This box won’t fly

We’re hearing that cyclists are discovering at the airline ticket counter that their bikes will not be allowed to fly because the bike box is oversize.

Readers can you confirm? Also see the photos Bill Davidson put together for us. They show measurements and what will and won’t fly per the airline rules.

Uploaded by Hugger Industries | more from the Bike Hugger Photostream.


i’ve found that shipping your bike is a better option anyway, it’s usually cheaper and you don’t have to worry about “throwers”.  it just takes a bit more time to get there.

also, here’s a link to United’s oversize baggage policy.  62” in any one dimension.


Good point. Are you shipping yourself or using a service that specifically flies bikes? I’ve written much about S&S and the beauty of that case, Dahon’s transporter or the Ritchey Breakaway is that the ticket agent doesn’t register that it’s a bike. And I have zero qualms about not telling them or if they ask, saying, “camera equipment.” I don’t think I’m under any obligation whatsoever to disclose what’s in my big case.

I want a Dahon Tournado!

just UPS Ground, but you can probably get even cheaper with a freight company like DHL.  i ship a Serfas hardcase when i travel with my bike.  the one time i took it on a plane, the baggage guy immediately id’d it as a bike.

S&S is really the best option for getting your bike places though.

NOTE:  i misconstrued the above link, it’s not 62” in any one dimension, it’s 115” linear (height + width + depth)

Just don’t fly. It is not sustainable. No, this is not irony.

Here’s irony: the Lapierre Passport folds up into its own padded bag for air travel, and the bag is clearly labelled “Bicycle Parts”.  As in, not a complete bike, and therefore not subject to the discriminatory flat bike charge.  Nice thinking at the factory.

Eerrh yes, for those of that fly and blast the sky with jet fuel exhaust, we’re riding bikes where we go.

My wife just flew back and forth to Paris with a big bike box (definitely larger than 80”). And while the luggage animals weren’t friendly with the box, they still allowed it for the hefty fee of $160+ EACH WAY. Didn’t it used to be $80? She was flying Delta.

@ Johan Erlandsson, and DL Byron:

Ah yes, the irony, because no fuel of any kind was used in the making and delivering your bikes to you.  Greener than thou…  whatever.


Direct that to John . .. I was replying back to him. We take no greener than thou stance here. Ever been to a bike race and seen all the cars? The Tour de France must burn what a small country does.

But we do travel by bike all over: asia, europe and the US. We promote bikes here, leave the carbon stuff to other sites.

Back in June, my wife & I flew on United from Buenos Aires to Seattle with our bikes in boxes this size (front wheel removed, rear wheel in place, handlebars detached from stem). It was even free (first bike free on intl flights).

Here is a somewhat up-to-date summary of airline regulations regarding bikes.

In doing research for our flight home, I found that 115” linear was the most common rule, and that most airlines made exceptions for bike boxes with regard to the max dimension allowed for checked luggage. Most airlines also charged US$100 for the bike as well.

Even more reason to get a folding bike I say :-)
Check out this site for a chance to win a CATEYE Wireless computer or a CATEYE Headlight. Go check out the details here Win folding bike accessories

always check ahead with your airline and find out what their policy is for “bicycles” not for boxes.  Lots of airlines have bicycle-specific fees and they are loaded as “bicycles” not as “luggage.”  Jet Blue, for instance has a $50 bicycle fee.  Weight restrictions still apply and you are responsible for your own packaging.

@Undercover Bob,

Good points. It’s also totally random what you’ll get charge and sometimes if so. Only sure method is S&S, Ritchey, Dahon, etc. We’re working on a travel feature this weekend, predicting an uptick in travel bike sales.

Just flew from NYC to Austin with comparable bike box on Continental and it was $100 each way, but the bike was handled very well. Thank you Continental!

Thanks for the comment.

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