As an avid cyclist AND traveler, my favorite trips are cycling trips. Sometimes I rent bikes at my destination (when good rental bikes are available), but other times, I like to take my own bike.
When taking your own bike, you can always consider pre-shipping to your destination – or you can actually take your bike with you on your flights. I have done it both ways and have had good experiences each time.
Normally, I make the decision of pre-shipping vs. taking my bike on the flight based upon where I am going (shipping a bike overseas is WAY expensive) and the cost of shipping vs. paying any extra airline “bike fees.”
If you decide to fly with your bike, it is always wise to plan ahead. The best starting point I have found for sound advice for flying with your tandem is the wonderful “Tips” posted by Bill McCready of Santana Tandems in La Verne, California. You can download Bill’s Tips as a PDF or read them online.
Bill’s tips are great, and I highly recommend you read ALL of them – but some of the most valuable are:
- Don’t Phone the Airline. Never. Ever. He makes that point several times.
- Check in Super Early.
- Be Charming. Mean people suck (my words; Bill’s words are nicer!) and no one likes to help mean people, so be nice to the baggage porters and ticketing agents. Remember: they can help you or hurt you, and no one wants to help a jerk.
- Don’t Make a Scene. Pay whatever the ticket agent says is the required charge for flying with your bike. Later, you can always protest the charge but standing at the counter is not the time to argue. The key is for your bike to end up on the plane, and if it doesn’t, you are not going to be a very happy camper.
- Find and Use a Porter When Checking In With Your Bike. While I normally am adverse to anyone carrying my bags or parking my car, when traveling with a bike(s), a helpful and well-tipped porter can be worth his weight in gold.
There are many stories online about traveling with your bicycle, including here and here and here. Be sure to check your airline’s website, too.
Thanks for reading,