Help Taking a bike on a plane

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#1
Hi all,

I've made it to Seoul, and I've had a great time, but I checked my finances and realized that unfortunately my next stop needs to be Cairns in Far North Queensland, Australia. This means taking my bike on a plane. I have never done this before and I need some guidance. If anyone can offer assistance, I would be most grateful.

Do airlines usually cater for a particular size for cargo? Is it fair for me to expect them to be able to take my bike? Has anyone had any surprises of their own that I might be able to avoid?

Anything else related would be useful too!

Thanks a lot,

Tim
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#2
1) They usually do specify the maximum dimensions of the bike box that they are willing to take on their website. Assuming that you are taking Qantas:
Qantas bike pack dimensions are:
Length: 140cm (55in)
Width: 30cm (12in)
Height: 80cm (32in)

Not many check-in agents have checked the dimensions of my box, though it was measured and checked once in Singapore when flying back here and once in Haneda too.

Bicycles are usually classified as sporting equipment that are eligible to be considered as part of your free baggage allowance (e.g. 25kg for major asian carriers). You don't pay extra unless its over the allowance.

My bicycle which had its wheels taken off and wrapped in considerable amounts of bubble-wrap (bubble wrap was cheap in seoul!!) and packed into a normal cardboard bike box (asked with permission from a bike shop) was scratch free.

Surprise wise, well Cathay Pacific required me to declare my intention beforehand on bringing my bicycle for determining the availability of "cargo capacity:confused:". Took about two days for the Haneda office to provide me with permission to check in a bicycle.....

Would be interesting to read other people's experiences!
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
502
133
Japan
#4
never had to pay for it, but best you contact the air line and ask them. If I remember you have a ton (over 80kgs) of stuff to take back so excess baggage might really hurt, look at shipping options for sending your stuff home.
 

AlanW

Maximum Pace
Jan 30, 2007
1,214
436
103
Tokyo
#5
It's totally dependent upon the airline. Check their website under "baggage". Bikes are almost always Sports Equipment.

I've had prices from Free to about 10000 Yen per flight direction. Be careful as some airlines will sting you with a price per kg which gets super-expensive. Also watch out if your flight is code-shared with another operator - the flight operator will usually apply their own rules which may be different from the airline who you booked with.
 

j-sworks

Maximum Pace
Feb 5, 2012
1,199
48
68
Tokyo
#6
On JAL my bike case was considered sports equipment and therefore counted as one price of my checked baggage (Vancouver to Tokyo).

I used a Serfas bike case.
 

GSAstuto

Maximum Pace
Oct 11, 2009
945
242
103
tokyo
www.roadfixie.com
#7
Depends on the airline. Just check.It might make the difference of the carrier / ticket you get. Some carriers charge an insane amount for bike and for excess luggage - or even just luggage in general! Found out in the US when I brought my bike back. Luckily I was booked through on JAL and their rules superceded the crap-rate US domestic carrier that charged for everything including dixie cup of water and tissues for the loo. The checkin staff were highly annoyed when they couldn't charge me extra for the bike box, haha! And I had it stuffed with at least as much clothes, parts, etc.

Oh yeah - check on the size of box they allow - cause if it's the 'Sports Equipment' size - it's actually larger than the standard allowed luggage. And you can really pack it up as you are allowed up to 22kg!
 

yukun

Speeding Up
Feb 18, 2011
55
0
26
Setagaya Ward, Sangenjaya
#8
Depends on the airline. Just check.It might make the difference of the carrier / ticket you get. Some carriers charge an insane amount for bike and for excess luggage - or even just luggage in general!
One of the perks of living in the Fareast region with its wonderful airlines where we don't have to endure ridiculous baggage charges, seats with old IFE, aged aircraft and CAs blah blah blah :).

AlanW 's point about code-shared flight is worth noting too!! Might just save you a ton of trouble!!
 
Sep 2, 2009
5
0
0
#9
I suppose another question linked to this, is;

Has anyone ever had any of their bike equipment damaged by the airline?

Would hate to have my pride and joy rendered by a bellend at Heathrow.
 

DeltaForce

Maximum Pace
Sep 17, 2011
204
25
48
Toki, Gifu
#10
I've always gone down to the LBS for a cardboard bike box that new bikes come in. When I worked in a bike shop, we always kept a few in the rafters for people who came and asked. We never charged for them, and I've never paid. Have them give you the plastic fork support and hub end caps too if you can, saves trouble with the forks etc poking through the box during transit.

I've only flown between NZ and Japan. I've never been charged extra baggage by Qantas or Air NZ, and the box always has clothing etc in it, for extra scratch protection etc.

The only trouble I've had was returning from Japan to NZ once. The bike was too clean! They wanted to charge me duty as a new bike. I'd had it for at least a year, but the tires only had a 100km or so on them so looked new.

Dave
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#11
Virgin Atlantic allow you one piece of sporting equipment in addition to your luggage allowance. You get an extra 23kg on your allowance, the only other restriction I can think of is that if its a canoe it cant be more than 4.5m long :) Having recently travelled with a bike box I think they are too bulky if you are doing a lot of moving around. For my next trip I will be tempted to cover the main tubes of the bike with foam wrap & stick it in my Rinko.
 

theBlob

Bokeh master
Sep 28, 2011
2,865
1,451
129
...
#12
I'm sure your bike is clean, but flying into Australia they are very finnicky about dirt, seeds etc. Any mud, of in the tyres could get you held up for some time in customs.:confused:
 

gyros74

Warming-Up
Feb 26, 2012
11
0
0
Shinjuku
#13
Excellent information for sure! Thanks to all for chipping in! Another day on the phone to check what the airlines say. I think I'll be going by qantas even though it'll be a little more expensive. The piece of mind will be worth it. I've located a good bike shop up the road from a friends place, so thatll work well I think. All I need to do from there is get it to the airport! And actually buy the ticket...
 

dgl2

Maximum Pace
Nov 3, 2007
284
48
48
Tokyo - Minato-ku
#14
If you have a hard case for your bike or similar size, my experience is you need to pay $150 or so each way going Japan to/from Europe via ANA, Lufthansa and Air France, or to/from the U.S. via Delta or United.

And the charges have increased over the past couple of years.

This is why I want to get an S&S coupler bike that will fit in non-oversize luggage.
 

theDude

Maximum Pace
Oct 7, 2011
773
111
63
Tokyo
app.strava.com
#15
Virgin Atlantic allow you one piece of sporting equipment in addition to your luggage allowance. You get an extra 23kg on your allowance, the only other restriction I can think of is that if its a canoe it cant be more than 4.5m long :) Having recently travelled with a bike box I think they are too bulky if you are doing a lot of moving around. For my next trip I will be tempted to cover the main tubes of the bike with foam wrap & stick it in my Rinko.

Yup, all depends on the airline. I flew Virgin this last trip and was surprised that a sporting equipment bag was in ADDITION to the rest of my crap. Not bad.

singapore airlines gives you a weight allowance for many routes in Asia. so it doesn't matter so much what it is, it is the total weight that matters.

Again as people have said, check the carrier's web site. They'll have all the details you need. some easier to read then others.


One point: deflate tires. I was checked for that once, second time not so much. I didn't deflate but didn't get them blowing up. But others I know have had it happen that the low pressure of flight caused the tires to have too much pressure for their own good.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#16
S&S couplers do look intersting. . . . They cost HOW MUCH!! Standard price in UK seems to be £500 or roughly 60000 Yen! On a related note, the exchange rate is plummeting at the moment, the Yen is so strong.
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
502
133
Japan
#18
One point: deflate tires. I was checked for that once, second time not so much. I didn't deflate but didn't get them blowing up. But others I know have had it happen that the low pressure of flight caused the tires to have too much pressure for their own good.
your friends dont know anything and are likely liars if they told you that.
 

stanc

Maximum Pace
Sep 4, 2011
255
41
58
Brighton
#19
Forgot to deflate mine for the return journey. Didnt realise till I opened the box back in my flat. Both tyres still fully inflated to 8.5 bar
 

kiwisimon

Maximum Pace
Dec 14, 2006
2,687
502
133
Japan
#20
The air in the cabin as it loses pressure also causes the air in the tube to lose pressure, there can't be a blow out, if there could be, would the airplane have pnuematic tires? A myth that ground crews continue to propagate.