Monday, October 31, 2011

Airline Bike Fees

Recently i've been thinking of doing some bicycle touring.  Some goals include touring breweries in Europe (Holland, Belgium, Germany), checking our Vancouver Island BC, going down the US west coast on route 101, and also checking our some of Quebec's excellent biking trails and routes.

 As part of my initial research I wanted to know how much it costs to transport a bike via commercial airlines as checked-in luggage.  The results were quite surprising as I learned that this is a very costly option when compared to similar sport equipment such as golf clubs.

Here are some examples of bike fees for flights within North America.  Apologies if this table is a bit rough, it has been copied from my notes while I was researching the subject.  Total amount to travel with one checked-in bag and a bike is in the left most column.  Keep in mind this is likely to change as airlines are constantly updating their fees.



Airline nameFirst bagSecond BagOverweight Over sized 63-80" / 81-115"Special Bike FeeNotes
Alaska Air
Total - $70 - $145
$20$20$50 51-100lbs$50 / $75NoneNo Special bike fee but overweight and oversize charges apply.  Also First and Second bag fee.
United
Total - $360?
$25$35$100 51-70lbs $200 71-99.9lbs$100$100Hard to tell but it seems like every fee can apply???
Delta
Total - $175
$25n/an/a as long as < 70 lbsn/a as long as <= 115"$150Linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches.  Must be under 70lbs.
Air Canada
Total - $110
$25$35n/an/a$50Only regular baggage fees plus bike handling fee.
Westjet
Total - $100
Freen/a (I think)$50$50None"Each guest is permitted to bring one bicycle and one helmet, but oversize and overweight baggage fees will be charged per bike per direction"
Continental AirlinesTotal - $125$25n/a n/a n/a$100"Continental Airlines accepts a non-motorized bicycle with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. A $100 service charge applies each way for domestic travel."
U.S. Airways
Total - $225
$25 n/a n/a n/a$200Just the $200 fee

Considering the costs involved in transporting my bike which ranges from $100 to possibly $360 each way, and much more internationally, I have decided to get a folding bike.  I figured if I can save a few hundred dollars each trip for both myself and my wife, it is worth it.  The manufacture I picked is Green Gear Cycling Inc out of Eugene, OR in the US.  They are more commonly referred to by their bicycle brand, Bike Friday.  I've decided to purchase a Bike Friday New World Tourist for myself and a Crusoe for my wife.  Each can be packed into a regular suitcase which will only incur regular baggage fees.


When I get them early next year I will post a full review on this site.  I will also do a write up on the configuration in which I ordered them as most of their bikes are either full custom bikes or a 'stock' bike personalized for the individual buyer.