Guide For Taking Bicycles On Planes

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It’s very feasible to take your bikes on most airlines, just that most of the airlines would include the weight of your bike in your luggage allowance as the rules and regulations do vary from carrier to carrier.

Most airlines require now you to bag or box your bike, but very few will allow you to remove the pedals, deflate the tires and turn the handlebars around, and fix the handlebars sideways to the frame.

Can you take a bicycle on an airplane?

Yes, you can take a bike on an airplane, except when referring to small regional planes, there is usually a room for large-sized baggage like a bicycle. Every airline has its specific rules different from the rest as some charge a fee for taking your bike on the plane, while others will include it in your regular baggage allowance.

You can get on a plane with a bicycle by using a cardboard bicycle box or a custom bike case. Containers can be obtained from your local bike shop and are typically free. Packaging and securing the bicycle can be tricky, as there is a significant amount of extra space in a cardboard box.

You might need to dismantle your bike in some cases, with certain agencies requiring you to inform them beforehand that you will be traveling with your bike.

How Do You Transport A Bike On A Plane?

how to transport bike on plane

Several carriers assess bike-specific charges, whatever the case might be.

A good number of them might likely charge you upon learning you’re boarding with a bike. What do you do?

Don’t let it be so evident that you’re with a bicycle. Avoid giving hints by carrying your helmet along or attaching it. Kindly note that if your bike gets destroyed and weren’t declared before entering, you would not be eligible for liability reimbursement.

When considering flying with your bike, there are different airline requirements, so check your airline’s website for the most accurate information. Most of them would allow you to ship your bicycle as baggage for an additional fee. If you can pack your bike correctly, taking it on an airline should not be a problem.

Check out this guide if you’ve come across airlines that don’t offer specific guidance on how to pack your bicycle when flying.

  • You have to remove your pedals.
  • You must remove and deflate your wheels.
  • You have to turn around your handlebars.
  • You can as well decide to remove the rear derailleur. Since it is like the most delicate part of the bike, some cyclists advise removing it and packaging it separately. The reason is that many people have often found their rear derailleurs bent or not functioning correctly.
  • Do make sure you pack your toolkit, as this can’t be ignored.
  • Giving your bike a good clean first will be of great advantage to you as it would make the dismantling process relatively easy and comfortable. 
  • In exceptional cases where the additional baggage fees are on the high side, it would make sense to check if upgrading to first class would come with a different and cheaper baggage allowance.
  • Certain airlines have bike packaging boxes for sale at their check-in desks.

Beyond how you can transport your bicycle on an airplane, the following essential things are must-have:

  • Wrench
  • A hex key (if required on your bike)
  • Foam or wood spacers
  • Packing tape
  • Cardboard bike box
  • Zip-style plastic bags
  • Strip of foam
  • Foam athletic tape
  • Permanent black marker

Things To Consider

how to deassemble a bike
  • Use the wrench to remove the seat and seat post as one unit using a wrench.
  • Reduce the air from the tires as cabin pressure changes can lead to exploded inner tubes.
  • You can remove the wheels and place spacers in the fork where the tires were. They’re usually found at bicycle shops. It would make it easier to prevent them from getting bent while the tires are off.
  • Remove the handlebars from the bike or lower them to their lowest point and turn them sideways. You can tape one side of the bike frame’s handlebars to keep it in place with electrical solid or packing tape.
  • Depending on the style, you can remove the pedals using a hex key or wrench. Please place them in your bike package, or you can package them in a zip-style plastic bag and tape them to the frame.
  • Get a secure zip bag to place any parts you removed and tape it to the bike frame.
  • It is of high importance that you put some pieces of foam inside the box before placing anything to prevent damage to the bike.
  • Use athletic foam tape to bind parts of the bike that can get easily damaged. Wrapping some parts of the overall frame that may be affected is also good practice. 
  • You also want to place the frame inside the box. In case your back wheel has not been detached, it should be placed first. Else, put the seat stem very close to the top box as much as possible.
  • Put a foam spacer between the frame and the tires before fitting the tires on top of the frame. Secure them with tape.
  • Other tools you’d need for your bikes, like the air pump and other items, should be placed in the box. Don’t forget any of your tools behind, as this might not be easy to get back or retrace.
  • Close the box with tape to ensure that every part of the bicycle is safe. Ensure it is securely close and enough tape is used if necessary. 
  • Pen down your name and contact information in large letters on the box and a permanent marker. You also have to write “FRAGILE” on the box in several places; this is to make sure that irrespective of what might come around the bicycle, people get conscious that it should be cared for even if there might be a bit of damage, but it will be minimal.

What USA Airlines Allow Bikes For Free?

Airport Fees

Small airports whose agents do not handle lots of oversize luggage seldom charge fees of any sort.

However, the eight major U.S.-based airlines demand specific charges of $150 and below. Sometimes, together with standard bag fees, that may include large sizes and overweight charges.

Depending on your airline and where you’re headed, flying with your bike could cost as little as $30 or as much as $300 each way.

A slightly more expensive ticket on one airline may be worthwhile if another charges hefty bike fees. Taking a bike on a plane like Alaska Airlines was the clear winner, with low prices, straightforward language, and no damage waiver with ultra-low-cost carriers. Here are fees and notable policies on traveling by bike from eight major domestic carriers, rated best to worst.

How Much Do Airlines Charge For Bikes?

Some airlines have free exceptions for sports equipment even if oversize and overweight, some charge a reasonable fee, and some are not always nice with their payment.

Generally speaking, if an airline does charge a fee, longer routes will be more expensive. That is why you need to choose your airline carefully when flying with a bicycle.

American Airlines

  •  $150 for each bike bag.  
  •  Maximums: 70 pounds and 126-dimensional inches.
  •  If under 50 pounds and 62-dimensional inches, $25 regular baggage fee if it’s the first bag.

Delta Airlines

  • They charge about $150 charge per bike.

Frontier Airlines

  • Depending on the ticket you’re going for, your bikes might fly for free. If it’s a Classic or Classic Plus ticket, you’d be charged the standard $20 bag fee, except it surpasses 50 pounds.
  • Maximum weight: 50 pounds, after which you’ll face additional charges.


jet blue bicycle fee
  • $50 each way; the bike also will count as your one free checked bag.
  • The maximum weight is 99 pounds per bag.
  • Free if less than 62-dimensional inches and under 50 pounds.

Southwest Airlines

  • Free if less than 62-dimensional inches and under 50 pounds but will take the place of a free checked piece of luggage.

United Airlines

United Airlines Fee
  • They charge $100 per trip.
  • The maximum weight you can carry is 50 pounds, but you’d pay $100 if it weighs close to 70 pounds.

US Airways

  • $200 each way.
  • The maximum weight you can carry is 50 pounds, and you’d pay $90 if it weighs close to 70 pounds.


Before you go ahead to book your ticket, you need to ensure that the airline you’d be using can serve the intended purpose.

Don’t wait to get turned down at the airport before taking the necessary processes. Whether you want to tour the countryside or are ready to race, getting your bicycle to your destination intact is essential. If you frequently travel with a bike, getting a hard bicycle case is necessary.

However, if you travel with it occasionally, airline-accredited bike packaging will work just fine. Take your time when dismantling your bike for packing because you will need to ensure you can get it back together in one piece. 

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