Does anyone have experience with bike boxes and travel on airlines. I'm interested in buying/renting one. I've got a carbon framed machine and want it to arrive in Mallorca in the state it leaves home. All options considered.
I rented one from www.comtat.co.uk
They were really helpful and had both hard cases and slightly softer ones. We got caught up in the snow chaos and my bike was repeatedly packed, put in a taxi, unloaded, checked in only to come back to me a few hours later and survived completely unscathed.
Careful with the hard cases. They are much heavier, so you can fall foul of excess baggage charges.
I used a soft case with pipe lagging on my frame and a foam plastic pad under the bottom bracket to protect the large chainring.
I used a cardboard box + loads of padding/ lagging/ bubble wrap. Cheap and good for a one-off (or return journey)
I purchased a hard case from Wiggle last year and it proved invaluable on a few trips to Canada.
The hard case option is more expensive however it provides you with insurance that your bike will be ok. If you intend to make a few trips abroad its a worthwhile investment.
ALWAYS check and confirm with the airline, as cat1commuter syas, you can get royally ripped off if you don't check in advance.
You may also need to consider how you transport the bike at the other end of the journey. Bike boxes are big and can easily take up most of the back of a saloon car with the seats down, you may only be able to fit you your bike, your luggage and a driver in the car.
i have experience of using most bike bags/ boxes. Bike box alan offer the best protection but they have draw backs in that they are 11kgs to start with, too large for a car smaller than a vw golf and don't last very long as the clasps often get knocked off during transit and have to be re-riveted on.
Using a bike bags is gamble that if you travel enough times you will suffer some damage at some point.
Polaris eva pod are semi regid foam pods that are light at 7kgs and not too large - you can fit on into a small car like a punto, ford ka or similiar. The protection is medium but if you pack it like you would a a bike bag with extra cardboard, bubble wrap and pipe laggging you will be fine.
Polaris are also introducing a hard case this month, it's similiar to bike box alan but a bit smaller and the clasps are receessedand it's lockable without having to put your own padlock on.
The Elite suitcase is too heavy -and too expensive.
A triple strength cardboard box will do the trick but it would take you an hour to pack properly with enough protection and finding the right size box in the first place is tricky, also difficult to carry as you can't wheel it.
Hope this helps.