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Re: [SDCBC] no cost airline/bike travel  Jim Shaffer
 Dec 27, 1999 18:52 PST 
League of American Bicyclists (LAB) is one. Their travel agency offers
BFF on several airlines. See http://www.bikeleague.org

Also, Adventure Cycling Association has a couple of airlines with BFF
from their travel agency. See http://www.adv-cycling.org

I've used my BFF benefit with LAB's TA. Worked out great. I took my bike
and a B.O.B. bike trailer back to Newark, New Jersey & toured over to an
ECI class in Bethlehem, PA, last October.

A tip: when you get your paperwork from your TA, go down to your
departure airport a couple of days before your flight. TAKE YOUR
MEMBERSHIP CARD for the bike org you joined. (Because the ticket is
actually sold to the org with you as the passenger, so you gotta show
the card). Explain your baggage plan with a ticket agent. I went at 5:30
am and talked to a guy during a lull in the morning rush, since I was
leaving at 6:30 am 2 days later. I was taking my bike in a hardshell
"Pedal Pack" and the trailer in a 18x18x42 cardboard box (I found a
custom boxery-$35 for a double-wall, heavyduty box and four plastic
straps). But a bike box will work if you can't borrow a hardshell or
don't want to fork out $350 or so. He checked with his supervisor and
found out the bike could weigh up to 100 lbs and the box the std 66 lbs.
Naturally, I got the names of him and his supervisor in case of
problems.

The day I left, my wife took me to the San Diego Airport in the pickup.
I took the 2-wheel dolly and went up to the ticket counter at 5:15 am;
sure enough, same guy was on duty. I parked the big stuff right where
the line fed into the ticket counter (no sense dragging it through the
waiting line, right?), took the dolly back to my wife and sent her home.
I went through the line with my carryon stuff, and when I got to the
head of the line, sent folks behind me ahead until my ticket agent was
free and then went up to him. Talk about no problems! he remembered me,
handled my paperwork quickly (you've gotta sign a waiver on your bike),
gave me window seats all the way to Newark, called a Skycap (who I
tipped $5) and I was outta there. My personal rule: never, never, NEVER,
check your bike at the curb. They're generally clueless. Not unless you
can talk to somebody ahead of time on the curb like I did.

I should have checked with the ticket counter when I got to Newark for
the return flight, but I didn't. Having been through the drill in San
Diego helped, because I knew the rules and I had luggage tags on both
containers. It turned out I had a smooth checkin going home too, though.

If you don't have your own 2-wheeled dolly, snag one of those baggage
carts for big loads like mine if your airport has 'em. Often you can
find them free down at the baggage carousel before the airport people
stick them back in the coin-op racks, where they cost $1 or more. My
bike goes against the handlebar standing up, the trailer box goes in
front, and the carryon goes in the handlebar basket. Check with your
transportation at destination: my brother-in-law's Saturn stationwagon
had barely an inch of vertical clearance on both containers sliding in,
but they made it.

No question, travelling with a bike and a trailer is a BIG hassle. If
the Bike Friday people were smart, they'd team up with the BOB people
and work out a custom trailer that would work with 20" wheeled bikes,
just big enough for their Bike Friday models, instead of that mickey
mouse suitcase trailer they use last time I checked. Now that would be
an awesome rig. Might even buy one myself.

And for Uncle Jim's final travel tip, see the Traveling with Bikes
website at:
http://WWW.GFOnline.org/BikeAccess/default.cfm

Jim Shaffer, ECI #767-K-C
        
steven fox wrote:
 
i would like to know the name of the company one can join that allows a
cyclist to airline travel with his bike, with the bike traveling for
free.

thanks and happy new year to all!

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