36" uni transport at airlines?

I know this has been asked in past, but want to know recent experiences of people taking BIG uni (29, 36) to airlines. Planning on travel up to Seattle in few month and looking to take my 36" uni for nature rides in Northwest. :slight_smile:
Years ago; a person said he told airline crew his Coker was “circus prop” and was allowed to lean against the door(that would be nice). I would hate to disassemble my 36" uni into a cardboard box as luggage. What’s your experience with airlines? Which airlines are more “uni friendly”?

I had a bad experience on American flying from Grand Rapids to S.F. and back last year. Both times I had to be sort of a … well, not nice in order to avoid oversized fees.

I got an O-some bag from the UK for my 36er, and lined it with cardboard inserts to protect the spokes. The nice part about that bag is you really only have to take your handlebar and pedals off. (and take a bit of air out of course as always)

Unfortunately it’s not the volume of the bag that matters to them, they’ll grab a tape measure and grab the 3 largest measurements they can. Weight makes no difference, and at 36"x36" you’re already over the normal oversized limit. My fee would have been $250 each way. That’d be about the same if they classified it as a bicycle, which they also tried to do. I would have just bought a titan instead of flying with mine.

A friend of mine didn’t have any trouble at all either way checking it as normal. Moral of the story is you’re taking a gamble, but you’re better off avoiding American in my experience. Delta or United will probably not give you trouble. (Anecdotal evidence only. Different airports have different staffs.)

Coincidentally I’m just going to go with a geared setup when travelling from now on because of how much of a hassle it was, but as you may read elsewhere on here, some people have no trouble.

If you’re interested in the bag, I’d be happy to part with it. I just haven’t posted it up for sale on the forums yet.

You might be able to save some headaches by shipping it UPS/Fedex etc to wherever you’re staying.

For RTL flying within Canada with Westjet I pulled the seatpost, removed the pedals and taped the seat/handle to the spokes, threw it in a box and had no issues. Didn’t even get charged for oversized baggage.

For International travel I cut my 36 into little pieces and put it in my checked baggage. It worked a treat :smiley:

(1 complete 36" unicycle including an extra saddle setup)

There are a few unicyclists in the Seattle area, maybe you should make a new friend and borrow one of their unicycles.

unicycle dissasembled.jpg

Well, that is disappointing to hear. :frowning:
I had this plan of hopping on my 36" right out the airport and ride off the sunset…

I travelled last year with a 29" from Paris, France to NYC, and then to Charlotte, NC.
I dismantled it, removed the tire, and packed it in its original box. First leg of the trip was easy, it was my second luggage but I was happy to pay the extra $75.

Then we flew from NYC to Charlotte, on American. And they were the biggest pita I’ve encountered for years. Size wise, I was under their max allowance. And same for the weight.
We had checked on their website and called and even printed their small prints where it said it was fine to carry that kind of thing on a plane. As I was travelling with my girlfriend, she had the suitcase with our stuff, and the uni was my checked “bag”. They gave us all sorts of problems, trying to make us pay because it was a bicycle for them. When we got the papers out, they called us liars and that we had no proof that this came from their website. And of course their terminal couldn’t access the webpage to check. We asked for a supervisor and got the same bs. In the end, he ruled that we could do it but it wouldn’t be covered if it was damaged or if the box was torn apart. And guess what, when we landed it had been opened and the box damaged. But the uni was fine.

Dealing with those guys was worse than the time I crossed the Romanian border not long after that country stopped being a communist dictatorship…

I flew on United with my 36" and it sucked. I had to pay the oversize fee of $150 on the return flight and they trashed my bag. Check your airline before bringing your unicycle to the airport. I know next time, I travel with my 36" I’m shipping it.

The largest uni I’ve taken is a 26er but plan to fly with a 29er this summer.

So far no problems but I make sure I’m within the size/weight limit. I put the uni in a box that fits in a bag. For the 29er I plan to take it apart and put it in a S and S backpack that’s made for coupled bikes. I’m hoping that the wheel will fit without the tire. I’ll also use coroplast to cover the spokes. Even got some foam from a server shipping box at work for extra padding.

Keep in mind that TSA might inspect the box/bag. Make it easy for them to get in and out without loosing anything.

Alaska Air has been the easiest. Delta was going to measure my bag but then didn’t have a measuring tape handy. Those are the only two airlines I’ve used so far.


I took my 29er from Charlotte to Albany, NY and only had to pay for the extra bag fee. That was US Air.

A few months later (both were in 2014) I flew from CLT to Seattle, leaving CLT on US Air (now AA) and they hit me for the $150 fee as if it were a bicycle. Ouch…

The second trip was a work related trip, and my company was reimbursing me to bring my uni, but I couldn’t stomach asking them to reimburse me the $150 to fly the uni back to CLT.

So I went to a FedEx store where they ground shipped it for about $100. Not a great deal either, but slightly better. I had the uni in a UDC travel bag (it was not boxed… that would have cost more.).

By the time the uni arrived at my home they practically wore the seatpost of the frame right through that bag. It’s a triton frame and they actually managed to dent/gouge the pipe at the top of the seat post.

I’m definitely not a fan of flying with my uni.

Flying with uni

I take a uni on any business trip that i can ride 3 mornings, and 1 destination. I am a slave to United for better or worse, because i want to maintain my status. My travel uni is a first gen schlumpf 29er. I pack it in one of those bags from UDC. I pack all my riding clothes and gear in the bag (serve as additional padding), and make sure the whole shebang does not exceed 50 lbs. i never pay for the bag, and when asked about the contents, i reply, “exercise equipment.”
In general, i am treated a bit better than the Joe with no status, but not by much…the TSA bozo’s will rifle through your bag and will NOT carefully repack the mess they created. So dispite these circumstances, my sclumpf has always arrived in working order.

Best answer ever. I stumbled across a video of you explaining this one by accident once too, it’s an insane setup for an insane problem! :smiley: