I am pleased to welcome guest poster and bike expert, Paul Devault today.
Are you traveling abroad and wondering whether or not to travel with your bike? The dilemma is understandable. On one hand, you are faced with the possible excitement of exploring a different part of the world on your two wheels. On the other hand, is the complexity of the logistics of transporting your bike on a plane.
Over the years, air traveling with your bike has become easier and more common. Many airlines have put together policies and guidelines for bike transportation. Compared to other options of transporting the bike such as through cargo services and shipping companies; bringing your bike along on the plane is one of the cheapest and most convenient options.
You will arrive at the same time and you will not need to organize logistics to pick up the bike from the shipping company. However, air travel can be a challenge especially if you will be moving from one destination to another.
Key factors to consider for your air travel with your bike
Key factors to consider when bringing your bike along on the plane are packaging, weight of the bike, dimensions and the fees.
Many airlines provide specifications on luggage dimensions. Ideally, the bike or any other luggage should not exceed 50 pounds in weight and 62 inches of combined dimensions. Most adult bikes exceed these dimensions.
It would be convenient to just pad the bike in its assembled state and give it up to the cargo attendants. However, there will be no room for it to be stored. It is almost a must to dismantle the bike when transporting it on a plane.
There are 3 main methods you can use to pack your bike for airplane transportation. These are cardboard boxes, bike cases, and bike bags.
While cardboard boxes are cheap and spacious, they are not durable and are prone to mishandling. Also, they do not have designated storage slots for various bike parts therefore at the customs inspections you will have to remove everything and repack. This is time-consuming and exposes the bike to potential damages. An advantage of cardboard boxes is that they are relatively light. They could save you extra costs on weight when you want to travel with your bike.
Bike bags and bike cases have designated packing areas for the different bike parts and accessories. The dedicated slots make it easy for customs inspection as you will only need to open and close the bike or case without having to unpack and repack. Both are highly padded to provide maximum protection to the bike. They are also easy to carry as they have handles.
While bike bags are cheaper and lighter, bike cases are more expensive and heavier. Considering you have invested in the Best Mountain Bike under 500 or the Best Mountain Bike Under 1000, it is only sensible that you take the best protective measures on the bike on your travels.
Ensure you pack assembling tools for assembly at your destination. Most airlines recommend that you deflate the bike’s wheels to save on space and reduce weight implications. Remember to bring a pump along. Otherwise, you can seek accommodation at your destination near a bike shop to have it assembled and tune up the bike for you.
The cost of flying a bike can range from as low as $50 up to $200. The cost will depend on specific airline policies, the weight of the packed bike as well as the dimensions of the package. Some airlines offer special tickets that are inclusive of bike transportation.
If you are using elite status tickets such as first class or business class, it is likely that you may not be charged for your bike. Most airline companies will automatically waive the bike fees if your bike does not exceed their stipulated weight and size restrictions. The chances of enjoying such a waiver are low unless your bike is a kids’ bike or a super-light bike.
Upon arrival at your destination, thoroughly inspect your bike for any damages. Most airlines offer a window period of at least 4 hours for you to submit claims for damages. It is important to make inquiries in regards to bike transportation with the airline you intend to use for your travels. It will give you clear guidance on packaging, weight, and fees.
Ultimately, to air travel with your bike hassle free, you must factor in weight, size and packaging of the bike. You want to offer optimal protection to the bike while cutting down on airline baggage charges. Remember to bring along a basic repair kit, a pump, and an assembly kit to enable you to dissemble and assemble the bike. Keep in mind that every airline has specific policies on bike transportation. Check in with yours prior to the travel date.
Paul Devault is an avid cyclist. He’s travelled to over 10 countries with his bike. He writes a lot on bikes and biking at his blog. When not attending to his blog, he’s biking in the neighborhood.