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SQUIRREL!!!!
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I've done some searching on previous entries and it seems bringing my bike with me on the airline is a reasonable option today. I recently purchase a Trico Iron Case and am planning to travel from Seattle to Phoenix at the end of this month for some extensive riding (ya...I'm beyond sick of the rain and sub-50 degree weather) and am curious to a couple of things:

First, provided I make certain the case and bike stay under 50lbs, Alaska will charge me no more than $75 per flight.....seems reasonable AND worth having my bike there when I arrive. Has anyone traveled Alaska and how was their experience? Any damage/issues/loss???

Second, the bike is worth a chuck-o-change. Should I concern myself with any additional 'coverage' for damage/loss??

Lastly, I know SHIPBIKE.COM uses Fed-Ex and both are well received. Is it a 'better' option than the airlines? or is my thinking the extra ~$25 per flight worth it?

Please and thanks on any opinions and advice here.
 

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I don't think the monkeys who work for Fed Ex are any more careful than the monkeys who work for the airlines. I recall watching in horror as a guy slid my bike case out of the cargo hold of a plane and let it drop four feet onto the tarmac at De Gaulle Airport. Packing the bike well is the key to it getting there in one piece. The only drawback about the airlines is that you can't lock it, and security will open it up and look inside. Whether they close the case properly, or decide to eat your Power Bars for lunch is anyone's guess. At least with Fed Ex, you can lock it up and be reasonably assured that it'll get there unopened. I don't think they use commercial carriers.

Pack your bike well.

1. Remove the wheels, saddle/post and pedals.
2. Take the skewers out of the wheels
3. Pack the small parts in a padded bag
4. Get some plumbing pipe insulation from Home Depot and wrap it around your frame using zip ties (save some ties for the return trip)
5. The rear triangle and fork need to be braced. I just buy some threaded rods, rubber washers and wing nuts and make my own braces.
6. zip tie the chain to the padded chainstay
7. loosen the headset and turn the fork/bars sideways
8. Most cases isolate the frame from the wheels with foam padding. If yours doesn't have any, get some. I have wheel bags for my wheels that I use, although its probably over kill.
9. Be weight conscious and don't pack too much stuff, but do take tools you need to reassemble the bike. If you can weigh the case before, even better. I once had to reorganize a bike case in the Pisa airport because it was over the limit. Not fun when you're running late.
 

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We fly fairly often with our CF bikes in soft Aerus cases...most recently two weeks ago. Total weight with all my riding gear and accessories is ~35 lb and the case is smaller and much easier to deal with getting on and off shuttle buses, taxis, and rental cars than a hard case. Also, it often comes out on the normal luggage carousel rather than separately with the oversize items. On my last trip it easily fit in the trunk of a Toyota Corolla rental along with my roll-on bag.

How I travel with my bike | DC Rainmaker

Getting a direct flight minimizes handling and opportunities for problems. If you ship your bike, it's going on and off trucks and into and out of warehouses many times during the course of the trip. I have shipped bikes in hard cases but wouldn't ship them in a soft case like the one I use on the airlines.

Southwest, jetBlue, and Virgin all charge $50 each way for a bike on domestic flights. About 1/2 the time I don't get charged the fee because of the size and weight of the case. On my most recent trip I didn't get charged in either direction. I wouldn't count on this or expect it though. Other airlines generally charge more, sometimes much more. Rates are spelled out in detail on the airline websites, though it can take a bit of poking around to find the info you're looking for.
 

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Keep in mind first that a Trico case is 31 pounds empty. Keeping it under 50 pounds will be a challenge. They are amazing cases, but heavy. Another benefit to shipping the bike will be travel from the airport. Not sure how you are traveling once you get to Washington, but most taxis can't fit a trico case. Most rental cars won't either unless you are getting a sizeable vehicle. With Fedex, it is delivered to your door and you can actually get insurance. I don't think an airline will pay for anything since you are basically signing away your bike once you hand it over (barring total loss of course).
 

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Keep in mind first that a Trico case is 31 pounds empty. Keeping it under 50 pounds will be a challenge. They are amazing cases, but heavy. Another benefit to shipping the bike will be travel from the airport. Not sure how you are traveling once you get to Washington, but most taxis can't fit a trico case. Most rental cars won't either unless you are getting a sizeable vehicle. With Fedex, it is delivered to your door and you can actually get insurance. I don't think an airline will pay for anything since you are basically signing away your bike once you hand it over (barring total loss of course).
Wow ... 31 lbs for the empty case! That leaves 19 lbs for your bike and that's about it. Airlines will ship something over 50 lbs, but they really stick it to you. I think I'd go Fed Ex. I know UPS has a 70 lbs weight limit, maybe Fed Ex has the same. The more crap you can cram in the case, the better. And Spookyload make a good point ... they are a PITA to travel with. Minimizing the time you spend moving them from place to place makes life a lot easier.
 

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Wow ... 31 lbs for the empty case! That leaves 19 lbs for your bike and that's about it. Airlines will ship something over 50 lbs, but they really stick it to you. I think I'd go Fed Ex. I know UPS has a 70 lbs weight limit, maybe Fed Ex has the same. The more crap you can cram in the case, the better. And Spookyload make a good point ... they are a PITA to travel with. Minimizing the time you spend moving them from place to place makes life a lot easier.
Thats tough, so how about if you have another piece of carry on baggage you put seat post and seat post and seat in there, along with pedals, skewers, saddle bag. That may get you down to the required weight limit.

Also i didnt see it mentioned above, but i allways reduce the air in my tires a bit, so they can take up some shock if need be.

And dont waste your time at the hardware store, most bike shops have tons of that stuff to pack your bike in to give away. Right now i have bikes a plenty waiting to be built, im going to be hip deep in foam for packing bikes.

Bill
 

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One last huge tip. Go to your LBS and get a plastic fork spacer. Get one for the rear end as well. They come with bikes needing to be built and will take the chance of crushing your fork or rear triangle.
 

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SQUIRREL!!!!
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Discussion Starter · #8 ·
To all....thank you for all the quality information and am looking forward to what others have to say. I have a couple of things to add for informational purposes....

I will be traveling via Alaska Airlines and verified today on both phone and website that their policy on weight/oversize luggage is as follows:

Oversize or Overweight Bags

All baggage (including baggage checked free of charge) which exceeds the size or weight allowance, is subject to the additional fees outlined below.

Checked Bag Weight Fee per Bag
50 lbs. or less No Additional Fee
51-100 lbs. $50 (USD)

Checked Bag Dimensions Fee per Bag
Up to 62 in. No Additional Fee
63-80 in. $50 (USD)
81-115 in. $75 (USD)

Note: If a checked bag falls into more than one fee category (piece number, oversize, overweight), only the higher, single fee is charged.

Also, my decision to purchase the Trico was it's ruggedness more than weight. Yes...31lbs to start is a chunk but my bike is right at 15.5lbs which leaves me a few pounds to work with that should cover tools, spare tubular, saddle bag and water bottles in situations when the 50lb guideline is critical. I'll use my backpack as a 'personal item' and load up clothes, shoes, helmet, glasses, Garmin and nutrition plus still have a carry on for normal clothing etc.

Finally....I've excepted the possibility of having a so called 'monkey' tossing my bike around being left to chance. Regardless of it being UPS, Fed Ex or the airlines, a$$clowns exist everywhere....believe me, I work with a couple. No matter where we go in life, that chances of encountering someone who couldn't give two $hits about you or your belongings is inevitable. The best I can do is lock it so the only people who will open it are TSA agents (whom I have the most faith in not stealing anything) and bracing/padding the bejesus out of it so even if it's dropped for 10 feet, it'll be fine.
 

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Note: If a checked bag falls into more than one fee category (piece number, oversize, overweight), only the higher, single fee is charged
Your case is 88 linear inches. I wouldn't worry about weight since it says you have to pay $75 for oversized length. Meaning you can go up to 100 pounds since you have already paid the first fee for dimensions.
 
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