Taking Bikes on Planes

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Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby IanSmitton » Wed Aug 22, 2012 11:18 pm

I have just finished some research about taking bikes on planes, and have drawn up a table of all the major European airlines with how much they charge to take your bike on the plane.

I hope it can be of use to someone here - it seems as though a flight with BA, for example, could work out cheaper than with Ryanair if you bring your bike.

http://www.cyclefiesta.com/multimedia/articles/bikes-planes.htm
Last edited by IanSmitton on Sat Aug 25, 2012 2:27 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby georgew » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:36 am

Thanks. Very handy that.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby chiwoman » Thu Aug 23, 2012 12:17 pm

That is amazingly useful thank you

I just booked my flights to cuba and was very pleased to discover Virgin Atlantic let me take my bike for free in addition to my baggage allowance :D
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby simonhill » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:06 pm

Good info and well laid out. I hadn't realise how expensive it is to take a bike in Europe (often about £100 return). These prices are starting to catch up with US prices.

I normally fly long haul with Emirate who have 30 kg overall baggage limit and bike is included in this, so normally no problems. In Asia I use AirAsia who take bikes for about US$15.

Here is another website which may be useful if heading further afield http://www.airline-luggage-regulations. ... rts/bikes/

Of course regardless of all of this - you need to check at time of booking as conditions/terms/prices are constantly changing. Keep copies of airline policy at time of booking as proof. Even after all this you are still at the mercy of the local check-in staff who can be a law unto themselves, particularly when it comes to packing requirements.

Nonetheless, I wouldn't want to be without my bike once I arrive, so ts all worth it in the end!
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby John Holiday » Thu Aug 23, 2012 3:58 pm

Excellent summary. Perhaps CTC need to reference this on their website?
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Aileen Brown » Thu Aug 23, 2012 10:20 pm

Brilliant. Bike radar have just done an interesting review of bike boxes/soft bags.
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/b ... ags-33421/
I've flown at least a dozen return flights with my bike in a padded bag from Planet X without any damage but if I'm taking a touring bike, I need to remove the mudguards & carrier which means removing the brake callipers. Does anyone know of a bike box which is suitable for taking a touring bike without completely dismantling it?
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby simonhill » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:32 am

I use a cardboard box that bikes are delivered in. They are free from bike shops in the UK. You may have to pay a small amount in some other countries.

When you arrive you can just bin the box if you are moving on. If returning from same airport, you can try to see if you can get somewhere to store it (eg hotel, hostel, etc). Flattened, they can be folded in 3 and don't take up much room to store. Otherwise just find a bike shop and get another.

The main advantage of a bike box is that virtually every airline will accept it. You can have problems with plastic bags, cling-film, no packing, etc, but all check-in staff accept a carboard box as the 'proper' way to pack a bike (regardless of the fact it offers virtually no protection!). I usually use one now just to save the check-in aggro.

Edited in: Just had a look at that Bike Radar review. One thing to be aware of with many of their bags and boxes is the weight. The lightest was nearly 6kgs - the heaviest about15kgs. If flying then this can push you well above the allowance and attract a hefty surcharge. Even a stout carboard bike box can weigh nearly 4kgs.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Vorpal » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:12 pm

There's some good information about travelling with bikes here. It doesn't seem to have been moved to the new CTC website.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Vorpal » Fri Aug 24, 2012 9:22 pm

Aileen Brown wrote:Brilliant. Bike radar have just done an interesting review of bike boxes/soft bags.
http://www.bikeradar.com/gear/article/b ... ags-33421/
I've flown at least a dozen return flights with my bike in a padded bag from Planet X without any damage but if I'm taking a touring bike, I need to remove the mudguards & carrier which means removing the brake callipers. Does anyone know of a bike box which is suitable for taking a touring bike without completely dismantling it?


See the site that I linked in my previous post. I've taken my bike in a CTC polythene bag. I removed the pedals, unscrewed the hanger for the rear derraileur & cable tied it to the frame, turned the handlebars, put some bubble wrap round the shifters, then wheeled it into the bag & taped it up. I got tape at Wickes that was for greenhouses and polythene, and it worked really well. The polythene bag is small enough to carry in a pannier, if necessary, as well.

The other site also links to this, which has further advice. The information about airlines is dated, but the rest is good.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Aileen Brown » Fri Aug 24, 2012 10:25 pm

Thanks guys. Link read, saved & printed ready for my next trip.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Barrenfluffit » Sat Aug 25, 2012 10:51 am

A nice article about taking a wheelchair on a plane; aspects of which may resonate!
http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/magazine-19365786
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Nedrow » Thu Aug 30, 2012 6:13 pm

We've just flown back from Treviso with Ryanair with bikes packed in the 'CTC' poly bag and had to sign a disclaimer because of the 'poor packaging'. The bikes wouldn't fit through the oversize baggage x ray machine and we had to unpack them and remove wheels to get them through it. We then had to go 'to the other side' and rebuild and repack them before dashing off and being the last passengers to board the plane! A very stressful end to a great holiday.
Last year we flew Ryanair from Carcasonne and had no such problem.
Thankfully, on both occasions the bikes arrived back intact.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby hufty » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:27 pm

Recently flown Virgin Atlantic with my bike in a CTC bag. Staff at both ends (Heathrow and Delhi) were brilliant, and it was the most painless bike check-in I can remember. They were completely unfazed by the prospect of checking in the bike, they were fully conversant with the airline's rules about bike carriage, the bike was accepted without question in a CTC bike bag, there wasn't any nonsense about fully deflating tyres. When the bike didn't quite fit the oversize x-ray machine at Delhi, the Virgin representative who was escorting me (imagine that!) immediately nipped off to find something to prop the bike up with so it went through on the diagonal. Would fly with these guys again. (No damage whatsoever to the bike in either direction by the way.)
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby Aileen Brown » Fri Aug 31, 2012 7:56 pm

Sounds like the CTC could do a really useful survey on members bike handling experience so that we know the chance of having a good experience or otherwise according to airline & airport.
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Re: Taking Bikes on Planes

Postby ankaradan » Tue Feb 26, 2013 7:52 am

I don't know about the stress of actually flying with a bike; I'm finding it stressfull enough trying to book a place on a plane. I've been trying to get a flight from Edinburgh to Istanbul with Turkish Airlines; having rung their contact centre, I was told to first make an on-line reservation; then ring back with details of the bike. So after spending hours on their website, unable to make a reservation without paying for a flight, I rang them back, only to be told , eventually, that there was a problem with the website. So next I tried the telephone reservation centre in Istanbul, very helpful but took twenty minutes to make a reservation, they even wanted to know the exact size of the bicycle. And still that's not it. I have to ring back tomorrow to see if head office has ok'ed the bike.

I suppose if they don't, this will all start again.
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