CO2 cartridges are not allowed in checked bags or carry-ons.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 8:55 pm
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What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:

What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:
​​​​​​​https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-.../co2-cartridge
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Old Jan 27, 18, 9:22 pm
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It is really amazing thread for airport advice.
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Old Jan 27, 18, 11:54 pm
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:

What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-.../co2-cartridge
Plus most bike destinations will have a store that has CO2 cartridges. While I understand their use I've done lots of very remote backcountry riding and dinosaur I am I still pack tubes and a good pump as well as a repair kit even with tubeless tyres and rims

Last edited by Crampedin13A; Jan 28, 18 at 12:30 am
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Old Jan 28, 18, 12:40 am
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That’s the advice I was given in various airports. In KRK they asked me to show them how many and were content with two. CO2 over a certain size (these are 32g cartridges) is apparently not allowed.
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Old Jan 28, 18, 12:47 am
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Originally Posted by Steve in Olympia View Post
What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:

What the TSA says about CO2 cartridges:
https://www.tsa.gov/travel/security-.../co2-cartridge
But then the FAA says they are fine...

https://www.faa.gov/about/initiative...nfo/?hazmat=11

and so does Easyjet. Can’t find a statement from BA

Small non flammable gas cylinders, containing carbon dioxide or other suitable gas in Division 2.2. Up two (2) small cylinders fitted into a life jacket, and up to two (2) spare cartridges per person, not more than four (4) cylinders up to 50 ml water capacity for other devices.
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Old Jan 28, 18, 1:00 am
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LED

Great idea!

At St Petersburg, LED. Returned with 2 of my bikes, and one for my wife. After cycling one way from London, did not fancy the cycle back!

All checked in at normal desk. All within luggage allowance. Just checked that tyres with deflated.

At T5, they came out first from the side door beside main luggage belt.

Very easy.

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Old Jan 28, 18, 1:41 am
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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!
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Old Jan 28, 18, 1:44 am
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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!
https://www.qatarairways.com/en/baggage/excess.html

Never seen sports equipment charges so high!
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Old Jan 28, 18, 1:49 am
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Not that I ever plan to check in a bike, but great thread. Resources like these are what make FT so useful. ^
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