That is too bad. I hate to see an added $25 (or $50 for the round trip) added to my typical tour. At $75 each way they are still the cheapest airline that usually can get me close to where I want to go. Frontier is still cheaper, but never seems to be an option for me.
The Bob definitely misses the limit but folks have said they were not charged extra when packed with the "fork" sticking out or the whole thing just shrink wrapped. Apparently the baggage agent didn't count the the whole length. I would think that would be hit or miss though and I'd bet miss more often than hit.
I've always checked the disassembled BOB without a box, just lashed together as a chrome/moly framed duffel bag with yoke, fender and wheel packed inside the bag or with the bike, along with other travel gear up to bag weight limit. As Pete points out the protruding fork sticks out and if measured as if boxed it would exceed the maximum. I've just padded those with cardboard and they have never been measured in addition to bag dimensions which falls within limits. Not to say that next time they may not be measured, but so far not so. If so, you may get charged for oversize but I don't think they'd require a box which is definitely over sized to enclose a bag if the fork is adequately padded. Maybe the BOB folks need to design retractable forks?
Maybe safest bet is to show a packed, disassembled, un boxed BOB to your nearest SW agent ahead of travel date to see if it complies with rules including dimensions and weight. Yes, then hope that on day of travel your check in agent has the same opinion! I've had 15 years of success checking a boxless BOB just like a large suitcase without paying for oversize.
OP: Have you looked into shipping the trailer via UPS or FedEx? Shipped my GF's from Philly to Missoula two years ago in a box that also contained my racks, stove and empty fuel bottle. It was less than $75.
The year I met your Northern Tier group in the Adirondacks I checked my disassembled BOB with packed bag lashed to it on to a commuter flight from Portland ME to Boston where BOB, bike and I were transferred to another commuter flight to Syracuse. Off it rolled on the conveyor with the rest of the suitcases. The bike appeared next in it's airlines issued box and away we went in a rental car. ACA paid for the ticket so I don't remember what the fees were but the trailer dimensions were never questioned.
It's becoming harder and harder to find reasonable baggage rates for bikes. $75's not terrible (especially compared to most other US carriers), but it would still make me think twice.
All my experience with travelling with a bike involves a big hard-sided case that definitely exceeds the linear inch limit, so I have no personal experience. From what I've read it seems to depend heavily on the check-in agent you get.
The year I met your Northern Tier group in the Adirondacks I checked my disassembled BOB with packed bag lashed to it on to a commuter flight from Portland ME to Boston where BOB, bike and I were transferred to another commuter flight to Syracuse.
Did you ever hook up with that waitress at the coffee shop?
It's becoming harder and harder to find reasonable baggage rates for bikes. $75's not terrible (especially compared to most other US carriers)
Yeah, Southwest is still my first choice.
Frontier has been better wrt in the past but never seems to fly where I want to go. I heard their policy was also becoming a bit less friendly, but at a glance it looks like they too are still better than most.