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5 Tips for Taking Your Bike on a Plane

By Jiri Kaloc

So, you decided to take your bike with you on vacation or fly to that race you were always dreaming about. But do you know what it takes to successfully transport your bike via a plane? You need to choose the airline, disassemble and pack your bike, get the right insurance, and always keep wondering if your bike arrives intact. Let’s look at a few tips that will help you with all of that.

Choose the airline wisely

The rules for travelling with a bicycle vary depending on which airline you choose. Some consider bikes extra luggage, some regard them a separate category. The weight limits range from 23 kg (50 pounds) to 32 kg (70 pounds) and the prices can be as high as 165 Euros. This infographic will help you orient yourself but always check with your airline since the rules and prices can change overtime.

Pack your bike safely

Most airlines require bicycles to be inside travel bags or boxes in order to be taken on board. Choose the one that fits your budget and frequency of flying. Boxes offer the best possible protection but are costly, heavy, and take up space. Bike bags are cheaper, light, and still offer good protection. But you can always go with a cardboard box for free. Check out our previous article to help you decide.

Choose the right type of insurance

Travel insurance can get a bit tricky for cycling. You should always check the small print. Sometimes your travel insurance lists cycling as a covered activity, but excludes racing. But the definition of a race includes any organised event where you are given a time at the end, which would prevent you taking part in basically any big European sporting event. Also, check whether there are any restrictions on distances. If you’re entering a marathon-style race, it won’t help you to be insured for a sprint.

The rules for travelling with a bicycle vary depending on which airline you choose.

Check your bike for damage

Make sure you check your bike for damage before clearing customs. The airline’s liability could be limited if you don’t. Be sure to get written confirmation of any damage from baggage handlers too. Some airlines give you 4 days to report any issues you might have had but it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Mail your bike instead

If you are flying a more expensive airline, it may make more sense to mail your bike independently. Shipping costs can vary but should be below 70 EUR within Europe. Services like Parcel hero or Bag solo are some of the good options out there.