Folding bikes and avoiding airline fees

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#1
Contemplating a trip to Germany. Probably be going from city to city by train, but then use a bike to explore. Figure I might have rides of up to 100 - 120 km. Got to thinking that a folding bike might be just the thing, especially since I'll be going solo, I can take the bike with me vs leaving it on the street.

Several makers I've been looking at.

Brompton looks like good quality and folds smallest. Near 100% certainty I can get it past airlines counter without fees. Negative is, pricey and only 2 or 3 gears, a bit heavy. So, even though it avoids fees, I don't think it will work for me.

Dahon and Tern - less expensive, good quality, but don't fold as small. Dealer says it's case-by-case getting it on the plane without charges. (Mu - SL looks real nice though) YouTube videos say they can fit into a slightly oversized suitcase but airlines usually don't bother to check sizes of normal suitcases.

Tyrell - Has a model called the IVE. Not top of their line but good enough for what I intend to do. 11kg, but 9 speed and looks like it folds small. Looked all around but can't find any info about folks who've actually taken them on international flights.

Birdy - Has a couple nice models, but also unclear if it can fold small enough to get on the airlines without charges. Dealer said it is also case by case.

If anyone has any experience taking any of these folders on international flights, especially re avoiding airline oversized luggage fees, I'd much appreciate it.
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#5
I relocated to Japan last week. Cathay slapped me with 35 USD per KG for my Bike packed in a box, ended up with a 600USD bill.
Wow! Never heard of a bike being charged that much. Was it a folder?

FWIW, seems like there should be some limits on these fees. Wasn't that long ago I could travel without being charged. Now, it's $200 bucks each leg of the international flight. Airlines are making out on these charges.
 

George5

Maximum Pace
Oct 16, 2014
385
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#6
Sounds like that was the excess baggage charges. Most airlines allow about 23kgs before they charge extra. Relocating, that would involve a lot of luggage. Always pays to check ahead of time. What I do is buy the extra suitcase option when I book my ticket ,it costs an extra 50$ or so but it's nice to have no stress at check in time.
 

andywood

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Apr 8, 2008
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Niigata
#7
Yes, that sounds like "extra baggage charge".

In addition to your "check in luggage allowance", some airlines offer additional "sports equipment" allowance.

This is relatively cheap. I paid a few thousand yen to take my bike to Australia.

In a box you are also free to pad it out with clothes and put in heavy items like shoes. So it is a better option than paying for an extra regular luggage allowance.

For sports equipment different airlines have different policies so best to check and book in advance.

Andy

www.jyonnobitime.com/time
 

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#8
I used to fly United a lot but they're so bad about charges (seem to be on the lookout for ways to upcharge) I'm going to have to check out policies more carefully before choosing a carrier. Looking at stories on the net, seems there is a lot of cases where it depends on the mood of the people at the check-in counter whether you get charged or not.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,863
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#10
I took my bike to Australia last year, cost nothing extra on Qantas (I hate to promote them because for the most part they are pretty shit). I put most of my clothes in the bike bag. It was summer in Aus so I only needed shorts thongs and a few t shirts!
 
#13
Depending on how long you will stay and where you will start, the bike market in Germany for new and used bikes is not too bad.
On pretty much all trains you can bring a full-size bike (mostly for fee though) without wrapping or disassembling.
Buying and selling could be an option, unless having an excuse for working on n+1 is part of the game.
 
Likes: Karl

Karl

Maximum Pace
Feb 7, 2011
302
130
63
Yokohama
#14
I'm looking at a 10 day trip. Doubt that buying and selling a bike would be practical. I did see something on the net about a service called 'callabike'. Says that, while on the train, you can order up a rental to be waiting at the station. That would be perfect if it actually works. Never heard anyone use it before though.

I've just about given up on folders since the cost of new bike and bag is probably not worth it to me. The issue of bike security while travelling solo was also a concern but figure I can find ways around that problem. So, I'm back to reconsidering a small soft case for my steel framed road bike. There are a couple of them that are small enough that they apparently get through check-in w/o charges most of the time.... but no guarantees. The 'orucase' and 'gavilin' bags look especially good.
 
#15
It is a bit case by case but from my experience most non-LCC allow you to take oversize luggage (ie bicycles if suitably packed) at no charge, and some even give you an extra 5kg allowance. Even with LCCs the charge for oversize isn't much more than for a checked bag. As above, do your research.

Trains in Europe, depends on country. Express inter-city trains are a little more difficult for a full-size bike but usually if you take off the wheels and put it in a bag you're all good. Again, research is advisable.

Good luck and have fun! I'm just coming to the end of 3 or 4 weeks riding in Japan and it has been fantastic. Haven't ridden in Germany but have in Switzerland and Italy, also brilliant