Ever Fly With a Bike? Lets Talk About It

Big trip to the States coming up in about a month. I’m taking a rounabout route using China Southern. It was less than half the price of American Airlines or Cathay, and has some long layovers (with free hotel downtown) in Guangzhou, so I figured a mini vacation in a city Ive never been/time to recover from trans-pacific flight may be nice.
Anyway, want to pack one of my bikes along, but CS’s bike policy (American Air as well) seems awfully strict. Total of all dimensions of packed bike must be 158cm or less, otherwise I have to pay oversized baggage fees. I think even my smallest fixed gear would be pushing that, frame only.
Anyone have experience flying CS or other airlines with ridic policies? Get away with an oversized bike box before?

Ive flown Air Asia within Japan to bring my touring bike to Hokkaido. Small fee around 25 dollarydoos, couple quick questions and they took my bike with a smile and unloaded it unscathed. I was kinda hoping I could do the same with this longer flight.