Ever since I’ve had a Brompton, I’ve been wanting to take it on a flight with me. I know some folks gate-check it, but that idea seemed a little too bold. I’m a nervous flyer in general, and have had some bad experiences with “random searches,” so knew I’d be checking the bag in. I tried to find a good flight case and thought the Vincita B132H soft case seemed like a particularly great option. Theoretically, you can fold it down, put it on your rear rack, and pedal out of the airport with it. Alas, there didn’t seem to be US distributor for Vincita. With that option off the table, I tried ordering the B&W Hard Case, but even that seemed out of stock in most places.
I wound up buying a Samsonite Stryde Glider Long Journey from Amazon, on the advice of someone on Brompton Reddit. (Many thanks, lvmickeys!) It had been discussed on a few message boards, but I hadn’t seen anyone actually try it out. On spec, it already had a few things going for it: Its internal dimensions are 24.1″ x 25″ x 13.58.” At 11.2 lbs, it’s relatively lighter than other hard cases, and it has glider wheels. It’s also around $170, which is about half the price of the B&W case.
I have an M6R, and after removing the saddle, it fit almost perfectly. It seemed like there was some space width-wise, so I bought some 24″ x 48″ egg crate foam online, cut it in half to place in the suitcase, and then used some foam around the corner bits of the bike. The whole package was snug but secure. Here’s how it looked:
Because my bike is on the heavier end (with a dynamo, the telescopic post, a Brooks saddle, MKS pedals, etc), I fretted over what things to take with me on the carry-on T-bag, and which things to keep in the case. I wound up stashing my heavy Kryptonite lock, some tools, and the telescopic post in the Samsonite, which after all that, clocked in at around 46 lbs. The rest — the saddle, pedals, and clamps — came with me on the carry-on.
Even with all those precautions, I was a little apprehensive when the time came to check it in. I’d heard stories about folks being asked what was inside the bag and having to respond with euphemisms like “personal mobility device” or “luggage transporter” to avoid bike surcharges. I knew I’d crack under pressure. So I went to the Delta curbside baggage drop, where no questions are ever asked. This was a total case of paranoia on my part, at any rate: the Samsonite is discreet, so no one really would ask unless you showed up in lycra and a helmet.
Anyway, the bike arrived in the DIA baggage carousel with no issues whatsoever. If you’re thinking about getting a hard case for the Brompton, the Samsonite Stryde seems like a pretty good option.