« on: July 12, 2014, 10:57:18 am »
I've flown in and out of Seattle with my bike, plus panniers, etc in a rather battered cardboard box from a a bike shop. I used the same box over a period of about five years. Cut down to size requirements and taped up all over it made no fewer that four long-haul flights from Europe, where I bought the bike, to SE Asia and from there to Seattle and then back to Asia and finally to Germany where the box was still just about holding together.
Much depends on who you fly with. Emirates out of Frankfurt to Bangkok didn't care even though I was well over my weight allowance and in my ignorance I hadn't even take off the front wheel and cut the box down to size. EVA from SE Asia to Seattle and back were also OK so long as you met their size dimensions which were approximately what a 26 inch wheel touring bike could manage with the front wheel strapped to one side of the frame, handlebars off and taped on and saddle also. I put the peddals in my carry-on and got a bit of a hassle, but they let me through. What space in the box was left was stuffed with bubblewrap and panniers. Whatever you do don't take the derailer off as it's a bitch getting it back on. Just pad it. Always check with the airline first.
This summer we're set to fly from Germany to Finland with SAS. They say no need for a box. Just pay a small bike fee, take off the peddals, turn the handlebars to the side and wheel it in. We'll see. I once met a middle-aged German woman cycling in Thailand. She said all she did was roll up at the airline check in desk and hand over her bike as is. Seemed to work for her.