Go Back  Bike Forums > Bike Forums > Touring
Reload this Page >

Which Airline?

Notices
Touring Have a dream to ride a bike across your state, across the country, or around the world? Self-contained or fully supported? Trade ideas, adventures, and more in our bicycle touring forum.

Which Airline?

Old 03-29-10, 05:00 AM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Which Airline?

OK so we have decided to fly out to the West coast for our Sierra Cascades tour. 72 hours on a train just seems like too much to bear without a roomette and the roomettes cost a bundle. We may still consider the train for the ride back though.

The prices look good right now so we plan to pull the trigger this weekend when my daughter is home for Easter weekend.

We also decided to fly the bikes with us in the airline supplied box. We really like riding right out from the airport when we did that before.

So that raises the question of which airline will be the cheapest/easiest to fly with our bikes. We will be flying from Baltimore to San Diego around June 1st and the airlines that seem to have decent prices for our passenger tickets are Delta, Continental, United, Airtran, and American.

The thing is that their stated policies seem a bit unclear about exactly what we will be charged. Experience tells me that asking them for clarification still leaves it up to the interpretation of the clerk checking us in any way.

So I was hoping that folks might share what their recent experiences were with the airlines in question wrt bikes.

If I remember correctly Airtran looked promising with a $79 charge per bike, but it wasn't completely clear what other charges they might hit us with.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-29-10, 05:13 AM
  #2  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
Staeph.. We both love the train experience.. The roomettes are ridculously priced.. Last we knew you are allowed to select a city in advance and stay over night and continue a day or two later for one onward passage , without paying extra.. So you could maybe stop in Springfield or Denver for one night and continue the trip the next day.. For crossing the country, seems you were allowed to get off the train and on the next day without charge for 3 nights.. Maybe stay two days and get in a little training in some unique location before moving on.. It would have to be far cheaper than buying a roomette. Only disadvantage, on non local Amtrak hops you have box your bike.. Be prepared to have a trans continental train as late as 10 hours.. They have to yield to freight trains which slows them down . But, if you love the train experience and are in no hurry , why not..
Think I'd like to stop in the Dakota's for a day or two to train about the Badlands.... Remember most airlines will charge you 200 dollars special baggage fee each way , so the train might be a far cheaper option.. Four hundred dollars to transport your bike. Suckers are born everyday...
__________________
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living










^ Since January 1, 2012
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 05:57 AM
  #3  
In Real Life
 
Machka's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Down under down under
Posts: 52,152

Bikes: Lots

Mentioned: 141 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3203 Post(s)
Liked 598 Times in 330 Posts
Check this ...
https://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

Then check the airline websites themselves for potentially more up-to-date information.
Machka is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 06:10 AM
  #4  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Remember most airlines will charge you 200 dollars special baggage fee each way , so the train might be a far cheaper option.. Four hundred dollars to transport your bike. Suckers are born everyday...
Actually the train was $177 dollars more each way when we checked rates last night. If I remember correctly Amtrak charged me $5 for the bike and $15 for a box so the numbers were $283 + $5 + $15 = $303 one way for Amtrak and the airlines are $106 + anything from $79 to $220. So Amtrak is likely to be the more expensive option.

Additionally my leave time is limited and I'd rather be on my tour than spend three days on the train. Staying over in cities along the way would add both cost (motel room) and duration to the travel time. If I were retired and my daughter was not already pushing the limit of her leave the time would matter a lot less.

The other thing is that after a sixteen and a half hour train ride on my last tour I was way more sore and tired from the train ride than I was from the tour. I don't think I want to start a tour after being on a train more than three times that long.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-29-10, 06:29 AM
  #5  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 8,546
Mentioned: 83 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Southwest has the best bike shipping price - $50 each direction. I think Frontier is OK too, but you would have to check. United is outrageous at $175.
valygrl is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 06:50 AM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Wheat Ridge, CO
Posts: 1,076

Bikes: '93 Bridgestone MB-3, '88 Marinoni road bike, '00 Marinoni Piuma, '01 Riv A/R

Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 7 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 1 Time in 1 Post
Another option would be to book a room(s) at a hotel really close to the airport, ship the bikes there by FedEx Ground, and assemble and ride the bikes from there. I prefer to ride my bike into and out of the airport, but with airline bike fees the way they are this is becoming a less and less attractive option. Shipping the bikes separately might be cheaper than paying the airline fees, and there's less chance of the bikes getting lost en route.
markf is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 07:34 AM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,474
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18514 Post(s)
Liked 15,837 Times in 7,439 Posts
Never had a problem getting inaccurate info. by phone. The charge has always been what they said it would be.

Stay away from Delta. Its fee is $200. Same charge for a rack of antlers, in case you were wondering.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 08:37 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
Stay away from Delta. Its fee is $200. Same charge for a rack of antlers, in case you were wondering.
Additionally they sounds like they will charge the oversize fee.

I have been digging into this a bit and it looks like Southwest is the hands down winner among the ones I checked. Baggage charges for a bike and a checked bag with gear ranged from $50 with Southwest to as much as $400 for Delta if they nail you for all the charges including bike and oversize, but not overweight. Southwest's flight was slightly more but not much.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-29-10, 09:01 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2003
Location: Boulder, CO
Posts: 8,546
Mentioned: 83 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 163 Post(s)
Likes: 0
Liked 5 Times in 5 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
Never had a problem getting inaccurate info. by phone. The charge has always been what they said it would be.

Stay away from Delta. Its fee is $200. Same charge for a rack of antlers, in case you were wondering.
Shoot, I was planning on bringing antlers on my next bike tour, I guess I have to rethink that now.
valygrl is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 09:36 AM
  #10  
Senior Member
 
BengeBoy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2007
Location: Seattle, Washington, USA
Posts: 6,955

Bikes: 2009 Chris Boedeker custom; 2007 Bill Davidson custom; 2021 Bill Davidson custom gravel bike; 2022 Specialized Turbo Vado e-bike

Mentioned: 2 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
Liked 10 Times in 9 Posts
Originally Posted by valygrl
Shoot, I was planning on bringing antlers on my next bike tour, I guess I have to rethink that now.
You can get fold-down antlers with S&S couplers. $700 upcharge, pays for itself after a few trips.
BengeBoy is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 10:02 AM
  #11  
GATC
 
Join Date: Jul 2006
Location: south Puget Sound
Posts: 8,728
Mentioned: 29 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 464 Post(s)
Liked 49 Times in 27 Posts
Originally Posted by valygrl
Shoot, I was planning on bringing antlers on my next bike tour, I guess I have to rethink that now.
They are awesome hung from your bars. Let's you fit right into TX oil country. Functional too, more real estate for lights, computers, horns (honk honk) etc...
HardyWeinberg is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 10:34 AM
  #12  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 1,016
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Liked 121 Times in 84 Posts
I learned last summer that the baggage charge is sometimes determined by the originating airline. I flew cross country on Delta but checked the bike in with their connecting partner, Alaska/Horizon Air. Even though their share of the flight was only 1 hour, their $70 fee ($50 bike, $20 box) took my bike all the way cross country! Not sure if this was a mistake or not. Had I known it was to be so cheap, I would have kept the antlers.

Last edited by BobG; 03-29-10 at 11:20 AM.
BobG is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 11:32 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,474
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18514 Post(s)
Liked 15,837 Times in 7,439 Posts
Originally Posted by BobG
I would have kept the antlers.
Always the jokester, Bob. Does that favorite waitress of yours still work at your local coffee shop?
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 05:17 PM
  #14  
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,644
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1316 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 59 Posts
Originally Posted by BobG
I learned last summer that the baggage charge is sometimes determined by the originating airline. I flew cross country on Delta but checked the bike in with their connecting partner, Alaska/Horizon Air. Even though their share of the flight was only 1 hour, their $70 fee ($50 bike, $20 box) took my bike all the way cross country! Not sure if this was a mistake or not. Had I known it was to be so cheap, I would have kept the antlers.
Careful, I had a three leg flight that included the regional contracted airline and they stated that there would only be one charge when I booked the flight, but slammed me with charges for each leg of the flight at the airports.
CB HI is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 05:20 PM
  #15  
Cycle Year Round
 
CB HI's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Honolulu, HI
Posts: 13,644
Mentioned: 6 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1316 Post(s)
Liked 92 Times in 59 Posts
On another airline flight to Japan, the guy checking me in was a cyclist and did not charge me. He also upgraded my seat for free to the upper deck on a 747, where a group of models were traveling to a photo shoot.
CB HI is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 07:00 PM
  #16  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Location: NH
Posts: 1,016
Mentioned: 9 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 318 Post(s)
Liked 121 Times in 84 Posts
CB HI- I just checked the Alaska/Horizon website. They should have charged me $75+$20 for the dimensions of the box as their regulations stand today, so indeed there may be some check in agent discretion or mistake in play here. The baggage fee was paid once at check in to the destination, so there was no opportunity to add on to it later. I suspect they have firm contracts with other airlines.

Indyfabz- She's long gone but the coffee shop is still there!

Last edited by BobG; 03-29-10 at 07:25 PM.
BobG is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 07:24 PM
  #17  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
Actually the train was $177 dollars more each way when we checked rates last night. If I remember correctly Amtrak charged me $5 for the bike and $15 for a box so the numbers were $283 + $5 + $15 = $303 one way for Amtrak and the airlines are $106 + anything from $79 to $220. So Amtrak is likely to be the more expensive option.

.
Some of us just like trains and hate planes.. If we have a choice.. Yes, stops would add to cost and should we have limited time, there is no choice... .. Checked out a fare from Detroit to San Diego, on Southwest for curiosity. With govt fees , the fare came to 380 dollars . Amtrak was $ 404.. Bike fees for Amtrak, $5.. Valley grl above says SouthWest's bike fares are 50 bucks..
__________________
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living










^ Since January 1, 2012
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 03-29-10, 08:03 PM
  #18  
Every day a winding road
 
spinnaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Posts: 6,538

Bikes: 2005 Cannondale SR500, 2008 Trek 7.3 FX, Jamis Aurora

Mentioned: 24 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3394 Post(s)
Liked 63 Times in 46 Posts
As mentioned forget about Delta. They are thieves.

Have you considered pre shipping the bikes? Depending on the size you should be able to do it for around $70-$80. You need to watch the size, go over an inch on the oversize limit and it will cost you almost double.

Fedex gives you the best rates.

IMHO pre shipping is the way to go when traveling inside the US.

You don't have to lug a bike around and it opens you up to a lot more traveling options.

The only problem is you need a place to ship to and from.
spinnaker is offline  
Old 03-30-10, 05:24 AM
  #19  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Some of us just like trains and hate planes.. If we have a choice.. Yes, stops would add to cost and should we have limited time, there is no choice... .. Checked out a fare from Detroit to San Diego, on Southwest for curiosity. With govt fees , the fare came to 380 dollars . Amtrak was $ 404.. Bike fees for Amtrak, $5.. Valley grl above says SouthWest's bike fares are 50 bucks..
That is strange... I get much lower rates when I check both for the train and for the plane. I didn't see any NW flights, but got $222 for Amtrak and on Frontier $164.00 + $21.40 taxes & fees = $185.40) when I searched using Travelocity, Orbitz, or Expedia. That was one way on June 3rd. Am I missing something here?

BTW: I picked Frontier to price because it supposedly has similar bicycle and baggage rates to NorthWest.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-30-10, 05:40 AM
  #20  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by spinnaker
Have you considered pre shipping the bikes? Depending on the size you should be able to do it for around $70-$80.
We considered it but didn't think it was the way to go for us on this trip.
  1. There would be an additional $35 charge for a bike shop to accept the package, so actual cost would probably be $100 or so.
  2. My daughter's bike would not be here ahead of time to ship unless one of us makes an extra 300 mile round trip to get it here.
  3. We would then need to deal with ground transportation and arrive at the bike shop when it was open, which could mean extra cost, extra time, and maybe even an extra night in San Diego in an expensive motel room.
  4. We would need to do a lot more disassembly and assembly.
  5. We like to just ride out of the airport when possible.

The down side to flying with the bike is that if one of the bikes is lost or damaged we wouldn't know until we were in San Diego and ready to go.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-30-10, 05:47 AM
  #21  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
Steaph... The Amtrak fare schedule seemed rather fixed.. 202 each way. But, you can buy a 2 week pass for under 400 dollars... Unlimited travel.. In part , my dislike for planes is that they once lost my bike and it was not found for almost 3 weeks. And the airline policy should they loose it is, they'll pay a fraction of the bike's value. After paying like 200 dollars one way for Delta.. I think a reason to dislike them?.. . The South West fare I found was on their website, not some site such as Travelocity...
..My attraction to trains. Should I not be in a hurry, I'll reassemble my bike and do some riding in South Dakota and Colorado as a bonus.. Ah. Motel 6's are not all that expensive ..
__________________
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living










^ Since January 1, 2012
cyclezealot is offline  
Old 03-30-10, 06:26 AM
  #22  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by cyclezealot
Steaph... The Amtrak fare schedule seemed rather fixed.. 202 each way.
So that was for a round trip and undoubtedly different dates than I chose since I got $222 each way.

There certainly are advantages each way, but for us for this leg of this trip I would have a really hard time making a case for the train. When I am retired and feel more free to take my time getting there, I may feel differently.

I may consider the train to get back because Amtrak is much easier to juggle last minute schedule changes with than the airlines in my experience. I really hate having a fixed end date for a tour, it makes it hard to just take each day as it comes when the schedule is fixed. Amtrak accommodates that better than the airlines. I finished my Spring tour last year with an Amtrak leg and a flight home. Changing my return date was a snap with Amtrak and a major headache with the airline.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-30-10, 08:14 AM
  #23  
Senior Member
 
indyfabz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2010
Posts: 39,474
Mentioned: 211 Post(s)
Tagged: 1 Thread(s)
Quoted: 18514 Post(s)
Liked 15,837 Times in 7,439 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1
I didn't see any NW flights
That's because Northwest doesn't exist anymore. It has been fully integreated into Delta. If you put in their old web site address (nwa.com) you are directed to the Delta page.
indyfabz is offline  
Old 03-30-10, 10:05 AM
  #24  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
staehpj1's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Tallahassee, FL
Posts: 11,878
Mentioned: 7 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1253 Post(s)
Liked 767 Times in 567 Posts
Originally Posted by indyfabz
That's because Northwest doesn't exist anymore. It has been fully integreated into Delta. If you put in their old web site address (nwa.com) you are directed to the Delta page.
OOPS, meant to say Southwest.
staehpj1 is online now  
Old 03-30-10, 11:31 AM
  #25  
Senior Member
 
cyclezealot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2001
Location: Fallbrook,Calif./Palau del Vidre, France
Posts: 13,230

Bikes: Klein QP, Fuji touring, Surly Cross Check, BCH City bike

Mentioned: 1 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1485 Post(s)
Liked 73 Times in 64 Posts
Originally Posted by staehpj1

I may consider the train to get back because Amtrak is much easier to juggle last minute schedule changes with than the airlines in my experience. I really hate having a fixed end date for a tour, it makes it hard to just take each day as it comes when the schedule is fixed. Amtrak accommodates that better than the airlines. I finished my Spring tour last year with an Amtrak leg and a flight home. Changing my return date was a snap with Amtrak and a major headache with the airline.
Not saying I don't fly... But, Yes. That is another reason I dislike planes.. Because they have this new con game with non -refundable tickets.. Two times in my life, their inflexible attitude towards flight changes cost me an extra grand or so..Family emergencies required I change my travel plans.... Of course, when they want to change your itinerary , that is OK...
__________________
Pray for the Dead and Fight like Hell for the Living










^ Since January 1, 2012
cyclezealot is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service -

Copyright © 2024 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.