Travel News How to Fly with Your Bicycle on a Plane: Airline Guide

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How to Fly with Your Bicycle on a Plane: Airline Guide

With more people than ever cycle touring and traveling with their bikes, we have put together a guide for anyone wanting to take their bike on a plane. It’s important to know each airline's policy and fees before flying with your bike to make sure you don’t run into problems at the check in desk!

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What You Need to Know

● Each airline is different as some charge a fee for taking your bike on the plane. Others will include it in your normal baggage allowance. ● You will need to make sure your bike is properly packed in a bike bag or a bike box. In some cases, you can use a cardboard box, but check with the airline. ● You will need to take your bike apart. ● Some airlines require you to tell them in advance that you will be traveling with your bike.

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How to pack your bike for a flight

Each airline has different requirements when flying with your bike, so do check your airline’s website for the most accurate information. This is a general guide for those airlines that don’t offer specific guidance to help pack your bicycle for a flight. ●Remove your pedals ●Remove and deflate your wheels ●Turn round your handle bars ●Optional: remove the rear derailleur. As this is the most delicate part of the bike, some cyclists advise to remove it and keep it packed separately. This is due to many people having found their rear derailleurs bent or not functioning properly. ●Make sure you pack your toolkit!

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Top Tips for Taking Your Bicycle on a Plane

●Make sure you give your bike a good clean first. This will make it much easier (and less messy) when taking it apart. ●In some cases where the extra baggage fees are high, it’s worth checking if an upgrade to first class that comes with extra baggage allowance is cheaper. ●Some airlines have bike boxes for sale at their check in desks.

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Flying with a Bike: Airline Fees and Requirements

Flying with a bicycle is different on each airline. Skyscanner has compiled a list of the major airlines including their fees and additional requirements.

**Please note this information is liable to change if the airline changes their policy so please do double check the information before making a booking.

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American Airlines

Fee: Included in free luggage allowance or if fees apply $25-$35 Maximum Weight and Size: If your bike and case is under 50 lbs and less than 62 ins it will be considered as your first checked bag.

Additional Information: If you are traveling to, through or from Brazil, your bike will be considered a bag.

Delta Airlines

Fee: $150 ($75 to/ from Brazil) Maximum Weight and Size: linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm). Bicycles over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable excess weight fee. Bicycles over 100 lbs will not be accepted. Requirements: ●Your bike must be packaged in a container (cardboard, canvas, hard shell, etc.) ●Handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed ●Handlebars and pedals encased in plastic, styrofoam or other similar material

Additional Information: A limited liability release form must be signed by the passenger in the case that the bike is not properly packed.

United Airlines

Fee: Part of checked baggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: Must be under 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H) or a $150 fee will be charged. Requirements: ●Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed ●All loose items must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar protective material ●Bicycle should be transported in a sealed box. ●If your itinerary includes a United Express flight, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits

Additional Information: ●Bicycles will not be accepted during an excess baggage embargo when no excess baggage is allowed. ●United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.

Jet Blue

Fee: $50 – If bicycle and container are less than 62 dimensional inches and under 50 pounds, the $50 bike fee will not be assessed. Maximum Weight and Size: The maximum size for a bicycle case is 80 inches in overall dimension (length + width + height). Requirements: ●Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided, padded case designed for bicycles. If not in a hard-sided case, bikes will be accepted with the handle bars secured sideways and pedals removed. ●The bicycle must also be encased in plastic foam, a cardboard box (domestic flights only), or similar material to prevent damage. Additional Information: ●Boxes will not be accepted as checked baggage on any international flight except for flights to/from Cuba. ●Bicycle cases should contain bicycles only; cases containing additional items may be subject to excess baggage fees ●Bicycles are NOT accepted on flights to/from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Peru and Port of Spain. ●Bicycles are accepted on flights to/from Cuba if they are in a plastic, hard-sided, padded case designed for bicycles and no more than 70 pounds and 80 linear inches (length + width + height). A bicycle fee will be applied if the bicycle and container are more than 50 pounds and 62 linear inches (length + width + height). Bicycles that are unsuitably packed or packed in boxes are not acceptable for check-in.

Spirit Airlines

Fee: $75 Requirements: ●Deflate your bicycle tires for the flight to prevent damage.
●For their protection, bicycles must be encased in cardboard or a hard-sided bike container for travel.

Additional Information: To add a bicycle to your reservation, contact a reservation center or visit a Customer Service Agent at the airport. A limited liability release will need to be signed when traveling with a bicycle.

Frontier

Fee: $75 Maximum Weight and Size: Items which exceed 99.9 pounds or 109 linear inches will not be accepted. Requirements: ●Bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways ●Pedals do not need to be removed if wrapped in plastic foam or similar material. ●Bike must be encased in a protective, durable case or box.

Additional Information: Please allow an extra 30 minutes for check-in.

Southwest Airlines

Fee: part of checked luggage allowance (2 items) Maximum Weight and Size: 62 inches or less in overall dimensions and less than 50 pounds in weight Requirements: ●Bike must be properly packed in a hard-sided bicycle box that fall within the dimensions and weight limits established for normal checked baggage. ●Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other baggage.

Additional Information: Bicycles packaged in cardboard or soft-sided cases will be transported as subject to limited release.

Aeromexico

Fee: $75 Maximum Weight and Size: No information given on their website Requirements: No information given on their website Additional Information: No information given on their website

Air Canada

Fee: A bike counts as part of your baggage allowance, or if you exceed this, a handling fee of $50 ois charged. Maximum Weight and Size: Weight: 32kg (70lb) Linear dimensions (length + width + height): 292cm (115 in). Requirements: ●The bicycle must be placed – with handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed – in a rigid and/or hard shell container specifically designed for shipping or in a bicycle suitcase (in the case of collapsible bicycles). ●Tires must be partially deflated. ●If packaged differently, the bicycle may be refused for carriage. Additional Information: Bicycles are accepted on a space available basis only and should be pre-registered at time of booking. Sports equipment bags and cases can’t contain clothing or other personal items. They must be used only to carry sports equipment.

Air New Zealand

Fee: Part of free luggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: Sporting items less than 2m long and weighing up to 23kg count as a standard bag. Otherwise, excess baggage charges apply. The maximum allowed weight is 32kg and the maximum oversize length on jet aircraft is 2.5m. Requirements: ●All bicycles must be correctly packed in a bike box or bike bag. ●You don’t have to deflate the tires ●Handle bars removed or turned sideways ●Pedals removed or turned in ●The pressure of any nitrogen gas in mountain bike struts is no more than 200kPa (kilopascal) or 29PSI (pounds per square inch) ●Any cartridges for inflating tires are small (less than 50 ml) and contain a non-flammable gas ●Place any loose accessories into a bag then place in the box ●Seal the box and label with your name and phone number ●Ensure no part of the bike is protruding from the box

Additional Information: Bike boxes are sold at New Zealand airports for NZD $25.00, subject to availability.

Alaska Airlines

Fee: $25 for an extra piece of checked luggage Additional Information: Bicycles are subject to both oversized and overweight additional fees so you could end up paying more than the $25 fee if your bike is both overweight and oversized.

British Airways

Fee: Part of your baggage allowance or $100 as an extra bag Maximum Weight and Size: Up to 190cm (75in) in length Requirements: ●Pack the bike in a protective case or bag ●Remove the pedals or fix them inwards ●Fix the handlebars sideways ●Deflate the tires to reduce the risk of damage

Additional Information: To fly, the bike must be packed in a recognized bicycle bag

Copa

Fee: Included in standard luggage allowance. If this is exceeded a fee of $100 is payable in addition to the excess luggage fee. Maximum Weight and Size: up to 32 kg (70 lb) and 62 linear inches (158 cm). Bicycles that weigh between 24 and 32 kilos will be subject to corresponding excess luggage fees on routes for which allowed luggage weight is up to 23 kilos. Requirements: ●Sport bikes (non-competitive) with a single seat. ●Only non-motorized bikes will be accepted ●All small items such as chains, screw, brakes, etc., must be stored in plastic bags. ●Pedals and handlebars must be removed and stored aside. ●Bicycles must be properly packed in a box that will isolate them from contact with the plane’s hold.

Additional Information: One bike per person

Emirates

Fee: Part of your baggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: Total dimensions (length + width + height) of each piece must not exceed 150cm (59 inches) Requirements: No requirements on their website apart from the item being well packed.

Additional Information: You get 2 pieces of checked baggage in your standard allowance and your bike would be accepted as part of that allowance.

Hawaiian Airlines

Fee: $35-$150 Maximum Weight and Size: 15 inches in length (292 cm) and 50 lbs (23 kg) anything over will incur an excess baggage fee. Requirements: ●You’ll need to fix the handlebars sideways and remove the pedals, or enclose the pedals and handlebars in plastic foam or similar material ●Bicycles and any attachable parts must be adequately packed in a box or hard case ●You’ll need to sign a waiver of liability when you check in* ●Transportation is subject to availability of space**

Additional Information: Fees are dependent on your destination.

KLM

Fee: Dependent on flight you can check individual fees here Maximum Weight and Size: N/A Requirements: ●Must be in suitable packaging or a bike box ●The handlebars should be turned lengthways along the frame ●Pedals and other protruding parts should be removed ●Tire pressures should be reduced

Additional Information: Special KLM bike boxes are available at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for EUR 20 each (176.5 x 23.0 x 101.5 cm – 69 x 9 x 40 in). The KLM bike box weighs 4.5 kg / 10 lbs.

Singapore Airlines

Fee: Included in your free baggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: Unable to accept any item above 32kg

Virgin Atlantic

Fee: Part of standard luggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: Maximum of 23kg (over 23kg it will incur an excess baggage fee) Requirements: ●Partially deflate the tires to reduce the risk of damage. ●Turn the handlebars so they’re in line with the frame. ●Remove any attachments, including pedals. ●Ensure the gearing is especially well protected. ●Protect the frame with bubble wrap.

Additional Information: It is recommended you insure your bicycle

Qatar Airways

Fee: Part of free baggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: up to 32kg Requirements: ●Bicycles may be carried as checked baggage or cargo. ●They must be properly packed in a strong purpose-made cardboard box.

Qantas

Fee: Part of baggage allowance Maximum Weight and Size: The maximum weight of any piece of checked baggage is 32kg (70lb) Requirements: ●Bicycles must be suitably packed in a bike box. ●Tires must be deflated ●Pedals must be removed ●Handlebars must be fixed parallel to the frame ●If the bicycles length exceeds 140cm (55in), the front wheel should be removed and fixed beside the rear wheel, inside the bike box

Additional Information:

Bike boxes can be purchased from most Australian Qantas Terminals. Customers can travel with their own bike box, however it must not exceed the dimensions and must be properly and securely packed. Qantas bike pack dimensions are: Length: 140cm (55in) Width: 30cm (12in) Height: 80cm (32in)

Happy cycling!

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About the Author

Claire Summers// Claire’s Itchy Feet

Dancer, artist, and street food connoisseur, Claire began her travels during her time in the Royal Navy, and is now a full time adventurer. Check out her travel blog to learn more about her adventures and travel tips.

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