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Old 19.04.2016, 14:52
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Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

Hi all,

So I'm here looking for personal experiences with transporting my bicycle with me when I leave Switzerland. I fly back to Canada with British Airways.

I called their Switzerland number and asked about transporting my bicycle, the fellow was very nice and helpful but he basically read what the BA website tells me regarding this.

Basically, the bike needs to be a bike 'specific' bag - however after doing some research a lot of people seem to carry their bikes in cardboard boxes. I would like to avoid buying a bike bag as I'm just transporting the bike once and put it in a cardboard box, but the last thing I want is to bring all my stuff to the airport and have them reject my bike.

Does anyone have any personal experiences with this? Any input is kindly appreciated!
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Old 19.04.2016, 14:56
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

This box you want to put the bike in - will you have to buy it? If so how much cheaper than a bike bag is it?

And does the difference in cost cover the risk that BA won't accept it OR choose to charge you a fee (you can prefix substantial if you like) for it?
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Old 19.04.2016, 15:20
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

A box is the easiest and probably best way to transport a bike by air. The alternatives are soft shell cases (e.g., Evoc, CHF300-500) or hard shell cases (e.g., Scicon CHF 500-800).

Safe Bag in Zurich Airport (I forget which terminal) sells the boxes for CHF25 each. They are enough to fit a full size trekking bike with ease, even leaving front pannier frames on and with bike touring wheels (e.g., I use 28" 50-622 Schwalbe Big Apple). You only need remove the front wheel to slip in next to the frame in the box, and to remove the handlebars and pedals, and finally the saddle.

If you are transporting a racing bike it will have no shortage of room, but I would pack it with some support for the space in the front fork to stop it being bent or broken. Evoc sell a front fork support for CHF30 from VeloPlus.

The box only takes a few minutes to set up, it is basically a flat cardboard with four flaps at top and bottom. You need to tape it up, like a box to use when moving house. I recently used two of these boxes with success. On the same day on the way to buy the boxes completely by chance I met two locals just back from an expedition on the S-Bahn and chatted with them about the packing. They were using the same boxes and had the advice, that for long-haul it is also an idea to put something like a thick bit of cardboard under the front fork to stop it breaking through the cardboard.

You will spend a lot of money for a one-off hard shell, i did not think it was worth it.
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Old 19.04.2016, 15:23
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

You'll probably get a more definative answer on one of the flight specific forums like www.flyertalk.com or the SLF section of PPRUNE.
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Old 19.04.2016, 15:25
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

Last time I took my bike with BA, which was a few years ago, I ignored all the website instructions about bike bags and boxes and simply wheeled the thing into the airport, turned the handlebars through 90 degrees and took off the pedals. The chap at Heathrow then wheeled the bike away and it turned up totally undamaged when I arrived at the destination.

I've heard of people still doing this, but if it were me now I'd just cover it in a cheap clear plastic bag so that they can see it's a bike. I'd rather the baggage handlers could still wheel the thing around rather than have to pick it up and probably manhandle it. I think it's going to depend more on the airport than BA, so turn up early and maybe ask a bike shop for a box to put it in. I think some airports (Zurich?) have luggage shops which will provide bike boxes on demand - maybe ring up and ask.
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Old 19.04.2016, 15:41
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

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This box you want to put the bike in - will you have to buy it? If so how much cheaper than a bike bag is it?

And does the difference in cost cover the risk that BA won't accept it OR choose to charge you a fee (you can prefix substantial if you like) for it?
Well, the cardboard box would be free. Purchasing a bike bag would be a bit of a waste as well, as I would never use it again!

After doing more research.. I decided to purchase . 10euros or so. Supposedly this bag is the same material/product BA used to give to their customers to put their bags in. Also let's luggage handlers know that it is a bike, not just a cardboard box.

My experience with BA has been generally very good so I hope that stays the same..
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Old 19.04.2016, 20:48
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

When we transported bikes from the UK to CH in 2003 (Swiss Airlines) we went to the local Halfords and got a leftover cardboard box that a bike was delivered to the shop in. Removed protrusions ( pedals and handlebars ) and taped them to the frame. Put the bike in the box and sealed it all with duct tape.

At Manchester Airport we checked the bikes in as outsized baggage - i.e. where child car seats and pushchairs normally go. Can't remember being charged extra.

Customs in Basel asked how much the bikes were worth - they were quite old so told the guy we'd be lucky to get a tenner each for them.

And that was that.

Cheers,
Nick
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Old 19.04.2016, 21:29
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

I thought you meant something like this -

and got very excited to see it.

Good luck, and I hope you and your bike reach safely.
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Old 20.09.2017, 13:57
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

Hi all
I have a similar problem.
BA quote their maximum dimensions for bike cases, but I can not find a bike case small enough. Has anyone had issues rocking up with a bike box at Heathrow or Zürich?
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Old 20.09.2017, 15:30
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Re: Air travel with bicycle (specifically British Airways)

Quote:
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Hi all
I have a similar problem.
BA quote their maximum dimensions for bike cases, but I can not find a bike case small enough. Has anyone had issues rocking up with a bike box at Heathrow or Zürich?
Quote:
You can take larger items of up to 190 x 75 x 65cm (75 x 29.5 x 25.5in) for an additional charge. (Currently, we waive this charge so you do not pay it.)
Quote:
You can take non-motorised bicycles of up to 190cm (75in) in length as part of your checked baggage, provided they are packed in a recognised bicycle bag. Please ensure that you:
  • pack the bike in a protective case or bag
  • remove the pedals or fix them inwards
  • fix the handlebars sideways
  • deflate the tyres to reduce the risk of damage
https://www.bikester.ch/evoc-bike-ma...2-448a5b847ea1

https://www.decathlon.fr/valise-velo...d_8393983.html

https://www.galaxus.ch/de/s3/producttype/velokoffer-816

Actually I couldn't find anything longer than 190cm
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