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The update has plastic walls on the wheels and other reinforcements. The main bag now has wheels, which I think would be a plus.
I traveled with most of my thing stuffed into the main bag, and everything was just heavy and cumbersome. Its not impossible. I stand at 6', but I had to pull up a bit, instead of letting it hang down or it would start to drag.
If money is an option, I'd go regular. If you have, couldn't curt, but would add to the weight of the bag.
And what about putting your carbon bikes in one of these? In the video, TJ says he never had anything damaged.
Zero bike fees, but with the frame bag and the wheel bag, you now have 2 pieces of checked luggage separate from any actual checked luggage you may have.
I have nothing against TJ or his product, but I think all of this talk of "my bike flies for free!" is a little misleading. For most airlines, you are still going to have to pay for 1 or 2 checked bags, and on some airlines, like Virgin for example, two checked bags at $25 each is the same as paying their reasonable $50 bike fee in the first place.
Still, I'm well aware it will most likely come out much cheaper than pretty much any other bike bag in the long run.
I agree, maybe the whole "bikes fly free" thing is a little misleading, but my impression was that they were referring to the fact the the bike itself does fly for "free" because it avoids bike fees. It is generally assumed that you will be checking bags when traveling.
I have been more than pleased with my case over the years. I am excited to see TJ has developed and armored version of the case! The standard case has been great, but I would LOVE those wheels on the frame bag!!! I highly recommend the Hen House! My dollar savings over the past two years has reached nearly $3000!!
If you do choose the soft case here are a few tips:
1- Be confident, carry the bag through TSA tell them that usually the wheels just get hand checked. This has only ever added 5-10 minutes to my trip through security and is usually the least of your worries when carrying wheels on.
2- Get to the gate early, speak with the attendant at the gate entrance and ask if you can board a little early so that there is room to put your bag in the first class closet. I've gotten lucky a few times and they have let me board with zone 1 despite what my ticket says. If they insist that the bag won't fit tell them that it has fit before, and you know that it will. If they continue to insist, ask them if you can at least go check and then find a place for it.
3- Where to put them if they let you get it on the plane: First try the first class closet, you'll need to be able to hang it as if it were a suit bag or something similar. Second if it's a large plane the overhead may actually work, try there next though I think it's less safe there. Third, ask the attendant if you can put it behind the last row of first class seats, this has been my best bet. It may also fit behind the last row of economy seating.
4- Who to be forceful with and who to be as nice as possible to. TSA - Be confident and act like you know what you are doing, they will check your bags and likely be more interested in why you have the wheels than telling you that you can't carry them on. Airline employee at ticket counter - If you're checking another bag, and trying to carry your wheels with you be persistant with the ticket counter person they may ask you if you're sure it will fit just tell them yes and get out of there. The attendant at the gate- be extremely nice to this person, if you get to board early there is a 15x higher likely hood that you will find a place for your wheels. The attendants on the plane - at this point you've been through 5-6 different levels of security and people, they are usually more than willing to help you find a place for them. If they start to doubt that there is a place for them, suggest one of the places that I mentioned and they may come around.
My N=1 experience.
I'm in a bit of a conundrum. I am travelling in a few weeks with Delta Airlines and am planning to bring back my bicycle, along with personal items. I will be in the other country for 3 months, so have quite a bit of personal items to bring along. With the Armoured Hen House, that will make it 3 checked baggages and the fees for a third baggage is $200 (the first 2 are free). I am also allowed one carry-on bag and a personal item on top of the 2 free checked bags, although my personal luggage just slightly exceeds the allowed dimensions for the carry-on bag (45 linear inches).
Any ideas on what my options are? I'm currently thinking:
1. Not to bring wheels, and purchase at location. So I have the Hen House main body (checked), personal luggage (checked), and day pack (carry on).
2. Try to squeeze my personal items into the Hen House and a larger backpack. I will have the Hen House main body (checked), Hen House wheel bag (checked), backpack (carry-on) and day pack (carry on).
Also, is the Armoured Hen House wheel bag compactable, or is it fully rigid?
Help is greatly appreciated! This whole thing is making my head spin...