General info you need to know about traveling with a bike on the airlines
When flying with a bike, airlines require that your bicycle be put into a box or hard case. Some will allow you to wrap your bike in plastic, foam or similar material, but that certainly is not the way to travel with your bike. Use a box, worse case being cardboard. You are also required that you remove the pedals, handlebars and in most cases the seat post (you may have to in order to fit the bike in your box). Many of these airlines will not charge you if the box that you ship your bicycle in is under 62 linear inches AND under 50 lbs. 62 linear inches is defined as: Height + Width + Depth of the container.
Unfortunately, there's a fat chance your bike and case will fit under 62 inches. Pretty much every bicycle case and box out there is much larger than this. With that said, we highly recommend you use a case (not a cardboard box) to ship your bike. Cases can be expensive, but those costs can be much cheaper than damage to your bike (a cracked frame, bent derailleur, etc), which absolutely does happen. Plus, the added peace of mind that your bike will get to the destination in one piece can be priceless. Check out our page of bike cases for info on products and where to buy.
The table below lists any applicable bike fees. We also list the airlines standard, overweight and oversize baggage fees. Some airlines will charge you a bike fee PLUS the standard baggage fee. Others will only charge you a bike fee, but if you are overweight you'll get dinged for that charge as well. Every airline is different and some are incredibly confusing so be sure to read the baggage, size & weight details. If your flight is handled by multiple carriers, all bets seem to be off. We encourage to call ahead of time and declare your baggage as a bicycle. That way, the airline will know it is coming and you may even get a locked in quote (ask for email verification, print it out, and bring it with you).
The bike fees listed are as though you are traveling with a normal sized bicycle and are not for folding bikes, Bike Friday or anything similar. And since fees are constantly changing, be sure to check back each time you fly.
We spoke to their agents and were told there is no size or weight limitations. We find that hard to believe and do not encourage to pack the kitchen sink inside your bike case, but that is what we were told. We were also told folding bikes will still be charged the $50 fee. In conclusion, if you choose to fly AirTran with your bicycle it will be a total of $50 each way with no weight (100 lbs maximum) or size charges.
Alaska Airlines will accept bicycles as checked baggage provided each piece is properly packed in a soft or hard sided bike case or box. There is no Alaska Airlines bicycle fee, however, each checked bicycle will be charged standard checked baggage AND overweight/oversize fees listed above. If your bike is oversize and overweight, you are not charged BOTH overweight and oversize fees. Example: if your bike is 60 lbs and the box is 63-80 inches, your fee is $20 (standard bag fee) + $50 (oversize fee) = $70 total to ship your bike. If your bike is the same weight but 81-115 inches, your fee is $20 (standard bag fee) + $75 (oversize fee) = $95 total cost to ship your bike.
American Airlines bicycle fee for bikes over over 62 inches (all regular sized bikes are) and/or 50+ lbs is a $150 flat rate fee each way to travel with a bike. You are not charged overweight or oversize fees, however, make sure to keep your bicycle with bike box under 70 lbs and 126 inches, otherwise your bike will not be coming with you.
Bicycles are accepted as checked baggage on most flights with the exception of some Delta Connection carriers and aircraft that may not accept bicycles as checked baggage, and may have different limits due to cargo constraints. You will want to call Delta ahead of time and find out who the carrier is.
For the Delta bicycle fee, if your bike weighs less than 70 lbs, no overweight fees will be applied and you are charged only the $150 flat rate one way fee. However, bicycles weighing over 70 lbs will be charged the applicable overweight fee. In that scenario, you will be charged $150 bike fee + $175 overweight fee = $325 fee each way. Do yourself a favor, keep it under 70 lbs. Bicycles weighing over 100 lbs and/or over 115 inches will not be accepted.
This was one of the difficult airlines to get correct information from. We had to talk to 3 different Frontier representatives before we felt somewhat comfortable with the information they were telling us. Bicycles are charged the applicable overweight fee only (you are not charged oversize fees). If your bike is under 50 lbs AND under 109 inches, you are only charged the 1st checked bag fee of $20. If your bike is over 50 lbs AND under 109 inches, you are ONLY charged the overweight fee of $75. You are not charged the overweight fee plus the standard baggage fee. We're not sure if that last part is correct, so don't be too surprised if you get to the airport and your total is the overweight fee plus the standard bag fee. All fees are each way.
If your bike is under 50 lbs, your cost to travel with your bike (heading to Hawaii? Lucky you...) will be $100 one way fee. Bikes 51-70 lbs will be charged the bike fee PLUS the $50 overweight fee. Bikes over 70 lbs will not be accepted. It's not hard to keep it under 70 lbs, but to keep it under 50 lbs you might have to stuff your shoes, pedals and other misc bike stuff into other places besides your bike box.
Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided, padded case designed for bicycles. If not in a hard-sided case, bikes will be accepted with the handle bars secured sideways and pedals removed. The bicycle must also be encased in plastic foam, a cardboard box, or similar material to prevent damage. As always, we suggest a hard case bike box for best protection.
Your bike will be charged $50 each way and it will count as one of your checked-in bags. So if you are checking in one bag and your bike, your total will be $50 (bike fee) + $35 (standard bag fee) = $85. Overweight will not be charged (100+ lbs will not be accepted). JetBlue does not say anything if the bike is oversized. We spoke to a supervisor, which had to call the cargo department in Long Beach to find out for themselves. They were told if the bike is in a hard case the oversize issue would be “overlooked” (most boxes are 88+ inches), but nothing is mentioned of that on their website. JetBlue even told us they would be updating their website with more information because of our inquiry. Hopefully they have new info up soon.
A $50.00 each-way charge is what you will pay for Southwest bicycle fees. Bicycles packaged in a cardboard box or soft-sided case will be transported as a conditionally accepted item. As always, we recommend you use a hard case bike box. You are not subject to overweight or oversize fees with Southwest.
Spirit Airlines is a low-fare airline that will ding you for every potential fee possible and it can get fairly confusing. However, when it comes to bicycle fees they appear to be fairly straightforward. Bicycles will be accepted as checked baggage for an additional $75 charge per direction (charged at the airport on the day of departure). Bicycles should be prepared for transportation by the customer. Bicycle must be in a box with tires deflated. A release form will also need to be signed by the customer.
Sun Country is one of the more straight forward airline bike fees. Your bike is going to cost $75 each way and does not count as a piece of checked baggage. Example, you have your bike and one other checked bag. The fee is $75 (bike fee) + $25 (1st checked bag). Just like all airlines, bicycles must have the handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed, or be placed in a cardboard container, or the pedals and the handlebars must be encased in plastic foam or similar material. A hard-case box is the best way to go.
US Airways has a flat rate $200 fee for traveling with your bike. That is a one way fee, so round trip with this airline is not going to be cheap. If you have a folding bike that can fit under 62 inches, it will simply be charged and count as regular baggage.
The United bicycle fee is a $100 flat rate charge. Your bike is not subject to overweight and oversize fees. Your bike is allowed in place of one checked bag. What this means is if you are checking in one bag with your bike, you'll be charged the 2nd bag fee (not the $25 1st bag fee) of $35 for your bag + your $100 bicycle fee.
If you can keep your bike and box under 50 lbs, your bike traveling fee will only be $50 (very reasonable). However, if you can't keep it under 50 lbs, your cost will be the $50 bike fee PLUS the overweight fee. Bicycles will be accepted in a hard-sided or padded bicycle case. Bicycles may also be accepted if the handlebars are secured sideways, the pedals removed and the bicycle encased in a plastic foam or similar material to prevent damage. Bicycles secured in this manner may also be packaged in a cardboard box. Virgin America will not accept responsibility for bicycles packaged in cardboard boxes or bicycles with foam packaging. Bicycles not in a hard-sided case will require a limited release tag.
Each guest is permitted to bring one bicycle and one helmet. Your bike is not counted as a piece of luggage, so you are not subject to the above standard bag fees. However, BOTH oversize and overweight baggage fees will be charged per bike per direction. What this means: if your bike is over 50 lbs AND over 62 inches, you will be charged $50 (overweight fee) + $50 (oversize fee) = $100. All standard sized bikes are over 62 inches, so you won't be able to avoid that fee. However, you can travel light with your bike by keeping any extra goodies out of your case (pedals, shoes, etc) to keep it under 50 lbs.
Please add value to this site! Share your experiences of flying with a bike on the airlines by leaving a comment below. Your experience will help educate future users to this site and allow them to make more informative choices. Feel free to ask any questions as well. If you decide to use a bike box, you can visit our bike box review page for more information.