“Air New Zealand proved the best option”
Most of us dream of being able to travel the world with a bike and explore the most beautiful places on Earth. However, the reality is that while airlines have made it significantly easier to reach far flung corners of the globe the same can’t always be said of their sports luggage policies.
Many carriers, due to the size and weight of even the best packed bike bag or box, will class a bike as excess luggage and slap an additional fee on top of the cost of travel. In addition, these fees are often well buried in T’s & C’s making it quite a challenge to avoid the cost spiralling upward.
We’ve done some digging and put together a list of airlines operating in Australasia, the fees they charge for flying with your bike and any additional info you should know. As always, we strongly advise reading through an airline’s policy on bike luggage before booking and if there’s anything you’re unsure about, contact the airline directly.
Who charges what?
Qantas is synonymous with air travel in Australia so you might take for granted being able to fly your bike as part of your allowed checked luggage but when you dig a little deeper you soon realise that the maximum permissible dimensions of 140 x 30 x 80cm fall slightly short of many bikes. This means that you’re hit with a flat domestic charge of A$78 or an international fee of A$20 – A$80 per kg.
Tigerair’s slightly more generous size allowances of 160 x 90 x 80cm still don’t quite cut it meaning that for their domestic Australian flights under 1hr 45min you’ll be charged A$85 + A$20 per kg, with flights over 1hr 45min coming in at A$100 + A$25 per kg. These rates will be calculated at the airport at check in.
Both Jetstar Airways and Virgin Australia offer a competitive flat rate of A$25 and A$35 respectively but Air New Zealand proved to be the best option, allowing bikes to be included in your checked luggage allowance of 23kg – the only caveat being that a manufactured bike bag or case must be used.
See the infographic below for a full breakdown of prices, at the time that this article was created.
Some extra tips
Book in advance. Where possible, it’s a good idea to book additional luggage well in advance of flying, not only to avoid additional fees which some airlines charge for booking at check in but also to ensure that there is space in the hold for your bike.
Print out the airline’s policy on bike baggage from their website in case the desk clerk is a doughnut. We’ve seen full-blown arguments with the check-in staff behind the desk due to their own incompetence of not knowing their company policy on checked baggage and sports equipment. This way, you come prepared.
Whilst for some flights a purpose manufactured bike case or bag is merely a suggestion, we recommend always using one as a cardboard box doesn’t offer the same standard of protection and can’t cope with being shifted around mid-flight with suitcases. Not to mention the fact that it won’t come with sturdy wheels for smooth transitions around airport terminals!
So, make sure that you buy the best bike bag or bike box for your needs with SCICON – the leader in bike transportation worldwide – such as the Scicon AeroComfort 3.0 range or for a hard case, the Scicon AeroTech Evolution X.
These were correct as of 3rd September 2018 for flights. However, we do recommend double-checking with the airline before you fly (all links provided below).
Watch one of our how-to-pack videos on our YouTube here.
Design credit Yellow Jersey.