Traveling is a stressful experience, but traveling with big extra special baggage, like a surfboard or bicycle, can add to a person’s already existing travel anxiety. With the right preparation, traveling with a bicycle does not need to be an expensive or stressful experience.
Most airlines permit bicycles to be checked in as luggage for flights. Some airlines charge a fee, while others do not. Airlines also impose specific rules regarding the size and weight of bicycle luggage. Passengers must be prepared to take the necessary precautions before the flight day to avoid any issues.
Can You Take A Bicycle On A Plane?
Fortunately for the traveling cyclist, bringing a bicycle on a plane is feasible and, if well prepared, can be a smooth process free of stress from start to finish.
Most airlines worldwide accept bicycles on their flights, and in many cases, a bicycle that is packed in the manner accepted by the airline can count as ‘normal’ luggage. Thus, passengers can check in their bicycle as luggage in the same way as a suitcase or bag.
Nevertheless, passengers with bicycles must remain aware that airlines impose their regulations for a bicycle which vary from airline to airline. So, it is up to travelers to make the necessary preparations leading up to the travel date to avoid receiving bad news at the check-in counter.
How Much Do You Have To Pay To Bring A Bicycle On A Plane?
There is no standardized fee for traveling with a bicycle. Many airlines, like American Airlines, Jet Blue, and Delta, do not impose a fee for bicycle passengers. However, other popular airlines like Air Canada, EasyJet, and Ryanair do. The costs between airlines can vary quite a bit.
In truth, if a traveler is flying with a budget airline, they will be charged for bringing a bicycle. In such cases, the average bicycle fee comes to about $60.
However, if something about the bicycle or its packaging is not up to standard, such as if the bicycle is too heavy or exceeds the imposed dimensions, passengers are probably looking at paying triple what they would in normal circumstances.
Can You Bring A Bicycle On An International Flight?
As mentioned, most airlines do allow passengers to bring bicycles on planes. In addition, many airlines that operate on a global scale, such as British Airways and Emirates, enable passengers to check in their bicycles as standard luggage (free of charge).
Cyclists traveling internationally with their bicycles need to know their respective airline regulations. Some airlines have specific requirements that require passengers to dismantle their bicycles and deflate their tires.
Can You Bring A Bicycle On A Flight To Canada?
Passengers traveling to Canada should have no problem getting their bicycles to this country. However, Air Canada does charge a fee for traveling with a bicycle. In addition, the maximum weight allowed is seventy and a half pounds and must be confined to certain dimensions.
It is also necessary to pack the bicycle in a hard-shell bicycle case with no other items.
If traveling to Canada with an American airline like American Airlines, Delta, or Jetblue, a passenger is not subject to any additional costs unless their bicycle exceeds seventy and a half pounds or is oversized.
Can You Bring A Bicycle On A Flight To Europe And U.K.?
Europe is an area with many countries and individual airlines, but most of them accept travel with bicycles. When traveling to France with Air France, a passenger must pay around $60 to check in a bicycle. A traveler must get approval at least forty-eight hours before the flight.
However, bringing a bicycle on British Airways is free, but passengers must inform the airline ahead of time.
Either way, travelers must remember that the maximum weight and dimensions vary from airline to airline. In addition, they should avoid traveling with budget airlines if they want to avoid paying a fee.
Can You Bring A Bicycle On A Flight To Australia?
Flying to and from Australia with a bicycle is permitted. Australia’s biggest airline Qantas requires bicycles to be appropriately packed in a bike box found at Qantas terminals. Passengers are also free to bring their bike boxes, provided they do not exceed the dimensions.
Like most airlines, Qantas will only accept bicycles if the pedals are removed, the tires are deflated, and the handlebars are fixed parallel to the frame.
Can You Bring An Electric Powered Bicycle On A Flight?
People wishing to travel with electric bikes will be disappointed to find out that taking an electric-powered bicycle on a plane is not allowed because of the regulations regarding travel with batteries.
Lithium batteries for electric bikes are larger than the maximum limit of 100Wh.
Lithium batteries remain a fire hazard, and despite being designed in a manner that prevents them from catching fire, airlines are not willing to risk the presence of big flammable objects on board.
Rent A Battery For The Electric Bicycle At The Destination
For those who can afford it, buying or renting a battery upon arrival at the destination is available.
However, removing the battery from an electric bicycle to make it fit for plane travel is maybe not the only thing that needs to be done. Travelers must ensure that every other aspect of the electric bicycle makes it fit for plane travel.
There is also no guarantee that a compatible and affordable battery will be available at the destination. Nevertheless, if it works out, it is worth the effort if the trip is centered around cycling.
How To Pack Your Bicycle For Plane Travel
There are several ways to pack a bicycle for plane travel. Some airlines can have very specific requirements, while others remain more lenient. It is ultimately up to the traveler to ensure that their packed bicycle meets the airline’s criteria.
Use A Cardboard Bike Box For Flying
Using a cardboard box for a bicycle is arguably the most convenient method for plane travel. Should the airline allow it, this method is recommended by many, as they work well and can be easily found.
People can get hold of a cardboard bicycle box at cycling shops (for free), as there is no shortage of them. When picking up the box, travelers need to double-check that the box’s dimensions fit their bikes and the ones imposed by the airlines.
Pack Your Bicycle In A CTC Bag When Travelling By Plane
A CTC bag is a good option for the traveler looking to do minimal work on the bicycle before travel. CTC bags are heavy-duty polyethylene bags specifically designed for bicycle travel. These specialized bags cost around $15.
When allowed to use them, cyclists enjoy using CTC bags for general travel as they do not need to dismantle the bicycle too much before packing it in.
However, the CTC bag’s main drawback is that it does not offer as much protection as other packaging methods, like a cardboard bicycle box. Travelers using a CTC bag should consider taking measures to protect their bicycles when traveling with a CTC bag.
Use A Dedicated Bicycle Bag When Flying
Some airlines require their passengers to use a dedicated bicycle bag. These can either be a soft bag or a hard case. Both come with their advantages and disadvantages.
A hard case bag provides great protection but is the more expensive of the two options, while a soft bag is lighter and cheaper.