As if moving across an ocean wasn’t an arduous enough of a journey, for my move to Auckland I decided that I’d try to limit my time on a flight to be less than 10h and also stop within a couple cities in Asia to visit my friends. It’s been awhile since I’ve been to Asia, around 4 years or so, and so I wanted to visit my friends in Shanghai and Seoul. Not sure why, but I decided it would be a grand adventure flying with 1 overweight suitcase and 1 bike box, what could go wrong?
Flying with Japan Airlines from Vancouver to Narita, I wasn’t charged for my bicycle box, using it as my second piece of luggage. My suitcase was overweight, so I was charged for that.
Upon landing in NRT, I found out that my connecting flight to ICN was cancelled, but JAL booked us into a hotel in Narita for the night. This meant I had to get my luggage, and I got to see how my bike box was looking after a 10 hour flight. One of the most useful pieces of packing my bike box was wrapping the entire box with 2 bicycle tubes. This gave a sort of handle for people to grab it by, and also helped hold the box together. ¼ flights all good.
The next flight was a short 2h flight from Narita to Incheon. I wasn’t expecting any troubles, and didn’t run into any troubles. Within Incheon airport there are luggage storage services, where you can put your bags for a fee and then come back to get them. This let me leave my suitcase and bike at the airport, and then I could go pick them up before checking in for my final leg of my journey. 2/4
The last leg of the journey involved flying from Incheon to Auckland, with a layover in Shanghai. This was the part of the journey that I learned the most about different airports, and fees. I flew Asiana Airlines from ICN to PVG, and then Air New Zealand from Shanghai to Auckland. Since I was flying Air New Zealand, I had to pay whatever fees that Air New Zealand charged. I booked my flights without realizing that my ticket didn’t have 2 pieces of luggage allowed. So this time I had to pay for my overweight luggage, and then also pay for my bike box.
To make matters more complicated, when flying through Shanghai, unless you are on a select partnered airline, you have to go through customs and get your luggage and then check it in again. This means that a 2h transfer might actually not be enough time depending on how long the queues are. Luckily I planned it so that I would have a 13h layover, giving me time to go into the city. Shanghai is one of the cities where you are allowed a temporary visitor visa if you are connecting in Shanghai, and have another ticket out of Shanghai. Again this meant I had to get my luggage and then find storage. Luckily everything went smoothly and I hopped on the maglev train for a 8 minute ride into the city. ¾
My last flight was the 11h flight from Shanghai to Auckland. No issues whatsoever and my bike arrived safely. A closer inspection showed some holes forming in the box, but being handled on 4 different flights, I didn’t expect anything less. Everything inside was fine, although I might’ve packed my bike cables in a bad way that lead to some creasing. 4/4
In conclusion, I probably wouldn’t suggest doing this kind of flying if you’re moving your life. But being able to see all my friends is priceless.