With more travelers preferring to tour the world with their bikes, several online tools have been devised to help travelers find the best deals, and one such airfare deal finder tool is the SkySurf.Travel which is a portal to help you find cheap plans to fly with a bike. However, it is worth noting that every airline has its own policies that include their fees and additional requirements.
What You Need to Know
- Airlines have different rates that apply to anyone who intends to fly with a bike on a plane; some may be kind enough to include it in your baggage allowance.
- The packaging has to be properly done either in a bike bag or a bike box. The type of box to be used may be determined by the airline regulations.
- You may need to disassemble the bike
- Let the airline know in advance that you will be traveling with your bike.
Taking a bike with you on a plane involves sourcing the packaging, packing, protecting and unpacking the bike. Going through the packing and the unpacking sequence can be quite tedious and this may prompt you to look for something simple and affordable,which leads us to the question: what is the best way to fly with a bike?
Using a plastic bag
You should consider using a clear plastic bag over a cardboard box. Using a clear plastic bag gives your bike protection because of its visibility to those handling it. They will perhaps be more careful when they can see what is in the plastic bag.
Reasons why you should use a clear plastic bag.
Being in a plastic bag, you can think of your bike as one package. The CTC plastic bike bags have been specifically designed for packaging, and they can be ordered from a nearby store and are reusable. To reuse it, you just slide the back in, fold it down and tape it in.
The amount of time that you need to do the packaging (or unpacking) should not be more than 20 minutes on either end of the flight. Using a bike box usually takes more time and may require that you take the bike apart, unlike the clear plastic bag that keeps the bike entirely intact.
With proper planning, getting a CTC plastic bag should not cost you an arm and a leg, and you can make one on your own if you can get a good source.
- Handling and Protection
When the luggage handlers are able to see what is in a clear bag, they are more likely to handle it with more care and in an appropriate manner. This kind of packaging also ensures that your bike does not end up being stacked with other luggage when moving through the hold area.
Packing the bike in a plastic bag
Using a clear plastic bag for packaging requires that you know a little about disassembling the bike. Check what your preferred airline says about flying with a bike, most will require that the handlebars be turned parallel to the bike frame, tires be deflated and pedals removed or turned inwards. To further protect the front derailleur, you can add some extra padding to it or disconnect it from its frame, lower the saddle, and secure the front wheel.
- Remove the pedals and turn the handlebar parallel to the bike’s frame. You can also lower the saddle at this stage.
- Secure the front wheel by using a good rope or a spare line. Make it tight so that it remains firmly secure
- Remove the derailleur carefully making sure that you do not damage it or the frame itself. You can improvise on better ways to secure the derailleur when in transit by use of a duct tape.
- Place the bike inside the plastic bag and cover it nicely to make sure that it is well protected. Use a thick duct tape in a way to make sure the bag is well secured and there are no snags.
Does it make sense?
Baggage handlers are, of course, humans and they are more likely to handle your bike more carefully than if you decide to fly with a bike packed in a cardboard box with or without labels on it. What are the chances that the best mountain bike under $1000 could just be stacked below the weight of suitcases? Love your bike and use the most convenient and affordable way to fly with your bike to any destination of choice safely.
And the tips?
When you land, check on your bike for any possible damages. Typical airlines must have time limit in which you can file any damage claims. Look out for the privileges that may be given to specific ticket holders, for instance, why pay to fly with a bike when first class ticket holders have a free bike pass? Ask; it doesn’t hurt to know.
If your choice of flight is expensive, then it would be wise to consider shipping your bike as a parcel via courier services. And finally, if you are not confident about disassembling your bike, a local bike shop can do the packaging for you at a fee, of course.