Thai Airways Bike Experiences

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Thai Airways (you can share your experiences here).

My experiience with Thai Airways

Traveling in South East Aisa for more than 10 years i always had good experience with Thai Airways. Easy packaging, that means most of the time naked. If Thai Airways accepted your bicycle free at the local flight, your connecting flight to your hometown, whereever that may be, won't give you any trouble more.

bauke hoogland, September 03, 2009

Europe with Folders

In July - August of 05 we purchased Dahon Speed TR folding bicycles with the express purpose of making it easier to take them on planes & trains in Europe. Here are some of our experiences:

  • Bikes & Bags: The Dahon Speed TR is an excellent touring bike, good range of gears, takes a good load, very comfortable. We deliberately sought out and bought the '04 model, as we did not trust the hydraulic brakes on the '05 in a touring scenario (especially after seeing a shop floor model with the fluid leaking). These bikes fold well, and we found they could be folded and quite carefully packed for travel in between 15 - 30 mins. We used large fabric bags specifically designed for folding bikes. Once packed, these bags are heavy and awkward to manoeuvre.

  • Our first trip (London – Edinborough – London) netted some damage to the bikes (broken hub gear ‘click box’, so we changed our packing technique. Our final packing technique involved: some cut down Styrofoam used for a protective case around the hub gear click-box/derailleur section. This was supplemented by a cut down piece of car washing sponge (which doubled as an excellent hip cushion whilst camping). Both these items and some masking tape, we carried with us, along with the folded up bike bags (which doubled as picnic rugs in messy spots). Before each flight/long train trip we scrounged newspaper and cardboard to line the base of the bags and protect various parts of the bike.

  • On our final flights (Trieste-London, London-Thailand-Sydney) we used camping foam mattresses (all 1.3cm of comfort of it) to line the whole inside of the bag. This worked really well, and we will re-use this method as the mattress is light and easy to carry, and easy to obtain. Despite this level of protection, luggage handlers must be distrusted – one bike arrived back in Sydney with a bent rear hanger, which must have required a substantial blow.

  • Airlines. Ryan Air: London-Edinborough-London. No extra charges for bikes, loaded via oversize luggage but arrived back on general luggage conveyer in London. Easyjet: London – Linz. Charged extra for bikes despite the fact we had no other checked luggage and were within our allowance. No special handling despite paying extra. Generally unpleasant and punitive for bringing a bike, even a folder that is no bigger than a large suitcase anyway. Easyjet: Trieste – London. Again charged extra and no special handling. Would not recommend Easyjet. Lufthansa: London – Thailand. Lufthansa were great. They have a flat charge for bicycles, which beats paying excess baggage for them (this time we had other checked baggage also). But we were lucky and were not charged at all, due to some special frequent flyer status we have with United. Thai: Thailand – Sydney. In theory bikes were to be charged as excess baggage, however we were not charged at all, again the frequent flyer thing helped.

  • Trains: took numerous short and long train journeys in Scotland, Austria, Hungary-Slovenia, Slovenia. Found the folders fantastic in this respect, as could fold & pack them for trains where no bicycles were allowed, or where it was not clear whether bicycles were allowed, or where charges for bicycles were made.

  • Overall: folders were not as easy as we thought, and the careful packing required for flying is a bit of a pain. However unlike a box packed full size bicycle, they can be loaded into normal taxis, buses or trains. And components do not need to be removed to the same extent. And they are easier (although awkward) to carry in their ‘packed’ state than boxed normal bikes. We had thought we would sell these bikes, but like riding them so much we are keeping them and will no doubt use them for further adventures.
Jo Clendon, November 11, 2005

Bicycle with Thai Airways

In July 2004 I flew with Thai International Airways from Amsterdam to Bangkok: Amsterdam - Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Frankfurt - Bangkok (Thai Airways) and return.

My bicycle was packed in a plastic bag from Fietswinkel in Woerden, Netherlands. Although I had a few kilos overweight, there was no problem and no damage.

My compliments to the workers on the three airports.

Mark Vandelaer, May 17, 2005

Northern Thailand

In Jan, 2003, I biked a loop in northern Thailand (Chiang Mai-Mai Salong-Golden Triangle-Chiang Khong-Nan-Phrae-Lampang) on a Bike Friday folding bike (which I love). Fabulous trip, and no problems at all.

United Airlines got me to/from Bangkok, and Thai Airways got me to/from Chiang Mai. I had no problem with security to get my bike on the flights, though TSA opened and inspected my suitcase containing the Bike Friday when I boarded in the US.

I took 3 buses in northern Thailand with the bike, and the buses were very accomodating. I also took 2 short trips in enclosed pickup trucks which function as buses/taxis in rural northern Thailand. The bike went on the luggage rack on the roof. The drivers were very accomodating. Most roads were excellent. Drivers were polite.

The area around Mae Salong has absurd road grading; elsewhere the grading was decent. I suggest taking buses to get into/out of Chiang Mai, as the traffic is bad on roads approaching the city.

All in all, it was a very rewarding trip. Kind people, lovely scenery, interesting sights, & great food. Weather from Dec-Feb is near perfect. The rest of the year is much hotter & uncomfortable.

Neal Teplitz, March 31, 2003

Thai Airways from Bangkok

I just returned from Bangkok/Thailand to Geneva/Switzerland (via Zurich) with Thai Airways. I had one bike in a box and another bag containing the rest. Total 40kg.

My ticket allowed me 20kg (standard from Europe) and my travel agent had announced I had a bike. Thai had replied that I would have to pay about 50 USD if I had more than 20kg luggage (including the bike).

For me that was fine but at the check-in they wanted to charge me 115 USD for overweight (5kg). They could not find the message exchanges between the travel agent and thai airways in their computer and their rule is 20kg, except if you travel with sport equipment (which includes golf or ski, but not bicycle...).
I talked to the manager without success until I proposed her to take a second handbag with part of my luggage. And she accepted.
So I finally checked-in 34kg and travelled with 2 handbags totalling about 14kg, without beeing charged.

These hassles are what I dislike in travelling with a bike. But I think there is no way to avoid them and cycling through Laos was worth it !

Note : I phoned the Thai Airways check-in in Bangkok to try to know if a box was required or no. A clear answer was difficult to get but it seems that it is not required, only recommended.
As it was so easy to have it packed by Probike (see my other post), I anyway used a box. The bike arrived without any damage.

marc, January 15, 2003

Thai Airlines and China South West

I've just returned from Melbourne-Chengdu, Kathmandu-Bangkok, Bangkok-Melbourne with Thai and Chengdu-Lhasa with China South West Airlines.

Each time, I checked in four panniers weighing over 30 kilos in total. Plus the bike (unboxed) weighing another 13 kilos. And 10 kilos or mmore of hand luggage. Never had any problems with excess baggage or charges.

At a few of the airports, they tried to put the bike through their x-ray machine. Of course it wouldn't fit so they gave up. Most of them made me let the tyres down.

Jon Miller, November 11, 2002

Thai Airways and China Airlines

Travel-experience with Thai Airways and China Airlines

Together with my friend Henk Burgler I flew twice from Amsterdam to Bangkok. The first time we went with Thai Airways. We only had to put our bicycles in a carton box and they allowed us 30 kg package. In Bangkok (also in Hanoi) we offered our bicycles naked and it was no problem. Unforunately Thai Airways doesn't fly on Amsterdam longer, so this year we choose China Airlines. This is a good company too, we only had to put our bicycles in a carton box or wrap in plastic. We bought a 'plastic bicycle bag' and used it without problems. China Airlines accept only bagage till 20 kg, however it was allowed to carry almost all our bags as handluggage.

Greetings Bauke Hoogland

Bauke Hoogland, March 03, 2000

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