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Bike Refusals at the airport.

jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
edited September 2011 in Tour & expedition
Has an airport ever refused to take your bike because they didnt likre the packing or whatever..If so what did you do?Do airports have facilities for leaving bikes ..Did yoyuu miss your flight?..Please share any experiences.


  • mouthmouth Posts: 1,195
    Long as you read the airline T&C's there will be no problem.
    The only disability in life is a poor attitude.
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    Not so straight forward..Read many a tale of arguments with airport check in staff over what their bike policies say.on their website only to find they dont know them...CTC plastic bag once Ok,then suddenly it snt. etc etc
  • MichaelWMichaelW Posts: 2,226
    Almost had a refusal at Madeira airport. My package was just too big for their slot.
    Let me expand: The packed bike needs to be small enough to find through the luggage x-ray machine. These machines vary in size so you may be able to fly into a place with a large box but unable to fly out.
    I had to re-arrange my package in the departure hall to make the whole thing smaller. Removed the front wheel and lashed it to the frame, stuffing a bottle between the forks.
  • I had difficulty at Barcelona Airport one year on the way back from cycling in the Pyrenees. The guy at the outsize loads desk did not seem keen to take our bikes, even though they were all well-pack in bike boxes. He hummed and hawed (Scottish expression) for about half an hour, saying that he was not sure if he would have enough room to take them, even though we had pre-booked. He waited until the last possible moment to load them, so that we had to run to make boarding, and just made the flight. Never had any problem at that airport before, so I think it sometimes depends on what side of bed an individual employeed got out of that day. You will be fine 99% of the time.
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    For me its a question of trying to get away with something tour carryable like the Ctc bag or a soft non padded bag etc (to avoid the "what do you do with the box/case problem" when you arrive ).....then suddenly finding they wont take it...
    I would be intetrested to know if anyone has ever missed a flight cos of this or had to leave the bike behind.If so did the airport offer you a place to store it till your return
  • priorypriory Posts: 743
    I have worried about this, so always packed my bike into a something that is really should be ok , like a soft bike bag with wheels off etc.. or a folder dismantled into a standard size suitcase.
    East midlands airport staff still managed to find a problem ,though, and made me go into the bag to deflate the tyres;a total waste of time and a nuisance at the other end, but I try not to argue or they will make a point of digging their heels in pour encourager les autres.

    if possible print out the airline's advice from the internet and take it along . I would politely and calmly say that i have packed it inaccordance with these instructions because I know it often causes some concern ,offering the print-out for the assistance of the bag checker. I have never had to do , especially in spain/portugal where they have been very co-operative.
    Raleigh Eclipse, , Dahon Jetstream XP, Raleigh Banana, Dawes super galaxy, Raleigh Clubman ... =slideshow
  • We have only ever had a problem once when taking unpacked bikes (never used Ryanair) at Geneva and there they provided bike boxes which we fitted our bikes into.

    We always take off pedals and rotate bars, usually have to deflate tyres.
  • My cycling mate had problems at Barcelona when we flew out after a ride through the Pyrenees.

    The baggage guy refused his bike as it wasn't boxed. My mate ended up leaving it there as he didn't want to miss his plane. He later regretted this! When he called from home, no one could help him to locate the bike... I reckon there's a baggage clerk over there with a stash of bikes for sale.

    I flew out from the smaller airport via RyanAir. My bike wasn't boxed, but they have a wrapping machine which is normally used for fancy suitcases. I paid some euros to have my bike covered.

    A couple of times I've argued with staff as I hate boxing my bike. Most airlines have been okay. Even when I flew with Ryanair from Norway, they just accepted my unboxed bike. The x-ray machine was too small for the bike to fit through, so I undid the front wheel and straped it to the frame - but the clerk said if I'd told her, she would have just let me wheel it through (it's a DIY service there).

    The only time I had to box it was with Cathy Pacific flying from Taiwan. There's a packing service at the airport, which cost me about 30 quid. When I flew back home with Cathy Pacific, it wasn't boxed and I told the clerk in Mumbai that I flew out with unboxed - I lied, but got away with it.
    It's an uphill climb to the bottom
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    Some useful stuff here...My own experience is of taking a Brompon folder bubblewrapped in a laundry or Dahon bum bag. for small foilders..No problems except for some um and ahhs from easijet but then allowed in the end.I have a Dahon Jack folder with 26"wheels.Its has a "BOLSO" soft bag foldable into a backpack.Aint sure if they will accept it hence the Question of What if they dont
  • bigjimbigjim Posts: 780
    We had our bikes refused at Biarritz airport last week by an easyjet hysterical check in clerk who stated they were just in plastic bags not proper cycle bags. We explained that we had flown into France with easyjet a week early using these bags. She told us we were lying. When I asked for an easyjet manager they said there was none and an angry colleague clutching her walkie talkie swaggered across and told her not to issue us with boarding cards unless we bought boxes and repacked the bikes. While I was outside unpacking my colleague decided to demand to see the Airport manager who came down and decided, after checking Easyjets website at our insistence, that we could after all use them as they are as long as they fitted the oversize machine, which of course they did. It was all a complete farce, carried out by rude incompetent staff in order to sell bicycle boxes. Never again. We only just got on the flight. Avoid!
  • jc4labjc4lab Posts: 1,055
    Having used both (BA & easijet)I;m beginning to think there is a difference between schedule and bugdet airlines.Easijet etc appear obsesed with damage to other bags( they usually say they dont like the Packing) so are more picky,, .A scheduled airline Like BA is prob mnore caring about damage to your bike so you cant complain so want it reasonably packed right on those grounds .Think a schedule airline may give you an easier time.
    Concerned about my Dahon Bolso MTB bag which is Zipless. Anyone heard of Airport biking parking?
  • satanassatanas Posts: 1,303
    Have never missed a flight, but have had various hassles. Generally all seems to go okay if you follow the airline policy (if you can find out what it is). I've never had a problem with a boxed bike, but have had to find a box (look in arrivals) at Denver airport once - hint: avoid Continental Airlines.

    As others have said, the most important thing is the attitude of the person at the desk, followed by your own attitude - always be polite, and try to be nice. (At the worst, they will find this frustrating if they're out to get you.) It's always a good idea to arrive at the start of check-in so that you have plenty of time to repack/argue, and to reduce the risk that the person behind the desk is already fed up. If there's enough time and you are sure of your ground it can be worth asking to see a supervisor as I once had the check-in person overruled at Paris when I knew the airline's policy better than they did.

    So, try to comply with policy, arrive early, be nice, be prepared to repack if necessary. Still, I've only had to do the latter once in many flights. Disclaimer: Haven't tried to fly with bike bags yet, bikes have always been boxed (usually) or loose with bars turned and front wheel and pedals removed (used to be the norm here in Oz).
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