The box method works in a pinch, but is very hard on the box. It may only last a one-way trip, so you might need a new on for the return. Also don’t trust the box to remain whole; make sure there aren’t any loose items in there (like pedals). You can tape them or otherwise attach them inside the spokes for better security.
Don’t try to walk onto a plane with a unicycle anymore. I think it falls somewhere between nail clippers and nuclear weapons in terms of stuff security thinks is dangerous. The same can apply to pedals here (especially metal ones with pins); make sure they’re checked.
For best results find some luggage that your unicycle fits into. This can be hard for anything over 20", but if it looks like luggage (and is not overweight) it usually doesn’t get much attention paid to it.
And like k1114n said, don’t say the “b” (bike) or “c” (cycle) word at check-in! That’s just another avenue for them to charge you extra. Remember that this applies to airline employees, not security or customs agents. Always tell the truth with them.
Good advice. I’m actually stuck at the airport right now because the flight is delayed. This time I just took the pedals and seat post off my 20",laid those two parts inside my baggage, and put my clothes on/around them. I also put some tools and the pedals at the bottom underneath everything. All inside my checked in baggage. I shouldn’t have any trouble transporting it like this.
Last year I did it a much harder way (that I don’t recommend). I took the frame, post with seat, pedals, tools, and put them inside the checked baggage, but I took the tire/tube off the wheelset and put those two things in a sports bag which was my carry-on. At some of the security checks they were a bit concerned when they saw the wheel in the x-rays but I was able to take it to Mexico City and back.
I’m headed on a flight next week and have planned to take the 24" uni. This thread got me doing some pre-planning. I don’t have any bags that will hold the 24" so I’m stuck with a box of some sort. It turns out that an iMac 24" computer box SHOULD hold it if I disassemble the pedals, frame & seat. I can pack any of those extra parts in other luggage.
The Delta Airlines luggage policy is that luggage must be 62" or less (height + width + length) and the iMac box is 24" x 27" x 9.5" it just fits the parameters for normal sized luggage. The weight also needs to be under 50 lbs, which isn’t a problem. I believe that if I let the air out of the tire I should just be able to squeeze it in.
Also from the Delta airlines luggage policy, a “bike” costs $200 to ship within the US and Canada…OUCH!
Wish me luck in checking in my “computer” for the trip to Salt Lake City!
Trying to figure out why you would remove the brake…
More detail on tire pressure: the plane is pressurized, but not to sea level. If I believe my altimeter watch, which uses barometric pressure), the relative elevation in an airliner in flight can range as high as 10,000’, but is usually lower than that. So, if your tire is pumped up to max, pressure, I definitely recommend letting some air out.
I usually let most of the air out anyway, which makes the wheels a bit more pliant when stuffing into the luggage (I usually bring at least 2). Note that letting the air out does not make a meaningful difference in wheel size. This is especially true with tough MUni tires; letting the air out makes them more mushy, but not smaller.
Carry on your hydraulic brakes? The TSA might make you put them in a clear plastic bag due to the liquid contents… Just leave them be, on the cycle.
Theoretically, the hydrolic brakes in a lower atmosphere to where they were configured would simply “activate” as if you were squezing the brake lever. The pipes and what not are designed to take a lot of pressure differential, bare in mind how much pressure you put into them when squezing the lever. Bottom line: they should be fine in hold*.
I’m not physics expert, and I am not an aviation expert. I have never taken any such item on the plane with me, so please do not sue me if I am wrong. In other words, don’t take my word for it if you are the type of person to want compensation.
volume of liquid is definite… Thus a vacuum would not change the liquid. I mean in theory it might boil if your hydrolic fluid is water, and its paired with a sulfuric acid. But seriously, it shouldn’t do anything unless you have air in your lines.
One thing not mentioned was trying to gate check it as free luggage. Last year, I was able to pack my 20" in my luggage just fine, but this year I’m taking my 29er.
I’ve stripped the frame and pedals, leaving just the cranks and wheel attached. Everything else is in my luggage, but I’m going to try to gate-check the wheel. If that doesn’t work, I should be able to check it as a second bag for $35 (I checked with the airport).
It turns out that, although the staff seemed plenty willing to let me gate check the wheel, they couldn’t because it wouldn’t fit through the X-ray. Does anyone else have experience gate-checking it? Should I have asked them to check the wheel manually?
The key point I intended to make above includes a reminder that the pressure is the same in the whole interior of the aircraft. Carrying it on won’t make a difference.
You can ask, but unfortunately at that point you are in the hands of the TSA. I’m not sure of their current policy on such things, but generally they want things to fit through the X-ray. That doesn’t mean everything does. Like strollers, car seats, wheelchairs. The uncertain part is what the TSA’s answer will be. If you’ve already checked in, they don’t care. They are just as happy to turn you around and tell you to check it. The people with the strollers and car seats are probably counting them as one piece of luggage, so that might be what you have to do. I’d try asking the airline again and see how they work those non-X-rayable things.
I usualy just remove the pedals from my unicycle, lower the air a little bit and give it to them. Never had problems, if it didnt fit in the x ray (to nz I took my 29 inch with me) they put it in the x ray for special luggage.
Maybe in europe they like unicycles more so far it worked many times like this without any complaints from the airport crew.
I never heard about that. What planes are you referring to? It may be a feature of some planes, but I don’t think most. Otherwise you would have to have pressure doors at any access between the cabin and the cargo areas.
Yeah. That would kind of make having wings useless (I think he was just using vacuum for an example or to mean “partial vacuum”)!
I was also kind of under the impression that the baggage hold was not pressurized but upon reflection live animals are put ‘under the plane’ so clearly some aspect of the cargo portion of the plane is pressurized and kept at some reasonable temperature.
I got a bag custom made for a 24" muni. Used it on 6 different flights and never had to pay anything extra, don’t need to remove pedals or deflate the tire. When they ask what it is I just say unicycle, never had a problem.
also on commercial aircraft at least one (usually all of them on modern aircraft) cargo hold will be pressurized to the same as the cabin (around 8,000ft), the cabin and cargo are connected by vents so it will be the same pressure and roughly the same temp