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Old 07.06.2012, 11:44
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Flying with a bike

Question for the cyclists here....

I'm flying to the uk with my racing bike (with some panniers). I was thinking of getting a bike bag but it's inconvenient because I will be flying back from a different airport, and I would have to figure a way to get the bike bag from one airport to another.

My local bike shop guy said that Swiss offer a free cardboard box at the airport which I can put my bike into. Obviously that would be cheaper and more convenient...... But I suppose marginally more chance of my bike getting damaged. He said he has done it a few times with no problems.

You guys think the Swiss cardboard box will be ok?
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Old 07.06.2012, 11:52
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Re: Flying with a bike

free boxes?... in Switzerland?

can't your local bike shop give you a box?, first of all I should think a box from them will be sturdier than anything the airport will sell you , and not to forget the obvious but you'll need to loosen the head set to twist, and or remove your handlebars... do you really want to be doing that AT the airport?
( to properly answer your question I've never flown with my bikes here, but I have in the states a few times.. even with double walled cardboard boxes they got banged around a wee bit. )

http://gva.ch/en/desktopdefault.aspx/tabid-213/
How should I pack my bike for carriage by plane?


You can not use a bag to carry your bike. Cardboard bike boxes are sold at Swissport check-in counter 90 for CHF 20.- each.

For any questions relating to the carriage of bicycles by air (conditions, packaging, etc...), please contact the airline concerned directly: www.gva.ch/airlines
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Old 07.06.2012, 11:54
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Re: Flying with a bike

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I'm flying to the uk with my racing bike
..that must be one fancy bike you got there!
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Old 07.06.2012, 11:55
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Re: Flying with a bike

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Question for the cyclists here....

I'm flying to the uk with my racing bike (with some panniers). I was thinking of getting a bike bag but it's inconvenient because I will be flying back from a different airport, and I would have to figure a way to get the bike bag from one airport to another.

My local bike shop guy said that Swiss offer a free cardboard box at the airport which I can put my bike into. Obviously that would be cheaper and more convenient...... But I suppose marginally more chance of my bike getting damaged. He said he has done it a few times with no problems.

You guys think the Swiss cardboard box will be ok?
Not quite what you are asking I appreciate, but I have one of these:
http://www.groundeffect.co.nz/produc...il-TAR-BAG.htm

It's the only bike bag I have found which is realistically small/light enough to take with you when bike touring - I have flown with my bike in it a couple of times, just made sure to carefully pack the bike with my clothes and some bits of flattened cardboard boxes found at the airport.

This is perfect for an aluminium race bike - I wouldn't put a carbon framed bike on a plane other than in a hard shell case.
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:02
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Re: Flying with a bike

I have flown with road bikes many times in the US and to CH from IRL, I also have friends who have done this regularly to CH and so far no issues.

I always get a box from a local bike shop. Take as many things off as possible and use twisty ties to hold everything together. (Wheel bags may be better but I have not tried) Just make sure that there are no parts moving in the box. Pack the forks and any other sensitive parts with bubble wrap

Use clothing to pad out the box and arrive early. Get the box before the airport so that you get a chance to pack it correctly all local shops will have them.


Have a fun trip..
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:07
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Re: Flying with a bike

If i bring any kind of bike bag then i have the problem that i need to send it on, therefore i would bring a padded one. The question here is whether i can get by with the swiss issued cardboard box

My bike is aluminium.

I dont mind if its free or chf 20, and im sure i could pack it the day before the flight and check it in overnight.

Just wondering how it went with the cyclists here who have flown with their bikes?
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:13
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Re: Flying with a bike

Thanks lesCA, this inspires confidence, and good idea with the bubble wrap.

My local bike shop recommended clingfilm as well
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:14
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Re: Flying with a bike

Used a bike box from a bike shop. packed it myself. assume you know how.
traveled fine. tipped the baggage handlers at airport but other than that no problem.

mine are very high end bikes - like yours. one even is CF. no problems.
it has to be under 50 lbs total, but that's not even an issue with a ALU frame or CF bike.

bike box from airport has no packing materials. plan on at least 1 hour to pack it at the airport. bring tools. bring packing materials.

box is fine although shorter than i needed. one of mine 62 cm bike one is 48 cm. no problem with the 48 cm but the 62 needed a long box.

hope this helps
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:21
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Re: Flying with a bike

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If i bring any kind of bike bag then i have the problem that i need to send it on, therefore i would bring a padded one. The question here is whether i can get by with the swiss issued cardboard box

My bike is aluminium.

I dont mind if its free or chf 20, and im sure i could pack it the day before the flight and check it in overnight.

Just wondering how it went with the cyclists here who have flown with their bikes?
Again apologies for being off-topic, but the bag I linked to is small enough to fit in the bottom of a pannier and carry with you on your trip. It's pretty tough material and has a few bits of padding for the key areas, and holds the bike nicely in place.

Anyway, most bike shops should be able to provide you with a bike box so even if the Swiss option doesn't work out you could always call a couple of the nearest ones to where you are finishing your trip a couple of days before and ask them to keep one aside for you.

Hopefully someone will actually answer your question soon
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Old 07.06.2012, 12:28
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Re: Flying with a bike

With regards to packing materials, are the needed?

Apart from bubble wrap and or clingfilm on the sensitive parts?
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Old 07.06.2012, 13:59
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Re: Flying with a bike

Foam blocks could be cut to size to 'brace' the box. If you go to Ikea you can pull some out of their recycling cages at the shop exit.

My husband also uses foam pipe lagging to protect the bike frame. Its very easy to get in the UK - I've never looked in Switzerland. Its grey foam - in long lengths - already sliced down one side and hollow in the middle - like a big thick foam straw.

We also found that a bike really only fits one way into a box - took my husband ages and then I found a video on youtube on how to pack a bike

http://youtu.be/P2jCN2nVnNY

not sure if this is the same one but there are loads of related videos to check out as well.

Also check with your airline - Easyjet claim that only the bike should be in the box - they don't want you to pack in the box (cause its cheaper than a suitcase!!) We did pack cycling shoes, helmet, some tools - figured they were all related to the bike. And we got the bike boxes in advance - free from a shop.
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Old 07.06.2012, 14:52
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Re: Flying with a bike

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With regards to packing materials, are the needed?

Apart from bubble wrap and or clingfilm on the sensitive parts?
you will absolutely need foam in front of the fork, foam at the bottom of the fork, and insulation around every tube. don't leave home without it.

as for other stuff in the box, yes you can get away with it. but TSA in the USA will open your box and maybe remove anything they don't like. good ol' TSA. they only opened my boxes but luckily they removed nothing. i had some minor bike parts in there and tools. and tape. and nylon ties. and well... i guess i had alot of stuff in there! helmet is a good idea but it's a tight fit. at least for my big head!
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