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the definitive Bike on a Plane Thread


best method  

111 members have voted

  1. 1. Best packing method

    • Just roll it on
    • Soft Bike bag
    • Hardcase bike box
    • Cardboard box from the LBS
  2. 2. I had no problems flying my bike with:

    • Kulula
    • SAA
    • Mango
    • BA

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so there are horror stories from time to time, and the regulations seem to change from airline to airline and from time to time. I think an ongoing thread would be pretty handy. some of the pros must fly their bikes 30 times a year, and some of us only do it every 12 months.


I found a few threads here most asking the same question. There seem to be many different best options:



2007 thread


bike on plane 2010



edit: adjust poll to scrub 1Time, they're not coming back anytime soon

Edited by The Dictator
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here is info from Kulula on how they want you to pack:

argus instructions

Packing your bike for the trip

In order to ensure your precious bike is delivered in perfect condition, please take special note of the following packing procedures:


The seat must be put down.

The handlebars must be turned parallel to the frame.

Leave the front wheel attached.

Pedals must be removed or turned inwards.

Deflate your tyres

Your bike must be placed in a bike bag or box, or wrapped in bubble wrap.

A maximum of 2L or 2kg of nitrogen gas will be allowed per person, please remember to inform the check-in agent.

Remove any speedometers or any electronic equipment and carry that with you in your hand luggage.

Wheel-bags can't be carried as hand luggage, they must be checked-in.

Spare wheels needs to be packed properly before check-in.

At check in, the spare wheels will be tagged with a limited release tag.


Today (19 sep 2010)I just said I had phoned ahead and was told I could roll it on.

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and from our friends at flySAA

The following Sport equipment mentioned below (cycling being one of them) will allow an additional 20kg per passenger - this is valid to both the Weight and Piece Concept. Please note that this is not applicable to special events such as the Argus.



Bicycles must be securely packed. Special boxes and bags are obtainable from bicycle outlets and associations. Please make use of this type of packaging as it prevents your bicycle from possible damage. South African Airways will not take liability for damages of bicycles if they are not securely packed in the special boxes or bags. Kindly ensure that the box or bag is clearly marked with your contact details.


Handlebars must be turned parallel with the frame, pedals removed or turned inward, tires deflated and the seat must be put down. All electronic equipment must be removed and transported separately. Please note also that the carriage of bicycle tyres in the overhead compartment of the aircraft will not be allowed as the tires do not meet the minimum size requirements and this may cause damage to both the aircraft and the bicycle equipment.

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get your MANGO groove on here


We recommend that bicycles are packed in a shipping box as Mango does not provide this. A handling fee will be charged. Limited reliability released tags are required.

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for the record 1Time don't seem to have any bike info online - but i have flown to an adventure race before(with a lot of equipment) and it wasn't a hassle. - with the bike, they forgot to put the paddles on the plane(could be an ACSA issue)

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Last year when i flew to durbs i just put the bike on , np. Then In november for the 94.7 I had hassles at Ct airport . they said there are new regulations out and the bike has to be in a box etc. I said that if they change regulations its up to them to let the client know and I paid for the bike as well so they put it on. In JHB it was another ball game had to take wheels off , lower seat and have the thing wrapped by the plastic machine. So me is just going to get a bag for the shova and 94.7 this year. Not worth the hassles and they broke my RD in JHB :angry:

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Most airlines also have different reglations around Argus (and 94.7?) time to deal with the large volumes of bikes. For example, on a normal Kulula flight your bike is part of your normal baggage allowance (so you usually end up paying excess baggage) and you can check it in a the same time you do and it travels on the same plane as you. For the Argus, bike transport is usually free but you have to drop off your bike a few days before you go to CT and returning you can only collect it a few days after you arrive back in JHB.

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IS it only kulula that makes you pay. I had to pay almost R400 extra for my return trip to cape town next week.


Just did cpt-lanseria return last week, and didn't pay a cent extra. Between the three of us(with two bikes) we paid R100 for 4kgs over on the return leg.

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I've travelled to PE (with Kulula) and twice to East London (with 1Time), and always taken my bike to my LBS who do a good job of wrapping it with loads of bubble wrap, and placing it securely in a box. Never had problems on either of my trips.


I'm kinda worried if I had to just wheel it on, if they chuck it around it could break, at least if it's in a box it's reasonably secure...


my 2c

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  • 2 years later...

There are loads of bike on plane threads, would be nice if one could be pinned and guys could just update with latest rules/experiences/charges.


My question now is that it seems like you can't just roll a bike on anymore, but need to use a bike bag/case.



Is this definitely the case(ha ha)?

Can you use a cardboard box from lbs?


What happens when i get to the gautrain, they don't allow roll on bikes?

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Seems everyone is expecting you to package it, which I think is good. Issue I have is, that on BA, it seems like you only allowed 1 carry on bag limited to 7kg..for CT to JHB..so if you check in your bike, you will have no real baggage allowance.


I need to take my Laptop as carry on so no space left for clothes (if you mix business travel with a bike ride) :thumbdown:

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Guest Omega Man

My 2c.


1. Make 1000% sure you are aware of the terms and conditions when it comes to your bike on a comercial flight. There are far too many Kulula/SAA/BA etc. Ripped me off threads and complaints simply because people don't inform themselves. The information is generally freely available on the internet on the various airlines websites. If you don't trust the airline print the stuff out.

2. Weigh your bike.

3. If you are overweight EXPECT TO PAY. If you don't get hammered feel lucky.

Edited by Omega Man
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My 2c.

  • Pay in advance for excess baggage. It is cheaper.
  • LBS cardboard box is fine, but pack your bike well. I travelled with one on 5 flights to From SA to the US and back - no issues (that said, I travelled with Emirates)
  • Hard case, like bike safe, is VERY heavy. You will pay through your nose, but bike is safe.
  • Make sure you book your bike in well in advance. OVer big events like amashova, IM etc, bikes will be reroute on other flights via JHB and you might not get your bike back in time!

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I have taken my bike to JHB, EL and Switzerland. Ive used SAA, 1Time, Kulula and KLM. I have never had to pay domestically and international it cost about R2k. After my first 70.3 I didnt even bother to box my old bike and sent it on the plane as is (it was a very old heavy trek). I dont recall any major damage (maybe a bent part) !time also paid my R500 to have it sorted after a few emails.

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