Book Flights and Add a Bike To Your Booking
Here at Alternative Airlines, we hope you and your bike have the smoothest ride possible, so, we’ve created a guide to flying with your bike to answer your queries about packing, airline policies and fees, as well as how to make group cycle tour bookings. Find out everything you need to know about flying a bike!
How to Book Flights and Add a Bike
Follow the easy step-by-step guide below to find out how to book flights and add a bike at the time of booking.
1. Search for flights
First, enter the Alternative Airlines website and select the flight you wish to purchase.
2. Select your flight(s)
Then you'll be shown all the available flights based on your search criteria. If you're looking to fly with a specific airline, use the 'Airlines' drop-down filter to narrow down your search.
3. Add a bike to your booking
You'll then be taken onto the passenger details page where you'll need to enter your name, D.O.B and contact details.
Then scroll onto the 'Special Baggage' section and a bike to your booking. Once you've added a bike to your booking, head to the payment section and pay the way you want!
If you have already made your booking and you wish to add a bike, you can call our customer service team on 01293 874 920 from 8 am to 8 pm (GMT). Or send us a message using our live chat.
HOW DO I PACK MY BIKE FOR FLYING?
Make sure you have: A multitool/ set of allen keys, a pedal spanner, bubble wrap, styrofoam and some cardboard.
First of all, choose the right case. Purpose-built, hardshell cases are the best option for ensuring your bike arrives safely at its destination. For those who are unable to take a hardshell case with them, dismantling your bike and putting it in a cardboard box or bike bag can often be the best option.
Before check-in, remove the pedals and handlebars or rotate them in line with the front wheel. Do not leave any part of your bicycle sticking out of the box or case.
If removing the wheels, make sure to remove the rear derailleur as well by loosening the hangar bolt. The derailleur can then be wrapped in bubble wrap or cloth and taped to the chainstay.
Once the wheels are removed, you must deflate them partially to protect the rims from becoming damaged.
To stop the disk brake pads from touching each other, and becoming damaged during the flight, use cardboard to create a barrier between them. Some bikes will come with spacers for this purpose, if not it is possible to ask for plastic spacers at your local bike shop.
Next, take any loose chain and zip-tie it to the bike’s frame. Finally, cover your bike’s frame in bubble wrap or styrofoam to prevent it from becoming scratched.
CAN I DISMANTLE MY BIKE AT THE AIRPORT?
In general, yes. Some airports are specially prepared for passengers flying with bikes, such as Amsterdam Schiphol and Portland International, which even have bicycle assembly stations equipped with tools to help passengers assemble and disassemble their bikes.
WHAT ARE THE BEST AIRLINES FOR BIKIES?
AMERICAN AIRLINES BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: According to the American Airlines bicycle policy, a bike is considered as one piece of checked luggage as long as they are less than 62 inches long (157 cm) and under 50 lbs (22kg). For bikes over these measurements, American Airlines customers flying with bikes will be charged $150 (£115).
Requirements: The American Airlines bike policy requires bikes to be transported in a hard-sided bicycle box, bike bag or similar purpose-built box. The handlebars should be fixed sideways with the pedals either removed or wrapped in plastic foam or similar. If the bike is not in a hard-sided case it will be treated as a fragile item.
FRONTIER AIRLINES BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: The Frontier Airlines policy allows customers to check bikes onto their flight at a cost of $75 (£58).
Requirements: The Frontier Airlines bike policy requires that passengers flying with bikes ensure the handlebars are fixed sideways and the pedals removed and encased in a protective, durable case or hard-sided bicycle box. Pedals do not need to be removed if wrapped in plastic foam or similar material. Items which exceed 99.9 pounds (45kg) or 109 linear inches (209cm) will not be accepted. Please allow an extra 30 minutes for check-in.
SPIRIT AIRLINES BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: Spirit Airlines charges its customers $75 (£58) to check bikes into the hold.
Requirements: Spirit Airlines requires passengers flying with a bike to deflate their bicycle tyres in order to prevent them from being damaged during the flight. For their protection, bicycles must be encased in cardboard or a hard-sided bicycle box for travel.
AVIANCA BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: Avianca bike fees vary according to the destination being flown to, but are usually around $100 (£77)
Requirements: Avianca allows passengers to fly with a bike as long as the handlebars are folded and the pedals are loose. The maximum weight is 32kg (70 lbs) and the bike’s total dimensions should not exceed 230cm in length (90 inches).
LUFTHANSA BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: Lufthansa charges customers 50€ ($70) per bicycle or 100€ ($150) per bicycle for intercontinental flights.
Requirements: Lufthansa permits passengers to fly regular road bikes, however, motorised or electric bikes are not included in the Lufthansa bicycle policy.
NORWEGIAN BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: Norwegian charges customers up to £45 ($58) online or up to £70 ($91) at the airport to check bikes onto short-haul flights. For international, long-haul flights customers will be charged £60 ($78) online and £70 ($91) at the airport.
Requirements: Bikes over 25kg will not be accepted. According to the Norwegian bike policy, passengers should arrive early at the airport in order to make sure there is space on the aircraft for their cycle. They also recommend using hard-sided boxes designed specifically for transporting bikes. For bikes not packed in purpose-built hard cases, the handles must be turned around, pedals taken off, tires deflated and other additional parts removed or covered. Flights departing from Los Angeles (LAX) and Bangkok (BKK) refuse soft bags and require that all bikes are packed in hard-sided bicycle boxes.
EASYJET BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bikeBicycles can be checked onto your EasyJet flight for an additional cost. Easyjet charges a £42 ($55) fee when booking “large sports equipment.” (including bicycles). The fee increases to £52 ($68) when paying at the airport.
Requirements: According to EasyJet's bicycle policy, all bicycles must be packaged in a bicycle box or bicycle bag (one per bag). No other items are permitted in the same bag (i.e. clothing). The handlebars must be in line with the frame and the pedals removed. EasyJet will also accept bicycles with hydraulic suspensions or brake systems.
JETBLUE BIKE POLICY
Cost of flying with a bike: The cost of checking a bike onto a JetBlue flight is normally $100 (£80)
Requirements: JetBlue accepts bikes in hard-sided bicycle boxes as well as in padded cases designed for bicycles. JetBlue will also accept bikes will also be accepted in alternative packaging if the handlebars are secured sideways and the pedals removed. The bicycle must also be packaged in plastic foam, a cardboard box, or similar material to prevent damage.
Please note: Prices are correct according to each airline's bicycle policy as of 2022 and are subject to change.
Flying with a Bike FAQs
How to fly with a Tandem Bike?
Flying with a tandem bike is normally permitted as long as the bike is packed correctly as per the instructions seen above. Airlines may not accept tandem bicycles that weigh more than 23kg (50 lbs). To be certain that your tandem bike will make it to your destination, always make sure to contact the airline you are flying with to check if you can fly with your tandem bike.
How can I book multiple bikes for a group cycle tour?
If you’re planning a cycling tour, and want to make bookings for multiple people on your trip, check out the Alternative Airlines’ group booking page. You can book for as many people as you like and add as much baggage as you need. It’s the perfect way to have a hassle-free group cycling tour. Similarly, to find out how to book flights that arrive and return from different destinations (known as open-jaw flights) check out our page on “How to book open-jaw flights.”
How much does it cost to fly with a bike?
The cost of flying with a bike will depend on the individual airline policy. Please see below for a comparison of different the costs of flying with a bike across some of our most popular airlines. For further information on how to fly with a bike on specific airlines, please make sure to contact Alternative Airlines or the airline before you travel.
Where do I check in my bike?
Normally, people flying with bikes will have to check them in as oversized baggage. This will often be a separate desk from the airline’s usual bag drop-off points. When flying with a bike it is important to contact the airline ahead of time to let them know you will be travelling with your bike. You should also try to arrive at the airport with plenty of time.
Do I need to arrive early at the airport when flying with a bike?
Yes. In general, when flying with your bike, try to leave an extra 30-45 minutes before your flight. Especially if you plan on dismantling your bike at the airport.
Can you fly with your bike?
Yes. Many airlines will allow you to fly with your bike in the hold as long as it is properly packaged. Just be aware that fees and policies will vary according to the policy of the airline you're flying with.
How to book flights and add a bike?
Alternative Airlines has made it really easy for you to book flights and add a bike no matter where you're flying! Simply head to the top of the page and fill in the search form. Once you've selected the flights you wish to take, you'll be taken onto the passenger details page where you'll be able to add a bike to your booking. This will be available under the 'Special Baggage' section.