The first time I flew with a bike, I packed my cheapo Motiv up in the airline-supplied bike box, and flew to Oregon to visit Joy and Steve. I knew that the airlines were notorious for beating bikes up, so I packed the bike with as much care as I knew how. I braced the fork, wrapped all of the tubes, wrapped bike clothes around it...all the tricks.
When Val and I landed in Portland, I went to the over-sized luggage office to retrieve the bike. I had to wait a bit, as the big stuff is typically first on the plane, last off. Finally, it showed up on a big cart.
Imagine just how happy I was to see tire tracks running across my bike box. It had fallen off of the luggage tug, onto the tarmac, and ended up being run over by the trailer-full of luggage behind it.
Of course, the airline had made me sign a waiver, declaring that they were not responsible for any damage. That's another thing you have to love about flying with a bike...
Luckily, though, I had outsmarted the baggage handlers. I had packed the box so tight, that the short edges of the carton hadn't even buckled. When I pulled the bike out to reassemble it, there wasn't a mark on it.
Jon - 1 : Airline - 0