Airlines charge more for bikes?

Discussion in 'Touring and recreational cycling' started by websterm, Mar 24, 2007.

  1. websterm

    websterm New Member

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    I read this on the Lonely Planet Bike forum. Anyone know if it's true?

    International Bicycle Fund(IBF),a noble bike organization if ever there is one,has sent out an alert informing as of this month international airlines have conspired to ALL institute an extraordinarily high fee to fly bicycles internationally. The alert states that the fee,up to US$300 return,will be assesed on all bicycles.
    Considering that Golfers,pay nothing,domestically or internationally,to fly thier equipment(easily outweighing a bicycle I believe)this is a prejudical policy.
    I don't think there is anything us touring cyclists can do about this. In the US pressure has been applied to domestic airlines to relent on thier extraordinary fees for bikes-with very,very little success.

     
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  2. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    Size and how it is packed seem to be the keys I have experienced.
    1.5 meters length is something you must keep under.
    Certainly some airlines and even some agents are more difficult to deal with than others.
    A quality made hard case is the way to go in my experience.
    I now have S & S coupled bicycle that fits in a very large suitcase (26" X 26" X 12").
    You can also check the information from the web site of the airline you plan to travel. When you do it is a good idea to print out the information and have it ready to show the agent should they challenge you. I also suggest that you get to the airport early and be patient with the agent. I have used "curb-side check-in" and given the attendent $20 for handling the bicycle.
     
  3. xilios

    xilios New Member

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    WOW, you gave them 20$ to handle the bike?
    Are you talking about the US or some third world country?
    What happend to Airline policy, that everyone working for said Airline must obey?
    My wife and I always purchase our tickets over the net and we carry copies of all documents concerning bicycles and planes with us, and never have any trouble.
    We live in Europe, but still, I would expect the US to be more strict about rules, specialy concerning, Airlines and luggage.
     
  4. skelonas

    skelonas New Member

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    I find this topic very confusing. I looked all over the web, and called the airline for a bike trip to korea (Korea Air) and could not get consistent information. All the agents I spoke to on the phone said I'd have to pay $150 USD each way (LA-Seoul), so I was totally prepared for this. When I arrived, they took my bike without question or charge, and the same thing happened on the way back! There was no problem at all, and it seemed as though no charge was the standard procedure.

    Hopefully this rumor from lonely planet is not true. I have heard that on international flights there is some kind of treaty that says bikes can be sent for free, though I got this info second hand from some online resource. In any case, in my limited experience, and from talking to racers who have travelled more extensively, airlines will not charge for bikes on international flights. Hopefully this is universally true, and will not change! Domestic US flights is another story: $50-$80 each way is the current norm:(
     
  5. skelonas

    skelonas New Member

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    I was told by the airline (korea air) over the phone and confirmed online, that my bike box (cardboard from a bike shop) was over the minimum luggage size restrictions even though it was a bike, and that I'd be charged. When I arrived, as mentioned above, there was no trouble, no measurements, and no charge. I told them it was a bike, and they simply checked it and took it away. This was last summer.
     
  6. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    $20 US covered handling all baggage from Chicago to Amsterdam via KLM; hard bicycle case included. When returning via Amsterdam I just got the hard storage/travel case packed at the hotel and paid nothing extra for the bicycle case. The $20 was maybe a tip for the person who handled the luggage and case. The other issue to deal with is storing large/expensive/special purpose bicycle transport cases when you reach your destination. I haven't found any airport storage anywhere for this.
    A well packaged bicycle in a bicycle "card-board" box can be recycled and get another when going the next leg/return trip.
     
  7. xilios

    xilios New Member

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    Sorry looked more like a bribe, than a tip. But than again that would have been a very cheap bribe :D
     
  8. daveornee

    daveornee New Member

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    I formed the habit of doing this when we traveled with our S & S Coupled tandem within the US. The case was considerably bigger and heavier and I was traveling with my wife. We would tell them everything as we pulled out the luggage and bicycle case and gave $20 to the "skycap" at the curb. We were traveling on large planes (no local small planes that couldn't handle the case size) and this was before 9/11. Since we fly from and to Chicago and usually United on domestic, we had a back up plan. I didn't treat it as a bribe, but in looking back at it, we must have saved quite a bit.
     
  9. BetweenRides

    BetweenRides New Member

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    My experience has been $75-80 in the US only. Some years ago I was invited on private plane trip with a United pilot in my neighborhood who was also a cyclist. We flew up to Wisconsin from Chicago in an old Beachcraft Bonanza and he pulled out a folding Montague MTB for me, and a Bike Friday World Tourist for himself. He explained that even though he was a senior pilot, the airline's policy was to charge $75 each way for bicycle transport. So he bought the Bike Friday and said goodbye to paying for it.

    Since I used to travel quite frequently for business, about 10 years ago I decided to purchase one. In 2001, I traded it in on a newer model with better road gearing. I figure it has paid for itself twice over in shipping fees, and even if it looks funny, rides quite well. It breaks down and packs into a standard Carlton hardshell roller suitcase, which is like any other luggage to an airline.

    I've ridden it all over the country, and plan on taking it to Ireland this summer for a week long vacation.

    Regards,

    Dave
     
  10. youhaditcoming

    youhaditcoming New Member

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    Normally airlines accept up to 20 or 22 kilograms of luggage or whatever you want to put down in the airplane without charge. It's true that the earlier you show up at check-in the better. Excess weight fees are very expensive, between 100 and 200 usd i think. The reception attendant has the last word about it ! even over airline policies

    Regards
     
  11. jcostanz

    jcostanz New Member

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    When I flew last year in the US with a bike, I checked several airline's websites and found that inside the US there was a maximum of 60" L+W+H before they would charge you a oversize fee, and a max weight before overweight fees, also there was a maximum size of 72" and max weight that they would reject. One airline that flew direct said that there was no bike handling fee in excess of the baggage fee if oversize or weight. The other said that there was no bike handling fee but did not talk about oversize and the agent on the phone did not know. I almost all of the comercialy available cases were over the 72" max, some airlines will round up each dimension.

    I flew out of Buffalo, NY and they charged me for 1 oversized box. When I returned they charged me for 1 oversized box and 1 oversized bag and an overweight fee. All of these charges were quite abit less then the airlines website specified. I believe that the agent at the counter either didn't know the airline rules or was just lazy.

    If the airline charged me the max according to their website, it would have been about even with shipping via UPS or FEDEX 2 day. Shipping ground can take up to 1.5 weeks each way and I couldn't wait that long.
     
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