The Chainlink

Time to revisit the bike shipping options discussion from 2013

I reviewed the discussion from July 2013 about bike shipping options.  Given the speed with which business come and go I thought I would float this around again to get an update.  Does anyone have experience with any of the bike shipping companies since last year that you can share with me.  In August I will be taking the above coupled tandem to France.  In the past I have put it in a single hard case, pictured on the right.  It weighs in at 75 pounds.  This used to work fine until the airlines placed a 50 pound weight limit and added fees for additional luggage.  The hassles of checking it through as luggage, not to mention TSA item checks, have me looking for a better solution.

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If you have an address in France what about using UPS/FedEx/DHL to ship it?

I thought of that because Bikeflight, LuggageToShip and others are all using the standard shipment expediters to get things over there.  So I called DHL for a quote.  Where I had a quote from Bikeflight for roundtrip passage of $690, the DHL quote for one way was $750.  Apparently these freight brokers get such a volume discount that they are less than half the price of doing business directly with UPS/DHL/FedEX. 

So what I am hoping to hear is the experience anyone has had working with one of the middle agents.

I'm curious what airline you're using and what their specific baggage policy is on sporting equipment?

What if you broke it down into two standard sized bike boxes and skipped the oversized baggage fees?

Kevin,

I generally fly KLM to Europe because I can get connecting flights to about anywhere that I can't fly directly to.  Their policy on sporting equipment is to treat it like an additional piece of luggage, which currently goes for $100 per piece per flight.  Luggage is limited to 50 pounds per piece.  The airlines used to have oversized baggage fees but in recent years they have eliminated this and now, anything over 50# goes airfreight which is several hundred dollars each way. 

I have two hard cases and for the last couple of years I have divided the tandem between the two in order to keep the weight limit to 50#.  On our current trip we will have 3 flight legs.  Now that KLM is at $100 a piece, we quickly run up a cost of $600 to get the bike over and back.

The potential advantage of a shipper is door-to-door service and I don't have to lug it through airports and possibly not deal with some of TSA's treatments.

We used Bikeflights in March to ship 3 full bikes and a frame from Seattle to Cleveland. Had a great experience. The boxes went with FedEx, which kept us notified of their progress. The price was low. And the delivery was right on time.

I'd heard on some forums that the worst thing about Bikeflights was that delays sometimes occurred, and of course that's an issue if you're shipping a cycle for a race. But that wasn't an issue for this move. I think they offer some refund if it's late too, so we kinda hoped it would be for an even lower rate!

Although I have not flown British air to europe for a couple of years,they used to allow bikes for free as checked bagged.

There were some conditions. But none were, extreme ,remove pedals, turn handle bars,wrap bike,etc.

Recently I took a trip with Air Alaska from ORD to Juneau. Their rules were ridiculous. It would have cost me over $300 to travel with the bike and lug it around terminals during connections. A folding bike or a coupled bike fits in a 62 inch regulation suitcase. With an upgrade to first class($50) one gets two free check in luggages. And problem solved.

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