Thursday, September 18, 2008

Airline bicycle fees

Cyclelicious: Airline bicycle rules and fees.

This is important if you travel by air and want to bring a bicycle. Bike Hugger says many airlines are not accepting bike boxes greater than 80 linear inches in size at all. You must get it under 80 inches, and they'll still sock you with an oversized luggage fee if the box is larger than 62 linear inches. As Bike Hugger shows in this photo, most standard bike boxes are well over 80 linear inches. The linear dimensions of the box is the sum of the box dimensions, i.e. length + width + height.

Here are fees charged by airlines for travel within the United States as of September 18, 2008. Fees listed are for each way; double the fee for round trip travel. Bicycles must generally have pedals removed and handlebars turned sideways and put in a box less than 80 linear inches. If you can fit your bike in a box less than 62 linear inches, you can generally check your bike as regular checked luggage. Some airlines recommend pre-registration, and some also restrict bikes from flights because of equipment or space limitations.

Some of the fees listed below are specifically for bicycles, while many airlines charge a fee for any oversized luggage. According to the airline websites, several still accept luggage greater than 80 inches, but they'll charge you even more money. Click through to the airline websites for specific checked baggage bicycle rules and fees.


  1. Exactly why I have been considering a travel bike lately; either a nice folder like a Friday pocket rocket or a bike with S & S couplings (like the nice custom Davidson that Byron from Bike Hugger travels with)

  2. ...hey...most airlines make you feel you're being herded like cattle anyway, so why not pay an exorbitant fee to have the opportunity to get your best bike (the joy of your life) mangled by some resentful miscreant who's willing to practice his box throwing skills because he's pissed that he's underpaid & damn well knows that it's gotta be an expensive bike if you're willing to fly w/ it...

    ..."please return your seat to the upright position & fasten your seatbelt...we'll be landing in..."...

  3. Screw all of them...I just won't fly! Bad juju for the carbon footprint anyway (and did I mention that I'm terrified of flying and haven't set foot on an airplane since 1995? And the last time I had to hold a grown man's hand the entire flight out of abject fear, despite a bellyful of cheap gin).

  4. I guess that means I won't see you in Vegas, Ghost Rider?

    How about Moe or the rest of the crew?

  5. I won't be there this year...darn it. Next year I'm taking the train.

    Moe, RL and the rest of the will be there, though. I'm hoping they've got a lot of meetings lined up (I asked Moe to get some more inside scoop on the new steel Bianchis for me).

    Have fun out there!

  6. I actually found it's cheapest to ship my bike with FedEx. Plus, you can track to see where your bike is, rather than hoping it shows up at the airport you land at.

  7. I'm a very satisfied Bike Friday owner. Been with it to several states and several countries.

    Sure, the feel isn't 100% road bike, but then again, forget 80 inches and waiting for oversize luggage to arrive; it fits in 62 inches and rolls off the conveyor.

    One of the other comments mentioned the Ritchey BreakAway. Another great option, but I believe the case is larger than 62 linear inches. In this era, I expect airlines aren't forgiving.

  8. Gerry Newotn, DenverJune 10, 2009 at 6:28 PM

    Make sure to ask the airline if there are any "Travel Embargos" in effect. Continental doesn't allow bicycles on planes to many locations. I found out the hard way: checked in, paid for the bicycles as luggage, and was then turned away at the gate because my bicycle couldn't be loaded.

  9. Gerry, wow! I didn't know about that. Thanks for the tip. Can you say what country this was for?