Travel News

Good News for Traveling Cyclists – American Airlines Drops Extra Fees for Sports Gear and Instruments

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Written by Charlie

If you ever had wanted to travel with your bicycle but were scared by fees, American Airlines has just made it much easier – and cheaper – to bring your cycle with you!

If you are one of millions of people that like to cycle and you want to bring your bicycle with you on your next trip, it will no longer cost you $150 to do that with American Airlines! This new policy covers instruments and other pieces of normal sports gear as well, so some good news for many people!

American Airlines Drops Extra Fees for Sports Gear and Instruments

The big airlines have seen items such as bicycles as an avenue for huge fees for a while – $150 per pop to transport your bicycle! That means trying to travel on two trips a year with your cycle could cost you $600! That is insane and, finally, American Airlines agrees with us.

Effective as of last week, American Airlines will now treat sports equipment and instruments under 50lbs and 126 inches as regular checked bags. That dimension part is huge as normally you only get 62 inches! That means that you will pay the $30 fee if it is your first bag or $40 for the second bag (unless you have free baggage allowance with elite status, premium cabin travel, or credit card) instead of $150.

If your bicycle is in a hardshell case and weighs under 50lbs, you are good to go! If it is not in a hard case, it will be treated as a “fragile item” which will limit AA’s coverage of any damage done during transit.

The same is true for other sports equipment and instruments that are under the 50lbs and various dimensions allowed. If it is over those numbers, it will be considered “overweight” or “oversize” luggage and the charge will be $150 (the same as if you have 65lbs of clothes in a suitcase).

What Do US Airlines Charge for Bicycles As Checked Luggage
  • Alaska Airlines – it counts as normal luggage with no extra charge
  • American Airlines – it counts as normal luggage with no extra charge
  • Delta Air Lines$150 charge for bicycles
  • Southwest $75 charge for bicycles
  • United Airlines – it counts as normal luggage with no extra charge but limits to 62 inches in total dimensions (as opposed to AA’s policy of 126 inches)

Hopefully, many of you that enjoy cycling will think about taking your cycle along for your next trip that takes you along some beautiful places! Just make sure you get a good case to travel with it and protect it against the dangers of baggage handling.

Things to Be Aware of With Bicycle Fees

There are a couple of things to take note of:

  • American Airlines doesn’t say you cannot travel with a soft case but it will not be eligible for the same liability protection as if it is in a hard case – hard cases weigh more and are larger so consider that
  • You are still limited to 50lbs and 62 inches for the bicycle. If you are over that (which you may be, depending on your cycle and case), you will still need to pay the oversize/overweight fee of $150 (which is what the original bicycle fee was)

To address the overweight aspect, consider this tip – if you will be paying $150 for an overweight bicycle/case combo, consider putting that money towards paying for business/first class on your domestic flight. That will give you 2 free bags up to 70lbs each plus you will have a much more comfortable ride! To make it even sweeter, there are many routes where the difference between coach and business may be around or under the $150.

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About the author

Charlie

Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.

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