With the recent announcement that American Airlines is now charging a fee for the first checked bag, I started wondering, “What’s next?” I am flying to Frankfurt for Ironman Germany in July. I have a flight on AA and was planning on checking my bike as luggage. I have a Tri All 3 Sports clam shell (http://www.trisports.com/triall3sporc.html). I have never flown with my bike. I usually ship via UPS, but to get it to Frankfurt in time for the race I would have to ship way too far out and I’d lose training time with it.
I am sure many of you have flown with your bikes in hard-sided cases. What has your experience been with checking it? ([b]I know that the bike box has to be within certain dimensions; under certain weight limits for international travel; and AA will charge me for oversized and overweight baggage. Fine, just get my bike to Frankfurt unharmed and on-time.[/b]) But do they view it as “just another bike box” or “oversized baggage”? Or is it a big hairy ordeal? (I don’t travel well: I get way stressed and freak-out about glitches and uncertainties.) Do you get hassled about size and weight? I know you can’t see into the future, but is it possible that I could get to the counter and they say, “Too big,” and I’m screwed 72 hours before the race?