Airline Baggage Fee Charges For Bikes: Which Is The Cheapest In Europe?

Airlines can be bastards when it comes to taking your bike abroad, make sure you choose the right one

To protect or not protect, it's not really much of a question... Photo: Wiggle
To protect or not protect, it’s not really much of a question… Photo: Wiggle

Few months ago, we wrote on a piece on which airline was the cheapest for carrying surfboards.

It went down an absolute storm! So, we thought we’d write another for all you cyclists out there…

Airlines can be total bastards when it comes to carrying extra luggage on planes – particularly something as bulky as a bike.

Here’s our savvy guide to which European airline charges the least for bike baggage fees… Use that extra cash to buy a round when you get to your final destination!

What’s the cheapest?

British Airways and SAS carry bikes for free. They might not sell the cheapest tickets, but it may work out better for you overall. Just make sure your bike fits into their weight and size limit.

Next up are budget airlines Thomson and FlyBe who only charge a mere €20 per flight to carry your bike. That’s almost as much as renting when you get there, so you why the hell not take your own?

Yes Britannia!
Yes Britannia!

And the most expensive?

Iberia top the charts once more of being the most expensive airline, charging a whopping €75 one-way!

They are followed closely behind with the €50 bunch – including Swiss Air, Ryan Air, Air France – which isn’t exactly cheap.

Finnair will sting you if your bike exceeds their dimensions, but if you stick to their rules, you can get your bike through for free!

Don't want to catch a plane? This might be your only other alternative... Photo: Hans Rey/ bicycling.com
Don’t want to catch a plane? This might be your only other alternative… Photo: Hans Rey/ bicycling.com

Just a few more handy tips…

Make sure can book bike on in advance if you can. Some airlines like FlyBe only let bikes on planes on a standby basis, which could leave you in a very tricky situation if you arrive at the airport and there is no space.

It’s a good idea to properly wrap and protect your bike up before you fly. Some people have tried without a bike bag – like this crazy lady – but we wouldn’t recommend it. You don’t want to end up with a bike crumpled like a Coke can.

Wiggle have got some great tips on how to pack up your bike before you fly.

These were correct as of 29 July 2014. However, we do recommend double-checking with the airline before you fly.

EUROPEAN AIRLINE BICYCLE BAGGAGE FEE CHARGES 2014

AIRLINE FIRST HOLD BAG FEE BICYCLE BAGGAGE FEE (ONE WAY) EXTRA NOTES
Air France Free €50 Same price for tandem bikes. Can’t use as free baggage allowance. More info here.
Aer Lingus €20-25 depending on destination €40 Max 10 bikes per flight or two bikes for domestic flights. You can’t book bikes in online, contact the local reservation office instead. More info here. 
British Airways Free Free (counts as free baggage allowance) Max. 190cm in length. Must be in recognisable bike bag. More info here.
EasyJet €40 €45 pre booked/€60 at airport Max. 32kg per bike. More info here.
Finnair Free Free (counts as free baggage allowance) if under 23kg and under 190cm in length. If larger, €75 will be charged. €150 for tandem bike fee. Must be in protective case for flight. More info here.
FlyBe €19-61 depending on weight €20 Bikes accepted on a standby basis only. More info here.
Iberia Free €75 (plus €20 container) Only take bikes in package containers which can be purchased for €20 at airport for bikes measuring 131x72x21 cm. More info here.
Jet2 €55 €39 Needs to be pre-booked. Must be wrapped in stiff cardboard with pedals off. Max. weight 32kg. Max. size 182cm x 91cm. More info here.
Monarch €24-64 depending on route €31 if under 20kg/€44 if under 32kg Max. 32kg. must be packed for protection including pedals and tyres removed. More info here.
Norwegian €50 €37-75 depending on route Max. weight 25kg. More info here.
Ryan Air €37-62 depending on route €50 if pre-booked/€60 at airport Max. weight 30kg. Must be contained in protective box or bag for travel. More info here.
SAS Free Free Max. weight 23kg. Don’t have to use bike carry case, but have to register in advance if don’t. More info here.
Swiss Air Free €50 Must be reserved in advance. More info here.
TAP Portugal Free €35 Max. weight 32kg. More info here.
Thomson Fly €54 €19 Pre-book at least two months in advance. More info here.

 

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