Flying With Your Ride Featured

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Ever wanted to take your bike with you on a trip but were unsure if you could, or how to do it? Or maybe you were just afraid of the TSA and the airlines destroying your precious baby... Well, I've done all the work and research for you on which airlines are bike friendly, what you need to know, and how to go about best protecting your ride as it makes the trip with you.

As flying professional (aka Flight Attendant) I am always on the road and have always wanted to bring my bike with me. But like you I was totally unsure what the rules were and how to best go about tackling all the variables that go into bringing your bike on an airplane.

That is until one day I was another crew member walk onto the plane with his bike... Now granted he was the captain of the flight and that does come with some perks. But it gave me the confidence that it could be done. Below I have listed out all the major carriers in the US in order of how "bike friendly" they are.

I am also in the process of reviewing a couple of travel cases on the market today that you may want to check out.

Airline Rating Cost Policy Highlights Notes
JetBlue Airways 4 Stars $50 Domestic $80 International: Unless case meets standard cary-on dimensions weight then it's free if it is your only "checked item" Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided, padded case designed for bicycles. If not in a hard-sided case, bikes will be accepted with the handle bars secured sideways and pedals removed. The bicycle must also be encased in plastic foam, a cardboard box, or similar material to prevent damage.

Historically JetBlue honors the Tour De France in June by allowing all bikes to fly for free!

No damage waver required

South West Airlines 4 Stars $50.00 Bicycles (defined as nonmotorized and having a single seat), including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, properly packed in a hard-sided bicycle box that fall within the dimensions and weight limits established for normal Checked Baggage, (i.e., 62 inches or less in overall dimensions and less than 50 pounds in weight). Pedals and handlebars must be removed and packaged in protective materials so as not to be damaged by or cause damage to other Baggage. Bicycles packaged in cardboard or soft-sided cases will be transported as conditionally accepted items.  
Virgin America 4 Stars $50 if outside standard dimensions weight Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided or padded bicycle case. Bicycles may also be accepted if the handlebars are secured sideways, the pedals removed and the bicycle encased in a plastic foam or similar material to prevent damage. Bicycles secured in this manner may also be packaged in a cardboard box. Virgin America will not accept responsibility for bicycles packaged in cardboard boxes or bicycles with foam packaging. Bicycles not in a hard-sided case will require a limited release tag. Virgin America does not supply bicycle boxes.  
Froniter Airlines 4 Stars $20 if its under 50lbs & 62"
$75 if not
Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats. Bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed and encased in a protective, durable case or box. Pedals do not need to be removed if wrapped in plastic foam or similar material. No waver needed if you pack it in a hard case
No Overweight charges apply
Allow 30 extra minutes to check in at the counter
They only accept them if they are under 99lbs.
Alaska/Horizon Airlines 3 Stars $50.00 One item of bicycling equipment is defined as one bicycle, non-motorized, with single or tandem seats. AS will only accept bicycles in a box or container, with handlebars turned sideways, pedals removed, and all sharp protrusions padded. Checked bicycles weighing 51 pounds or greater, or exceeding 62 linear inches, shall follow standard overweight and oversize baggage charges. They have a LOT of exceptions based on the type of ticket you purchase. So be sure to check your dimensions and weight, then look at their chart to be sure of your price.
AirTran 3 Stars $50 Each Way Must be packed in a box with no part of the vehicle exposed.
Tires should be deflated to aid with packing.
Rate was recently increased from a flat $79 to $50 each way
Spirit Airlines 2 Stars $75.00 Each Way Bicycle will be accpeted as an extra charge. Defined as one non-motoriezed touring bicycle with a single seat. The bike should be prepaired for transport by customer. Bike must be placed in a cardboard or hard case bike container. Tires must be deflated. Must sign a damage release form. If something happens to the bike they will not cover anything.
American Airlines 2 Stars $150 Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed or pedals and handlebars must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar material. Bike must be in a hard-sided case built for bike transport or a bike bag or box. Bikes not in a hard-sided case are considered fragile. Acceptance conditional on aircraft size and load factors
If a bike is less than 62 dimensional inches and 50 lbs., the above conditions do not apply
Delta Airlines 2 Stars $150 Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are accepted as checked baggage on most flights with the exception of some Delta Connection® carriers and aircraft that may not accept bicycles as checked baggage, and may have different limits due to cargo constraints. Linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm); no oversize fees apply. Bicycles weighing over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable excess weight fee; bicycles weighing over 100 lbs will not be accepted. The cost is the same regardless of where you are traveling to/from, even international with the exception of Brazil; its only $75
Hawaiian Airlines 2 Stars $100 Per flight
$30 On flights between islands
non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats and bicycles with tandem seats. You can check in your bicycle at the same time you check in at the ticket counter. Items exceeding 50lbs, but not more than 70lbs, will also be subject to excess weight charges.
Bikes are transported "Space Available"
Max weight accepted is 70lbs
United Airlines 2 Stars $100 each way domestic
$200 each way international
Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or
All loose items must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar protective material, or
Bicycle should be transported in a sealed box.
If your itinerary includes a United Express flight, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits
United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.
Allow 30 extra minutes for check-in at the ticket counter
US Airways 1 Stars $200 Each Way if over standard check bag dimensions weight Bicycles should be prepared for transportation by the passenger.
Bicycle must be placed in a card board or hard cased bike container.
Bicycles not enclosed will still be accepted, however, the handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or bicycle handlebars and pedals must be encased in plastic or foam or similar material for transport.
A release form will also need to be signed by the passenger.
Of the airline policies I've read, theirs is the WORST, get ready to fork over the big bucks if your bringing your bike on this airline
Allegiant Airline N/A N/A As far as I can find they have no policy on bikes. Based on their other policies this leads me to believe they don't accept them  

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How To's Poll

How many hours a week do you cycle, on average?

None Yet - 16.7%
1 - 3 - 16.7%
4 - 6 - 50%
7 - 10 - 0%
11 - 20 - 16.7%

Total votes: 6
The voting for this poll has ended on: 15 May 2013 - 00:00

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