Not all airlines are the same
The good news is that almost all airlines now want to attract cyclists as more and more people are taking their bikes abroad. The bad news is that there’s lots of difference between how much they charge, weight limits and on occasion what’s included within your weight limit. The table below [insert table like in current site] provides information on different airlines but this information is subject to change and it’s always worth checking with your airline’s terms and conditions.
For instance, Ryanair’s weight limit is a generous 30kg for bikes and this costs £40 per flight if booked online whilst British Airways does not impose specific weight regulations for bikes but passengers usually get a luggage allowance of one bag weighing up to 23kg, which you can increase to 32kg for an extra £30.
It’s always worth checking your terms and conditions to see whether there are any restrictions on what’s included within the weight limit. If there aren’t any restrictions, then we’d generally recommend packing your box with clothes, wetsuits etc for ease and extra protection. If there are restrictions then it’s worth taking account of these. For instance, on one small airline there was a restriction that meant that only essential cycling kit could be packed within the bag and so our customer had to check in another bag in order to take their wetsuit and other kit.
For most airlines if you go over your assigned weight then it can cost £10 for every kilo that you are over. It’s simple to check the weight of your case before you leave by standing on bathroom scales when holding the box and subtracting this from your weight without the box.
It’s also worth costing up the option for a slightly more expensive ticket which might offer a larger weight limit. British Airways is an excellent example as their ‘Premium Economy’ upgrade offers increased luggage weight limits with nicer seats and extra leg room an added bonus!
For safety reasons, all airlines will require you to deflate your tyres whatever size or type. Airlines also won’t allow you to travel with gas canisters to re-inflate your tyres at your destination, they scan all bags and boxes to look for canisters and if they spot them (which they usually do!) then your bag/box will be opened and the canister removed. This then leaves the closure of the box down to the baggage handler and sometimes they aren’t as careful as you’d hope. Our advice is to search out a local bike shop at your destination and contact them prior to your trip to order some canisters, remember that for Sportives and large events that a lot of people might be doing the same so it’s worth reserving some so you don’t end up disappointed and deflated (pun intended!).
If you prefer, we also offer van delivery to most major European Sportives and Ironman/Challenge events for further details see here.