So the bike seems to be in good working order after it’s journey in the belly of the plane. I researched airline policies pretty thoroughly prior to buying the ticket and found Air Canada to be the best. They allow 115 lbs. and 115 linear inches. So I bought my ticket and thought I was good. On the day of travel the packed bike box w gear weighed in at 68.5 lbs. Unfortunately, though an Air Canada flight, the first leg of journey was handed off to United, who have one of the most restrictive bike policies. They charged me their fee of $200 for the Chicago to Toronto international flight!
So when I complained to Air Canada they agreed that United should have abided by Air Canada’s policy, but that basically United is big so they do whatever they want.
Once checked, I said a prayer and watched the bike get taken away. I joined the security line and had a vantage point where I watched TSA security rip into the box I had so carefully just taped the hell out of. They were actually pretty gentle during the search, but once they’d taped it up they immediately laid the box on its side. Didn’t seem to matter how many times I wrote “this side face up” on the box. When I arrived in Greece the bike came out on the conveyor belt, again on its side, but in one piece.