It can be scary to even think of wanting to fly with a bike. Apart from the expense it might cost, you also think of the tedious work of packing and unpacking once you get to the other side. So if you are an ardent cyclist that always wants to fly with the bike then you have to think of ways or strategies to minimize that cost and avoid shelling out any extra cash.
Below are some tips that can help you on how to do that:
a) Booking with favorable Airlines.
Always book your flights on airlines that offer low biker fees. That way even if you can’t charm or bluff your way out of paying, at least you are not spending a small fortune on fees just to fly with a bike.
b) Build a rapport with one Airline.
Once you have identified an airline that is pocket friendly when it comes to biker fees, use them anytime you want to fly. Some airlines especially the ones for overseas flights have favorable rates for bikes and offer perks for their regulars. Even if you use one airline all the time you fly, it doesn’t automatically mean that you will save money or pay less, but it can help in the time it takes at the check in counters and more importantly may lead to the staff being friendlier and helpful to you
c) Remember less bags always
If you frequently find yourself traveling with multiple bikes, you may want to consider investing in a double bike bag because more often than not, it’s half the price and less cumbersome compared to carrying two bike bags. Pack it in a way that makes it less bulky and more compact and if you have extra space always fit your other gears in side.
d) Lose the attention
If you are boxing your bike, pick a box that doesn’t have bike logos so as not to attract attention. If you are bagging it, then look for alternative bags that don’t necessarily spell bike from a distance, most airlines don’t charge someone for carrying military gear, golf clubs or hockey equipment and since some bikes can fit in those bags or ultra large suitcases you can take advantage of that and choose any of them to pack your bike. Inconspicuous packaging of the bike might not trigger some airline clerks to ask what is inside the bag.
e) Be nice
Generally, being nice and hoping for the best kind of attitude always works, if you frequently want to fly with your bike being grumpy, rude, uncouth, and know-it-all should not be part of your personality trait. When you are at the airport, avoid getting into arguments with the staff, no matter how ridiculous you think the fees are. Getting angry is the fastest way of getting a huge bike fee. Be polite always.
f) Fly first class
If you want to fly with a bike without the huge fees charged then you can always upgrade to first class. You may think that the amount you pay for a first class ticket is a lot but in reality it will be cheaper, if you were to pay for an economy seat and still pay for the biker fees separately you will find that its almost double the amount you would have paid for first class and yet most airlines wont charge you the biker fees. Remember you also get to enjoy all the first class perks and privileges.
g) Packaging your bike in clear plastic bags.
Packing the bike in a plastic bag might sound not so smart especially since you are seeking to offer your bike the optimal protection. Many people are skeptical about using plastic bags for overseas travel fearing that the bike is visible to all and more prone to damages. Even if it is the best full suspension mountain bike for the money or the best mountain bike for the money, the clear plastic bags offer it very good protection while still being quite affordable. First of all the plastic bags are affordable and easy to carry.
Being that the bag is made of plastic makes it lighter in weight and thus saving you on the luggage fees. The bike also gets to be handled and stored with a lot of care since the handlers can see what it is.
Well, if you are going to fly with the bike, you might as well be prepared for different kind of experiences, as some cyclists have reported that they are frequently charged a fee traveling to or from but not both or that they are charged fees of different amounts each way. Avoiding bike fees is a cat and mouse game that you will be playing all the time that you want to fly with a bike.