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How to Avoid Excess Baggage Charges when Travelling with Your Bike?

Scicon summarise what each airline charges for European travel.

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When traveling with your bike it’s important to know what the spiel is with excess baggage, but many airlines like to make it as difficult as possible for you to find out what the additional luggage charges are.

Many of you who have travelled with your bike before will know that you’ll often find that the fees can sting quite a bit on something as bulky as a bike. Here’s an easy-to-use guide to European airline bike baggage fees to help you spend less and avoid any nasty surprises.

Who’s the cheapest?

Let’s get stuck right in! British Airways and SAS will carry your bike for free. Yes, you heard us right- free! However, they don’t sell the cheapest tickets, but it might work out as a saving overall. You do need to make sure that your bike fits into their weight and size limits (see the table below). Finnair are also free but have strict dimension restrictions which if exceeded, will cost you a significant amount.
Next up are budget airlines Thomson and Flybe who both only charge €20 one-way. Why even think about renting a bike with prices as low as that?

Who is the most expensive?

Drumroll please… Iberia top the charts of priciest airline with an extortionate €75 per flight! Closely followed by Swiss Air, Ryan Air, Air France and Brussels Airlines who all charge €50 each way.

Some extra tips

Book in advance. Some airlines like Flybe only let bikes on planes on a standby basis if you just rock up on the day. Print out the airline’s policy on bike baggage from their webpage in case the desk clerk is a donut. I travelled with my skis once and had a full-blown argument with the lady behind the desk because she was telling me that I couldn’t have both a checked bag and sports equipment for free despite the fact the airline’s website said that I could. Most importantly, invest if you haven’t already in a protective bike bag or bike case. The last thing anybody wants is a broken bike when you arrive at your destination. We’ve got some top tips for packing your bike bag here. Or alternatively you could watch one of our how-to-pack videos on our youtube channel here

These were correct as of 15th October 2014 for flights within Europe. However, we do recommend double-checking with the airline before you fly

Airline Details

Airline Incl as Normal Luggage Extra costs Max Weight (Kg) Additional Info
Air France No €50 each way 23 More info here.
Brussels Airlines No €50 each way / Priced each way. More info here.
Easyjet No €40 each way if prepaid 32 Must be in a bag or box. More info here.
Flybe No €19-61 depending on weight 20 Stand by basis only, only if space on flight after all check-in’s. More info here.
KLM No €55 each way 23 Advance booking required. More info here.
Ryanair No €50-€60 each way 30 Cheaper if booked in advance. More info here.
Swiss Air Yes If over your basic luggage allowance €50-€100 30 Only changed if over normal allowance. More info here.
Aer Lingus No €40 each way 15 Max 10 bikes per flight- must prebook. More info here.
British Airways No €40 each way if over 23Kg 23 Free if part of main luggage allowance. Max 190cm in length and must be in recognizable bike bag or box. More info here.
Finnair Yes Free if witthin dimension restrictions. €75 each way if over 190cm in length 23 Must be in protective case for flight. More info here.
Iberia No €75 each way 23 Only take bikes in package containers which can be purchased for €20 at airport for bikes measuring 131x72x21 cm. More info here.
Jet2 No €39 each way 30 Needs to be pre-booked. Must be wrapped in stiff cardboard with pedals off or in a bike bag or case. Max. weight 32kg. Max. size 182cm x 91cm. More info here.
Monarch No €31 each way if under 20kg/€44 if under 32kg 20/32 Max. 32kg. must be packed for protection including pedals and tyres removed. More info here.
Norwegian No €37-75 each way depending on route 25 More info here.
SAS Yes Free 23 Don’t have to use bike carry case, but have to register in advance if don’t. More info here.
TAP Portugal Yes Free 32 If over weight allowance there will be a €35 charge. More info here.
Thomson Fly No €20-54 each way depending on route and excess weight is charged per kg. 15-20 Must pre-book at least 2 months in advance and bike must be in a bag or case. More info here.
Lufthansa Y if under 23kg Free or €50 each way if exceeds over 23kg and under 32kg. 23/32 Must pre-book at least 48 hours in advance. More info here.
AirBerlin/Belair/Niki Y if under 23kg Free or €50 each way if exceeds over 23kg and under 32kg depending on route 23/32 More info here.
Wizzair No €40 each way / No weight allowance shown on website. More info here.
Turkish Airlines/ Anadolujet No €30 each way 32kg Dimension allowance may vary depending on aircraft. More info here.

Article written by Hollie from Scicon

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