I'm flying to Tokyo from the US and booked on United Airlines, which charges $200 for a bike each way, but I also need to fly another leg in the US first to meet up with my touring partner, so that would mean another $150 each way, for a total of $700! I have been researching ways to take a bike on a plane without the airline charging the bike fee.
Anyone have experience with any of these?
the two boxes idea (cheap if doable?):
the royd bike bag ($245 AUD = $190 USD with shipping):
trashbags space junk ($368 with shipping):
airport ninja ($375 with shipping):
I'm in the same situation to travel to Portland.
I won't check in, only travel with the bike, and ask for 200€. I
think to send the bike by post because it's something cheaper and travels directly to the destination.
To return, I hope I can travel without paying special fees to transport the bike If I travel without the wheels. If the size is smaller to meet 168cms in total.
None of those products are a good solution if you're touring and you want to ride to or from the airport. Even if you take a cab to a hotel or hostel, you have to store your expensive bike bag or mail it to your destination.
In my experience, the best option is to buy a cheap, large duffel bag that will fit your bike after it's been disassembled. You can also put your panniers, tent, etc in the bag to help protect your frame. The frame may get a little dinged up and the paint is likely to get scraped, but this is option is probably free. Your bag may go over the maximum weight allowed by the airline, but you can remedy that with smart packing and a second bag if need be.
Hi Chris - Yes, the other common option I've heard about now is hockey bags.
http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm Old site but well researched and you only need call the airlines to update. See spreadsheet at bottom of page.
The other part of the equation eluded to by others is what to do with your bag when you get there? If you are in and out just one country. Warmshowers hosts may store your bag.
Touring many countries but know the exit country(s) (We flew our bikes 7 times). Same thing a warmshowers host may accept a bag "forwarded" to h/er.
Not knowing your exit country unless you are going to cart the bag around, a disposable box is all you can use.
Good luck & safe travels Mal & Lee
Not sure if this will help, but Air France (for instance) charge only 100 € / $ per trip. Maybe you should compare tickets fares included bike fee?
Also, some airlines provide cartons for free, some other charge for it. There is even some, that don't provide at all.
Just in case, there's very nice bicycles here...
Enjoy your trip!
PS I'm living in Tokyo.
I can only tell what i usually do when i fly abroad for a bike tour: at home I buy a second hand bike, as cheaply as possible (for you in theUS: ebuy, craig list or similar) only for the purpose of such trip, so the combine cost: bike + transportation, one way, becomes so low that I can quietly abandon the bike at the airport when it is time to fly home, or try to sell it when circumstances allow it.
Another alternative is to buy a bike after arriving at the place of your destination. I have tried it as well. With some preparation (internet) and calculating at home, and enough time for a shopping round it can (sometimes) work.
But all this is valid only if the cost of transportation is relatively high seen against the background of the total expense. Otherwise, accept it.
We had S&S couplers installed on our bikes, so that they break down to fit in typical luggage. We had to have the bikes repainted, and buy specialty canvas bags, (total of about $800 CDN per bike) BUT we've saved at least that on flights in the last year. Yes, we have to carry to canvas bags that carry the bikes as we cycle, but they compact down well, one fills 1/3 of my back pannier, my husband uses his on top of the back rack to carry the tent and his sleeping pad.
You do have to know how to build your bike from scratch for this option though. My husband is in charge of breaking down and rebuilding them. If you enjoy that kind of thing though, the whole process can save you a fortune in the end, and NO headaches at the airport, and we can get normal taxis if we're in a big city, so we don't have to assemble the bike at the airport.
This is what my r bikes look like just before they get packed. These are Thorns without the S&S couplers.
I used to cut a bike box and make it fit but now I just wrap it with heavy plastic, or shade cloth. From bedding stores is good as its pretty thick stuff.
The main thing is to make sure the packed bike doesn't rattle. Tie a rope through so as to let the bike support the bag, not the other way around.
If they ask at the airport, its bicycle parts, NOT a bicycle.
Mind you I believe the states could be the worst for bike charges.
SEA and Australia are still the best. Even many of the low cost European airlines are good.
Here is what we did with our tandem.
United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $150 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for all other travel. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.
It says IF the bicycle is over 23kg, there will be a fee. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.
158 cm total liner lenght to,pack a regular bike? Just think a while...