Okay – my bike is safe and sound in Seattle. Absolutely no worse for wear.
I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a bit anxious – but it turns out I didn’t have to worry on this trip. Couple little things that I gleaned from this first foray that might be of use for others who decide to try this case in order to avoid the extra fees airlines might charge.
A couple folks warned me that if I told the ticketing agents that there was a bike in the case – even if it was under the size restrictions they might decide to charge me ($200.00 each way on United) anyways. I was also told other airlines don’t charge as much – but I am sitting on buttloads of air miles with United so that is a moot point for me. Anyway it was suggested to me that I could just say fitness equipment – a massage table – corporate display – but the best suggestion I decided was “bike parts” which is 100% truthful. Now I had packed my pedals in my carryon so if anyone had the foresight to ask me if there were a whole bicycle inside my case I could honestly answer – no.
In the end, this time – none of this mattered. Sara dropped me at the curb and I checked my bag there – curbside. The dude who took it didn’t ask me anything except where I was going– I asked him to please take extra care of it – gave him a couple bucks tip. He slapped an extra fragile tag on it and I was on my way.
As I was boarding the plane one of the baggage handlers came onto the gangway – I asked her if she could please look out for my bag – the one with the orange duct tape and he “please do not drop – thank you” scrawled across it. She said that they already loaded it – it was the last bag on and they took extra care because I had written THANK YOU on my message. She said folks always write fragile – do not drop, etc. etc. but rarely do they write thank you. So I had that going for me.
I had a change over in Denver and I was able to spy my bike as it was waiting for transfer to my next flight. It was lying on its side and I had to board before I could see them put it on – but it looked like they may have been holding it for last there too.
Neither flight was too dramatic – but there was a bit of turbulence on both. Nothing to make you scream out loud – but a little jostling. In Seattle they brought the case in by hand rather than putting it on the belt, which would have dropped it onto the conveyor. I did a quick inspection unzip peeking in and it looked okay for what I could see.
I Ubered to my son’s house with my bike snuggly relaxing in the back seat. Once I was able to open the thing up I found my cycle in perfect condition. This was even more surprising because TSA had searched the case. They opened it up – looked through and resealed the thing and it still was in perfect condition.
So do I give a full-throated approval to the Oru-Case? I’d give it 90% approval right now – there was some extra care taken thanks to me having contact with several of the folks handling it – but it was on it’s own for at least half this trip. I’m definitely going to use it again – and I would even throw my cyclocross bike into it for an overseas trip.
Let me get another couple journeys with this thing before I give an unqualified thumbs up – but – so far so good.