Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFURT

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Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFURT

Postby elStado » Mon Mar 19, 2012 10:58 pm

Looking at booking flights to go to Germany for a couple of months from early August to late Sept. Would like to take my bike on this trip so I can do some local and maybe longer distance touring.

Noticed most airline companies want to charge an arm and a leg for special luggage like a bicycle.

Lufthansa airlines want around $200 for the bike for each direction of travel.

KLM allow a single item up to 23kg, which would be ok except that I wanted to bring my main bag as well for general clothes and gear which will be checked in and weigh ~12kg. Excess items will cost +100 EUR.

Other airlines are much the same.

Can anyone recommend an airline that is good with excess/oversize baggage and isn't super expensive all up? I should have my new Vivente World Randonneur this time next week and it would be nice to take it over with me.
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by BNA » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:07 am

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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby Meditator » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:07 am

I"ve noticed you have been looking at the more expensive airlines. Try looking at cheaper Asian airlines such as cathay pacific, Malaysia ... and thai for a start. These are generally pretty good airlines and will charge you excess if you go over the baggage limit but don't usually charge you for a bike just becuase its a bike. But do check their baggage policy on the website before booking.

Other bargain basement airlines may charge you something for your bike but not so much. These airlines have a low starting fare and everything else is added on to it - seat booking, extra luggage, meals and so on but it still all adds up pretty cheap.

I don't really know the names of them apart from asia air which no longer flies to europe. But dig around and you will find them.

Also ask on thorntree lonely planet.com on the bike branch.
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Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFURT

Postby RonK » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:24 am

Friends usually travel to France with bikes using Emirates. I think they have a 30 kg baggage allowance.
When looking at ticket prices it important to consider baggage charges - the cheapest ticket price could be the dearer overall.


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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby Aushiker » Tue Mar 20, 2012 12:15 pm

Another option is China Southern who are now offering flights out of Perth to Europe. I believe Toofat is flying with them in the near future.

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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Tue Mar 20, 2012 4:01 pm

Malasia Airlines = 20kg total, pay excess for any more weight. Bike included as normal.

Pay 75 EUR bike fee for MA flights ex. Europe airport. Classed as extra baggage.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby il padrone » Tue Mar 20, 2012 6:28 pm

RonK wrote:Friends usually travel to France with bikes using Emirates. I think they have a 30 kg baggage allowance.

+1 to Emirates. A few friends of mine have flown with them due to their higher baggage limit.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby scirocco » Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:17 pm

il padrone wrote:
RonK wrote:Friends usually travel to France with bikes using Emirates. I think they have a 30 kg baggage allowance.

+1 to Emirates. A few friends of mine have flown with them due to their higher baggage limit.


+2 to Emirates. Have been to Europe twice with them in the last few years. With the 30kg limit you can avoid any extra charges. I can get the personal baggage down to about 14kg (enough for 3 weeks in European summer) and bike in cardboard box about 16kg.

But they are more expensive than the cheapy airlines. I only really fly them because I like the flight time split through Dubai and the departure timetable. The baggage is just a bonus. If cost is more important than time/connections/convenience then go with Malaysian or Air Asia.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:21 pm

scirocco wrote:+2 to Emirates. Have been to Europe twice with them in the last few years. With the 30kg limit you can avoid any extra charges. I can get the personal baggage down to about 14kg (enough for 3 weeks in European summer) and bike in cardboard box about 16kg.


Yep, Emirates, Finnair and KLM seem to be the best two options. Really comes down to which airline has other good features, lowest total price and the least amount of time in transit.

Hopefully I'll be able to get the bike down to around 20kg with some gear packed into it, my main luggage at 10kg and my carry on around 6kg. Least amount to haul around the better (I am doing more than just bike tour.. so I need to take over some regular gear too).

But they are more expensive than the cheapy airlines. I only really fly them because I like the flight time split through Dubai and the departure timetable. The baggage is just a bonus. If cost is more important than time/connections/convenience then go with Malaysian or Air Asia.


True. As a side note Air Asia had a very good value oversize/special baggage policy, alas they have suspended all flights to Europe.. real bummer as I flew with them last time and it only cost $1500 all up.. this time I am looking at ~$2,200+
Last edited by elStado on Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby ColinOldnCranky » Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:24 pm

I flew Air Mauritius to Mauritius recently (duh!) and had zero trouble. In fact when I rang in advance to see if there were any special considerations and to find out costs of excess and if the unicycle would be included in my allwoance the guy advised what the current cutoff was for baggage in excess of the stated 23kg allowance.

Very easy.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby Meditator » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:14 pm

elStado wrote:Malasia Airlines = 20kg total, pay excess for any more weight. Bike included as normal.

Pay 75 EUR bike fee for MA flights ex. Europe airport. Classed as extra baggage.


That will be an airport charge then due to the baggage handlers.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby RobertFrith » Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:51 pm

Emirates. I flew with them to Italy last year. Best price AND 30kg of baggage, hard to beat. I needed every last gram too!
I did stumble across a great baggage comparison site back then, had a fossick, can't find it now
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:24 pm

RobertFrith wrote:Emirates. I flew with them to Italy last year. Best price AND 30kg of baggage, hard to beat. I needed every last gram too!
I did stumble across a great baggage comparison site back then, had a fossick, can't find it now


Here's my updated one (you may have to zoom out your browser to show the whole table):

Image

EMirates look like a good go as they have very flexible and generous baggage allowances, as well as the fastest, most direct no-fuss flights.

However if I can get this flight with Lufthansa for $1,800 (on special) even taking into account the extra ~$380 AUD it will cost to take the bike with me (150 EUR, ~$190 each way).

Total cost would be ~$2,180 with Lufthansa and they are also more direct and almost as fast as Emirates. My one concern is that Singapore Airlines will be doing the flight from Perth to Singapore before I get onto a Lufthansa plane.. not sure how baggage allowances will come into that. Another reason why Emirates are good.. simplicity of a single airline the whole trip.

The bike should be around 23-25kg if I load it up, maybe 10-12kg worth of my own gear and 5kg in my carry on. I normally travel light, but having to take over all this bike, camping and cooking gear will weigh me down quite a bit.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Wed Mar 21, 2012 11:30 pm

elStado wrote:Total cost would be ~$2,180 with Lufthansa and they are also more direct and almost as fast as Emirates. My one concern is that Singapore Airlines will be doing the flight from Perth to Singapore before I get onto a Lufthansa plane.. not sure how baggage allowances will come into that. Another reason why Emirates are good.. simplicity of a single airline the whole trip.


As I feared you have to pay Singapore Airlines for the first part of the trip, they charge 6xkg for 15kg and then for every kg over (at $22 per kg) , and then 150 EUR coming back ex. Germany.

So it will be around $270 there, and $190 back. I might even have to pay Lufthansa on the way there on top of Singapore Airlines.

Now I have to consider.. is it really worth spending $700 extra to go with Emirates just to take my bike over? Or should I just pocket the money and buy a bike over there to use and then sell it before I leave again..? Hardly seems worth it since I'll only be touring for 4 weeks and doing a few other local rides in during the other few weeks.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby Aushiker » Thu Mar 22, 2012 12:24 pm

elStado wrote:
elStado wrote:Now I have to consider.. is it really worth spending $700 extra to go with Emirates just to take my bike over? Or should I just pocket the money and buy a bike over there to use and then sell it before I leave again..? Hardly seems worth it since I'll only be touring for 4 weeks and doing a few other local rides in during the other few weeks.


Did you look at China Southern? As I said early I belive Toofat is flying with them and I am pretty sure he is taking his bike. Might be worth talking to him about his arrangements.

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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby -Stefan- » Thu Mar 22, 2012 2:01 pm

Was very happy with Malaysian,It's 75 for a bike but they didn't charge me on the way here!
Anyone got any experience with Perth checkins to Europe for Malaysian?!

In Paris I could bring my oversized luggage to the drop off myself (which means adding all bags up to 32 kgs :)
This works at most airports, you checkin and have to bring your back yourself to oversized. Make sure not to go over 32 or they won't take it!

Will this work in Perth?!
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:20 pm

Aushiker wrote:
elStado wrote:
elStado wrote:Now I have to consider.. is it really worth spending $700 extra to go with Emirates just to take my bike over? Or should I just pocket the money and buy a bike over there to use and then sell it before I leave again..? Hardly seems worth it since I'll only be touring for 4 weeks and doing a few other local rides in during the other few weeks.


Did you look at China Southern? As I said early I belive Toofat is flying with them and I am pretty sure he is taking his bike. Might be worth talking to him about his arrangements.

Andrew


I am not bothering with CS for the simple reason that they are not much cheaper and stop off at about 3/4 places with a variety of carriers (Virgin, KLM etc) each charging fees for excess baggage), resulting in a ~40hr trip instead of a 17-20hr trip. Not worth the hassle. Plus they seem dodgy, after what happened top Air Asia (they suddenly ceased all flights to Europe as it was infeasible) I am cautious about Asian air lines that are going international.

ED: I spoke to Singapore Airlines today and they said the weight was combined.. so effectively I can have a 15kg bike and a 5kg bag and not pay any extra. However it is $60 USD per kg excess fee. So if I had a 10kg bag and a 25kg bike I would have to pay the 6xkg fee (6x$60= $360) which would give me an additional 15kg of excess to use, a combined 35kg (no single item can weigh more than 32kg).

Really quite annoying to try and work out the logistics of overseas bicycle touring.. I am half considering to not bother with it or maybe just buy a cheap, second hand 'trekking' bike over there in Germany for a few hundred and just use that and then sell it when I leave again (or give it away). It would be nice to take my new VWR though... as that was the whole point in buying a special touring bike! :roll:
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby polishbiker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 7:46 pm

I am in a similar situation, thinking Europe in July.

Emirates seems to be the best with 30+7kg option.

Does anyone know what the deal is with packing a bicycle with Emirates? Box dimensions etc? Nothing really on their website
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby scirocco » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:22 pm

My box was 104x80x28cm and Emirates didn't bat an eyelid in Oz or in Europe. Pedals, bars and both wheels off and down each side of the frame with lots of padding. I wouldn't use a Qantas box without cutting it down - they are unnecessarily big.

If you want to take the bike on European trains you can take it as regular luggage for no extra charge but needs to be 120x90 or less or they may refuse as it won't fit in the racks. Some trains can carry a fully built up bike in reserved bike areas, but a lot of trains do not.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby polishbiker » Fri Mar 23, 2012 8:41 pm

Thanks for that.

I probably would need a quantas sized box, with all the racks and panniers the bike needs a lot of room but as far as i know qantas would only sell bike box if you are flying with them so may need to get one from a bike shop.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Mon Mar 26, 2012 8:40 pm

Looks like KLM are also ruled out. Spoke to them today and was informed I would have to pay whoever was flying to Singapore (Qantas) or KL (Malaysia Airlines) the excess fee (around $15kg with Malaysia Airlines or $825 for Qantas) and then an additional $100 to KLM. So it's really down to flying with Lufthansa and paying around $500 extra for excess baggage or flying with Emirates and paying around $2,540 in total (for a more direct flight too). It seems that when you are flying from Australia as all the major European airlines only connect from an Asian hub, so you have to pay the extra to the Asian airline taking you from Perth to Asia.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby tmac100 » Tue Mar 27, 2012 9:14 pm

I do a lot of flying with BA and thus have a FF status, that allows me two 32 kg pieces of luggage and access te their lounges. Good for me when between 2 BA airports. :D

Unfortunately, the baggage allowance does NOT transfer to other Oneworld flights like Cathay..

Lets face it, Emirates is out to max it's market share. But then their flight crew is not paid Aussie nor UK, nor Canadian unionized wages... Their costs are much lower than Aussie costs as well. Remember that when you go cheap you are really offloading on your nation that provides you with an incredible life and...

Yes but doesn't wash... No guilt, but you make your choices as to who you fly with. I will fly BA into/outta OZ this year. I also dislike Emirates because on the 3 times I have flown with them their seats were cramped and I couldn't even have a glass of wine with my dinner - even though I asked several times. Finally on the 3rd time I got a glass but I was into the dessert. Many, though, find the service excellent, but for me it was 3 strikes and out.. Rant mode is now temporarily neutered :D
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Tue Mar 27, 2012 10:25 pm

tmac100 wrote:I do a lot of flying with BA and thus have a FF status, that allows me two 32 kg pieces of luggage and access te their lounges. Good for me when between 2 BA airports. :D

Unfortunately, the baggage allowance does NOT transfer to other Oneworld flights like Cathay..

Lets face it, Emirates is out to max it's market share. But then their flight crew is not paid Aussie nor UK, nor Canadian unionized wages... Their costs are much lower than Aussie costs as well. Remember that when you go cheap you are really offloading on your nation that provides you with an incredible life and...

Yes but doesn't wash... No guilt, but you make your choices as to who you fly with. I will fly BA into/outta OZ this year. I also dislike Emirates because on the 3 times I have flown with them their seats were cramped and I couldn't even have a glass of wine with my dinner - even though I asked several times. Finally on the 3rd time I got a glass but I was into the dessert. Many, though, find the service excellent, but for me it was 3 strikes and out.. Rant mode is now temporarily neutered :D


Emirates are one of the most expensive options (flight price alone). I have no loyalty to Quantas and am definitely not paying and extra ~$850 to take my bike with them.
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Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFURT

Postby SmellyTofu » Wed Mar 28, 2012 4:37 am

I did some searching and on Virgin's web site, they say bikes travel free and not part of the check
In luggage allowance.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby elStado » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:12 am

SmellyTofu wrote:I did some searching and on Virgin's web site, they say bikes travel free and not part of the check
In luggage allowance.


I didn't know they had flights to Singapore, let alone to Frankfurt? Just looked on the website and nothing is avaliable.
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Re: Best airline company to take a bicycle with? PER>FRANKFU

Postby Aushiker » Wed Mar 28, 2012 10:17 am

elStado wrote:
SmellyTofu wrote:I did some searching and on Virgin's web site, they say bikes travel free and not part of the check
In luggage allowance.


I didn't know they had flights to Singapore, let alone to Frankfurt? Just looked on the website and nothing is avaliable.


They go to Munich; not close enough? :) but you need to watch as they code share ... to Singapore would be likely on Singapore Airlines if they offer that connection at all.

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