I've never traveled with a bicycle as "checked luggage" . And although I've watched luggage being handled , I've never watched an actual bicycle being loaded as luggage . Still , I'd always assumed things were as you describe them .
However , the thought of a big clear plastic bag had never occurred to me . Great idea ! It looks so delicate it makes people nervous ! And it doesn't add any significant weight , keeping the total package ultra-light . Finally , I'd never thought about how "bony" a bicycle really is . It would make an unstable foundation block .
Now where can I buy a really BIG "Ziploc" "Freezer Bag" ?? Do they make them in a "Side O' Beef" size ??
Classic content ; if your not using Ziploc Freezer bags for all of your small parts , you're missing out on a good thing . Go Clear ! Those plastic storage containers for the big stuff ( hard , rectangular , fairly clear ) & and then bags for the small stuff , makes finding things so much faster and easier ! Plus , it really brightens up the room . I don't mean "brighten" in an interior-decorator sort of way . I mean it all helps reflect more light . So , I can actually see things better , even when they aren't in a container at all !
( where the magic of Ziploc and Rubbermaid have been discovered - everything slowly transitioning to clear ! hate that new Ziploc Easy Zipper though ... )
> I probably go contrary to what everybody does in this respect. In the
> over 30 intercontinental flights that I have taken with bikes, I have
> never suffered any damage. I have always used either a soft bag or
> plain clear plastic bag. If I have a choice, I always avoid using
> cardboard. I have taken over 1000 flights in the last decade and have
> therefore had plenty of time to observe what happens at the airports. I
> have seen many a bike box arrived crushed, crumpled and/or damaged.
> I've also watched the airport crew doing the loading/unloading, etc. My
> packing choices are based upon my observances.
> When planes are loaded, the workers invariably put the biggest
> and 'squarest' boxes/suitcases at the bottom. This is necessary to
> avoid having trouble loading the subsequent boxes/luggage. A Cardboard
> box, or for that matter a solid bike box are invariably loaded at the
> very bottom of the luggage bins with everything else on top. A soft or
> clear plastic bag on the other hand do not offer an even enough surface
> to load other luggage onto. Besides, the workers immediately know what
> they are loading and tend to be more gentle. Every bike in a clear
> plastic bag that I have ever watched be loaded has always been put
> right on top of the luggage in the bin, hence just the opposite of the
> bike boxes. I have even made 4 transatlantic crossings with a tandem
> without problems.
> Steven Maasland
> Moorestown, NJ (where the school board is sued by a student to become
> sole valedictorian. The student then doesn't even turn up for the
> graduation ceremony)