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Old 03-04-10, 03:36 PM   #1
neil
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Should I have booked my bike on the flight?

I just booked my flight to my first tour, but I forgot to ask this while I was booking. I'm bringing my bike with me on a flight, and I'll have to pay an oversize baggage fee for that. Is this something that I should have paid at time of booking, or is it fine to just show up at the airport and pay the fee then? I'm flying Westjet, if that makes any difference.

Also, my wife will be renting a bike. Has anyone rented on PEI? Any recommendations?

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Old 03-04-10, 04:29 PM   #2
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You don't have to reserve a spot for the bike, unless it's a tiny airplane then they might need to know in advance.

Leave extra time at the airport just in case, but I've never had trouble.
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Old 03-04-10, 05:48 PM   #3
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I agree with VG. I have never booked the back ahead. You stand a better chance of not being charged if you wait till you check in. You might get lucky and have someone check you in that either does not know the rules or feels sorry that you have to pay that high fee. Don't hold your breath but it has been known to happen.

Also print out the rules right now. If the cost changes you pay what the rules were the day you bought the ticket. Make sure you take them with you.
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Old 03-04-10, 09:41 PM   #4
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Also print out the rules right now. If the cost changes you pay what the rules were the day you bought the ticket. Make sure you take them with you.
Not always true. When I booked my flight with Transat, bikes were free. Before the trip, they started charging $30. Even with the info in hand, I still had to pay the $30. They kept directing me to the "fees subject to change" part of the equation. At least at the Paris end of the trip. Calgary was cool with waving the fee. My calls to the Montreal office fell on deaf ears when I got home. Although I was ticked at the situation at the time, $30 isn't too bad by todays standards.
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Old 03-05-10, 12:25 AM   #5
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You can just show up with the bicycle, BUT more and more airlines are putting restrictions on bicycles. When I flew to Australia this past June, I had a short leg on a United Express flight, and was told that there was no guarantee my bicycle would be on that flight.

And as you can see on the United website's info on bicycles, it says:
http://www.united.com/page/article/0...0.html#bicycle

"If your itinerary includes a United Express flight, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits."

Always read your airline's information regarding bicycles ... and re-read it a few days before travelling. Things may have changed.
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Old 03-05-10, 01:35 AM   #6
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We ALWAYS make sure we report the fact that we fly with two bikes.
that way it is on the ticket. we never had any problems bringing our bikes.

and yes, knowing what the rules / regulations are is always good.
but, as the say: 'everything subject to change'.

however: be polite, friendly etc. and who knows...
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Old 03-05-10, 05:12 AM   #7
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Not always true. When I booked my flight with Transat, bikes were free. Before the trip, they started charging $30. Even with the info in hand, I still had to pay the $30. They kept directing me to the "fees subject to change" part of the equation. At least at the Paris end of the trip. Calgary was cool with waving the fee. My calls to the Montreal office fell on deaf ears when I got home. Although I was ticked at the situation at the time, $30 isn't too bad by todays standards.
Yep ... the same thing happened to Rowan on a flight back to Australia. He booked the flight about 8 months early, and by the time he got there, many of the airlines had changed their policies drastically ... including the one he was flying with ... and he was charged for his bicycle. Showing them the rules on the day the ticket was purchased meant nothing to them.


But to answer the OP, you pay for your bicycle when you check in at the airport.
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Old 03-05-10, 11:10 AM   #8
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Westjet has their bicycle baggage policy online:

http://www.westjet.com/guest/en/trav...shtml#bicycles

A good tip I read on bicycletouringpro: Have a print out of the policy with you when you check-in. That way you can counter if the attendant makes incorrect claims about their policy.
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Old 03-06-10, 05:02 AM   #9
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A good tip I read on bicycletouringpro: Have a print out of the policy with you when you check-in. That way you can counter if the attendant makes incorrect claims about their policy.
But print the policy the day before your flight. As mentioned earlier things change quite frequently in the world of airline policies and what the situation was when you booked your flight may not be the situation when you get your flight.
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Old 03-06-10, 03:14 PM   #10
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But print the policy the day before your flight. As mentioned earlier things change quite frequently in the world of airline policies and what the situation was when you booked your flight may not be the situation when you get your flight.


AND the day you purchase your ticket.

I do not doubt the people that say they have had problems with being charged more than expected due to a changed policy. But this is more likely due to a gate agent that does not know what they are doing.

I find it hard to believe that an airline would not honor the policy as it was on the day of your ticket purchase. And if they did not, I doubt it would hold up in court, if you wanted to push it that far.

Your contract is with the airline the date you bought the ticket. Not on the day that you fly. After all they could do anything with this idea that a policy can change at any time. Buy a $300 ticket a few months out and then the day before your flight, they start charging $100 for a carry on and $200 for a checked bag. Suddenly your ticket doubles in price.
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Old 03-07-10, 01:22 AM   #11
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AND the day you purchase your ticket.

I do not doubt the people that say they have had problems with being charged more than expected due to a changed policy. But this is more likely due to a gate agent that does not know what they are doing.

I find it hard to believe that an airline would not honor the policy as it was on the day of your ticket purchase. And if they did not, I doubt it would hold up in court, if you wanted to push it that far.

Your contract is with the airline the date you bought the ticket. Not on the day that you fly. After all they could do anything with this idea that a policy can change at any time. Buy a $300 ticket a few months out and then the day before your flight, they start charging $100 for a carry on and $200 for a checked bag. Suddenly your ticket doubles in price.
Well ... believe it. And that's exactly what has happened. People have purchased their tickets in advance, and at some point between then and the flight all sorts of things have changed including ...

1) charging for bicycles where they didn't charge before
2) raising the rates for bicycles
3) limiting carry-on
4) not guaranteeing that they will take bicycles at all
5) reducing the allowable size and weight of checked baggage

I've encountered all of the above, although fortunately I did check just prior to most of the flights where I've encountered those occurrances and was prepared. But I've watched the people in the airports who were not prepared.

In 2007, Heathrow suddenly put a restriction on carry-on baggage on all flights flying out of Heathrow. Only one small piece of carry-on luggage was allowed. I had checked both my airline and the airports and was prepared for that restriction when I flew to Europe. But I watched several weeping women tossing stuff as they frantically tried to get their carry-on amounts down to the limit.

In 2009 when I flew over here to Australia, I watched a family debating what on earth to do with all their stuff because the size and weight limits had changed and they were well over the limit. I think in the end they paid the oversized baggage fee.

When the airlines started charging for bicycles, Rowan and I were caught by that one, and we discovered that if you argue with the person behind the counter, that person will call the on-duty manager over who will inform you that if you keep arguing, you will be charged the maximum they can possibly charge for a piece of luggage. Your choice ... pay the fee, or pay about 3 times the fee. Showing them the so-called "contract" at the time of purchase meant nothing.

So you can try to convince the airline to honour the policy as it was on the day of your ticket purchase, but brace yourself for the people you're dealing with to enforce the current policy. After all, if the new policy is that a person can only bring one carry-on bag, for example, even if your e-ticket says that you are allowed two, you won't be allowed to bring two on the airplane.

I'd have to dig out my flight information for my most recent flight, but I suspect that there is a teensy tiny note somewhere on the paperwork that says something like, "Terms and conditions may change at the discretion of airline".

-------------------------------------------------------------
I just checked and both Air Canada and Qantas, include baggage information but refer people back to their website for any baggage details which may have changed. Both also require a person to print and carry the e-ticket which contains the baggage info.

Last edited by Machka; 03-07-10 at 02:47 AM.
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Old 03-07-10, 08:23 AM   #12
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I did Aer Lingus from Boston to Ireland last year and they required that you register the bike, but there was no extra charge as long as your total weight was under the limit. It was fantastic. We boxed the bikes on the trip over, and then just bagged them on the trip back. The airline gave us the bags gratis at Dublin and were very accommodating. No damage either way. I would say that you can't go wrong asking in advance. On our flights, they had a max number of bikes they could carry, so it was important.
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