Originally Posted by kenp
Goal: Flying my bike (round-trip) from San Francisco to Frankfurt
So I have read quite a bit on the HUBB about using the airlines to get your bike to a starting point, but I have not seen anything RECENT about doing this from the California Bay Area or for that matter anywhere in the USA. I know about the option for flying a bike from Vancouver, but that is a long ways .
If you have used the airlines to get you and the bike to Europe from USA anytime in the past year or so, please provide details here, what airline, how much it cost, and how much weight you were allow to ship with the bike, as well as total weight and any other useful information.
Further details: I will hopefully be traveling on bikes with my son who lives in Austria starting July 2011 around the Black Sea starting in Vienna for 3 months.
It depends on what you mean/ expect by "...you and your bike..."
To many, that means "...me and my bike on the same plane"
That's still possible from VNC and other Canadian gateways, arranged by Motorcycle Express - Ship Your Bike
But, since 9/11, US TransSecurityAdmin rules require that vehicles (and most "stuff") sent as aircargo from any US airport
must be flown on separate airfreighter planes; not as aircargo on passenger plane/ flights. You can fly your bike, SFO-FRA,
one-way or roundtrip, on any airline that offers/ flies separate airfreighters on that route; you just can't fly on the same plane
with your bike out of the US.
Any good airfreight broker/ agent in the Bay Area can tell you which airlines, including Lufthansa Cargo: Home
SFO-FRA. The same TSA regulations require that you book aircargo only through a TSA-"authorized" airfreight agent;
you can't book cargo yourself ex-any USA airport directly with any airline.
Cost: in 2009-10, some specialty airfreight agents, e.g. SHIPMYBIKE.COM
, claimed/ recommended that it was cheaper to
-freight a bike from West Coast to East Coast (JFK), then airfreight direct from JFK, because airfreight tariffs then were
so much cheaper, and there was much more aircargo capacity, ex-JFK. That may--or not--still be true in 2011.
Any good airfreight agent can give you current cost comparisons.
One data point: in Sept 2009, (1) F650GS w/ side bags (containing helmet, tankbag), 228 kg gross weight, 572 kg "chargeable
(volumetric)" weight,, incl. all aircargo charges, "dangerous goods" prep & documentation, and US Customs export clearance, airfreighted
uncrated by Lufthansa Cargo: Home
, JFK-FRA = $1500. Bike ridden, not trucked to JFK. US Customs requires bike delivered
to (any) airport min 5-7 days before departure. Bike airfreight scheduled to arrive FRA w/in 24 hrs of separate passenger flight arrival
to avoid FRA storage charges. You can do German Customs import clearance at FRA yourself, but you may want to consider
using Stefan Knopf, www.knopftours.com
, for expert FRA assistance--and many other good services.
Many aircargo carriers other than Lufthansa require that bikes be crated--an additional cost & time/ hassle.
You need Euro "Green Card" vehicle insurance policy for whatever period US-registered bike is operated in EU (and to clear/
import at FRA), from Knopf/ ADAC/ Arisa, Mototouring - motorcycle / bike rental, motorcycle tours and riding tours throughout the world
, [url=http://www.tourinsure.de]TourInsure, or www.motorcycleexpress.com.
Bottomlne: you can airfreight your bike roundtrip SFO-FRA, as long as your budget "tolerates" the cost, and you can
tolerate the research time and bureaucratic hassle to make it happen in your particular circumstances.
Alternative to consider: repeating MikeS's suggestions above, if your son "lives in" (i.e., has legal residence/ status in) Austria, it may
be easier and cheaper to have him buy/ title/ register/ insure a 2nd used bike in his name for you in Austria, use it for your 3 mos ride, then re-sell it on return
to Vienna--vs. the cost & hassle of your bike roundtrip airfreight SFO-FRA.
Another alternative: airfreight your bike one-way SFO (or JFK-) FRA, but leave/ store your USA-registered bike "indefinately" with
your son in Austria (or with www.knopftours.com) for later use by you or him; buy a 2nd new/ used bike when you return SFO.
You can keep/ store your USA-registered bike in EU, so long as you maintain CA registration, and take out temporary EU
"Green Card" insurance for whatever period the bike is being operated in Europe.