Flying with Easyjet

by David cycling the world   March 1, 2011  

Hi,
I'm off to a tour of the Algarves training camp on the 24th of this month. But, have never had the need to take a bike abroad so its a new experience to me, a one that needs to be learnt. First of all, any tips?

secondly, I've heard bad and good points about using easyjet, what's other peoples experiences with them?

cheers,
David.

10 user comments

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The general rule of thumb is that the less you pay for the flight, the more you should pay for your bike box Smile

Easyjet are generally okay, i've heard a few horror stories on flights going to busy rides but off peak they normally do alright. Better than RyanAir, whose bike policy last time i looked was, 'we'll take some money off you for carrying your bike but we don't guarantee to carry your bike'. erm, thanks.

tips: get a good bike box. you can hire one from www.comtat.co.uk for £5 a day and there's other places to hire them too. if you use a semi-solid box, or a case, remove anything that might get knocked off. the rear mech is a classic example, best to undo the bolt and ziptie it to the frame. wheels can get bent too, so protect them as much as you can. technically your luggage is insured with limited liability (about £1k) on any flight, but don't rely on a speedy resolution if anything gets bent. make sure you have travel insurance that covers your bike.

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7044 posts]
1st March 2011 - 14:22

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I work for easyJet and I can tell you that actually all airlines are pretty much equal in terms of the handling of your prized steed. The reason is that aircraft (including baggage) handling is all done by third party operators, not the airlines themselves; most airports will have just one or two companies covering all airlines, despite what an airline might imply in its advertising. The only area they may differ will be in pricing and what they deem acceptable as packaging.

To that end, package up to protect! Baggage handlers are not out to damage things, but let's just say when you've got an aircraft to unload rapidly, the odd thing does get dropped. I've actually seen an entire bike bag (with bike inside one assumes) drop out of the rear hold straight on to the tarmac; not cool. I've also seen handlers carefully remove a bike from the hold, place it on the truck, then proceed to stack the rest of the luggage on top!

That said I recently brought a bike across in a Neil Pryde bag with no issues, and in fact I'm heading back to the UK this weekend to collect another one. All I can say is remove or pad out as much as you can to minimise risk; obvious things like drop out spacers and foam lagging on the tubes will help.

Good luck!

posted by Joux Plane [5 posts]
1st March 2011 - 21:45

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Having seen this discussion/question asked and discussed a few times a lot of people advise bike hire at the other end as a good alternative.

If you are going to be doing it on a regular basis then perhaps investing in a very good bike box is a wise move. For that info, check around and read reviews, but be prepared for the worst and make sure your pride and joy is insured to the hilt.

www.onemanandhisbike.co.uk - "It's like a café stop for cyclists online!"

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posted by OneManAndHisBike [21 posts]
1st March 2011 - 21:53

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Quote:
I work for easyJet and I can tell you that actually all airlines are pretty much equal in terms of the handling of your prized steed. The reason is that aircraft (including baggage) handling is all done by third party operators, not the airlines themselves

yeah, fair comment: i was just being facetious with that first line really Smile

on of the biggest problems i've heard about is not necessarily bikes getting bent (like you say, not really down to the airline) but bikes simply not showing up at the other end. Both RyanAir and EasyJet have got form for this on flights to the Etape and the Marmotte among others, and you're less likely to get a budget operator going out of their way to make sure your bike gets on another flight in time, partly because they're not as likely to have another flight to throw it on. Plenty of stories of Etape riders having to beg, steal or borrow a bike for the ride and picking up their steed from the airport on the way home. I wonder if you can comment on what the policy is when there's not enough luggage space to go round?

Long haul is much easier: when I took my bike out to Bolivia all they asked me to do was let the tyres down Smile

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posted by Dave Atkinson [7044 posts]
1st March 2011 - 22:15

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I took my bike easyjet to geneva a couple of years back and had no issues. It was in a soft bike bag albeit well wrapped inside.

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posted by TheHatter [808 posts]
2nd March 2011 - 21:28

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It's very rare that the holds are full; the only time I really see the capacity getting filled is during the ski season (I'm based in Geneva) when people are bringing across skis and boards. Usually if stuff gets left behind it's more than likely due to a handling c*ck up...... That said there can be a few rare occasions when bags need to be offloaded due to technical reasons that I won't bore you with Nerd , and when this happens the handlers simply take the heaviest items off first. Although it's rubbish for the people involved, coming into the aircraft and asking 150 people who minds their bags following them a day later doesn't really work!

What you said about spare capacity holds true for both passengers and baggage; finding space on the next flight can be tricky, and requires a variety of third party operators (who all won their contracts based on the lowest bid) to pull together and get it sorted.

There certainly is an element of you get what you pay for, but also one must realise that you only ever hear about the horror stories; the majority of bikes get through fine.

I'm bringing a Cervelo across from the UK on Tuesday, so I'll let you know how I get on!! Thinking

posted by Joux Plane [5 posts]
3rd March 2011 - 19:27

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Cheers for the advice everyone. I've got a bike box sorted,and i suppose its one of this things where i'l have to keep my fingers crossed on the plane.....
makes me more worried now that i'm taking my new Pinarello FP2 105 2011 which is due to arrive on my doorstep sometime this morning. which is a big difference compared to the £400 carrera i was going to take!
let me know how yours goes Joux Plane!
there's most likely me and one of the other lads flying from newcastle on the flight with bikes, seeing as though there's not much going on in portugal now the tour of the algarves is over. oh well, fingers crossed!

David Clark- Competing in the 1st ever Global race, covering 18,000miles in over 20 Countries. 18th February 2012.
While trying to break the following world records at the same time;
- Fastest person to cycle the world
-Youngest person to cycle the wor

posted by David cycling t... [66 posts]
8th March 2011 - 10:06

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Made it across safely, although I should confess it was just a frameset all boxed up with the original padding still taped in place. Still, I was very concerned it might have stuff piled on top of it, but it all seems good.

Probably should have packed some of the less everyday tools though! What's the French for "crown race setting tool"?

posted by Joux Plane [5 posts]
10th March 2011 - 20:25

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Don't you just love it when a company passes the buck onto their sub-contractor and refuses to accept any responsibility for avoidable errors?

Mike

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posted by mike the bike [98 posts]
14th March 2011 - 19:23

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There's more information on the ins and outs of flying with your bike here http://road.cc/content/feature/26249-roadccs-guide-how-fly-your-bike
road.cc's guide on how to fly with your bike

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posted by Tony Farrelly [4112 posts]
15th March 2011 - 0:18

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