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  1. #1
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    United/Continental Airlines Bicycle Fee -- Updated recently?

    Yes, yes, I know how to use Google, so I know that bicycle fees on United are now $200 each way.

    However, here's my question. Has anyone traveled recently with their bike (within the last two months)? As in since they've officially updated their system with Continental. I was planning on eating the $400 for a Hawaii event coming up at the end of the month and found this interesting (taken from their website)

    Exhibit A
    We have revised some of our checked bag policies for travel worldwide. For the latest checked baggage updates, please review all relevant baggage pages before you travel.
    Updated: January 10, 2012
    Exhibit B
    Is sporting equipment subject to bag fees?

    Yes. Sporting equipment that does not have its own service fee is subject to the first and second bag fees. Some sporting equipment is subject to its own service fee (i.e. surfboards, sailboards, pole vaults, etc.) and is exempt from the first and second bag fees. Get more information about sporting equipment service fees and restrictions.

    So I go to the sports equipment section and click on surfboard, pole vault... their example, and it clearly states the excess fee of $200. When I click on bicycle, no specific fee is listed. It just states the below. Does this mean if it falls below the weight (50lbs) and box dimensions (62")it's good to go?

  2. #2
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    It's $200 per way.

    If you think that's bad - you should see how they rape people who travel for surf. I went to Hawaii and had 3 boards in a bag. They wanted $300 per board each way. NOT per bag. PER BOARD. I managed to sweet talk my way out of that deal - but it's pretty bad on there. Another guy next to me had to pay for his bike (which was packed and in a box) - so that's how I know.

  3. #3
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    I have not flown recently on United/Continental with a bike, but I was recenlty looking at the rates at various airlines in preparation for a trip. The way I interpret the info on the United site is you're good to go, but if it exceeds either the weight OR dimension it is $100 each way, like any other piece of checked luggage, (for travel in the US, and I don't see HI singled out as not part of the US). There is the question if they'll charge for both oversize AND overweight, but if you can keep it under 50 lbs then it isn't overweight. We use the cases as described below and total weight with bike, shoes, helmet, etc comes in under 35 lb. FYI, Southwest and jetBlue charge a flat $50 each way for a bike. I chose jetBlue to fly with my bike this coming weekend because of their fee and it was among the carriers that flew non-stop both ways to my destination. I greatly prefer flying non-stop with the bike to minimize handling and the chances of it getting delayed/lost.

    DC Rainmaker: How I travel with my bike

  4. #4
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    I am about to redeem some united miles... I noticed the miles be used on Air Canada flights and I would surely choose that. As of today Air Canada listed $50 handling fee per way. This is very reasonable.

    Even waived for high status flyers. Thumbs up.


    Waivers/Charges

    No oversize charge applies to bicycles.

    Bicycles are subject to a $50 CAD/USD handling charge (plus applicable taxes) for carriage on Air Canada and Air Canada Express (operated by Jazz only).

    The handling charge applies to one-way flights and for each way of travel on round-trip and multi-segment flights.

    A single fixed handling charge is waived for Latitude and Executive fare customers for travel within Canada, and between Canada and the US. Additional checked baggage rules still apply.

    If your baggage count (bicycle + number of bags to be checked) exceeds the maximum number of items allowed by your fare type, additional checked baggage charges will apply, in addition to the fixed handling charge.

  5. #5
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    I'm flying from Akron, Oh to San Diego, Ca in early April. I'm taking my bike plus some other gear so I checked this out carefully.

    I'm flying on Frontier. They give you 1 carry-on free, then it's $20 per bag for checked luggage. I told them I'd be bringing my bike & it would be boxed. They asked if it would be over 50# total. It's not. They said it will ship for the price of a regular checked bag which is $20.00. I talked to several different agents on different days & they all told me the same thing.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  6. #6
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    My experience with Frontier.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Versatile View Post
    I'm flying from Akron, Oh to San Diego, Ca in early April. I'm taking my bike plus some other gear so I checked this out carefully.

    I'm flying on Frontier. They give you 1 carry-on free, then it's $20 per bag for checked luggage. I told them I'd be bringing my bike & it would be boxed. They asked if it would be over 50# total. It's not. They said it will ship for the price of a regular checked bag which is $20.00. I talked to several different agents on different days & they all told me the same thing.
    My experience with Frontier was great. They treated my bike as one checked bag (in my case, it was packed in a Pika Packworks bike carrying bag). I paid the few extra $$$ to get a ticket that included 2 checked bags, so it cost me nothing extra to transport my bike. I flew between LaGuardia and Denver. In fact, my bike was the first item off the baggage carousel when I got back home.

    I'll be using them again...

  7. #7
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    I still cannot quite get over the thought of my bike being tossed by the luggage handlers onto the cart, conveytor etc.

    Do they really care?

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorCyclist View Post
    I still cannot quite get over the thought of my bike being tossed by the luggage handlers onto the cart, conveytor etc.

    Do they really care?
    All I can suggest is to pack your bike carefully and keep everything snug. It took me a good 40+ minutes packing my bike. I could've done it in 15 minutes, but I made more than certain nothing was loose. I went so far as to mount a different/unusable stem to keep the fork/headset from shaking around; removed the chain to prevent it from scratching up my chainstays; covering every tube/stay with foam pipe insulation; mounting those plastic things they pack the bikes with to connect the dropouts. Just do the best you can to keep anything loose or exposed.

    As far as what the baggage handlers may do, you're at their mercy. Just do what you can to protect your baby as best as possible.

  9. #9
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    Really the million dollar question is has United/Continental's policy changed due to the merger from automatic $200 each way if they even sniff a bicycle or if you're within the weights and dimensions, you're good?

  10. #10
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    I was wondering about the United fee too. After a little digging, I think I found the answer on United's check baggage FAQ.

    It sounds to me that a boxed bike on United would be subject to the $100 oversize fee, but I'm not totally sure.

    I did take my bike on Frontier Airlines last summer and everything worked out great. The charge for the bike was the same as for a standard piece of luggage. No damage to the bike at all. It was not placed on the carousel but delivered to the oversize baggage area.


    Below I've copied from United's website.


    ************************************************** *****

    What is the fee for an oversized bag during non-excess baggage embargo periods?

    Customers who travel with checked baggage exceeding 62 linear inches (157 cm) (total length + width + height) will be charged at the rate of $100 if travel is between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico or the U.S. Virgin Islands. The rate of $200 per piece will be charged if travel is to all other areas. These charges are in addition to any charge assessed for additional or overweight baggage. Baggage measuring more than 115 inches (292 cm) (total outside dimensions; length + width + height) will not be accepted as checked baggage.
    Is sporting equipment subject to bag fees?

    Yes. Sporting equipment that does not have its own service fee is subject to the first and second bag fees. Some sporting equipment is subject to its own service fee (i.e. surfboards, sailboards, pole vaults, etc.) and is exempt from the first and second bag fees. Get more information about sporting equipment service fees and restrictions.

  11. #11
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    You will need to do alot of customization if you want to get the bike under 62 linear inches (probably frame only no fork in a smallest box, even the soft cases you get measures about 85 linear inches.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorCyclist View Post
    You will need to do alot of customization if you want to get the bike under 62 linear inches (probably frame only no fork in a smallest box, even the soft cases you get measures about 85 linear inches.
    The two 700c wheels by themselves are very close to 62 linear inches.
    Most full frames will push it way beyond that - closer to 80 linear inches and above. Ritchey Breakaway and S&S coupled frames can get it back to 62 linear inch range or very close to it.

  13. #13
    Matnlely Dregaend
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    I traveled to Texas on the "new" United last week with my Breakaway, no problems not getting charged with the Ritchey case.
    "I haven't @#&$ed like that since I was an altar boy." Hank Moody
    “Bicycling has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world.” Susan B. Anthony 1896
    "Brifter" is the coolest cycling word

  14. #14
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    $200 one way is pretty ridiculous though, you can almost overnight it in the US!

    Once again united sets the bar for new/high fees

  15. #15
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    Alaska Airlines - just charge you the normal baggage fee, which for a bike case, is simply the oversize fee (and overweight if you can't keep it below 50 lbs.

    63-80 in. $50 (USD) one way

    81-115 in. $75 (USD) one way

    Plus, a lot of times, the counter agent will just either charge you the standard $20 bag fee or just slap $50 on it without measuring it. Last trip to Hawaii I got charged standard bag fee one way and $50 return. This was a full size Trico type case which I'm pretty sure should have been $75 each way.

  16. #16
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    Ok, here's the clarification I got from customer service:



    Dear Mr. XXXXX:


    Thank you for contacting United Continental Holdings, Inc.

    I am sorry you did not receive the timely assistance you needed. Because
    of recent overwhelming demand, we have been unable to respond to our
    customers as quickly as we would like. We are committed to providing
    optimal customer service and usually answer correspondence in the order
    it is received.

    United Airlines accepts non-motorized bicycles with single seat, or up
    to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case, as checked baggage.
    If the bicycle is packed in a container that is more than 50 pounds or
    62 total linear inches (L + W + H), a $100 service charge applies each
    way for domestic travel, and $200 each way for international travel. The
    service charge is in addition to any excess baggage charges that may
    apply, but first and second baggage service fees do not apply. Bicycle
    equipment that weighs more than 70 pounds will not be accepted as
    checked baggage.

    If the bicycle is packed in a container that is under 50 pounds or 62
    total linear inches (L + W + H), standard bag fees will apply.
    Handlebars must be fixed sideways and the pedals removed; all loose
    items must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar protective material --
    or the bicycle should be transported in a sealed box.
    United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the
    handlebars fixed sideways and the pedals removed, handlebars and pedals
    encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained
    in cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.

    Bicycles will not be accepted during excess baggage embargoes.
    Please visit our website for more information:

    We appreciate your business and look forward to welcoming you onboard a
    future United Airlines flight.


    Regards,

    Susan House
    United Airlines
    Soooo if you're good enough to cram your bike into 62 linear inches.. you're golden (unlikely from what it sounds, though... sorry I haven't ever traveled with my bike).

    However, If I'm reading this correctly, it's $100 each way?????

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by davkc View Post
    Soooo if you're good enough to cram your bike into 62 linear inches.. you're golden (unlikely from what it sounds, though... sorry I haven't ever traveled with my bike).

    However, If I'm reading this correctly, it's $100 each way?????
    Uh, yeah. That's what I said back in post #3.

    FYI, I just flew JetBlue and got charged the $50 bike fee on the way out but they didn't bother to charge me on the way back.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    Uh, yeah. That's what I said back in post #3.

    FYI, I just flew JetBlue and got charged the $50 bike fee on the way out but they didn't bother to charge me on the way back.
    Well, just making sure, because everywhere else said $200. Which brings me to the most important point. If the $100 is true, than it appears they have changed their policy.

    Really, I just wanted to "triple confirm" this. While I've been doing research on the topic, I've read sooo may horror stories about people showing up to the airport when they've been told one thing and getting the complete opposite. Nothing like showing up with your bike days before your event and getting charged an arm and a leg... seriously what choice do you have, leave your bike??? uhh no.

  19. #19
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    I should mention that on the way out, the JetBlue gate agent tried to charge me $80. I said no, it was $50. She said the policies change frequently. I said I checked their website that morning. She consulted with another agent and found that she had mistakenly checked the box for international rather than domestic rates.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by looigi View Post
    I should mention that on the way out, the JetBlue gate agent tried to charge me $80. I said no, it was $50. She said the policies change frequently. I said I checked their website that morning. She consulted with another agent and found that she had mistakenly checked the box for international rather than domestic rates.
    Ya gotta stay on'em. Stay informed. Knowledge is power.
    Don't believe everything you think.

  21. #21
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    It sounds like you have this figured out, but here's some more info for everyone else that reads this forum. It's impossible to get your bike under 62 linear inches unless it is a folding bike or you are using couplings. Hence, the $100 bike fee (which is really just an oversized bag fee). The good thing here with United is you are not subject to the usual 50+ lb overweight fee (unlike regular baggage). Feel free to toss your shoes and anything else you can into your bike box (keep it under 70 lbs or else your bike will not be coming with you). This helps to keep any other checked baggage to a lower weight.

    The last thing to note is that your bike is counted as one checked bag. So if you are checking in 1 bag with your bike, you’re bag is going to be charged the 2nd bag fee. DO NOT check 2 bags with your bike, because you are now considered in the EXCESS baggage territory which gets very expensive and your bike is now subject to excess baggage fees.

    Here are United’s domestic standard baggage fees:

    1st bag: $25
    2nd bag: $35
    3rd+ bag: $100 (this is what EXCESS baggage is)

    HI is considered domestic travel, not international.

    So, for example, checking in your bike with one other bag will cost you $100 (bike fee) + $35 ( 2nd bag fee). Fees are always for each way of travel, so double it if you’re flying round trip. Yes, there are airlines that charge less for bike fees. Unfortunately, these airlines aren’t always flying to your destination OR the ticket fare might be greater. You have to consider the ticket fare with you baggage costs in deciding who to fly with. The best you can do is borrow or buy a solid bike case, pack it carefully and get to the airport early.

    AirlineBagfees.com has a good list of bicycle fees for each airline. Best of luck to you.

  22. #22
    pmf
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorCyclist View Post
    I still cannot quite get over the thought of my bike being tossed by the luggage handlers onto the cart, conveytor etc.

    Do they really care?
    Hell no, they don't care. My wife and I did a bike tour in Italy as part of our honeymoon. I can still remember standing in the terminal and watching our plane get unloaded at De Gaulle airport. Two goons yanked our bike cases out of the cargo hold and let them drop about four feet onto the tarmac. Luckily, all was OK since I very carefully packed the bikes.

    One thing that worked for me once was to only pay the fee one way. Then when I was returning and they asked me to pay, I told them that I already paid the fee when I departed. The woman looked on her computer screen and said OK. I figured if she called me on it, I'd act surprised that the fee I paid wasn't round trip.

  23. #23
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    Of course they don't care, and most of the time they have no idea there is a bike inside. That is why you need to have a hard case bike case that offers the most protection. Some of these cases are darn near bulletproof and get the job done.

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by 55x11 View Post
    The two 700c wheels by themselves are very close to 62 linear inches.
    Most full frames will push it way beyond that - closer to 80 linear inches and above. Ritchey Breakaway and S&S coupled frames can get it back to 62 linear inch range or very close to it.
    I travel with my S&S bike all the time. The case is exactly 62 linear inches and I have to deflate tires to get wheels to fit. No standard full size bike will ever make it under that. As for the weight if you have a high end bike the weight should be a non issue. When I do travel I out in helmet, shoes, pump, clothes, water bottles, basically everything for riding and mine weighs in around 44lbs for a time lite speed from 1999

  25. #25
    PhotonFreak
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    Prices on the order of ~$50 each way dont' sound too bad, but if the quote is $100-200 each way wouldn't it be cheaper to ship the bike ground several days in advance?

    Hell, I could probably purchase a brand new bike-in-a-box online delivered to my destination (just bring saddlle/pedals/ etc.) build it up and race it, and sell it afterwards and not lose $400 in the process.

    Of course that depends on how long the travel is for, whether you know someone who could receive the packages etc.

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