On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with TWA (you can share your experiences here).
Bikes Fly Free
Charles Hansen wrote:
>This used to be true, but I thought there's been a number of postings recently saying that a number of airlines are now charging for international flights?
>I know members of LAB and Adventure Cycling can get free bike transport if they book the flight with the org's official travel agency, but don't know if this also applies to international flights.
The LAB offer is good on Northwest, TWA, USAir, Continental, America West and Western Pacific. I don't know about international trips, but other than the disclaimer "some restrictions may apply", no such limitations are mentioned in the material I have. You may call the afilliated travel agency, Professional Travel Corp., at 800/426-4055, for more information. FWIW, I've used the LAB offer for a number of domestic flights, and it has worked great.
Bikes Fly Free
Hi there fellow bikers. Info re: flying bikes free domestically. Had a flight reserved via TWA from Boston to Albuquerque. E-mailed TWA to find out about supposed policy with LAB to fly bikes for free. No response for 2 weeks despite repeated e-mailings. Finally called reservation number to inquire (800-221-2000)
After checking with her supervisor, the woman at the other end told me we could fly our bikes free in lieu of one piece of check-in luggage. I asked her if she could relay that info to the check-in counter so there would be no surprises at the airport when we got there, and she called up our reservation and entered a note via computer to that effect. There was no mention about having to fly via LAB.'s travel agent.
I would recommend that anyone trying to take advantage of free flight agreements make sure that the people at the check-in counter are aware of the arrangement. Even the reservation desk had to look into it- I'm sure the check-in people wouldn't have had a clue.
Jerry KucKuc, Jerry, September 23, 1999
Bikes Fly FreeIMBA (dedicated to preserving open mtb trails) also offers free bike flight shipping for joining.
[America West, Continental, Frontier, Northwest, and TWA will all fly your bike for free if you are an IMBA member and make your reservations through Professional Travel, Inc. (800-225-0655). This will save you from $50 to $90 per trip]Larry Von Moss, March 10, 1998
Trains in Italy
I recently traveled to Italy with my bike in a Trico Ironcase. The airline (TWA) didn't charge me extra either way, although they knew I had a bike, and that if the case counted as luggage I was way over the limit.
On the Italian railway system, there was no need to buy a supplemental ticket for my bike while it was in its case. I had been told that first-class cars have a special little room for luggage at the end of the car, where I could leave my enormous case. That was true, but on my train at least, so did the second-class cars.
Dan Schaffer, Boston MADan Schaffer, October 20, 1997
Los Angeles (LAX), California
It took us about an hour to finally get our bikes [in Los Angeles] once we arrived via TWA. There was this long chute, with a locked gate at the bottom. No attendants were there to unlock it. Baggage people were way down at the other end of the area, and not interested at all in bicycles.Andrew Schwartz, March 01, 1997
Paris, France (de Gaulle)
Thanks very much for your info. You are doing a great service to cyclists.
Here is some info that may be of interest to you. The main point, to be quick about it, is that you cannot expect to take two bikes (or more) packaged in large airline boxes on the bus that runs from Paris out to the airports. There simply is not enough room in the luggage bins under the bus to accommodate two large bike boxes and the luggage of other passengers. At certain times there may not even be room for one!
The long version of the story: When we arrived in Paris we had no trouble taking our bikes by bus into the city. We had packed them ourselves in standard commercial bike boxes two of which fit rather easily into the "hold" of the bus. For reasons I will not go into, we were not able to retrieve these same boxes when we returned to Paris, nor could we find any at local bike shops. For the lack of a better alternative we trudged out to CDG and obtained two flattened-out bike boxes from TWA. We transported these by RER and METRO to the Gare Montparnasse (near our hotel) where we disassembled the bikes and boxed them.
"Oh, how easy this is," we said to one another as we repackaged our bikes: the boxes were much larger than the ones in which we had brought our bikes from home! We stored the boxed bikes overnight in the baggage consigne in the Gare Montparnasse. In the morning we pushed them a few hundred yards to the bus stop outside the station. When the bus arrived. the driver explained that he had room for only one of the large boxes. (Two might have fit, but that would have meant that all the other passengers would have had to have carried their baggage on their laps.) I let the driver know that there would be a substantial gratuity for him were he to somehow sqeeze both bikes in. But he replied, in essence, "It is not a question of money, sir, but of space."
Not knowing what to do, I shrugged my shoulders and said to both myself and him, "I guess I will have to abandon one of the bikes." A concerned expression came over the face of the driver. He thought for a moment, and, still distaining the proffered money, opened the rear emergency door of the bus. Together we lifted the second bike inside. We got both bikes to the airport on time. I will never forget this bus driver, a man whose helpfulness reflects the spirit of French generosity and flexibility that few American tourists have a chance to see. I would warn other bikers, however, not to count on replaying this scenario.
The bus we took was not full. Had it been, there would have been no possibility for the driver to have helped us. Moreover, what the driver did was well beyond the duties required of him. I would advise fellow bikers in our situation to use small boxes or to take their bikes out to the airport well ahead of flight time and box them there. I am not sure whether you can take them on the RER--in any case I would check as there are usually restrictions for rush hours.
Harry BrentHarold Brent, September 06, 1996