Traveling can be a bitch – especially with a bike.
Now I love traveling – but combining it with a 20Kg large brown box is not fun or enjoyable.
The Mountain Bike season is ramping up in the southern hemisphere with a number of key events such as the opening of the Australian Alpine Epic trail in Mt Buller and Crankwork in Rotorua, not to mention the new trails in Derby, North East Tasmania and the work in Cairns, makes for a great excuse to plan a trip and ride these amazing trails.
What’s not great is the logistics involved in getting your bike there.
So the options are to:
1. Get a bike box for your friendly Local Bike Shop, find some packing material and pack your bike
2. Invest in a bike bag/case
There have been a number of bike bags over the years and you still see plenty on bike boxes taped up at the airport – but for those that want to have some ease of transporting their MTB bike bag and cut down on the setup/pack down time and are considering multiple bike holidays, then a bike bag makes for a wise purchase.
The below is a selection of mountain bike travel bags currently available.
Mountain Bike Travel Bags
The EVOC bag has quickly become the standard for mountian bike travel. Witnessed at the Cairns airport during the world cup, most elite racers were sporting this bag as their bike transportation choice.
Available in a choice of colours, the EVOC bike bag has a well thought through padding arrangement, clever pocket selection and velcro strapping to secure your bike. Heavy duty wheels and various grab handles make for easy carpark/airport maneuvering.
Chain Reaction – Pro Bike Bag
The Chain Reaction Bag has drawn inspiration from the EVOC bag with it’s very similar features, albeit at a more affordable price.
The EVA material provides additional impact protection from over zealos baggage handlers. While reviews indicate the lack of grab handles, it does have improved protection properties due to the EVA baggage material.
The Biknd – Jetpack would be the closest competitor to the EVOC bag. Biknd is a Canadian bike travel bag brand, backed by Devinci Bikes. The bag features plenty of grab handles, accessible from both sides, with 360 degree opening and specifically design for the mountain biker. folds down to a low profile when not in use.
SciCon have been at the bike bag game for many years (33) and have continued to provide pro teams with bike luggage that has stood the test of many a pro tour. The Aerocomfort 2.0 is a soft-sided case that can fit MTB’s. I t has 4 wheels instead of 2, for ease of movement around the airport and plenty of internal tie down straps, to secure your bike.
Once you have packed your bike, you might want to get familiar with the baggage allowance before you get stung with excess baggage fees. Some airlines (even charge you for the privilege)
Disclaimer: The below should be used for informational purposes only – best check with the airline direct to get the latest information.
Airline Baggage Policies for Bikes
Below is a selection of the more popular airlines for each key region (AU/NZ, Asia/Middle East, Europe, Canada/US) and the baggage policies regarding bike transportation. Whilst this info has been gleaned from the airline site, it is recommended that you check with the airline for any changes to their policy.
Australia / New Zealand
Sporting equipment can be included as part of your checked baggage allowance, subject to the sporting equipment requirements and codeshare exceptions. Each item checked in is one piece. Charges will apply for any baggage carried in addition to the checked baggage allowance.
To be accepted for carriage on Qantas operated services, bicycles must be suitably packed in a bike box. Bike boxes can be purchased from most Australian Qantas Terminals. Customers can travel with their own bike box, however it must not exceed the dimensions and must be properly and securely packed.
Qantas bike pack dimensions are:
Length: 140cm (55in)
Width: 30cm (12in)
Height: 80cm (32in)
Combined weight of your bulky items and baggage must be within your baggage allowance. No single item can weigh more than 32kg.
Bicycles must be packed in a bike bag or bike box. Jetstar does not provide boxes or bags, it is your responsibility to prepare your bike for travel.
Each item of sporting equipment represents one piece of checked baggage allowance, provided that it does not exceed the maximum size and weight limits.
Bicycles will only be accepted as checked baggage if packaged in a hard or soft manufactured bike box. Bike boxes may be purchased at the airport check-in counter.
A single sporting item that is required to be packed as more than one piece to enable that item to be carried counts as one piece e.g. a bicycle with a wheel packed separately is considered one piece
Bicycles will only be accepted as checked baggage if they are correctly packaged into a bike box or bike bag. Bike boxes can be purchased at all New Zealand airports for NZD25 and are subject to availability.
With effect from 15th October 2014, sports equipment will form part of your check-in baggage allowance. You may pre-pay for sports equipment check-in through purchasing Luggage Upsize under “Baggage Selection” option during the booking process.
If you have pre-paid your sports equipment under “Sports Equipment” fee and your travel date is before 1st February 2015, we will avail the sports equipment purchased. If your travel date is on 1st February 2015 onwards, we will contact you for alternative arrangement.
Sports equipment can be checked-in as long as they meet the following requirements:
- Does not exceed dimensions of 190cm x 60cm x 80cm
- Does not weigh more than 30kg
Kindly note that excess baggage fees per kg will be charged at prevailing airport rates if your sports equipment exceed the baggage allowance you have purchased.
The bicycle must be contained in a protective box or bag. Foldable bikes do not need to travel in a bike pack. Only one (1) bicycle per box can be checked in per guest.
Asia / Middle East
Sporting equipment is subject to the applicable standard excess baggage charges if in excess of your standard free baggage allowance.
A bicycle can be accepted as check-in baggage, provided that the following requirements of the bicycle are met:
Non-motorized touring / racing single-seat bicycle
Handlebars are fixed and tightened sideways or parallel to the frame or enclosed in plastic foam or similar material
Pedals are removed or fixed inwards or enclosed in plastic foam or similar material
Tyres are deflated
Passenger must pack bicycle in a strong and protective hard case or recognised bicycle box.
Sporting equipment will be counted towards your baggage allowance.
Excess baggage charges will apply if your sporting equipment and your other check-in baggage exceed the free baggage allowance.
If it exceeds the allowance apply Excess baggage charge Weight / Piece Concept.
Allow 1 bike per passenger to be included in the allowance.
A bicycle may be included as part of your free baggage allowance. For a bicycle above your free baggage allowance:
Ticket issued before 16Dec2013: Normal Excess baggage rates apply : USD119 per unit
Tickets issued on/after 16Dec2013: Unit price (Flat Rates) apply : USD 100 per unit
If the baggage excesses the free baggage allowance, it will be subject to the applicable excess baggage charge. However, excess baggage charge for size will not apply to musical instruments or sports equipment with a maximum total linear dimensions of 203cm(80in.). Please click here for excess baggage charge table.
Each bicycle counts as one piece of checked luggage, but will not incur an oversize fee.
Maximum dimensions per bag, regardless of fee: Total weight, 32 kg (70 lb); total linear size(A+B+C), 277 cm (109 in).
*(By the way Korean Air has the best airline website execution out of all the airlines listed here – Just Saying)
Not super clear, but check the link above to understand the checked baggage and excess fees. No specifics regarding bikes.
Bicycle can be shipped as luggage, but can be only placed in the cargo cabin, and the weight of the bicycle could be included into the free baggage allowance of the passenger.
Bicycle shall be put into a perfect package, the weight of each individual pack shall not exceed 30 kg, and the volume shall not exceed 40 × 60 × 100 cm. If the weight or volume of the pack exceeds the allowed limit, it requires the consent of China Southern Airlines for the carriage of the bicycle.
Bicycles will be treated as part of your baggage, and will incur excess baggage charges if necessary.
Sporting equipment may be accepted as checked baggage. If in excess of checked baggage allowance, you will be charged the applicable excess baggage rate.
Qatar Airways allows extra baggage allowance only for the below listed sporting equipments (Bicycles) . Regardless of class of travel, an additional complimentary 10Kgs will be allowed over and above the baggage allowance as stated on your e-ticket , except for flights to and from North & South America where an additional complimentary allowance of 1 piece ( not exceeding 23Kgs) for sporting equipment is applicable. Only one sporting equipment type per passenger is allowed as additional free baggage allowance.
Bicycles are accepted on a space available basis only and should be pre-registered at time of booking. Each bicycle counts as one piece of baggage towards the maximum number of checked bags allowed by your fare type.
Weight and size limits:
Maximum weight: 32kg (70lb)
Maximum linear dimensions (length + width + height): 292cm (115 in)
Because suitcases aren’t the only things you may want to pack, it’s best to be aware that sporting equipment will count as a piece of checked baggage.
Pack the bicycle in a box or bag to protect your bike and prevent leakage from bicycles containing hydraulic fluid.
WestJet may refuse carriage of improperly packaged bicycles.
One bicycle and one helmet are allowed per guest
One non-motorized touring or racing bike
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.
$150 regardless of the number of checked bags.
Exception: If bicycle and container are less than 62 dimensional inches and under 50 lbs., the bike is charged the applicable 1st checked bag rate.
Maximum Weight and Size
70 lbs., 126 inches
- Acceptance conditional on aircraft size and load factors
*For travel to, through or from Brazil
All bikes are considered below 62 inches regardless of the actual size. Once your free bag allowance is exceeded the charge is $75.00 per bike.
Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats are allowed as checked baggage on most flights with the exception of some Delta Connection® carriers and other aircraft that may have different limits due to cargo constraints. Linear dimensions must not exceed 115 linear inches (292 cm) — no oversized fees apply. Bicycles over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable excess weight fee. Bicycles over 100 lbs will not be accepted.
Bicycle Transport Fees
- 150 USD/CAD* for travel to all regions (excluding Brazil, Europe & North Africa)
- 150 USD/CAD* or 105 EUR* for travel to/from Europe & North Africa
- 75 USD for travel to/from Brazil
*CAD amount will be charged exit Canada, and EUR amount will be charged exit Europe.
Your bike must be packaged in a container (cardboard, canvas, hard shell, etc.) in one of the following ways:
handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed
handlebars and pedals encased in plastic, Styrofoam or other similar material
United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $150 service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 service charge applies each way for all other travel. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.
- The following are bicycle restrictions:
- 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.
Note: Bicycles will not be accepted during an excess baggage embargo when no excess baggage is allowed.
Bicycles (defined as non-motorized 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.
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 (domestic flights only), or similar material to prevent damage.
Domestic and International Flights:
Bicycles will be accepted on domestic and international flights for a fee of $50 per bike each way and will count as one of your checked bags. Excess baggage fees may apply.
Please note: overweight baggage fees will not be assessed for bicycles. However, the maximum allotment of 99 pounds per bag still applies. Bicycle cases should contain bicycles only; cases containing additional items may be subject to excess baggage fees.
Also note: if bicycle and container are less than 62 dimensional inches and under 50 pounds, the bike fee will not be assessed.
Bicycles are accepted to all destinations EXCEPT to/from the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Peru and Port of Spain.
Alaska Airlines will accept the following sporting equipment items as checked baggage provided each piece is properly packed in a soft or hard sided case designed specifically for the sporting equipment piece.
Each checked piece of sporting equipment listed below is subject to our standard checked baggage service charge, overweight (51-100 pounds) fee or oversize (62″ – 115″ linear inches: length + height + width) fee. Refer to our Checked Baggage page for checked piece, overweight and oversize charges.
Many types of sports equipment can be carried as part of your free checked baggage allowance or as part of an additional purchased allowance if required. We’ll even accept some types of equipment over our standard checked baggage size.
We will only accept sporting equipment if it is packed appropriately (to avoid damage) and meets the given size and weight restrictions. Items over 23kg may incur a heavy bag charge. See our advice on specific types of equipment below for details.
We will accept non-motorised bicycles up to 190cm (75in) in length, provided they are packed in a recognised bicycle bag.
Bicycles are permitted for carriage provided that specific criteria is met:
- The bicycle must be packaged in a bicycle box or bag
- Only one bicycle per box/bag is permitted
- No other items can be carried in the bicycle box/bag (i.e. clothing)
- The handlebars must be flush with the frame.
- Pedals must be removed or flush against the frame
Bicycles with hydraulic suspensions or brake systems will be accepted.
A non-refundable fee will be charged. A bicycle can be added at the time of making your booking. Alternatively if you wish to add a bicycle once your booking has been confirmed and your booking was made online at easyJet.com please login to your My easyJet account and go to ‘My bookings’.
For all tickets a maximum travel weight of 32 kg per item of baggage applies, irrespective of service class.
Items of baggage which exceed these weights will not be accepted as travel baggage. They can be sent by air cargo at air cargo rates.
Single-seat and no motor.
It must be checked-in folded, with the handlebars against the sides, the pedals removed and the wheels with the air taken out and correctly packed.
Iberia has a packing container measuring 131+72+21 cm in many airports. The price of this container is €20 per unit. This container will be issued at the customer’s request or at the requirement of the agents in cases of irregularities. (except, e.g., in Berlin and Dusseldorf airports). If the dimensions of the bicycle to check in exceed those of the container provided by IBERIA, the passenger will be responsible for finding another one of the right size.
Iberia reserves the right to reject bulky sporting equipment and to pass it to Iberia Cargo with different conditions and tariffs to those indicated above.
They will always be treated as excess baggage with a fixed charge of €75 per leg, payable exclusively at the airport, regardless of destination. When the trip originates in America, Nigeria or Israel, the charge will be USD75.
Sporting or musical equipment including but not limited to large fishing rods, golf clubs, bikes* (bikes have a weight limit of 30 kilos), scooters, fencing equipment, pole vaults, javelin, surfboards, bodyboards, snowboards and skis and large musical instruments including but not limited to harps, double bass and drums are inherently unsuitable for carriage by airlines operating fast turnarounds such as Ryanair. However, these items may be carried in the hold of the aircraft in addition to your personal checked baggage allowance up to a limit of 20 kilos per item upon payment of a discounted online fee of £50/€50 per item, per one way flight. If the item is purchased at the airport or through a Ryanair call centre a higher fee of £60/€60 per item/per one way flight will apply). Any sporting and musical item weighing over the 20 kilos allowance will be charged for the excess at the applicable excess baggage rate per kilo.
* Bicycles – MUST be contained in a protective box or bag in order to be accepted for travel.
Electric bicycles cannot be carried
Bikes and tandems can be transported in the hold with prior approval from our Customer Service department.
Transporting bikes and tandems is not included in your baggage allowance. At the airport, you must pay an extra fee* that varies based on your trip.
– Zone 1: €55 (or 75 USD on flights departing from a country outside the European zone)
– Zone 2: €55 (or 55 USD on flights departing from a country outside the European zone)
– Zone 3: €100 on flights departing from a country within the European zone (150 USD departing from all other countries)
– Zone 4: €100 on flights departing from a country within the European zone (150 USD departing from all other countries)
Your bike or tandem must not exceed 23 kg / 50 lb in weight. Beyond this, you must pay a fee for the excess weight at the airport. For more information, please see the Additional Baggage page.
To prepare your bike or tandem for transport, please remember to:
- remove the pedals,
- remove the front wheel and attach it to the frame,
- fix the handlebars to the side (parallel to the frame),
- place your bike or tandem in a protective container (cardboard, hard plastic, etc.).
Bike containers (175 x 21.5 x 86 cm / 68 x 8 x 33 in) are available for purchase at most Air France airport check-in desks.
Please note: when transporting a bike on air + rail trips, SNCF requires the use of bike cases with the following maximum dimensions: 120 x 90 cm / 47 x 35 in
You can take your (foldable) bicycle or tandem (non-electric) with you in suitable packaging or a bike box:
- The handlebars should be turned lengthways along the frame, pedals and other protruding parts should be removed, and tire pressures should be reduced.
- Special KLM bike boxes are available at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol for EUR 20 each (176.5 x 23.0 x 101.5 cm – 66.5 x 9 x 39 in). The KLM bike box weighs 4.5 kg / 10 lbs.
If your flight is with a Fokker 70 aircraft, please do not pack your (foldable) bicycle or tandem in a box, but wrap it in soft material such as plastic.
You always need to reserve for the transportation of a (foldable) bicycle or tandem in advance.
Instead of a suitcase you can also use your free baggage allowance to check in sports baggage. If the sports baggage you wish to check in exceeds the free baggage allowance included in your fare, you have the option of checking it in as a separate item of baggage under the excess baggage conditions » currently in force. Sports and special baggage must be registered in advance
For sports equipment that are listed below, sports equipment charge per piece is taken based on below “Sports Equipment Baggage Charge by Airport” table. If sports equipment weight exceeds 32 kg, sports equipmet is divided into 2 and/or more pieces and for each of them sports equipments charges per piece are taken.
(Note: Not super clear on the details regarding bikes – best to check direct with the Turkish Airlines to decipher the fine print)