I realize the last time I did this was pre-9/11. I am traveling cross country with a beater bike. Rather than pay the $400/rt fee for bringing my bike on the plane, I'm thinking of bubble-wrapping my broken-down bike and bring my wheels as carry on. This has worked multiple times in the past, but in the way past.
Does anything sound wrong with this plan? Have you successfully done it in the recent past?
I've checked my bike on the plane (no bike fees) about 6 times. I'm not sure i'd want to put race wheels in there but I'm kind of curious as well if they can be carried on.
Do you mean bubble-wrap and shipping the bike? I'm curious about this too, I'm trying to figure out the best way to get a bike to Penticton. What i've found is that 50lbs and 62 overall inches seems to be the tipping point before you get charged additional check bag fees, depending on the airline, under this number it's free or $25 but if you go over it's anywhere from $50 to $200 each way.
Can wheels fit in the overhead bin? Airlines are getting pretty strict about maximum sizes for carry-on so i'd check that first. If they do, I don't think they should give you too much trouble.
I meant bubble wrap the bike, stick it in a hockey bag, and check it in on the flight. I wouldn't do that with my race bike.
I doubt the wheels could fit in the overhead bin. I used to stick them in the closet with people's coats, at the front of the plane.
Jason - how do you avoid the bike charges on flights?
I use a soft case (aerus biospeed) and I don't tell them it's a bike. If they ask I just lie and tell them it's not. I've taken my bike on 8 flights in the past year and have yet to pay a fee. The airlines who charge unreasonable fees because it's a bike are exploiting travelers. Plain and simple. A bike is not handled any different, it's uninsured and it's not larger or heavier than most checked bags. As someone who flies 40-50 times a year I have no sympathy for the industry. Just remember to be nice to the ticket agent and they'll be nice to you.
They also have no legal right to inspect your baggage for security reasons and they never have. Pre 9/11 the local airport authority was tasked with baggage security and that process has been standardized(sort of) and the responsibility of DHS(TSA) post 9/11.
There's no bag fees for: massage tables, test equipment, survey equipment, arc flash protective gear, hockey goalie gear. For all the ticket agent knows it is one of these. Use whatever you want that you can sound knowledgeable about.