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bikes checked on domestic airlines?


Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
I'm interested in anyone's experiences traveling domestically w/in Japan via air with a bike. E.g., someone who has been to okinawa, or maybe kyushu/hokkaido, and who flew something like ANA or JAL to get there?

Was your rinko a simple checked bag or not, was there a surcharge, any little form to sign absolving the airline of liability since it wasn't packed right, etc.? Or did you need a regular bike box instead?

Was your experience good, did everything go okay (no damage)? Or any major problems?

How about preflight info from the airline--whether you could/couldn't bring or check a bike? Was it accurate? Should you even ask?
I have never taken my bike on a domestic flight. I find it less of a hassle to just send my bike by takkyubin to the place I will stay at. Don't need to carry to and from airport and in taxis etc. Costs around JPY3,000 each way, so to me it is well worth it. And I have takkyubined bikes packed in bike boxes or in rinkos with out any problems to as far away as Ishigaki. Too easy!

takkyubin sounds good, and is not something that I had thought of (duh...), tho I have shipped a bike and it was a little more than that, being able to pick it up (or drop it) exactly where you want is a big advantage.

If they take a bike in a rinko-buro that'd be fine, with fingers crossed on it getting there okay on the other end.

Yes, I've done it. Took my road racer onto the plane to Hokkaido, on JAL. Used my normal bike bag (which requires taking both wheels off), secured front and rear forks with small pieces of wood and used some padding to protect the most sensitive parts of the bike. Can send you photos if you let me know your e-mail address.

Everything worked well. No problems checking in either way or getting the bike at the other end. Everybody handling the bike seemed to take great care not to damage it in any way.

There is no extra cost for bicycles as long as they don't exceed certain measurements (which is impossible with a roadracer, so no need to worry). They do count towards your baggage allowance though, by reducing your bag allowance by one piece.

I will do it again as soon as I have a long weekend and the weather forecast is nice for a place like Hokkaido, Kyushu or Okinawa.

Cheers, Ludwig
I have taken bicycles on domestic flights twice. Once to Kyushu with ANA. They had me sign a waiver and asked me to release the air from my tyres, that's all. The second time Travis and I flew back to Tokyo from Hakodate with JAL. No extra fees, no problems whatsoever. They might be thoroughly checking your bikebag though, as it obviously doesn't fit through the x-ray device. :D
I took JAL to and from Hokkaido, using my non-padded rinko bag and my old aluminium Cannondale. I did a bit of disassembly to the bike; wheels off, pedals off, rear derailleur off and also rotated the handlebars so that the dropped part looped around the top tube to stop them flapping around. No surcharge and no problems experienced in either direction. Would I take my carbon bike this way? No.
Bizarrely, on the way back as I was packing up my bike outside Kushiro airport, one of the staff came out and told me I could not take my patch-kit onto the aeroplane :confused: I'm not sure how she thought I was going to bring down the aircraft by sticking 6 patches to it, but there you go. Anyway I assured her that I wouldn't carry it, then stashed it in my saddlebag with everything else.
I've taken a racing bike using ANA from Haneda to Hokkaido and another using ANA from Hokkaido to Niigata and back. Both times with an Ostrich Rinko bag plus makeshift padding (cardboard and bubble wrap). The bike DID fit through the x-ray device!
No problems and no extra charge.

FYI: see http://kabuto99.com/catalog/bp/bp for a cardboard bike box which is suitable for flights, costing JPY 5,959 including delivery and reusable ~25 times according to a friend that has one.

Thanks all (especially flyers) for the extra ideas and info!
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