On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Air France (you can share your experiences here).
Contents on this page
- Air France - Bicycle Experience
- Air France is fantastic for travelling with bike
- Update: Air France claim for lost bicycles
- Air France lost our bicycles for five days
- Flying with bike on Delta/Air France
- Two bicycles with Air France (one folding, one regular)
- Flying Air France with a bicycle
- Website for Airline Bike Check-in policy and fees
- Avoid Air France if you can
- Air France charge for bikes in boxes
- Air France charging overweight for bicycles in suitcases
- Air France
- Air France –TGV – TRICO Iron Case Reviews
- Corsair and air France
- Air France - good but issues
- Air France from Lebanon
- Recent trip to Marseille
- Velo Loco - Bespoke Cycling Holidays & Bike Rental in France
- Taking Bike to Europe
- Into Venice out of Florence
- Nice Airport a good place to start a bike trip
- S&S Folding bikes on Air France
- EXCELLENT service on Air France checking bike as baggage
- Air France
- Miami to Paris and back via Air France
- BikeFriday since 9/11
- Air France
- deflated, inflated, boxed, whatever
- Air France misroutes bikes
- Air France Damage Indifference Havana-Manchester
- Don't use the carry on method!
- Continental Airlines
Air France - Bicycle Experience
My bike failed to make it with rest of baggage in both directions from US to France. It was delivered two days after we arrived in France. The bike again failed to show up with our regular baggage on our return trip to US. As of this writing (3 days later) I do not have my bike yet.
Air France lost baggage service in France was pretty good. Service was terrible in the US. I would recommend calling Air France baggage in France if they lose your bike. (0033 1 55 69 84 68)
I flew business class that entitled me to 'Priority Baggage' and also paid the $150 fee for the bicycle. Apparently priority carries little weight since they blew it both ways.
I also had to call them three times prior to the trip to provide details on the bike.
My recommendation would be to avoid Air France if you want to take your bike on a holiday.
Air France is fantastic for travelling with bike
I travelled with my bike from Boston to India (with a stopover in Paris) in 2010. Not a cent extra - no problems. As it is bike touring in a foreign country can be expensive but Air France eases the pain by not giving any hassels. Think all airlines may be that friendly to bikes? - wrong. Travelled from Boston to Denver by United - paid $200 each way ($100 for the bike & $100 for excess weight). Not all airlines are bike friendly - Air France is. Guess what Air France, you have a customer for life.Sanjay Jaiman, October 17, 2011
Update: Air France claim for lost bicycles
On a previous post I said that Air France had delayed our bikes for five days. On our return I submitted a claim and just received a check covering all expenses during our delay, including hotel bill for 3 days, clothing purchase, alternate transportation, and phone bill.
I was pleased with their fairly quick and complete response. Their customer service has somewhat redeemed itself in my book...
Air France lost our bicycles for five days
When traveling Portland to Athens via Air France, our bicycles were delayed in the Seattle airport, then in CDG airport, causing a five day delay in our trip. The bikes are S&S coupled and are contained in boxes built to fit airline regular luggage specifications.
Air France has been very unresponsive to any communication via telephone - Paris numbers do not answer, the fax number on the website is incorrect, local AF numbers in Athens reach an intermediary with no answers. The fax and email sent to the local AF office has gone without response.
I can not recommend Air France as a carrier, since, if something goes wrong, you will not have any recourse.
Full details can be seen on my website, in the Greece article.
Flying with bike on Delta/Air France
Spent the first week of September cycling the Pyrenees ... what a great time - some of them cols are REALLY steep!
Anyhow, traveled on Delta to Paris with an Air France connection to Toulouse. Departed from Cincinnati I'ntl on Delta - used their kiosk to check in. While checking in, it stated that if I had special baggage that I should select the "Special Baggage" option, but there was no option on the screen. So I selected 2 regular bags (one suitcase and the bike box - Performance Bike hard-case box). When I wheeled the bike box up to the counter, the DELTA rep asked why I had not selected the special bag option since it was obvious I had a bike. I told him the option didn't show up. He muttered something like they should really charge me $175 each way for the box, but since I had bought my tickets before July 30th he waived the fee ... bike flew free to Toulouse!! Had to wait a VERY ANXIOUS 20-25 minutes (after all other luggage had been picked up) at baggage claim in Toulouse before the cargo handler wheeled the bike in from the outside (not cool as it's a $6K bike).
On the way back I tried to talk the Air France rep into letting it fly for free since Delta hadn't charged me on the way there ... she tried everything she could, but I ended up having to pay 150 euro to get it home. Overall not too bad considering I expected to pay $600 round trip for the bike (what a rip-off - my bike box most certainly weighed less than most other bags even though it is oversized); I think I just lucked out.
Bike made it there and back with zero damage ... box had some minor scrapes and one of the latches looks like it had been pried open (TSA couldn't get it open the regular way??).
Two bicycles with Air France (one folding, one regular)
We went from Toronto to Douala via Paris CDG (with a 2 night layover) and back again with both a boxed bicycle and a Dahon folding bicycle in a suitcase. Here are some comments:
- At Toronto YYZ they immediately knew that we had a bicycle in the box. They automatically made us pay $150 for it. However, since we had a 2-day layover before continuing on to Douala I asked if I'd be charged again for the 2nd leg and they provided another receipt for that portion. SO IF YOU HAVE A LAYOVER BE SURE YOU ASK FOR A RECEIPT FOR THE SECOND LEG IF YOU GET CHARGED.
- My Dahon, even though oversized and slightly overweight, was not even blinked at by the staff.
- FYI, at CDG you can store excess baggage at a place called Baggages du Monde for a daily fee (15 Euros per piece per day) since you can't check it all the way through to your final destination. They will take it off-sight for storage and bring it back at the time you specify for pick-up.
- Leaving CDG for Douala, I never had to haul out my receipt for that portion: we confirmed it was a bicycle when asked and it went merrily on its way without an attempt at charging us. Ditto for the Dahon in its case.
- Leaving Douala we had stuffed my Dahon case so it was well over its weight and size limit. The airline didn't say anything. They also didn't charge for bicycle in its box.
So all this to say that your experience is likely going to vary based on the airport and maybe even who is working that day!
Flying Air France with a bicycle
A friend and I purchased a tickets in April for a French cycling trip. We both used Trico Iron Cases, for the record. In Chicago (O'Hare), we were charged the $150 fee, but were told two different months for the initiation of the new surcharge. Odd.
My friend and I returned at different times. He flew direct from Montpellier to Chicago, and was charged 150 Euros for the return leg. A week later I flew from Montpellier to Paris, and was charged the 20 Euro bike fee (over luggage limit, as I was alone and had two checked bags. I would not have been charged, however, had I a companion, the clerk said. We each would have had one checked bag.) Curiously, I was not charged at all for the return leg from DeGaulle to O'Hare. So be advised that yes, the new policy is in effect but its implementation seems to vary based on where and who you check in with. (I would add that it helps to be able to banter in French with the check-in person).
It seems that across the board, airlines have been initiating bicycle surcharges, with no exemptions given for a bicycle packed in something such as an Iron Case, which at most airports comes and goes on the same conveyor as luggage. I find this unfair, and intend to follow up with Air France about this matter. If something happens, I will update this entry.
I have also heard of people negotiating with a carrier to have the fee waived. Presenting an airline with loss of $150-$300 for your bicycle, or $2000 for your round-trip ticket can sometimes be effective.
Good luck, everyone.
Website for Airline Bike Check-in policy and fees
I found the following site that lists the policies and charges.
I called two airlines that were possible options for me from the US to France.
Northwest, which I have flown to France four times with bike with no charge until last year, now charges 50$. (the 150$ listed on that site is for tandems.
Then I phoned Air France to confirm the info on that site, it is 150 EUROS one-way for Trans-Atlantic Flights. Comes to about 400 dollars round-trip.
Just thought I pass that along.
"Official" airline regulations are all very well, but often not known or understood by the airline staff. -- GF
Avoid Air France if you can
While planning a bike tour in Czech Republic we foolishly jumped at a low ticket price before comparing airline policies on transporting bikes. We purchased our ticket with Air France to our deep and abiding regret.
Here is the word on Air France's bike policy straight from la bouche du cheval:
Bikes are now considered excess baggage - i.e. you can take two full suitacases and the bike. The flat fee for taking a bike from the US to Europe is $150 per bike each way. This covers you from start to finish as long as you are travelling on one ticket (e.g. our ticket is for DC to Prague via Paris and back again, so we'd pay $300 altogether).
The bike must be boxed and weigh less than 23kg/50#. The dimensions of the box must be L 175cm, W 21.5cm, H 86cm. If your bike weighs between 23kg and 32kg (and don't forget the weight of the box itself) the fee goes up to $200. Pedals must be removed, handlebars parallel to the frame, front wheel dismounted and tied to the frame, tires deflated.
Weight and size must be provided to Air France ahead of time so that they can reserve cargo space for your bikes.
Of course, if you weigh 300 pounds and are carting two massive suitcases and a bulging rollaboard carry-on - NO WORRIES! Grr..
Air France charge for bikes in boxes
AF charge for bikes even if you don't have other bagage to check in. It cost me â¬40 to take the bike from Stockholm / Arlanda - Paris Charles de Gaulle - Geneva and â¬20 on the way home.
The bike was in a normal bike cardboard box and I had no other bagage to check in (24 kg). I should have taken a regular suit case with protection pads, clothes etc. and not left things at home since I had to pay for the bike regardles.
It is no problem to travel with foldable/kevlar MTB tires in the carry on bagage but pedals raised some concern at CDG (but one of the security staff was a cyclist so he let it go with out questions, no problem checkin in at ARN). On the way home I packed the pedals in the bike box. This was in late August 2006.
Air France charging overweight for bicycles in suitcases
I flew Air France to Amsterdam and from Paris in July and August, 2006. I was charged $25 (to) and 25 Euros (from) for my BikeFriday SatRDay in its airline regulation suitcase becase they said it was overweight. The website clearly states that each piece of luggage must be 32 kilograms (70.5 pounds) or there are overweight charges. When I got back, I weighed the suitcase on my home scale and it was 54.5 pounds. Next time I'll print out the webpage, call to confirm and ask for a supervisor. A word to the wise...Mary, August 23, 2006
please note as from Nov 05 Air France now charge for transporting cycles, 40 Euros within Europe, 80 Euros on intercontinental each way.
The same applies on KLM
Air France –TGV – TRICO Iron Case Reviews
My wife and I did another bike trip in France, this time in Provence. Here are our traveling with our bikes experiences this time, some good, some bad:
Air France: We flew Air France, Miami/CDG then CDG/Nice, then in reverse. Air France was again great on each leg of the trip about the bikes, which were packed in TRICO Iron cases. The bikes arrived in good shape (not the TRICO case as discussed below). In Nice a number of other people checking in had bikes in cases; the Air France check in people were completely blase about the whole thing.
TGV: We took the TGV train from Nice to Avingon and after the bike trip from Avignon to Antibes. The Nice/Avignon trip was uneventful. I put the bike cases in an empty space just inside the passenger compartment side of the sliding doors (no room for the cases in the luggage area). No on said a word to us, including the ticket guy who asked whose bike they were. However, on the Avignon to Antibes trip, the ticket guy made me come to the back of the compartment with him where he told me the bike cases were too big and not permitted on the TGV. I told him that I had taken these cases on TGV only the week before with no problem. As my French was bad and his English only a little better, we had a real communication problem. I did print out the "Train + Velo" page from the SCNF website, but the guy did not care. The discussion escalated as he wanted to charge me 45 euros per case as oversized luggage and I was not happy about that. I asked him what would happen if I refused to pay. "The gendarmes will be called and you will be arrested" was his response. Great. I was able to negotiate him down to 1 case at 45 euros and I did not spend the night in a French jail, much to my wife's relief.
TRICO Iron Case: I was not thrilled with this case, although it did protect both bikes very well. Two of the straps broke on the plane ride over, which, although no affecting the protective integrity of the case, prevented the top shell from form fitting with the bottom shell. Also, my 58 frame just barely fit in the case and my rear derailleur cable ended up getting bent on the trip back, which meant a trip to the bike store to replace the housing mount. I will be e-mailing TRICO with my complaints.
Biking in Provence is amazing and we highly recommend it. We went with Backroads, but there are lots of other companies and plenty of solo riders.
Corsair and air France
I just saw that somebody said that Corsair is a charter operating for Air France. It's not thue. Corsair is a French charter ailine, operating on his own. It has a bad reputation for luggages. Air France is a bit better but the after sale service is very good. They pay all the bills you send to repair a broken bike.Christophe, June 10, 2005
Air France - good but issues
Just flew Air France from SFO to Paris-CDG and onto Bordeaux, then Barcelona to Paris-CDG and return to SFO. The good news is that the bikes travelled without extra cost and arrived with us in good shape. But we had some issues on both ends.
SFO: Air France at the airport said they did not have any boxes and sent me to the 'Airport Travel Agency' to get them. The 'Airport Travel Agency' at SFO in the International terminal is a service company that boxes items to go on planes and provides other passenger services. They do not have bike boxes. The owner directed me to try Delta an United, trying the baggage service centers of each. Delta had boxes but I had to go up and stand in the ticket line to purchase. The boxes were large - large enough to handle a bike with just bars turned and pedals removed. The Air France agent balked at the size of the boxes and then turned to the agent next to her to ask, in French, how to handle it. He was obnoxious and told her they were too large and we would have to pay a surcharge [why do they think we do not understand them if they speak a language other than English?]. She relayed the information, I balked and sent the issue to the supervisor who said no problem, no charge, all they needed was the weight of each box.
Barcelona: We have an early flight, too early for the train to the airport (only 40 minutes from scheduled arrival of first train to flight departure), but we arrived in Barcelona 3 days ahead of schedule. I called Air France's Spain office and the Barcelona office and got permission to check in the day before the flight. But when we showed up at the airport they refused. Their only options were to try the first train and hope we arrived in time to box the bikes and check-in, or to store the bikes overnight in the storage lockers in Terminal B then taxi out early to box and check-in. Lockers were far too small for a bike. The airline folks at the airport were fairly non-sympathetic and not willing to provide what their office managers had already approved. We had to box at the hotel and get a large taxi to take us and the boxed bikes to the airport.
Air France from Lebanon
Last year, I flew from Beyrut via Paris to Stuttgart. It was kind of last minute. They neither charged me anything nor did I have to put my bike in a box. Just the opposite, I did not have to take off anything or so.
Only the security insisted to deflate the tyres. I promised to do it, but forgot - they did, too.
Recent trip to Marseille
My wife and I flew from Boston to Marseille via Paris on Air France in June 2004. We packed our two bikes in Trico hard cases. We have used these Trico cases for five European trips now, and they are excellent.
The bikes were automatically transferred from Paris to Marseille without going through customs in Paris (!). The Trico boxes arrived on the same belt as our two suitcases in Marseille. No damage at all.
The US Transportation Safety Administration opened and inspected the bike boxes after we checked them at Logan airport in Boston. We know this because the inspector left notes inside the boxes. They did confiscate our CO2 cartidges.
We were not asked to pay any fees to ship the bikes on Air France.
We packed a Rhode Gear bike rack that folded flat in one of our two suitcases. At the airport we assembled the bikes, stored the empty bike boxes at Hall 1 in the Marseille airport for a charge of 8.00 Euros/day, and then put the bikes on the back of the rental car using the Rhode Gear rack. By taking a rack with us, we avoided having to rent a much larger car.
Wonderful week of touring Provence, including a climb up Mt. Ventoux.
No problems with the bikes on the return to the US either. The bottom line:
1. Air France did not charge us for shipping the bikes
2. Taking a folding bike rack saved $$$ on the rental car
3. Trico boxes did a good job at protecting the bikes
Velo Loco - Bespoke Cycling Holidays & Bike Rental in France
You want a cycling holiday in France, perhaps the Pyrenees, but the logistics are daunting? Velo Loco helps with transportation, rental of road, recumbent, touring and tandem bikes as well as offering support, accommodation and free advice. Ask us about your next holiday in northern Spain, France and Andorra.David Sewell, April 13, 2004
Taking Bike to Europe
Found on: rec.bicycles.misc
I did it 2 weeks ago. I flew West Palm -> Baltimore (South West), 1 day stopover Baltimore -> Iceland (Icelandair) 3 day stopover Iceland-> Denmark (IcelandAir) 1 day stopover Denmark -> Paris (Air France).
I had my bike in a soft case and I used hot water pipe insulation (Home Depot $1.29) around the frame to add protection without adding weight. I stuffed the case with clothes as well. Therefore it was my only piece of checked luggage.
Southwest charged me $40 dollars.
Because it was my only checked luggage, IcelandAir didn't charge extra for it. Ditto for AirFrance (although because I didn't warn them in advance that I was travelling with a bike, they had to check first to see if there was enough space in the plane for it on the flight with me).
Because I made stopovers, I left the bike at BWI for 24 hours in the care of Southwest. They held it for me free of charge, but because of security reasons, I couldn't even touch the case once it came into the baggage claim area.
I had to take the bike with me into Rekyavik on the airport shuttle since there was no place to store it at the Keflavik airport. The guy there suggested I just leave it out at the luggage area for 3 days. He said not to worry about it, I was in Iceland. I almost went for it, but maybe with one of my other bikes...
I checked the bike at the Copenhagen airport for 40DKK ($5) without problems.
All in all no problems. I've always found it easier, cheaper and more hassle free taking a bike on planes in Europe than in the States.
Into Venice out of Florence
In September 2003, my wife and I flew American Airlines from Chicago O'Hare to Paris DeGaulle on to Venice via Air France. We had boxed the bikes and they were treated as 1 piece of checked luggage for each of us. No fees. No problems.
We returned same airlines from Florence, we accepted a bump in Florence for compensation. Upon return to Chicago, the bikes had not made the correct plane because of our decision to take the bump they got delayed. The next day they were delivered to our home in Milwaukee. Congrats due to American Airlines and Air France. No fees charged and no hassle.
Nice Airport a good place to start a bike trip
Recently concluded a 12 day bike trip in Provence with one other cyclist and had no problems arriving or going home via Nice airport. Access to nearby roadways and accomodations was relatively easy. The left luggage facility, located in Terminal 1, is open and welcoming to bike boxes. Please note: you may arrive at Terminal 2, in which case you can load your luggage onto a free airport shuttle bus for the three minute ride to Terminal 1. Left luggage storage fee is 3.05 euros/day or part thereof regardless of item size and is payable upon item removal. For more information see the airport web site at www.nice.aeroport.fr/services_en/bagages/ .
Worth Remembering: (1) the airport web site indicates that you can leave luggage until 10pm, but signs in front of the left luggage office suggested they closed at 9:30 pm, (2) staff at this office speak only French though they had no problem dealing with English speakers (3) you must show the attendant a passport along with your departing plane ticket or, if using e-tickets, a convincing looking travel itinerary with a clearly readable departure date.
Airline - my fellow cyclist and I traveled from Atlanta and Dulles airports in the U.S. on Air France and they did not give us any problems when taking the bikes. The boxes arrived nearly unmarred and the contents remained exactly as they had been packed.
Accomodations - If you arrive without reservations as we did then you can have a room booked for you at the Nice city tourism desk inside Terminal one near the bus pickup/dropoff point. No charge for the service. If you don't want to deal with the congestion of Nice and you have arrived early in the day, head west (follow signs for "Cannes" and "Antibes") out of the airport along the coast road to the less congested and numerous beach resort towns starting with Cagnes Sur Mer.
S&S Folding bikes on Air France
We flew from Ohio to Spokane, WA in August, and from Ohio to Madrid, Spain via Newark this September. We have S&S coupled bikes which fit in airline sized cases.
Here are some tips:
1. You have to anticipate that in the US, Homeland Security will open the case for inspection. Therefor, pack your bike as simply as possible, and don't put a lot of junk in the case. You want to make it possible for them to view the contents without unpacking the case. Also, you want to make it easy for them to close the case.
2. I put an 8 1/2 by 11 typed notice in the cases advising them that it was a precision bicycle carefully packed, that it should not be forced to close, and that if they had problems to page me or call me on my cell phone, and I also listed my flight information.
3. On the Madrid trip, I also put a cable tie through the lock hasp so I could tell if the cases had been opened -- they were outbound. The cases were not inspected home bound, nor during our interanl Iberia flight.
4. Generally speaking, subject to change, your bike in an oversize case will fly across the Atlantic as your second piece of luggage at no extra charge -- provided you are within the weight allowances -- Note that 100 pounds appears to be the maximum, but I try to keep the cases as light as possible to avoid the cases being thrown around as much. Check with Air France as to size and weight limitations.
EXCELLENT service on Air France checking bike as baggage
On July 28, 2003, I flew from Florence, Italy (FLR) through Paris (CDG) to Washington Dulles (IAD) with my Fondriest road bike packed up nicely in a cardboard box. Tires deflated, pedals detached. I had not one single problem at the Florence airport or upon return to the states. Air France didn't charge me a cent, as the box was checked with one additional piece of baggage. I should note that my bike is light - with packaging it weighed in at 14 kilos, so this may have helped matters.
All in all - hooray for Air France for ease and lack of charges!! Why can't all airlines be like this?
Recently returned from France with tandem in soft BikePro case. No extra charges (Lufthansa had charged us $127 from SFO to Toulouse). They did not measure or weigh the case - simply asked me to estimate its weight.Christine, July 03, 2003
Miami to Paris and back via Air France
My wife and I just returned from a 2 week trip to France, flying on Air France from Miami, Florida to CDG. We did a 9 day bike trip with Backroads through Brittany and Normandy. We were traveling with 2 road bikes, packed in Sci-Con 52 Aerotech soft sides rolling bags.
Air France had advised that, despite their published luggage size/weight restrictions, they would treat each bike case as one of the 2 checkable pieces of luggage per passenger Air France permits. Checking in at Miami International was pretty much a breeze. The check-in lady tried to charge me for oversize luggage, but backed off when I reminded her of Air France?s policy for properly packed bikes. The bikes were tagged to go in the fragile luggage compartment. The TSA Security guys were pretty nice in going through the bike bags and even let me double check to make sure that the bikes were properly mounted on the frames after the inspection.
At CDG luggage claim, the bikes were brought out by a porter; they did not come out on the regular luggage carousel. I opened each case to inspect the bikes. Thankfully, there was no damage to the bikes.
We trekked through CDG to the TGV train station to catch our train to Rennes. We got on the train, put the bikes in the luggage storage area at the end of our train car, locked the cases to the rail and that was it. No one said a word to us about the bikes at all.
Our return trip on the train and Air France was exactly the same. Except for the fact that we caused a little bit of a spectacle wheeling these big red cases around, it was extremely easy to travel with our bikes and a total pleasure to be able to ride our own bikes on our bike trip.
The Sci-Con cases worked very well. It was easy enough to take off the wheels, mount the bike on the adjustable frame, lash the wheels to the frame and zip up. Not having to pull the seatpost or the stem was really nice. On the way home, we stuffed all of our sweaty bike clothing, shoes and Camel Backs into the cases with no problem.
BikeFriday since 9/11
In May 2002 I was Ride Director for a Bicycle Adventure Club ride in Holland. We had 71 participants (2 non-bikers) on three barges of Bike & Barge, Holland. Of those, there were 14 BFs, one a Tendem. I had suggested that each person with a BF case indicate to Security at various airports around the country that IT was a piece of excercise equipment. On arriving in Amsterdam, no reports were received of trouble . I cannot speak for return trips. But there must have been dozens of airlines and airports represented on this trip.
Frankly, I have literally been all-over the world with my BF on 24 trips, and the only complaint I have is that someone once stole the extra-safety belt around the Carlton case, and another time something punctured the case - no real damage. Otherwise, TROUBLE FREE
I flew Air France to Europe last summer with my bike in a Performance hard shell case. I was not charged extra, though on the return from Charles de Gaulle airport I was taken out of the boarding line and accompanied by a charming attendent down to the baggage area, where I had to unlock the box and remove the bike for inspection - the box didn't fit into X-ray machine.
deflated, inflated, boxed, whatever
Also on the Pyrenees tour, each of us called Air France customer service and got various stories about how to pack the bikes (boxed, no box and tires inflated, handlebars sideways, pedals off), whether or not we needed to make a "reservation" for the bicycle (the plane to Biarritz was relatively small) and whether we could get a box from Air France in Barcelona.
To be on the safe side we got boxes from a bicycle store in Barcelona. We took public transportation to the airport, which was not easy since there are a lot of stairs in the metro.
Air France misroutes bikes
Two friends and I recently completed Pyrenees bike tour from Biarritz to Barcelona, flying into Biarritz from Paris on Air France. Air France misrouted two of three bikes, making us lose 1.5 days.
Biarritz luggage guy was totally clueless where the bikes went, having us return to airport twice a day until he finally reported they were sent to BALBOA! His explanation was that Biarritz call is BAQ whereas Balboa is BAO, so luggage often goes there by mistake.
He paid us around 100 Euros each for extra hotel night. What really annoyed me was his total inability to know where the bikes were for the first 24 hours after we initially landed in Biarritz.
Air France Damage Indifference Havana-Manchester
Flew 2 bikes from Havana to Manchester via Paris. Not boxed but well padded, as per AF's instructions.
Handlebars of one bike were badly bent, as if crushed. Air France agents (Servisair) refused to even give us the paperwork to make a claim as they said the bike was improperly packaged.
Bar ends and pedals were missing - presumed stolen as they were well secured. Servisair said it was nothing to do with them and to contact the police.
Don't use the carry on method!
I read a post here that suggested to take the bike apart and take the frame on the plane and put it in the overhead bin. The rest of the bike you put in a frame box which you check.
I have a titanium frame, so to go through the effort of taking the bike apart to protect the frame made sense to me. I traveled to France on Air France (which sucks in general) and everything was fine. On the way back, the unexpected happened.
When I walked through the metal detector at the airport and put the frame through the scanner, the security personnel told me I need to check the 'bike'. Even after a big fight, they would not let me take it as hand luggage. They made me box the frame in a flimsy box and check it. They then lost the box... and it took a lot of effort, phone calls, and nervous waiting to get it back.
So - I do not recommend this method!
Speaking of bikes. On the trip over, Continental wanted our bikes boxed. So, off with the handle bars, pedals, front wheel and front fender. On our return trip to the U.S., via Air Inter (BOD-ORL), their box(although cardboard), more resembled the type of armor thrown over the horse in the medieval jousting contest. The handle bars(unturned) and the seat stuck out from the top. All that came off were the pedals. In fact, the Air Inter personnel just wheeled the bikes out the door(with reduced air pressure). Continental had no problem accepting this arrangement when it was their turn. When is a box not a box, but accepted as one?
In St. Emillion, we bumped into two bikers from Quebec, who flew over on Air France. They said all they did was take the pedals off, and the ground crew just wheeled theirs on, hanging them up on a rack.
Hopes this adds to your data base. If anyone has any inquiries regarding our self tour in Bordeaux, let them know that I will offer any knowledge that I acquired.Alan Zelt, October 16, 1996