Help Flying to Taiwan with bike...

Aug 27, 2012
581
234
73
London, UK
www.macrophotofly.com
#1
Off to Taiwan during Golden Week and would be grateful for any advice on how to get a bike there as hassle-free as possible.
Which airline is the best for carrying a bike? (I tend to fly JAL - but other options on this route seem to be Scoot, ANA, and China Airlines). Do any include in their seat price or will I have to pay extra for the bike?
Will I need any additonal paperwork to carry the bike with me?
How will I need to pack the bike? (It's a standard CRP road bike)
Anything else I need to think about?

many thanks for all the advice
 

Trek DJ

Maximum Pace
Jan 27, 2009
215
78
48
118
Kobe
#2
JAL is free for bikes.
ANA is free for bikes.
Korean Air is free for bikes.
China Airlines (the taiwan based carrier, not Air China) typically does not charge as well but you need to be within ~20kg limit.

I will post photos how to pack a bike this Friday as I am flying back to JP from Oz.

What kind of case do you use? I use an Ostrich OS-150 and it works well, and is cheap.
 

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#3
Tim/GSAstuto has already done a pic series on this. Haven't got time to search it out right now, but it's there.
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#6
In terms of baggage, the listed airlines are all lenient, so the safest would be traveling with a hard case. Maybe you can borrow one via the forum?

I am getting a bike with couplers along with a padded backpack, which should be the ultimate in terms of portability with some ease of mind.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#7
A hard case is a good idea if you are going to one hotel. They are a sod to lump around during a holiday & the bike requires quite a bit of assembly each time you want to use it. I have one but am not going to use it for my next trip because of the inconvenience unless someone knows of somewhere I could store it for 4 weeks during my trip. I will be doing similar to the @GSAstuto thread referenced above.
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#8
@stanc for domestic or Taiwan direct flights I did and would do the same for a metal or low-cost carbon bike.

But for a high-price carbon or other airports, I would be more cautious. There is always a risk in which case hard cases work best.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#9
Bikes are 'free' only if they fall within the size / weight limit. Generally it's 203cm total, and 23kg. Other airline just charge a bicycle rate and as long as it's in a bike box or case, size and weight don't matter. My method falls under the economy size / weight, at least every time I use it. I will try to pack the limit in weight using the extra space for some clothing items which also add to the protection of the frame/ wheels. Never had an issue even with long haul , multi transfers. In fact, the only issues I've had have been with special purpose box or case, namely because it requires special handling and misses tight connections whereas std or priority baggage will likely succeed.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#11
Bikes are 'free' only if they fall within the size / weight limit. Generally it's 203cm total, and 23kg.
Unfortunately 203cm is the exception for Jal and Ana only and not the rule, which is 158cm. For other airlines you might get around it if they allow oversize bicycles/sports equipment, but better check with the airline in advance or get a bike with couplers, as even a size 50 bike is hard to pack within 158cms even within a rinko bag.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#12
@stanc for domestic or Taiwan direct flights I did and would do the same for a metal or low-cost carbon bike.

But for a high-price carbon or other airports, I would be more cautious. There is always a risk in which case hard cases work best.
My bike is a "mid price" carbon frame (The cheapest Look) and it will be extensively padded with bubblewrap & pipe lagging. I would be happier using the box but as I am going to be in Tokyo, Kanazawa, Nagoya, Okayama & Tokyo again I really dont want to be encumbered with it during my stay. I have looked into insurance but that would cost only slightly less than one of the @GSAstuto frames.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#14
@Gunjira , no issues so far with Swiss air , Lufthansa, scoot, air chIna, Finn air, emirates. JAL, United. Bigger frames would be tight, for sure. Also, as my bike and wheels are very light , I think that provides a psychological edge to the situation. The handlers are always surprised it's a bike. And , honestly, I don't declare it as such. I just say 'bike parts'


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#15
Also, you guys who are traveling together could take advantage of the excess baggage allowance and pack 2 or 3 bikes together as one bag. That's how I got 4 bikes plus 3 extra sets of wheels back from France with only 1 other person and 1 declared sports equipment bag.


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#17
While the outcome is affected by sneakyness and goodwill of the counter staff their judgment is base on the airline rules. So, (semi-)hard case with a Japanese airline is the least risky option for your bike and wallet, not considering ticket price. Lufthansa, air china, softbags... is something you can be happy if you you get through without paying/damage, but would be wiser not to expect it, IMHO. Even if the chance is <5%

But what am I saying, I'm a cardboard traveler and had a frame cracked on a frickin ferry. Looking forward to some easy of mind going on my next bike adventure abroad. March, sf 8p
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#18
I have to say, I felt rather smug and sublime having RODE my bike out the airport terminal with nothing else besides a backpack while others were schlepping around cases and boxes and paying extra 50EU+ each way for van transports, etc. Hell, I even rode my bike to Haneda 2x beating the train (times) and fees! This is not new for me , btw. My first bike trip to EU landed me in Belgium from Seattle and back then (late 70's), and the airline staff had no clue about bike packing. They just told me to bring it to the airport and they'd figure it out. Well, I rode to the airport and they loaded my bike in the same way as a stroller or wheelchair in a special 'tie down' container. Upon reaching my destination - got my bike and rode out through customs! After that, things became more strict and use of cardboard box, etc became important. Then the oil embargo and prices shot up as well as density and airplane travel became nothing more than cattle cars and disgruntled handlers. Ferries are evil, Gunj - I've had several instances of bike mayhem on them. My precious Modolo brakes were stolen off my race bike on a ferry to Greece. Wheels stolen, another time, 3 of us had our bikes damaged when one of the cars slipped forward and struck them, etc etc.

Somewhere I have the picture of the fork truck literally 'forking' my bike onto the plane in Helsinki. Colin will attest to the treatment of his SCIO bag which resulted in a bent superstructure, all 4 casters replaced, several scratches on my bike, bent bars, bent shifters and broken spoke. Oh, yeah, and due that they had 'lost' my bike because it was oversize - I missed the connection and had to spend additional 8hrs and eventually transit another 8hrs through Poland to reach my final destination of Geneve. That was the last time I will use an oversize or dedicated 'Bike Transport Box'. No thanks!
 
Likes: Forsbrook

jdd

Maximum Pace
Hardest Crash
Jul 26, 2008
2,519
650
133
Kanazawa
#19
I'm down in Okinawa (conference). Met a guy here with a horror story. He had his bike packed in a hard case, and it came to about 3kg over the limit. The airline wouldn't budge (not sure which one). He had to then takkyubin it home, and due to the time that took he missed his flight and had to buy another ticket to get here...

For Okinawa bike rental (I've haven't visited the shop(s)), this place came slightly recommended:
http://okirin.ti-da.net Too bad it's not in Nago, as that's where I'd prefer to start.
 

Gunjira

Maximum Pace
Oct 2, 2009
1,003
176
83
Tokyo
#20
John, if that would happen to me, I would remember the airline's name and not cease to badmouth them. enjoying in-flight wifi with JAL right now.