What a pain the butt, I had over the last couple of days getting by bike packed up and ready to go to the east coast with me on a business trip. The original plan was to ship the bike ahead of me and have it waiting for me at my hotel when I arrived. So I packed the bike into my Trico Sports Ironcase Bike Box. I have used this thing in the past and it is great. Through your bike as well as most of your other bike stuff in there as well. Well the price checking this box in as luggage has gone up from sometimes free or $75 to $125. UPS was quoting the weight as about $70 to ship it. Great, I could save some money and not have to fuss with the bike box through an airport terminal. I get to UPS and HOLY CRAP! Seems that due to the size of the box it falls it falls into the irregular catergory and they want to ring me up for $153 each way. No thanks, I’ll take check it on the flight.
I live about 10 minutes from the Carlsbad commuter airport that I would be flying out of so I decided to swing by on my way home with the box and make sure I would not have any problems beyond dropping some coin to get it on the flight. At first the guy was like, “sure no problem, a bike box is a bike box. Pay your $125 and you will be good to go”. At this point I questioned him because I read somewhere that I weight restriction had changed as well and I did not want any surprises the morning of my flight. After a bit of keystroking, he confirmed that there is a 50lb weight limit is in addition to the special charge because it is a bike box. This means that the airline wants $250 one-way to take my bike along for the ride. I would need to get this bike box down to 50lbs to make it even worthwhile to bring.
So I took everything out of the box and weighed. Ouch!, the box along weighs 27 lbs. That does not leave much room for the bike. Out goes everything but the bike. Crap! Still over weight. I finally take the tires and tubes off the wheels off. Geez, just a fraction over. Off goes the water bottle holder. BOOM! 50 pounds 0 ounces.
Now I had the problem of dealing with all the crap I took out of the bike box. Now I’m traveling for three weeks and I have to both some work presentable attire as well as chill out clothes, and I only want to do laundry once a week. Then means I have a little more stuff than I would normally bring along. So clothes, camelbak, helmet, shoes, pedals, tires and tubes all go into a chick-sized suitcase. I weigh it, DAMN, 51 pounds! So I transfer a pair of shoes into my carry on back and all is good.
So time to travel. When I checked in at Carlsbad, the ticket guy checks the weights, calls it all good and charges me as regular baggage, all total just $40 bucks. Sweet! We will have to see how the return flight works out.
The flight to LA was uneventful, but the rest of the trip was a different storry. My flight out of LA is delayed because they are servicing the plane. I had a tight connector schedule so I hopped on the phone and had my connector into Virgina switched to a latter flight. Two hours later, the call is made to switch us to a different plane and about an hour later we are shuffling onto another plane. Once loaded on the plane, we are informed that the engine may have sucked up something into one of the engines while the plane was taxiing to the gate and the engine would need to be inspected. After one hour of seating on the plane at the gate, we are shoved off.
Needless to say I did not even make my latter connector. So I get a free stay at Hyatt O’hare. I’m pretty sure noboby ever books a room at his hotel, it is all stranded travelers. The following day, I would finally get into Norfolk. The rental car place would turn out to be a silver lining in this little storm cloud. I get hooked up from an econobox speck to a respectable gas guzzling SUV. Sweeet, big pimping and I get to help melt the polar icecaps…..I’m cool! But hey lots of space for a bike with the seats folded down. More to follow…..