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 name||First bag||Second Bag||Overweight||Over sized 63-80" / 81-115"||Special Bike Fee||Notes|
Total - $70 - $145
|$20||$20||$50 51-100lbs||$50 / $75||None||No Special bike fee but overweight and oversize charges apply. Also First and Second bag fee.|
Total - $360?
|$25||$35||$100 51-70lbs $200 71-99.9lbs||$100||$100||Hard to tell but it seems like every fee can apply???|
Total - $175
|$25||n/a||n/a as long as < 70 lbs||n/a as long as <= 115"||$150||Linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches. Must be under 70lbs.|
Total - $110
|$25||$35||n/a||n/a||$50||Only regular baggage fees plus bike handling fee.|
Total - $100
|Free||n/a (I think)||$50||$50||None||"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||$25||n/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."|
Total - $225
|$25||n/a||n/a||n/a||$200||Just 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.