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-   -   shiping by air usa to uk (http://www.horizonsunlimited.com/hubb/trip-transport/shiping-by-air-usa-uk-32729)

brittman 30 Jan 2008 16:20

shiping by air usa to uk
ok has anyone shipped there bike from usa to uk by air in the last 12 months?i have searched everywhere and only find stuff from years ago.i searched the internet and only have found 2 companies 1 in ny exppencive. and the other in canada seems good price and can fly on plane with bike. only trouble have to ride to toronto from atlanta.no problem but would like to fly from usa.please help. thanks


stevesawol 30 Jan 2008 18:02

Have you looked at the shipping log?;


Also a few of the guys rave about Wallenius Wilhelmson. As i understand it they transport cars across the water and it's a regular confirmed 21 day sailing, so none of the guess work/unkown that normally comes with seafreight. the other bonus is you don't have to crate the bike nor drain fuel/disconnect the batt. The details are in the above link shipping from UK to USA but they must do the reverse trip!

best of luck!

Paul Narramore 5 Feb 2008 09:03

AIR - In 2002 I flew my bike from Toronto Airport to the UK - the bike was attached to a pallet and loaded in the plane's hold whilst I sat upstairs. The airline was Air Transat. It was pretty expensive but the worst thing was that my tank had too much fuel so I asked a fork lift driver to dn some out for me. When I went to collect the bike at Gatwick, it ran out 100yds down the road! At the time Toronto Airport was having extensive building work carried out, the plane was late arriving from elsewhere in Canada, and all the passengers had to sit on the floor (for hours) with nothing to do. We weren't allowed back into the area where all the shops were.

SEA - In 2006 I shipped the bike back by sea from Port Newark, NJ, with Wallenius Wilhelmsen then flew home. It took the bike A MONTH to get back to the UK (10 days outward bound) as the vast ferry had to visited a number of other east coast docks. It was a bit irritating not knowing exactly where my bike was, and when it did arrive, I found the battery was flat. I think there was a fault with the bike but that didn't excuse them wrenching the side panels to one side to get the jump leads onto the battery.

The 314559 16 Sep 2008 08:37


Originally Posted by brittman (Post 171713)
ok has anyone shipped there bike from usa to uk by air in the last 12 months?i have searched everywhere and only find stuff from years ago.

This is true. I've been searching for some time. I did look on the shipping list on the left menu and also searched the HUBB with as many creative keywords as I could.

It seems to come down to Motorcycle Express or ShipMyBike.com
Not considering Wallenius Wilhelmsen as it's not air.

It looks like either there is only two specialized companies with higher prices or nobody is updating the listing on the left after their shipments.

I hosted two riders from England here in LA past month. They will soon be shipping from JFK to LHR using ShipMyBike.com. I think they'll be paying around $2000.00 per bike. I'll update this after their shipment.

brittman 19 Apr 2009 16:33

update i finally shipped the bike
ok i decided to ship bike by sea.i posted about it in the shipping thread also.here is my experience.This was a permanent import for retuning uk resident no import tax was payed you get 1 free veh import.
Ok here is my experience.i booked the shipping with express auto on jan 13 2009 was told it should take about 28 days.It was $1450 plus $150 for insurance.After one cancelled pickup from my house to new jersey they finally picked it up jan 19 2009 and was delivered at the docks on the 21st jan 2009.great was told it would be put in container and shipped possibly on the following monday.Here is when things went sour.first of all i was getting no communication from ryan at express auto,then finally about a week later he said the bike was waiting for container to be filled.I then found out that Schumacher cargo was doing it and was waiting for another car to have it's title sent so they could fill the container,they then informed me that cars have priority on containers and hope to get it filled soon. Now after 8 weeks they finally got my bike into the customs clearing stage which i was told would take 1 week.My bike finally sailed on the 17 march 2009 it arrived in uk on the 30th march 2009.I was then told i had to pay an extra 195 uk pounds to schumacher for clearing. Also i had to send them proof of ownership that i owned the bike for at least 1 year,also had to send copy of insurance in usa a house bill from at least 1 year ago and copy of my passport.
Then was informed that the bike had to sit for 7 days in quarantine.My friend was aloud to pick up my bike with a letter of approval from me. The bike was picked up on april 9 2009.
I found out today that my title is with schumacher in uk and they will send it to me in uk.
I found this all very stressful because there was no good communication from express auto i had to find out the details myself.In conclusion i find it's better to book it with the boat company. Ian at schumacker in uk was very helpful. Next time i think it would be worth the extra money to fly the bike.
now all i have to do is the msva test.lol it never ends.I hope this helps you.

maja 20 Apr 2009 01:50

WW Charleston to Southampton would have been cheaper and quicker and in my experience Customs at Southampton do not make a big deal over it.

Ride safe.

JMo (& piglet) 20 Apr 2009 08:21

Sorry to hear about your hassles brittman - and sorry I'm a few weeks late reading this thread, however at the time I didn't have my shipping arranged...

I'm currently flying my bike back to the UK from Las Vegas (it was picked up on Friday)... However, it is now massively more expensive to use air-frieght it seems, due in no small part to new TSA rules introduced in March this year (2009), and I think a number of shipping agents just can't be bothered with what are considered 'dangerous goods' now - leaving the market to be cleaned up by just a handful of companies, all charging much the same price it seems...

As a comparison, I shipped a bike Vegas to Manchester (ie. not a direct flight) at the end of 2007 and it cost me $1400...

This time, Vegas to Gatwick (a direct route - although I understand for some reason my shipment is going on a different airline that lands in Stanstead, with a transfer to Gatwick) is $2544... yes, you read that right, over two and a half fu*ing grand... good job I love my bike enough to want to bring it home eh?

If you fly out of LA or New York, the price is around $2000 with Motorcycle Express, but from Vegas it would cost pretty much that extra $500 to get it to LA anyway (yes you can ride, and use their crate, but there is an issue with luggage etc.), so I saved the hassle...

Flying is not a cost effective option anymore it seems?


ps. For anyone else interested, I was quoted $695 from Long Beach to Southampton with Wallenus Whilhemsen - it is scheduled to take three weeks, but the sailing is only twice a month (and not leaving until after I was due to fly home)... they also wouldn't take my luggage, even if the bike was crated - plus, as brittman and Paul Narramore's experience shows, shipping by sea is not always 'plain sailing' (groan...)

Fastship 20 Apr 2009 10:51

1 Attachment(s)
Sorry I missed this thread.

About ten years ago I used to ship new bikes from US dealers to the UK using this company - Kamino Air Freight.

:::: Welcome to Kamino ::::

Admittedly new bikes are easier as they are in crates already but the cost on the last air way bill was £108.95. The chargable weight was 303kg, dimensions 85x29x45 inches and the routing was JFK-MAN. The agent at MAN was Woodcroft Air Cargo

Woodcroft Air Cargo Ltd. - Company Profile

For new bikes you need a noratized certificate of origin from the dealer/manufacture but I don't know about your own bike, the agent will tell you. Take your bike to a dealer and pay them to crate it up for you in one of the crates they have just taken a new bike from - don't put it on a pallet as you pay volumetric fees on air freight and you'll be paying the airline to fly fresh air around the world!

Drain all fuel and don't ship the battery with the bike and TELL them - this way you will save more, otherwise you will pay "dangerous cargo" fees.

Insure your bike for it's actual value otherwise you will get Warsaw Convention compensation if it goes missing which is the square route of naff all (they CAN go missing!)

If you tell them you are in no hurry you might get a better rate as they will ship indirectly (i.e via Iceland on US/UK) and take three or five days otherwise it's an overnight/next day service.

Finally - never deal direct with the airlines' cargo division, always go direct to air freight forwarders (Yellow Pages) or the ones located at or near to the airports in person and haggle hard - there are "set fees" for air freight and then there are the real fees professionals pay - these are the ones you want!

Times have changed since I used to ship bikes by air but I wouldn't expect to pay more than $300 and would still try for $150 or less. Try telling the cargo company what you are willing to pay, walk away if they don't come to terms and go to the forwarder next door at the airport - the airline business is on its arse and they are desperate for every penny so exploit them!!!

If your bike is new don't under declare its' value to customs hoping to save on import duty and VAT - when I imported mine they had a warehouse full of confiscated bikes airline pilots used to ship in when they tried this!

Air Freight being such a common theme I would have thought it worth the HU community having a "preffered" cargo company like Kamino (they are good guys) who will make the process simple through repetition and an understanding of the needs of HU'ers. Everyone has to make a living but the guy above who was charged $2,500 was exploited and it's not right.

JMo (& piglet) 20 Apr 2009 16:05

There's some good advice there Fastship, however, as you state at the beginning - it's kind of 10 years out of date...

There is no way you'd be able to ship a bike for $300 across the atlantic by air, hell they probably wouldn't even pick it up from your house for that these days?!

Of course if you are prepared to strip the bike down to parts, or not ship it with a battery as you suggest (although I'm not sure that makes so much difference these days, as long as it's disconnected?) - and fundamentally if you are prepared to receive it as and when and get it shipped as part of a larger consignment, sure, the price might be significantly cheaper...

But telling a shipping agent that you 'only want to pay $300' is going to get a giggle at the very least, if not the phone put down on you x

There have been TSA changes introduced this year, and yes, as you surmise, I think the agents probably are exploiting that a little (as I suggested above), with fewer companies prepared to deal with private individuals who want to ship a complete motorcycle (plus their luggage) especially on a specific date?

What I am saying is that by all means try and haggle the price with the agent as you suggest, and be flexible with you requirements if possible, but don't for a minute think you'll get transatlantic air-freight for your overland bike for $300!


ps. My quote was with pick up from Las Vegas, not near the main shipping hubs of LA, Phoenix or New York, again, adding to the cost...

Fastship 20 Apr 2009 16:19

^ It's true that I haven't shipped for a while but I worked in the airline business for 12 years and before that used to ship computers by the thousand all around the world by air so I know the business from both sides.

For £200 SLC (self loading cargo) gets you a seat above the deck to cross the Atlantic and for that you get food & drink and the added fun of throwing pea nuts at the flight attendants. A few inches beneath your feet is the cargo deck which these days more than ever is empty and airlines still to this day treat filling that space as incremental revenue i.e. they sell it for whatever they can get.

Going east from the UK or US you will get even lower rates for cargo these days.

This is my point about getting a HU approved shipper we can all use.

$2,500 is almost hand luggage rates! Don't pay it!!!

JMo (& piglet) 20 Apr 2009 16:49


Originally Posted by Fastship (Post 238570)
$2,500 is almost hand luggage rates! Don't pay it!!!

I agree, but when you have little choice, you take what you can get... this is the route I wanted, when I wanted, and arranged last minute when my previous shipper (who I thought it was all arranged with) let me down regarding the new TSA changes...

For info, when my bike come over, it was in the hold of the Virgin Atlantic plane I was on (a coincidence, as it had left from Manchester originally, and went via Gatwick where I was flying from) - I told them which day I wanted to pick the bike up in Vegas, and they simply put it on the most appropriate (direct) flight the day before... painless, and I was able to collect it customs cleared the day after it/I landed. That cost me $1800 USD, which with the exchange rate at the time, was around £1000 GBP - landed and customs cleared.

However, both times I have shipped a bike out of the US, they have told me it cannot go on a passenger plane (and certainly not the one I am booked on) for 'security reasons', that it is 'unknown cargo' and a handful of other spurious notions... they are a bit precious about airline cargo and security in the US these days as you might imagine...

I agree the price I was quoted is shocking, but when Motocycle Express charge $2000 from the west coast (remember that doesn't include getting my bike to LA from Las Vegas - renting a U-haul, fuel, motel if I was going to take my own crate and luggage would cost pretty much that extra $500 it cost for at the door pick up), then the price would seem to be what the market is charging right now? Coupled with the fact we are now barely getting $1.50 to the pound, the balance between price and convenience ain't so attractive any more...

As I said before, I'm sure there are cheaper ways - particularly if you know the industry, but it seems the bargains just aren't out there for your average punter? I got three or four quotes, and they were all the same (in fact two were closer to $3000!!!) - only sea freight was considerably cheaper, and the logistics of that just didn't work out for me at this time...


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