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Avoiding airline luggage fee

Old 04-26-12, 07:04 PM
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Avoiding airline luggage fee

Has any of you ever broken down your bike into two boxes (frame in one box, wheels in an other), so that the airlines wouldn't charge you for the bike? I'm thinking if I can put them in the smaller sized boxes, they might just charge me the regular fee for having an extra baggage and not a bike?
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Old 04-26-12, 07:29 PM
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cannot be smaller than the wheels, unless the wheels are smaller.
Bike Fridays travel bikes have been hiding in lots of suitcases, in checked luggage ,
to all places imaginable. 406 20" wheels..

Last edited by fietsbob; 04-26-12 at 07:32 PM.
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Old 04-26-12, 07:58 PM
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I don't know if you have researched airlines already or not, but if any ody else has similar concerns, check into it. Some airlines will charge a large fee. Others will set you back marginally.. There are also some that will let your bicycle fly free. If you are traveling within North America, Frontier airlines lets you fly your bike for free.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:01 PM
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Domestically in the U.S., it is way better (from all aspects) to ship your bike ahead of time via ground transportation (UPS, FedEx, etc.) If you're flying internationally, there is no way to fit a regular size frame (even a small one with the fork removed) in a 62 linear inch case to pass them under normal baggage. Again, the magic word is 62 linear inches. A case this size may still raise eyebrows at the check-in counter at the airport, but once they measure it, they'll leave you alone. This is why S&S couplers were created and gotta pay a hefty premium for frames to have them.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:29 PM
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Some airlines don't charge fees, some do. Some airlines restrict baggage a lot, some don't as much ... choose wisely.

This site will give you a starting point with your choices. Have a glance over all the words at first, and then scroll down to the chart at the bottom. Once you've narrowed down your choices, check the airlines themselves because airlines change their policies frequently.
https://www.ibike.org/encouragement/travel/bagregs.htm

And yes, it has occurred to me to have one box with my frame and one box with my wheels, forks, etc. ... but I'm not sure how enthusiastic I would be about having to build up a bicycle at my destination from that point of deconstruction, and it might depend how much other stuff I'd want to take with me.
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Old 04-26-12, 09:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Chris Pringle
If you're flying internationally, there is no way to fit a regular size frame (even a small one with the fork removed) in a 62 linear inch case to pass them under normal baggage. Again, the magic word is 62 linear inches.
You could get close ... our Thorn frames arrived in a box that was 40x21x6 = 67 inches. If you had quite a small frame, and could shave some of that off, you might just make it.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:45 PM
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Not sure if this is still the case, but a few years ago they were a little fussier about weight rather than dimensions. So if it's a few inches over, it might not be too bad.
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Old 04-26-12, 10:46 PM
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Originally Posted by chiroptile
If you are traveling within North America, Frontier airlines lets you fly your bike for free.
I was hoping you were right but unfortunately, it looks like they have changed their policy since you last flew them. They now seem to charge up to $50 for the bike (or any piece of luggage) AND/OR an additional $75 if the total weight per piece of luggage is over 50 pounds.

The bike MIGHT ship free IF you use a non-"Economy" class ticket and you have no more than two pieces of checked luggage total. However, you would need to check the price difference to see if buying a higher-class fare ticket would save you money. If you buy the cheapest ticket, it appears you would pay at least $20 and could be $50.

Here are the links: https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...hecked-baggage and https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...-fragile-items

I was hoping you were right as I am touring this summer where Frontier flies.
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Old 04-27-12, 03:38 AM
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There have also been reported cases of over zealous agents charging for bikes even though they were below the minimums on weight and size...

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Old 04-27-12, 04:15 AM
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Well the thing is, airlines could charge you ...

-- the bicycle fee
-- plus an oversized fee
-- plus an overweight fee

It just depends how much trouble you give the check-in person.

If you arrive early (if you're one of the first people in line), if you have all your paperwork in order, if you have made some effort to keep your baggage within the limits ... and most importantly, if you are respectful, courteous, friendly, kind, nice, and gracious to the check-in person ... you'll have a decent chance of being charged a lesser fee, maybe no fee at all.

But if you arrive latish, after the check-in people are already stressed, and if your paperwork and baggage are a mess, and especially if you treat the check-in people badly ... expect to be charged as much as they can possibly charge you.
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Old 04-27-12, 05:38 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
I was hoping you were right but unfortunately, it looks like they have changed their policy since you last flew them. They now seem to charge up to $50 for the bike (or any piece of luggage) AND/OR an additional $75 if the total weight per piece of luggage is over 50 pounds.

The bike MIGHT ship free IF you use a non-"Economy" class ticket and you have no more than two pieces of checked luggage total. However, you would need to check the price difference to see if buying a higher-class fare ticket would save you money. If you buy the cheapest ticket, it appears you would pay at least $20 and could be $50.

Here are the links: https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...hecked-baggage and https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...-fragile-items

I was hoping you were right as I am touring this summer where Frontier flies.
Yes that is what I have found as well. Still $50 for the bike and no other baggage fees is still pretty good. Same deal as SouthWest. I usually fly Southwest when I can.

BTW: On a tour, I am not sure why you would need to have more than two checked bags or have over 50 pounds in a bag. I can get everything into one bag and still be under 50 pounds. So if you add a second checked bag (free) and carry some weight on you could have quite a lot of gear and still not have an extra bag or any bag over 50 pounds.

Last edited by staehpj1; 04-27-12 at 05:42 AM.
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Old 04-27-12, 05:44 AM
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Originally Posted by wahoonc
There have also been reported cases of over zealous agents charging for bikes even though they were below the minimums on weight and size...

Aaron
Maybe not even overzealous... I think that is the stated policy on some airlines. I avoid such airlines even when not flying with a bike.
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Old 04-27-12, 07:52 AM
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I just went through this with planning an upcoming trip. After looking at the various airlines, their baggage policies, their ticket prices, the cost of shipping the bike separately, the transportation issues that caused, the prospect of taking my bike apart to fit it in a box or paying someone to do it, I decided to take the train.

It certainly takes longer, and is not without its own challenges (and may not even be an option in many situations), but it seems like I can roll up to the station, buy a box for $15 that my bike will fit into with minimal disassembly, and put it on the train for $5.

This trip is still in the future, so we'll see how it goes, but I'm looking forward to it.

Your options are limited, and I think they've been covered:
S&S couplers
Folding bike
Ship separately
Find a bike-friendly airline.

Even a frame alone seems like it would be tricky. You can always measure and see if it would fit, and then it might work, but I have a problem imagining all my gear plus a bicycle in pieces fitting into two standard-sized containers. And, depending on the airline, a second, or even a first checked bag can cost you extra even if it's within the size limits.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:03 AM
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Originally Posted by TulsaJohn
I was hoping you were right but unfortunately, it looks like they have changed their policy since you last flew them. They now seem to charge up to $50 for the bike (or any piece of luggage) AND/OR an additional $75 if the total weight per piece of luggage is over 50 pounds.

The bike MIGHT ship free IF you use a non-"Economy" class ticket and you have no more than two pieces of checked luggage total. However, you would need to check the price difference to see if buying a higher-class fare ticket would save you money. If you buy the cheapest ticket, it appears you would pay at least $20 and could be $50.

Here are the links: https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...hecked-baggage and https://www.frontierairlines.com/cust...-fragile-items

I was hoping you were right as I am touring this summer where Frontier flies.
Oh wow.. News to me. I actually have a flight booked with them in two weeks.. With my bicycle. When I booked earlier this month they assured me the bike flew for free.. Will have to call them.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:14 AM
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Originally Posted by chiroptile
Oh wow.. News to me. I actually have a flight booked with them in two weeks.. With my bicycle. When I booked earlier this month they assured me the bike flew for free.. Will have to call them.
That was a couple weeks ago. Lots can change with regard to baggage rules in a couple weeks.

Check the baggage information when you book ... check again a couple weeks before you go ... check again a few days before you go ... and arrive at the airport very early just in case you have to make some last minute changes.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by chiroptile
Oh wow.. News to me. I actually have a flight booked with them in two weeks.. With my bicycle. When I booked earlier this month they assured me the bike flew for free.. Will have to call them.
I think he is reading that incorrectly. As I read it, there is no extra charge for the bike. You only pay the normal checked bag fee.
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Old 04-27-12, 08:21 AM
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BTW...My concern about packing a bike in two boxes would be this: You might get charged for two bikes if they find out what's inside. Wouldn't put it past airlines these days.

Our last two trips we shipped UPS from LBS to LBS. Last year we shipped two boxed bikes and a box with a BOB, a set of racks, stove and fuel bottle from Philly to Missoula for $200. My bike was more expensive than my partner's because it's big and was in a big box. United wanted $100/bike, so we saved money.
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Old 04-27-12, 11:38 AM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
I think he is reading that incorrectly. As I read it, there is no extra charge for the bike. You only pay the normal checked bag fee.
Yup.. Called Frontier Airlines today to double check. Then pulled this from their website:

"Non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats. Bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed and encased in a protective, durable case or box. Pedals do not need to be removed if wrapped in plastic foam or similar material.

Items which exceed 99.9 lbs or 109 linear inches will not be accepted.

Allow an extra 30 minutes for check-in."
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Old 04-27-12, 12:25 PM
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I notice that the Economy Flights do not have "Two checked bags included" on the page at:
https://www.frontierairlines.com/plan-book/fare-options

So while you may not pay more because it is a bike, it looks like they do charge for checking bags on economy flights so in effect bikes do not seem to fly free on economy flights. It looks like the first and second checked bags are $20 each. See:
https://www.frontierairlines.com/optional-service-fees
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Old 04-27-12, 12:37 PM
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Given the sky high fees airlines are charging nowadays, I would fork out $20 bucks in a heartbeat to fly with my bike. No questions asked!
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Old 04-27-12, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by indyfabz
BTW...My concern about packing a bike in two boxes would be this: You might get charged for two bikes if they find out what's inside. Wouldn't put it past airlines these days.

Our last two trips we shipped UPS from LBS to LBS. Last year we shipped two boxed bikes and a box with a BOB, a set of racks, stove and fuel bottle from Philly to Missoula for $200. My bike was more expensive than my partner's because it's big and was in a big box. United wanted $100/bike, so we saved money.
It's moot anyway. The only way you do not get charged for oversize luggage on almost every airline is that the luggage has to be under 62 linear inches, The only way that happens is if you have a child's frame, a folding bike or s&S couplers. You won't get an average sized frame under 62 linear inches no matter how hard you try.
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