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Flying with Bike
I'm off to Baltimore (any The Wire fans here?) in May and would ideally like to take my bike with me. Have any of you chaps ever taken your  bike on a plane? If so how easy was it? What bag did you use? And did it sustain any damage?
I haven't personnally but i know a couple of guys that have. One of their frames was cracked in two places when he got it home, so i would suggest getting a hard case if you can afford it. Apparently his bag was absolutely covered in fragile stickers, but they just don't give a crap >Sad
It's pretty easy to do. You just have to take the wheels, handlebars and peddles off, and put the wheels in separate wheel bags, and i believe you just pay the excess weight fee.
Hello Mark

I have taken bikes abroad about ten times and wat i do is i get a bike box from lbs, the cardboard ones the bikes come in... get the largest you can.

I then pack my bike and bits using plenty of cardboard and bubble wrap but i line the two side with ply and chock the ends with timber..

As yet no problems although the box has had a battering on occasion...

The problem with buying a hard bike box is that full sus bikes don't usually fit, certainly not DH rigs...
Mei securis turpe meus vox<br />            
Took a couple of bikes to Frejus in the south of France a few years back - didn't even realise the offroad potential there at the time and it was a 'cheap' way of getting about from the campsite.  Turned out to be an absolute disaster - was a hassle as they gave us conflicting information about how the bikes needed to be packed, both bikes took a battering rattling round a nearly empty hold (anyone remember EUjet?) and it turned out to be quite expensive.  The campsite was much further away than we'd expected so wasn't a feasible ride and there was a decent local bus service so we really wished we hadn't bothered.  Emma rode hers twice - once from the station to the campsite and once from the campsite to the station.  We had to make a seperate trip back for the luggage.  Idiots!  Getting them on the trains and airport connections was even more of a hassle!!

I think if i was flying now i would seriously consider hiring a bike when i got here, but you make it seem quite straightforward Nigel...
I've taken bike abroad to France and Spain by air. The very first time I used a cardboard bike box from the LBS. Advantages: Cheap and fairly rigid. Easy to pad out. Disadvantage: Easy to put holes in the side. Takes up a lot of space at hotels when not in use. Can be a problem to open up and re-close if customes ask to look inside (keep a roll of tape in hand luggage)...happened to me!
I now use a proper bike bag. Its got wheels for easy transportation....folds under a hotel bed when not in use. Mine came with removable wheel bags so good to use for the car to stop muddy wheels getting everywhere in the boot. Easily padded out with internal pockets for skewers and what-not. I've never had any damage what-so-ever to the bikes we've taken abroad...flown with BA, EUjet, Easyjet.
I just check with the airline first and ask them to direct me to their web-page which I print out and take with me incase of a divvy check-in assistant who tries to charge extra....

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