Author Topic: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines  (Read 4263 times)

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Offline judyrans

Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« on: July 11, 2023, 02:20:53 am »
Has anyone flown a boxed bicycle on Delta lately?

Last year I flew Air Canada from Vancouver, BC. The bike shop gave me a generously sized box for my small Co-Motion Ochoco with 650B wheels (I’m 5’2”). The box contained my bike, 2 extra tires, 6 extra tubes, assorted tools, an ancient Trek cargo bag, a small box containing disk brake rotors wrapped in bubble wrap, wrapped pedals and quick releases, etc. It all weighed less than 50 pounds. I had to open the box for inspection at the airport. After determining that I wasn’t taking any contraband, the inspector sealed the box with an incredible amount of tape. I paid $50 + $2.50 tax (Canadian).

This year I’m flying Delta from Vancouver. Has anyone had any hassles from Delta about what is in the box? Originally, I heard Delta was picky about what was in the box, as tourists tended to load panniers, clothing, etc. in the bike box. Delta and some other airlines made them take the extra stuff out of the bike box and pay for an extra box.

Here are Delta’s policies about sporting equipment/bicycles:
https://www.delta.com/us/en/baggage/special-items/sporting-equipment 
I don’t see anything about what exactly can be in the box as long as it weighs less than 50 pounds and is less than 115 linear inches (292cm length + width+ height). If it weighs 50-100 pounds, you’ll pay overweight fees.

Has anyone had any recent experience with Delta and were there any problems?

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2023, 03:10:39 am »
Call Delta and ask.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2023, 08:22:02 am »
The issue is that calling might yield one answer thar could differ from what you experience "on the ground."

Personally, I wouldn't want anything in the box that might get lost if the box is breached during transit.  Pedals and QR skewers are examples.  Except for maybe the tires, all those things you mist can easily fit inside a bag that would qualify as a piece of carry on luggage.

When I travel for a tour, I carry on two panniers with things like my helmet, cycling shoes, water bottles bike computer, maps, etc.  Everything else goes in a duffel bag that I check.  The bike gets shipped.  The only thing bike-related in the box is the bike sans pedals and skewers. I do put my stive and empty fuel bottle in the bike box because those items cannot be checked or carried on.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #3 on: July 11, 2023, 09:36:13 am »
The issue is that calling might yield one answer thar could differ from what you experience "on the ground."
So true.  Results can differ depending on the gate agent, but I have never had them refuse my bike.  The biggest thing I'd say is be sure it meets weight and dimensional limits.

For a long time I tried to just have the bike and little seat wedge with some tools and repair stuff in the box.  In one case the TSA opened the seat wedge dumped out the contents.  They then ripped out the stiffener of the bag, I guess to see if amything was hidden there, or maybe just to be jerks.  All the stuff from the bag was loose in the box.

I have more recently (since I started packing really light) packed all of my gear in the bike bag camping gear and all.  That was with a soft case and UL gear made keeping it all under 50# possible.  There was no sign they even opened it on either leg of the trips (two trips packed that way definitely were with delta).   It was really nice to have just one checked bag with a shoulder strap.  I did also have a little personal item sized backpack but could have gone without it.

I have generally attached pedals and so on with cable ties so they didn't get separated from the bike.

The majority of the time I don't think my box has been opened.

None of that was recent.  Also any problems were I had TSA related and happened after the bike was checked and out of my sight and really had nothing to do with the airline.  The gate agent just asked if it was a bike and weighed it.  Usually they didn't measure it, but I wouldn't count on that.

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #4 on: July 11, 2023, 01:03:20 pm »
The gate agent just asked if it was a bike and weighed it.  Usually they didn't measure it, but I wouldn't count on that.
In this day and age of squeezing as much as possible out of people, I wouldn't count on it either.

Years ago I almost got over on the bike charge.  My nefarious plan was to use curbside check in for my very early flight at a very busy time. I figured the baggage guy would be so busy he would forget to ask me what was in the box.  If he remembered, then it would be no loss. Plan worked perfectly.  I was smiling all the way up the escalator and while going through security.  As I was walking away from security I was paged to the gate.  Ony time that has ever happened to me in an airport.  When I got to the gate, an airline employee was there waiting to take my $75.  She said I hadn't told the baggage guy that there was a bike in the box.  I responded, "He didn't ask me what was i the box."  PHL doesn't have large scanners, so they opened the box to search it.  That's when the bike was discovered.

Based on what I have seen, you don't want to know what TSA people can do to bike.  I once got my box back with the ends of the H strap system. which has easy-to-use buckles, hand tied in a knot.  >:(

Offline John Nelson

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #5 on: July 11, 2023, 01:59:37 pm »
I question why you would even want to pack anything extra in the bike box. If touring, I can’t seem to avoid a checked bag anyway, and that checked bag doesn’t get close to 50 pounds. I don’t even put the saddle and pedals in the bike box.

The TSA has never failed to open my bike box, and it’s never been when I was present.

Offline staehpj1

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #6 on: July 11, 2023, 04:03:03 pm »
I question why you would even want to pack anything extra in the bike box. If touring, I can’t seem to avoid a checked bag anyway, and that checked bag doesn’t get close to 50 pounds. I don’t even put the saddle and pedals in the bike box.

The TSA has never failed to open my bike box, and it’s never been when I was present.
I mostly agree.  I never put gear or clothing in the box when packing the bike in a cardboard box.  I did pack everything in a soft case only when travelling light enough that the all my gear fit in with the bike.  It was quite nice having only one piece of luggage to lug around.

Offline Kelly Iniguez

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2023, 11:06:53 pm »
We flew with American in June. They have a generous box size allowance, and a 50 pound weight limit. We had only the bikes in each box. One weighed 44 pounds, the other was 48 pounds. Our boxes were not measured either going or coming. They were weighed both directions. We put panniers, shoes, helmets, etc. in duffel bags.

I've read that American has just changed their included bag policy.  My understand of American's new policy, is that if you are flying economy, you pay $35. per bag (or item within their guidelines). If you have a higher class ticket, then the free bag comes back. I wonder if other airlines will be following this new policy.

It always pays to check the actual airline you are flying on.

Both of our boxes were checked by TSA both directions. They arrived round trip without damage. I spent too much energy worrying about the possible problems with airline transport. Happily, it was for nothing!

Offline BikeliciousBabe

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #8 on: August 24, 2023, 08:01:47 am »
I'd be surprised to learn that there is a major airline that does not give you at least one free checked bag if you fly business/first class.   I factor that cost savings when choosing my class.  One year I flew round trip to Missoula for a tour.  After backing out the $70 round trip checked bag fee, the cost difference between coach and first class was less than $200. (Coach fare was over $700.)  I thought i was dreaming looking at the computer monitor.  I snatched that right up.

Offline Westinghouse

Re: Boxed Bike on Delta Airlines
« Reply #9 on: August 24, 2023, 08:54:55 am »
Every time I flew with a bicycle in a cardboard box when I got to my destination one axle of a wheel was protruding through a hole in the side of the box.