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Old 09-05-04, 11:07 AM   #1
Stuart Bonning
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IATA rules for flying bikes internationally

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) regulates the rules of international air traffic. This is done through an international agreement that dates back to the 1920's and is known as the "Warsaw Agreement." Commonly, IATA rules are referred to as "the Warsaw Agreement," as in " The Warsaw agreement says this or that."

Since the beginning, bikes have been allowed to "fly free" as checked luggage as long as they conform to baggage standards.

Unfortunately, many, most, maybe all ticket agents don't know the rules or just don't want to deal with a bike. (For some reason, golf clubs, surf boards, skis and other sports equipment don't seem to bother them.)

Domesticly, airlines can make any bike rules they want, but they must follow IATA's rules on international flights.

I carry a copy of the IATA regulation in my back pocket when I travel with my bike and "whip" it out when the ticket agent gets "snooty." Most of these agents are poorly trained and can be "cowed" easily. They have heard of IATA but are unfamilar with the regulations and thus give in quickly.

I can e mail the regulation to anyone interested.
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Old 01-09-11, 08:14 PM   #2
C2Cin2006
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Does anybody know if any of Mr Bonning's above information is current or still valid?

I traveled from Pittsburgh to Venice and return summer of 2009 and was charged $300 each way for my boxed bike in a "factory deliver" cardboard box weighing less than 50 lbs.

I have heard that European Airlines do not charge for bike "baggage' if less than 25kg (50 lb) on trans Atlantic flights.
Any comments or update would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-10-11, 01:32 AM   #3
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No, the information is not current or valid. Times have changed! He could "whip" that IATA regulation out from his back pocket all he wants now, and would just get slapped with a higher fee. In January of 2007, that agreement he refers to became invalid.

Read this site for much more current information:
http://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

Then, because rules and regs have been changing so fast and frequently since 2007, I would strongly recommend going to the website of the airline you're considering and reading their policies on bicycles ... not oversized luggage ... not sports equipment ... bicycles. Bicycles usually have their own special policy which requires you to pay a certain amount. But, if you get "snooty" about it, the check-in agents are within their rights to charge you the oversized, and if possible, the overweight fees as well.

So some tips ...

- Choose your airline carefully - do your research.
- Check and double check the policies - a few days before the flight, check the policies again. The policies often change, and whatever is in effect at the time of flight is the one they'll go with.
- Arrive at the airport early so you can deal with any issues that come up.
- Be relaxed, friendly, and kind to everyone you deal with along the way ... big bright sincere smiles all around.
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Old 01-10-11, 02:24 AM   #4
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It's a business decision by the carrier., shop around..

Many years ago , though SAS out of Seattle, to AMS,
DID NOT CHARGE FOR THE BIKE
Horizon, the domestic connecting flight DID.
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Old 01-10-11, 02:46 AM   #5
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Originally Posted by fietsbob View Post
It's a business decision by the carrier., shop around..

Many years ago , though SAS out of Seattle, to AMS,
DID NOT CHARGE FOR THE BIKE
Horizon, the domestic connecting flight DID.
Yes, that's how things were before January 2007. But in January 2007, things changed.
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Old 01-21-11, 01:18 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart Bonning View Post
Since the beginning, bikes have been allowed to "fly free" as checked luggage as long as they conform to baggage standards.

This doesn't apply now, most US airlines charge for pretty much ALL baggage these days (not sure about non-us carriers). I'm sceptical whether it applied back then as most bikes don't conform to baggage standards, in that they are oversize. If you do have a bike that can meet the size standards, it would probably be charged the same as a regular piece of checked baggage.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Stuart Bonning View Post
I carry a copy of the IATA regulation in my back pocket when I travel with my bike and "whip" it out when the ticket agent gets "snooty." Most of these agents are poorly trained and can be "cowed" easily. They have heard of IATA but are unfamilar with the regulations and thus give in quickly.
I'm not a ticket agent, but I do work for an airline. Are the agents poorly trained? Well, that varies, but most are pretty knowledgeable. I do know that most will not be easily "cowed" by an amateur lawyer with a IATA book in his pocket. Maybe I'm misreading the tone of the original post, but the attitude it seems to convey wouldn't be well received by most people in customer service positions.

Last edited by EAA; 01-21-11 at 01:21 AM.
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Old 01-21-11, 10:50 AM   #7
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I'm interested in bringing my bike along on an international trip...

Can anyone tell me what is the maximum dimensions for a piece of luggage that is not considered "oversize"? Just wondering if it is possible to field-disassemble and pack a 700C-wheeled road bike into a box of non-oversize dimensions.
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Old 01-21-11, 11:31 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LongIslandTom View Post
Can anyone tell me what is the maximum dimensions for a piece of luggage that is not considered "oversize"? Just wondering if it is possible to field-disassemble and pack a 700C-wheeled road bike into a box of non-oversize dimensions.
Check with the specific airline website, but most airlines consider anything to be oversize if the sum of the length + height + width exceeds 62". That essentially precludes any regular adult bicycle from complying. Even folding and take-apart bikes with 700c wheels frequently (but not always) slightly exceed the 62" limit but it isn't always strictly enforced, especially if the case looks like a regular suitcase (YMMV).
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Old 01-21-11, 06:43 PM   #9
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WOW! A six+ year old post by a one post wonder, dug out of the crypt...shoulda stayed buried.

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