How to Pack a Bike
Like skis and other sporting equipment, bicycles are subject to airline-specific rules and regulations. Take US Airways: The carrier levies a $200 fee, each way, for checked bicycles with total dimensions of more than 62 inches. (If the bike is smaller than 62 inches in total dimension, the airline's usual checked-bag fees apply.)
US Airways also issues detailed packing instructions for bikes: "Bicycles must be placed in a cardboard or hard-cased bike container. Bicycles not enclosed will still be accepted, however, the handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or bicycle handlebars and pedals must be encased in plastic or foam or similar material for transport." So we'll say it again: Contact your airline to learn its specific rules for transporting bikes, so you'll know what to do when the time comes to pack. Get in touch with carriers before you buy your ticket, as a cheaper checked-bike fee could make up the difference for a more expensive plane ticket.
US Airways also notes that travelers will have to sign a release form when checking bikes. If the airline mangles your Fezzari, it's your loss. To minimize chances of damage, buy a hard, high-quality bicycle case. BikeRadar.com, which road tested a variety of bike boxes and bags, offers its recommendations here.