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TheSarge

Bike Travel on Delta

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This came up on here a couple months ago when Delta announced that they were going to allow you to check a bike for the price of a regular bag.  I don't know if anyone has posted an experience, so thought I'd share.

Last week I flew Delta to Boston and took the bike.  I packed the bike in a box I got from Peddlers.  The Transition box is bigger than others I've used so packing was easier, and it still met the dimensional requirement of L+H+W<115".  Weight limit is 50lbs, which I didn't think would be a problem, but my Smuggler+helmet+camelbak+box came in right at 50lbs.

Leaving Austin, initially we tried to go to the skycap, because who wants to drag these big ass boxes inside, but he doesn't work for Delta and had no idea about the new policy.  So, we dragged the big ass boxes inside.  We got lucky at the counter and the first agent that was available knew about the policy and checked us in without any problems.  We then dragged the big ass boxes over to the oversized baggage area and we were good.

Returning from Boston, we skipped the skycap and went straight inside.  After dealing with some logistical differences in the check-in process, we got to the front of the line and had one agent yelling at us "You can't check that, those are oversized, we don't take bicycles, you can't cut line" (she was actually working with another customer and just chose to share her opinions).  The next agent that opened up (thankfully not bitchy lady) hadn't heard about the policy but he listened to our explanation and pulled up the policy.  After that he was very friendly and checked the bags for us.  We took them over to oversized baggage and all went well.

A couple of notes -
1) In both directions TSA cut open the boxes to verify the contents.  Nothing was missing and they actually did a better job taping up the boxes than I did.  But be aware, that is not the place to stash your weed.
2) It should go without saying, but make sure the guy picking you up at the other end has enough space for bike boxes and passengers.  We had measured beforehand but it was still a really tight fit and I'm pretty sure the passenger in the back with the bikes was not traveling legally.

Finally, I highly recommend the riding around the Boston area and Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT.  It was an amazing week of riding!

 

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Thanks for sharing. i was not aware of this policy. sounds like the check-in people are not particularly aware of it yet either. 

More details from Delta:

Bicycles

Bicycles, non-motorized touring or single seat racing, are allowed as checked baggage on most flights, with the exception of certain Delta Connection® carriers.  

  • Standard baggage allowance and fees based on cabin and travel region apply
  • Bicycles weighing over 50 lbs. will be charged the applicable excess weight fee
  • If the outside linear dimensions (length + width + height) exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm) or exceeds 100 lbs, the item will not be accepted
  • Items in excess of baggage allowance will be subject to additional or overweight baggage fees
  • A limited liability release form must be signed by the passenger in the case that the bike is not properly packed
  • If the bicycle is packaged in a hard shell case specifically designed for transporting bicycles, then a limited release form is not required
  • If the bicycle is packaged in a soft sided travel bag or anything other than a hard shell case, a limited release form will need to be signed

Delta is not responsible for damage noted at the time of check in or damage due to over packing the bag.

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The limited release for soft shell bags means I won't be flying my bike with Delta.  Alaska is a bit more generous in that regard.

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I used to travel for a living. Whenever an airline changes their policy, print out the policy and bring it with you. Saves plenty of hassles down the road. 

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I recently had a great experience flying Air Alaska with my bike. Rented an EVOC from BSS for $10/day. With case, bike, helmet, a few tools, a fly rod that never got used, and usually stuff in the CamelBak, it was about 60 lbs. The agent checking me in from Austin said "Oh is that a bike? $30, best deal in town." Didn't even weigh it. 

Similar story on the way back. She was less friendly and made me put it on the scale, but then she said, "I just like to put an overweight sticker on it to let them know. It's still $30."

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9 hours ago, notyal said:

I recently had a great experience flying Air Alaska with my bike. Rented an EVOC from BSS for $10/day. With case, bike, helmet, a few tools, a fly rod that never got used, and usually stuff in the CamelBak, it was about 60 lbs. The agent checking me in from Austin said "Oh is that a bike? $30, best deal in town." Didn't even weigh it. 

Similar story on the way back. She was less friendly and made me put it on the scale, but then she said, "I just like to put an overweight sticker on it to let them know. It's still $30."

They could have (by their rules) charged you the overweight/oversize fee which is I think $100.  I put not much with the bike other than a few tools for assembly.  On the way back I put dirty clothes in there.  They also didn't weigh my bag.

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24 minutes ago, AntonioGG said:

They could have (by their rules) charged you the overweight/oversize fee which is I think $100.  I put not much with the bike other than a few tools for assembly.  On the way back I put dirty clothes in there.  They also didn't weigh my bag.

Yeah, I was prepared to pay each way if they did upcharge me. I didn't weigh the case by itself, and my bike is no featherweight. I took all the tools and camelbak out when I was initially packing it, and it was still over 50lbs. So I just packed it heavy and hoped for the best.

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Have a buddy who travels with Delta for work and uses trips/points to take is XL sentinel in a EVOC XL bag. He says after all is said and done, it's not worth dragging the bike on an airline as there is always some sort of lack of understanding of fees and charges between employees and airports. He now just rents demo bikes or ships through fex ex beforehand.

We're trying to plan a trip to Quebec next summer using our miles on SWA. Unfortunately southwest has the crappiest provisions for taking bikes on a plane and any average sized MTB will never meet the linear inch requirements. We're probably just gonna do the box/ship thing from kinkos to kinkos through shipbikes.com. I can buy three boxes for the price of one EVOC bag and shipping will be cheaper than the $1K + for tickets on an airline that accepts larger bikes, and then still having to haggle at the counter. F@ck the airlines.

https://www.shipbikes.com/

l_3690_3690-00.jpg

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I just went through the shipbikes process to see how much my trip to Boston would have cost.  Without insurance or pick-up from the house, shipping came out to $118 each way.  Delta charged me $30 each way.  I'm willing to deal with a bitchy check-in agent for a $90 savings each way.

That said, I recognize that you have to take into account the difference in ticket price between carriers.  So, it's a case by case.

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Just now, TheSarge said:

I just went through the shipbikes process to see how much my trip to Boston would have cost.  Without insurance or pick-up from the house, shipping came out to $118 each way.  Delta charged me $30 each way.  I'm willing to deal with a bitchy check-in agent for a $90 savings each way.

That said, I recognize that you have to take into account the difference in ticket price between carriers.  So, it's a case by case.

Yes, when I looked into bike shipping in a bike box to the PNW, it was close to $300 round trip.  For $30 each way on Alaska, it was a no-brainer for me to buy the bag to keep and fly with it.  I just had to ride ~3 times during my trip to come out ahead (bag + bagagge fees =$420 ) vs shipping ( $300 ).  I've also rented bikes as well.  It just depends on how much I am planning to ride.  The other thing I didn't like about shipping, is how early you have to drop it off for you to get the cheapest price.  Even one day later was a huge increase in price.

I've gone with a huge bike box on Southwest airlines (well over linear size, and about 80lbs total) and I paid anywhere from $25 to $80 depending on the agent/airport.  Travel was roundtrips Austin to Albuquerque and Austin to Atlanta.

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Just now, TheSarge said:

I just went through the shipbikes process to see how much my trip to Boston would have cost.  Without insurance or pick-up from the house, shipping came out to $118 each way.  Delta charged me $30 each way.  I'm willing to deal with a bitchy check-in agent for a $90 savings each way.

That said, I recognize that you have to take into account the difference in ticket price between carriers.  So, it's a case by case.

I'd do the same for sure. Biggest frustration is just how uneducated the employees are on company policy, and that goes for businesses outside of the airlines as well. Try getting a price matched at blowes or the home despot sometime.

Shipbikes has been the cheapest way for me to send stuff. I use them for freight on just about everything i can. It's essentially access to a fed ex commercial account for a fee. Looked at bikesflights but they were out of their minds.

Sentinel + EVOC bag and gear was just under 70lbs so that has been the biggest issue for buddy flying on delta.

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3 minutes ago, AntonioGG said:

 

I've gone with a huge bike box on Southwest airlines (well over linear size, and about 80lbs total) and I paid anywhere from $25 to $80 depending on the agent/airport.  Travel was roundtrips Austin to Albuquerque and Austin to Atlanta.

I'd like to roll the dice on that but its such a crapshoot. How many times and any advice?

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It was exactly those 2 round trips only, then I didn't use that bike case for a long time.  IIRC $80 was the overweight charge at the time, so that was the max, which wasn't bad compared to any other option.  Just smile as you approach the counter.

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American also does the price of an extra bag for under 50 lbs. When I went to Seattle in July my Hightower in an XL EVOC with chain and pedals in suitcase was 52 and the fuckers wouldn’t let me slide even though my suitcase was only 40. Had to cough up the $100. So on the way back I stuffed everything including my carry on stuff in it.

I’ve done shipping vs flying and it just depends on where you are. If you can’t get to the place you shipped to same day as you land you can lose a ride day. And you may have to plan that last day around cleaning, packing up and getting to the shipping point before it closes. That logistics PITA has made me usually fly the bike.

Done renting too on trips with less than 3 ride days. You really have to do some leg work on finding decent bikes in some places you’d expect easy access to quality bikes. $100+ a day is about the norm, so 3 days riding is my cutoff for bringing my own usually.


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Finally, I highly recommend the riding around the Boston area and Kingdom Trails in East Burke, VT.  It was an amazing week of riding!
 


Way jealous! I originally bought a case for a trip a dozen years ago for a friends wedding in Burlington so I could ride the Kingdom Trails. Unfortunately it rained for over a week before we arrived so they closed the trails the whole time I had to ride out of town. Rode their sister trail system in Barre called Millstone Trails, which is basically on a series of reforested granite quarries, so weather proof. And rode a couple closer to Burlington in the Stowe/Waterbury area. Still want to go back!


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7 hours ago, AntonioGG said:

Just smile as you approach the counter.

That's something my wife is gonna have to be in charge of🤣

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I flew international on Delta with a bike.

The trip there was OK except for the foot shaped hole in the side of my bike box.

On the return trip, it looks like my bike box fell off the luggage tram and was dragged on the tarmac. Fortunately my frame was titanium or it would have been destroyed also.

Delta sucked.

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We took our bikes to the South Island of New Zealand earlier this year - Air New Zealand: Houston - Auckland - Queenstown. Bikes in Evoc bags, business class seats - zero charge. Plus, the wife's tires got a free wash going thru bio-security in Auckland.

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1 hour ago, Hugh said:

I flew international on Delta with a bike.

The trip there was OK except for the foot shaped hole in the side of my bike box.

On the return trip, it looks like my bike box fell off the luggage tram and was dragged on the tarmac. Fortunately my frame was titanium or it would have been destroyed also.

Delta sucked.

This is another concern i have with loading our rigs on a plane. Lots of fancy carbon bits for some less than gifted TSA employee to rummage through and hap haphazardly reseal. I was a regular traveler for work in a previous life, and loved every aspect of travel but flying. Its just a shitshow.

 

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26 minutes ago, Kyle said:

I thought this was going to be an Evil thread.

It is. I consider all airlines to be evil😂

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