WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

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WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby paieye » Fri Sep 21, 2012 8:37 am

My companion and I flew by EasyJet from Stansted with our bicycles earlier this month.

My faithful Brompton was as usual in its black, padded hold-all, and was allowed through without comment, probably because the staff did not notice that it was a bicycle.

My friend's ordinary touring-bicycle was packed in strong, clear plastic sheet, with the handle-bars turned, pedals removed, &c. and plenty of pipe-lagging around any projecting corners. The staff at the checking-in desk at first refused his bicycle, saying that B.A.A. now insist that bicycles must be transported in an actual bicycle-box. This led to a spirited debate that lasted for at least 40 minutes, which my friend eventually won.

However, another cyclist with a less heavily-packed touring bicycle was not so successful, and had to leave his bicycle at the airport, obliging him to hire a bicycle on arrival at his destination (and of course on his return to find that his parked bicycle had been stolen while he was away).

I cannot find any more information about this, but I thought it only fair to warn you all !

It really seems extraordinary that the airports and airlines take so little trouble to provide information about this.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby nmnm » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:20 am

I think it's more a Stanstead Easyjet person on duty thing than a general policy change you came up against.

Easyjet website still says
The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag

Interesting that the word bicycle is now (recently changed?) in italics, implying, maybe, that the bag must also be of the bicycle variety.

The BAA website search box brings up zero results for bikes.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby BeeKeeper » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:57 am

This got me worried as I am flying with EasyJet on 1 Oct to Geneva and am intending on using the CTC bike bag (aka a big sheet of clear plastic). I have just given EJ a ring - after the usual problem of finding the contact number which is now 0843 104 5000 - and spoke to a lady who stated that a bag does not need to be padded "so long as it [the bike] is wrapped in something". The lady was called Nadine and I shall quote her if I get any hassle. However, as often stated with cases like this much depends on the individuals at the check-in and baggage desks at the time of the flight and their particular take on the rules.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby ukdodger » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:25 pm

paieye wrote:My companion and I flew by EasyJet from Stansted with our bicycles earlier this month.

My faithful Brompton was as usual in its black, padded hold-all, and was allowed through without comment, probably because the staff did not notice that it was a bicycle.

My friend's ordinary touring-bicycle was packed in strong, clear plastic sheet, with the handle-bars turned, pedals removed, &c. and plenty of pipe-lagging around any projecting corners. The staff at the checking-in desk at first refused his bicycle, saying that B.A.A. now insist that bicycles must be transported in an actual bicycle-box. This led to a spirited debate that lasted for at least 40 minutes, which my friend eventually won.

However, another cyclist with a less heavily-packed touring bicycle was not so successful, and had to leave his bicycle at the airport, obliging him to hire a bicycle on arrival at his destination (and of course on his return to find that his parked bicycle had been stolen while he was away).

I cannot find any more information about this, but I thought it only fair to warn you all !

It really seems extraordinary that the airports and airlines take so little trouble to provide information about this.



Wow! Many times I've considered taking my bike on a plane but always thinking about possible problems has stopped me. Now I know how bad it can get. How unfortunate of the bloke to not only be refused but also to lose his bike.

The only sure way is the use one of those strong purpose built hard plastic bike boxes which cost and then of course there's the problem of what you do with it at your destination. There has to be an easy answer to this somewhere.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby whiskywheels » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:30 pm

I've never had a problem taking my boxed bike with easyjet, but I've always booked the bike at the same time as I've booked the flight as it's cheaper than if you turn up and pay at the airport, and if you've not booked in advance there may not be room on the flight.

From EasyJet website;

"Bicycles are permitted for carriage provided that specific criteria is met:

• The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag
• Only one bicycle per box/bag is permitted
• No other items can be carried in the bicycle box/bag (i.e. clothing)
• The handlebars must be flush with the frame
• Pedals must be removed or flush against the flame

Bicycles with hydraulic suspensions or brake systems will be accepted.

A non-refundable sports equipment fee will be charged. The bicycles are exempt from additional excess baggage charges.

A bicycle can be added at the time of making your booking. Alternatively if you wish to add a bicycle once your booking has been confirmed and your booking was made online at easyJet.com please login to your My easyJet account, locate the required booking and click on 'Add Sports Equipment'."
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby ukdodger » Fri Sep 21, 2012 1:36 pm

whiskywheels wrote:I've never had a problem taking my boxed bike with easyjet, but I've always booked the bike at the same time as I've booked the flight as it's cheaper than if you turn up and pay at the airport, and if you've not booked in advance there may not be room on the flight.

From EasyJet website;

"Bicycles are permitted for carriage provided that specific criteria is met:

• The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag
• Only one bicycle per box/bag is permitted
• No other items can be carried in the bicycle box/bag (i.e. clothing)
• The handlebars must be flush with the frame
• Pedals must be removed or flush against the flame

Bicycles with hydraulic suspensions or brake systems will be accepted.

A non-refundable sports equipment fee will be charged. The bicycles are exempt from additional excess baggage charges.

A bicycle can be added at the time of making your booking. Alternatively if you wish to add a bicycle once your booking has been confirmed and your booking was made online at easyJet.com please login to your My easyJet account, locate the required booking and click on 'Add Sports Equipment'."


The problem with bags is it's easy to incur damage from the baggage handlers.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby whiskywheels » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:24 pm

I've always wondered why most, if not all airlines, specify that you can't put your clothes in the bike bag. Years ago, we used to regularly take our bikes for free by using a soft bike bag filled with carrier bags of our clothes to provide padding. This was with BA, and provided the bike bag and contents came within the 23kg hold allowance there was no charge. We did at least half a dozen trips to Alicante using this method!
These days I use an elite vaison bike box which is very strong, but weighs a bit over 20Kg before even adding the bike, which fortunately only adds just over 7Kg!
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby hufty » Fri Sep 21, 2012 2:40 pm

paieye wrote:I cannot find any more information about this, but I thought it only fair to warn you all ! It really seems extraordinary that the airports and airlines take so little trouble to provide information about this.

You will probably find this is because BAA do not have such a policy therefore can't warn us about it. IME check-in problems only occur when counter staff are poorly trained or Make Things Up. Always fly with a print-out of the airline's conditions of carriage for sports equipment.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby iviehoff » Fri Sep 21, 2012 3:18 pm

ukdodger wrote:The problem with bags is it's easy to incur damage from the baggage handlers.

The problem with (cardboard) boxes is that your bicycle may be placed at the bottom of a large pile of heavy baggage, and crushed or bent beyond repair.

I believe the usual assessment is that damage in general is more likely with a bag, but major damage is more likely with a box (heavy rigid boxes excepted).
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby paieye » Fri Sep 21, 2012 6:56 pm

The only sure way is the use one of those strong purpose built hard plastic bike boxes which cost and then of course there's the problem of what you do with it at your destination. There has to be an easy answer to this somewhere.


What you do with it at your destination is usually not a challenge -- you leave it in Left Luggage, and pick it up on the return journey. The difficulty occurs if -- like me -- you need a container that you can carry on your bicycle. My own hold-all for the Brompton can be rolled down tight into a manageable sausage that can be strapped to the bicycle or to me with shock-cord, but, if the airline/airport insist on a box, that would not be possible. Could C.T.C. not promote a generally-acceptable padded hold-all for full-sized bicycles ?
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby simonhill » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:16 pm

Thanks for posting, but what else are you doing about it? I presume you have contacted EasyJet to ask for an explanation.

Did you take the name of the member of staff? Letting them know that you will be reporting the matter and their name on your return can often be effective and at least you have a target to aim at. Also as stated abve, a recent copy of the company's terms is worth having, although with so many mobile devices about, you could probably show in real time.

Assuming you are reporting it to EasyJet, please report back here.

Personally I now always use a (free) cardboard bike box to save this sort of aggro. I know the box could be put at the bottom of a pile, but I have not had any damage since using a box, whereas I often used to get the od knock and scratch when using the bubblewrap method.

I think the reason that nothing else is allowed in the box (clothes, etc) is due to security. Lots of odd bits of stuff poked around the bike can be a bit hard to check.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby paieye » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:25 pm

No, I have not raised it with EasyJet, because they told me that the policy was not theirs, but that of the B.A.A.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby paieye » Fri Sep 21, 2012 7:40 pm

This link shows some of the possibilities: http://www.wiggle.co.uk/soft-bike-bags/ ... fAodDmYAVw. I should expect some of those to pass muster, especially if it was obvious that the bicycle inside was well-padded.
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby foxyrider » Fri Sep 21, 2012 9:32 pm

Having travelled with EJ many times to various destinations using assorted bags and bike cases i've never been asked to open the bike case to check theres only a bike in there. If it was a security issue my bike would never get on the plane as theres always other stuff in there, its mostly a ruse to get you to pay for extra bags. The airlines themselves are really not interested in whats in your cases - as long as you stick to the regulations neither are security.

The damage issue is something that has always been a problem, hard cases pretty much solve the problem but are too heavy if you've got anything more than a carbon whippet. The answer may well be some sort of inflattable cover, think of rigid bubble wrap or expanding foam - seal the bike in a solid but lightweight block - result no damage to bike, no argueing at airport. Any packaging company out there interested in making a buck?
Convention? what's that then?
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Re: WARNING: Bicycles in aircraft !

Postby ukdodger » Fri Sep 21, 2012 10:14 pm

paieye wrote:
The only sure way is the use one of those strong purpose built hard plastic bike boxes which cost and then of course there's the problem of what you do with it at your destination. There has to be an easy answer to this somewhere.


What you do with it at your destination is usually not a challenge -- you leave it in Left Luggage, and pick it up on the return journey. The difficulty occurs if -- like me -- you need a container that you can carry on your bicycle. My own hold-all for the Brompton can be rolled down tight into a manageable sausage that can be strapped to the bicycle or to me with shock-cord, but, if the airline/airport insist on a box, that would not be possible. Could C.T.C. not promote a generally-acceptable padded hold-all for full-sized bicycles ?


It is if you're using different airports and of course you have to get bike plus box to and from the airport. I think the only viable option is the padded bag and chance it regarding possible damage. Or like me use trains and boats!
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