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Bike on a plane

Discussion in 'Bikes and Buying Advice - What Bike?' started by Jack, 16 Jul 2007.

  1. Jack

    Jack New Member

    I have read a bit of random assorted info in various places about taking my bike on the plane, but wondered if there was anyone here who does it, and what I should look for in a bag.. and how I should wrap it up.

    I am presuming I will turn the handlebars, take the wheels off.. anything else? People have said about wrapping it up in that foam stuff (pipe cover things?) and bubble wrap... is that a good plan? Just wrap the whole thing up?

    And any bag recommendations? Seperate wheel/bike bag? Hard? Soft? Any particular brand or anything?

    And I presume it will be fairly easy to put back together again at the other end if I have packed it right!

    Sorry for all the questions, thanks!
  2. simon_adams_uk

    simon_adams_uk Über Member

    SW London
    Which airline are you using? Each airline has different rules - with some sticking to them and others being somewhat ad hoc.

    I have recent experience of BA - they've recently changed their policies so chances are I'll be of no direct use.

    In the past I've used a clear polythene bag and sealed it using duck tape. The baggage handlers can see it's a bike and so choose whether to crush it or not. In an anonymous hard case it's more likely to get thrown around.

    My general tactic is for: handlebars turned round, pipe lagging on main tubes, rear mech pushed across to largest cog, pedals removed and attached inwards, crank zip-tied to down tube, most of air in tyres removed. Hey presto!

  3. Jack

    Jack New Member

    Thanks for your reply Simon. That's brave, just a bag! Not sure I have the balls to put my bike in like that. Some of these bike bags, if not most of them, have a big bike sign on the side or something.. I don't know whether that helps or not, but I would feel more comfortable putting it in something padded I think.

    I am flying BA, and nearly always do - they are pretty competitive. I will have a check online, but I think I read something about 1 sporting equipment item being allowed in addition to the normal luggage?

    As for wrapping it up, that sounds very good.. I'll try and get hold of some pipe lagging from.. somewhere.. and will follow those tactics. Sounds good.

    Thanks a lot.
  4. Keith Oates

    Keith Oates Janner

    Penarth, Wales
    Apart from removing the pedals, turning the handlebars, removing the wheels etc. I also take off the rear mech but leave it on the chain and hang it with some tape between the chain stays. Lessens that chance of it being 'pranged'. It's also a good idea to get the plastic spacers and fit them in the front fork legs and rear dropouts in case there is some pressure there as well!!!
  5. redfox

    redfox New Member

    Bourne End, UK
    Simon's post has it covered, just a bag is the way to go IMO! You can get one from the CTC online shop for £4.

    The handlers that I have witnessed loading/unloading the bike do seem to take more care when they can see what it is.
  6. monnet

    monnet Über Member

    Have to say I'm with Keith.

    I've always used a soft, padded bike bag. A bit of insulation tubing around the frame helps prevent knocks and scratches. Take the skewers out of the wheels. Wrap the front forks in bubble wrap add whatever else you need and then fill the bag with bubble wrap until it's like a ball (making sure you get plenty in at the bottom of the bag before you put the bike in).
  7. Monty Dog

    Monty Dog New Member

    I'm a soft bag person too - cases are heavy and when overweight baggage handlers are inclined to just drop it out of the back of the plane - I've seen bike boxes drop 6 feet onto tarmac! A bag is lighter and so even if dropped the kinetic energy and impact will be less. One further bike packing tip is to loosen the clamp bolts for your levers such that if they do get hit, they turn rather than get bent. As well as turning the bars, also drop them down to protect one lever in the front triangle. If you've got carbon bars, I'd release them from the stem to try and tuck them in more. Make sure your big chainring is protected - seen them bent too.
  8. redfox

    redfox New Member

    Bourne End, UK
    Zip tying the crank to the down tube helps to protect the chain-ring. I have seen bikes transported to the plane balanced in such a way that the big ring was the only point of contact with the trolly. :eek:
  9. Jack

    Jack New Member

    Eek! I'm not sure whether I trust myself to wrap my precious bike up well up enough to withstand some of these stories you guys are telling!

    I think I can get the wrapping up - sounds like it will take a bit of time, but I will buy a lot of bubble wrap (anywhere in particular you can get that stuff from, never really had to buy it?!) and give myself a few hours.

    A couple of you now saying the clear bag.. I can understand why - but I've never really thought of bag handlers as being the considerate type.. Seems a bit risky to just trust that they will look after it more if they can see its a bike, surely? At least with the padded bag you have some.. padding. But I guess you get that with the clear bag from wrapping it up with bubble wrap etc. I don't know! Guess I just have to make a decision and hope for the best!
  10. LLB

    LLB Guest

    Think of the planet FFS :eek:
  11. Jack

    Jack New Member

    Ok. I splashed out and ordered the dhb Bike Case. I figured a soft case hardly offers any more protection than just a plastic bag, and I wasn't comfortable with a plastic bag.. so went for the hard case. I checked with the bike weight and case weight and it should be well under BA's limits. Hopefully it does the job well and gets my bike in pristine condition! :thumbsup:
  12. There is a theory that if you fly in the 3rd world, the baggage handlers are poor people to whom a bike is important - it's their own means of transport which they had to work hard to buy, so they'll treat someone else's bike with respect.
    So a clear plastic bag, where they can see it's a bike, is the way to go.

    In the West, the baggage handler will see a bike as either belonging to some weirdo or some poncey type and hence won't respect it.
    So a hard case is the way to go.

    I'm going to France in September, I'll go padded bag with lots of pipelag and bubblewrap, spacer between forks, mech-hanger/mech/chain removed and bubblewrapped.