Taking your bike on an aeroplane is considerably easier than it was ten years ago – the majority of airlines will allow you to travel with a bike provided it is packaged correctly. Many airlines will include the bike within the standard fare as long as it doesn’t exceed the size and weight restrictions of the standard luggage allowance.
Packing Your Bike for Air Travel
The majority of airlines will insist that the bike is enclosed in a suitable bag or box – some airlines may even insist that you purchase their own specific packaging. Adequate packing takes time and preparation – it’s a good idea to ensure you know exactly how you’re going to pack your bike well in advance of the flight.
Most airlines will request that the pedals are detached and the handlebars turned inwards to lie within the frame – some airlines may ask to fully or partially deflate the tyres. To prevent any potential damage, the bike must be extremely well padded and packaged in a hard case or bag – soft cases may also be used provided there is sufficient padding.
When packing the bike, try to ensure that the height of the bike is reduced to 1 metre, as this size will be easier for airport transport. Several layers of bubble wrap are a good way to ensure the bike doesn’t suffer from accidental knocks or scratches. Baggage handlers are often rough with luggage and any unmarked packages, a poorly packed bike may suffer from accidental damage and most air lines won’t pay out for cosmetic compensation claims due for chips or scratches.
Airline Regulations & 2019 Charges Comparison
It is essential to check before the time of travel as each airline has different rules, and some airlines may include an additional cost.
- Swiss Air – Free – as long as it doesn’t exceed checked baggage allowance.
- British Airways – Free – non motorised bicycles of up to 190cm/75inch are permitted as part of the checked baggage allowance, provided they are packed in a protective cover/box and you inform the contact centre at least 72 hours prior to your flight.
- Lufthansa – Free – bicycles are included under Lufthansa’s sports baggage rules and are free provided they don’t exceed the checked baggage allowance. If they do exceed the baggage allowance they will be charged at a flat rate, this varies depending on the destination.
- TAP Air – Free – sports equipment can be included as the hold baggage, as long as it doesn’t exceed the standard weight and dimensions. If the bike exceeds the volume or weight allowance it will incur a variable charge depending on the destination.
- Emirates – Free – provided the sporting equipment doesn’t exceed the standard baggage allowance, there is no extra charge to travel with a bike. It is necessary to contact the airline at least 24 hours prior to departure and ensure that Emirates packaging rules are followed.
- Virgin Atlantic – Free – bikes can be included as part of the standard luggage allowance of 23kg.
- JET2 – Free – the 22kg baggage allowance includes a range of sports equipment including bikes – items over this weight will be charged at standard excess baggage rates.
- Ryan Air – A flat fee is charged for a bike per one way flight. If booked in advance, the fee is slightly less than when paying on the day.
- Aer Lingus – Bikes and other sports equipment are carried as checked baggage and incur a standard charge, although there is no charge for Business Class passengers or for Aer Lingus flights operating to and from North America.
- Tui – Tui require customers wishing to travel with a bike to pre-book and pay a fee via telephone with their service centre in advance. Not all flights will accommodate sports equipment, it is essential to check specific flights prior to travel, as sports equipment may be refused carriage.
- Thomas Cook – A fee is charged for the carriage of bikes and other sports equipment – all equipment must be registered no later than 8 hours prior to departure – fees vary depending on the destination.
- Air France – Air France require approval from customer service prior to travel with bike s and other sporting equipment. For standard tickets, bikes are not included in the baggage allowance and an additional fee will apply – the cost will depend on the geographical zones.
- Norwegian – All flights charge a standard fee for bike carriage of £35 – £45 when booked online or £45 – £70 when booked at the airport. International long haul flights charge a fee of £60 (online), £70 at the airport.
- Flybe – Bicycles can be carried, but a fee will apply and carriage is subject to flight availability.
We recommend insuring your bike for extra peace of mind during transit, as well as specifically checking the airline’s policy to ensure you are aware of the following:
- Specific packaging rules
- Weight restrictions