Flying with a bicycle can seem like a daunting prospect at first and if you’ve never flown with your bicycle before, we can understand exactly why. As the winter months draw in and your knees get colder, having a sunny and warm cycling destination to look forward to is essential, especially if you’re planning on continuing your training during the colder months (and want to enjoy it at least a little bit!).
The Good News about flying with a bicycle
The good news is that travelling with bicycles has certainly become easier in the last decade as the popularity of cycling has increased and more people are looking overseas for new roads to ride. Many airlines count a bicycle, provided it’s packaged correctly, as your main piece of luggage. If you’re strict with your packing, this means that you could technically get away with just your bicycle and your carry-on allowance to see you through!
If you’re really cunning, you may even be able to get some clothes and other bits in your bike bag or box, after all “padded shorts make excellent padding officer”. The weight of a checked in bag is usually around the 20kg mark, so you should be within this (unless you have an extremely heavy bike!). In fact, on a recent trip to Vietnam & Cambodia, More Adventure leader Tom got his touring bike (heavy steel frame with front and rear panniers), camping gear, three pannier bags and some clothing into his cardboard bike box:
How much does it cost to fly with a bicycle?
The cost of flying with a bicycle varies. As mentioned above, some airlines consider a packaged bicycle as a normal piece of luggage that can be checked in as hold luggage. In most cases, you will still need to inform the airline that you are taking a bicycle and this is usually done when booking. You can usually inform an airline that your luggage is a bicycle once the booking has been made however.
A Handy Cycling Infographic
Each airline is different but luckily, the fantastic team at Yellow Jersey Cycle Insurance have made an extremely useful infographic which details the costs of various airlines.
We love this infographic, it definitely beats the reams of spreadsheets that we’ve compiled over the years, so thanks Yellow Jersey, we’ll be using this for our next trips! (On another note, if you want to get 5% off Yellow Jersey Bicycle Insurance, please enter the following code:
Having flown with bicycles for many years now, finding out how much an airline charges for bicycles (if any) is usually the first port of call when we book flights. If we know we’re going to have transport a bike on a flight, then the extra cost of doing so can sometimes make what looks like a cheap flight into one of the most expensive. If the bicycle is included as checked luggage but you’re going on an extended trip, you may have to factor in extra clothes and equipment and pay for an extra bag to be checked in.
Unfortunately the option to add a bicycle as your luggage isn’t yet available on flight search engines, so you’ll need to check with the individual airlines. We’ll look at the flight cost in the search engine, then Google “[airline name] bicycle”, this usually brings us straight to the relevant page on the airline’s website. Once we’ve added the extra cost (each way) of taking the bike and an extra bag (if needed), we’ll pop it into a spreadsheet to compare the options. It may sound geeky, but it’s necessary if you don’t want to be stung for luggage charges at the airport!
We hope this article helps and if you need further assistance in finding out the costs of flying with your bike, please get in touch!
In Part 2 of this blog, we explore the different methods of packing your bike ready to fly, you can visit it here: https://www.moreadventure.co.uk/flying-with-a-bicycle-part-2-packing-bike