There are many things to consider when taking a bike on a plane. You need to make sure it’s been packed neatly and the parts are protected. When you arrive at the airport, the last thing you want is to pay a fee.
But can excess baggage costs be avoided?
As long as a folding bike has wheel sizes between 20 to 24 inches, it should be able to fit in a checked baggage suitcase without incurring any excess baggage. If tires are over 24 inches, riders might need to pay for excess baggage. In rare cases, a folding bike can serve as carry-on luggage.
Traveling with a folding bike doesn’t have to be a challenging experience.
With a few tips and tricks, you don’t even need to pay for excess baggage. Keep reading to learn more about avoiding charges while flying.
Airplane Regulations to Be Aware Of
The first thing that we need to consider is airplane regulations. If your luggage goes over these limits, you might need to pay excess baggage fees:
- 62 inches. This is the total when the width, depth, and height are added.
- 50-60 pounds
- Typically, you will only be allowed one checked piece of luggage and one carry-on.
When it comes to folding bikes, it’s rare to get a bike that is over 50 pounds. Most of them will clock in around 20 to 30 pounds.
The biggest concern is the size of the bag.
Thankfully, most airlines tend to be lenient in enforcing these rules. So, you might have a few inches or pounds of wiggle room.
As always, it’s best to check these regulations before you fly, as they vary slightly from airline to airline.
Tips To Avoid Excess Baggage Charges
Excess baggage charges can be pretty expensive. Thankfully, there are some neat ways that you can avoid paying these costs.
The first thing to do is choose a bike with smaller wheels.
If the wheels are between 20 inches to 24 inches, they should be able to fold into a reasonably compact package. This should fit into a bag that will comply with the airline’s baggage requirements. If your wheels are larger than this, you might have to pay excess baggage fees.
It’s essential to consider how you pack the bike to allow for maximum compactness. You might need to remove the seat post and/or pedals.
If you are going on holiday, you might want to use your clothes as padding around the bike frame. This can allow you to take all the necessary items in a single bag.
The other thing you need to consider is the weight of the bag.
This is where a trade-off might be required. It’s generally recommended that you put your bike into a hard-shell suitcase, so it won’t be damaged as it gets loaded into the plane.
The downside is that a hard-shell suitcase can be pretty heavy, putting you at the upper weight limit. Because of this, some people opt for a canvas or flexible fabric. While lighter, this will offer less protection for your bike.
Can You Take A Folding Bike As A Carry On?
Most airlines have rules about what they will permit as a carry-on luggage item. These requirements are:
- Bag size of 22″ x 14″ x 9″
- 15 pounds
It’s rare for a folding bike to be able to meet these requirements.
Usually, you will need an ultra-compact model. Often, the wheel sizes will need to be around 12 inches. Even if you can carry on your folding bike, there are a few reasons this might not be the best course of action.
- Slower security inspection. Flying with a folding bike is quite unusual. Because of this, the security personnel might want to give your bags a closer inspection.
- Risk of gated baggage. There is a chance that your foldable bike might be chosen to be gated baggage. This means that the cycle will be placed into the plane’s hold. If it hasn’t been appropriately prepared, there is a chance that the movement of the bike during the flight might cause it to become dented.
There is a way to avoid this risk. Some airlines allow you to pay extra to board the plane early, ensuring you get the space needed to stow the bike.
Traveling With Larger Folding Bikes
If you have wheels larger than 24 inches, you might struggle to get your bike into a small bag to avoid excess baggage charges. If this is the case, you have a few options that you might want to explore:
- Paying for the extra baggage in advance. You might be able to pay for excess baggage before booking your flight. This will usually work out cheaper than paying for it at the airport.
Do airline research.
- The amount you will be charged for excess baggage will vary, depending on the airline you are flying. A little research can end up saving you a lot of money.
- Get an upgraded flight. Often, if you pay a little more for an upgraded flight, you will have a more generous bag allowance.
Other Fees To Consider
While excess baggage fees are one of the most considerable charges to consider when flying, there are a few other areas that you might want to think about. These include:
- Multiple bags. In many cases, you will be allowed one checked bag. But if this is primarily taken up by your folding bike, you might not have enough space for your clothes and other possessions. Depending on the airline, paying for an additional bag can cost $100 or more.
- Bike damage. If you don’t package your bike correctly, there is a chance that it will be damaged. In this case, many airlines won’t offer to pay for these issues. Some airlines will even make you sign a waiver absolving them of responsibility if your bike gets damaged. If you are concerned about this, you might consider taking out travel insurance.
Flying With An Electric Folding Bike
To protect the plane from damage, the airport will often place limits on the type of batteries that will be allowed onboard. Rechargeable batteries are limited to 100 watts when flying in the US.
This limit will apply regardless of whether it is carried on or checked. You could be faced with a massive fine if caught violating these laws.
The problem is that most folding bike batteries will exceed this limit.
Because of this, they might not be allowed on the plane. If you remove the battery, your bike should be allowed onboard. If you are having a more extended holiday, you might want to mail the battery to your holiday home.
Or you can make one when you arrive.
Many owners are attracted to folding bikes because of their compact nature. The ability to compress the bicycle can prove especially important when traveling. In most cases, you shouldn’t have to pay for excess baggage.
Most folding bikes can fit into suitcases, which can be used as checked luggage.
Plus, they will be much lighter than airline regulations. Just be aware that you might not have much room left for your holiday gear, so you will need to get used to packing many clothes in a tight space.