Yes, you read the title correctly, United Airlines bike fees are no longer. If you’re a cyclist who’s been chomping at the bit to fly somewhere with your bike and you haven’t been looking forward to paying those exorbitant fees some airlines still demand for the privilege of doing so, we’ve got a bit of good news to share. US-based carrier United Airlines — who as recently as this September charged an additional US$200 for your bike each way — has quietly abandoned that fee entirely, finally following the lead of competitors Delta Airlines and American Airlines.
Under the “Bicycles” tab of the company’s web page detailing fees for checking sports equipment is this refreshing piece of information.
“Oversized bag fees do not apply to checked bicycles. Standard checked baggage fees as well as overweight service charges still apply.”United website
While that statement explicitly points out that oversized bag fees don’t apply to bikes — a critical distinction since conventional bikes almost never fall within the non-oversized range — it’s important to note that the airline will still ding you if your packed case is over standard weight. For United, that means a maximum of 23 kg (50 lb) if you’re flying in economy class, or 32 kg (70 lb) if you’re flying in business or first class. You’ll also still pay if you’re over your standard baggage allotment.
Details pulled from the United Website
We can transport bicycles as checked baggage if they are packed appropriately. To pack your bicycle as checked baggage:
- Pack it in a sealed box using plastic foam or similar protective material inside. The box should be a hard-sided case or constructed from durable cardboard.
- Secure the handlebars sideways and remove the pedals before packing the bicycle. All loose items should be inside the box.
- Motorized or battery-powered bicycles are not permitted.
- We’re not liable for damage to any checked bicycles that are not packed as described above.
Oversized bag fees do not apply to checked bicycles. Standard checked baggage fees, as well as overweight service charges, still apply.
Fingers crossed, this is the end of a long period of airlines letting golf clubs go for free and charging cyclist, now that the three biggest US carriers are all on the same page.
The world still seems to be a ways off from all of us being able to travel completely freely again, but at least we can look forward to potentially paying a little bit less when that day finally comes.