Go Back  FlyerTalk Forums > Miles&Points > Airlines and Mileage Programs > United Airlines | MileagePlus
Reload this Page >

Consolidated "Bicycle - Related Fees, Policies, etc. on United" Thread [Merged]

Consolidated "Bicycle - Related Fees, Policies, etc. on United" Thread [Merged]

    Hide Wikipost
Old Mar 12, 18, 8:28 am   -   Wikipost
Please read: This is a community-maintained wiki post containing the most important information from this thread. You may edit the Wiki once you have been on FT for 90 days and have made 90 posts.
 
Last edit by: WineCountryUA
Wiki Link
Bicycles

United accepts non-motorized bicycles with single or double seats (including tandem) or up to two non-motorized bicycles packed in one case as checked baggage. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is over 50 pounds (23 kg) and/or 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), a $150 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for travel between the U.S., Canada, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, and a $200 USD/CAD service charge applies each way for all other travel. If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23 kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but the first or second checked bag service charges may apply.

The following are bicycle restrictions:
  • Handlebars must be fixed sideways and pedals removed, or
  • All loose items must be enclosed in plastic foam or similar protective material, or
  • Bicycle should be transported in a sealed box.
  • If your itinerary includes a United Express flight, please contact United for information regarding aircraft cargo hold limits
  • United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.

Note: Bicycles will not be accepted during an excess baggage embargo when no excess baggage is allowed.
Print Wikipost

Old Jan 14, 10, 9:54 pm
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,520
Consolidated "Bicycle - Related Fees, Policies, etc. on United" Thread [Merged]

Below is the original post in this thread, but please check this post in this forum, which references this post in UA, to see what might be done about the situation. Thanks! --Mike--

I have this thing about going to France in July for a little bike race they hold over there, and the new fees UA is charging ($200 each way) cause more than a little bit of grief. From this page, it appears that, if the bicycle fits within certain dimensions, it flies free... and if over that, just $100. Is this really true, or is there fine print someplace I haven't yet found?

If CO is carrying bikes at no charge, let's hope the new alliance with UA doesn't create parity in the wrong direction.

Thanks-

Last edited by Mike Jacoubowsky; Jan 24, 10 at 10:48 am Reason: An effort to tie it all together
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 2:21 am
  #2  
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: NRT / HND
Programs: AA EXP, Former UA 1K
Posts: 4,369
I paid $100 to bring my Bike to Tokyo in June. It would be impossible to make any sort of normal biycycle fit the "free" allowance, expect to pay the $100 fee each direction, and I believe it still must meet your checked baggage weight limit, which was 70 lbs for me, no problem.
dvs7310 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 6:05 am
  #3  
A FlyerTalk Posting Legend
 
Join Date: Apr 2001
Location: NYC
Posts: 69,160
The FAQ post on baggage identifies the CO web page dedicated to sports gear which seems rather relevant to your inquiry.
http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...ge/sports.aspx

If you can get it in a standard size/weight bag it is part of your normal allowance. If you can not then you deal with the various surcharges. All the details are there.
sbm12 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 7:51 am
  #4  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Location: A menace to everything in the sky. Yes. Even birds.
Programs: Eh+ Rapid Rolleyes
Posts: 14,510
I'm friends with someone who leads a bike tour in a different European city every summer. Despite being a CO loyalist to the th degree, they never fly CO over there because the bike fees are so absurdly high.

I believe they usually take AA or DL (based in NYC).
belynch is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 12:53 pm
  #5  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,520
Originally Posted by belynch View Post
I'm friends with someone who leads a bike tour in a different European city every summer. Despite being a CO loyalist to the th degree, they never fly CO over there because the bike fees are so absurdly high.

I believe they usually take AA or DL (based in NYC).
$100 is not a high fee these days, at least not in comparison to UA ($185 domestic, $200 international), AF & LH (can be as high as $300+), SwissAir ($250)... the list goes on. At United, even a UGS (highest level, invitation-only) can't get around the fees. And for that $200 they get to damage your bike (mine) and say it's not their fault.
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 12:54 pm
  #6  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,520
Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
The FAQ post on baggage identifies the CO web page dedicated to sports gear which seems rather relevant to your inquiry.
http://www.continental.com/web/en-US...ge/sports.aspx

If you can get it in a standard size/weight bag it is part of your normal allowance. If you can not then you deal with the various surcharges. All the details are there.
Yes, that's the same page I referenced in my OP. My point in asking was how reality compares to theory. Not that there can be differences in the wonderful world of air travel...
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 1:01 pm
  #7  
FlyerTalk Evangelist
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Location: Brooklyn, NY, USA
Programs: DL SM Plat, B6 TrueBlue, UA MP, AAdvantage
Posts: 10,008
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
Yes, that's the same page I referenced in my OP. My point in asking was how reality compares to theory. Not that there can be differences in the wonderful world of air travel...
For better or worse, CO is usually very into sticking to the rules...
TWA Fan 1 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 1:25 pm
  #8  
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Posts: 2,034
Originally Posted by Mike Jacoubowsky View Post
...how reality compares to theory. Not that there can be differences in the wonderful world of air travel...
Once tried to bribe a UA ticket agent with a twenty to get my bike on for free. With a subtle roll of his eyes and a slight sigh, he said in a monotone voice "Sir, I'm not willing to risk my job for your bike". I sheepishly ponied up the (at the time) $75.

I was able to partially dismantle my bike and get it in a box about the size of the frame. albeit a bit thicker. I still had to pay the bike fee but you might squeeze it in as baggage and pay the oversize fee.
pptp is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 1:27 pm
  #9  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 101
Rules vs reality?

Expect to pay the $100 fee; notice that it's $100 each way. It's uncommon to avoid it. Changing carriers? Don't be surprised if you have to pay again, on your connecting flight(s).

A folding or collapsible bike will fly for free, because their custom case is about the size of a suitcase. Decent collapsibles aren't cheap, esp if you're looking for a mountain bike.

I had a supervisor waive fee for me from IAH-DEN once, even though it's too big (LxWxH). She even said "i know it's too big, but it's within your weight allowance and you're a plat." Some of the IAH staff are REALLY helpful to platinums, that was my only luck.
On the way back...a redcoat working DEN at 5am acted like she was going to deny me boarding, simply for ASKING if they could waive the fee for a plat.


It's ridiculous that a surboard or golf clubs are free while a bike box isn't; but that's how it goes. A popular belief is that PGA, surfer's groups, etc lobbied the airlines hard for free bags. Since the bike teams are given free transport of their bikes from airline sponsors, the cycling associations don't lobby the airlines to remove the bike fee.
fugacity is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 3:14 pm
  #10  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Jersey
Programs: CO One Pass Hipster, *G, Expedia Elite Plus, :rolleyes: Premier Exec.
Posts: 2,694
Originally Posted by fugacity View Post
Rules vs reality?

Expect to pay the $100 fee; notice that it's $100 each way. It's uncommon to avoid it. Changing carriers? Don't be surprised if you have to pay again, on your connecting flight(s).

A folding or collapsible bike will fly for free, because their custom case is about the size of a suitcase. Decent collapsibles aren't cheap, esp if you're looking for a mountain bike.

I had a supervisor waive fee for me from IAH-DEN once, even though it's too big (LxWxH). She even said "i know it's too big, but it's within your weight allowance and you're a plat." Some of the IAH staff are REALLY helpful to platinums, that was my only luck.
On the way back...a redcoat working DEN at 5am acted like she was going to deny me boarding, simply for ASKING if they could waive the fee for a plat.


It's ridiculous that a surboard or golf clubs are free while a bike box isn't; but that's how it goes. A popular belief is that PGA, surfer's groups, etc lobbied the airlines hard for free bags. Since the bike teams are given free transport of their bikes from airline sponsors, the cycling associations don't lobby the airlines to remove the bike fee.
Surfboards are def not free. My cousin goes to PR often and he always complains how he has to pay the surfboard bag fee. They even spell out that you can only have up to 2 boards in a bag (although I think my cousin has gotten away with 3 before, while traveling with friends)
carvalh2 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 3:17 pm
  #11  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Jersey
Programs: CO One Pass Hipster, *G, Expedia Elite Plus, :rolleyes: Premier Exec.
Posts: 2,694
From the co.com website:

"Surfboard/Wakeboard

Continental Airlines will accept one surfboard/wakeboard or one surfboard bag containing up to four boards per customer as checked baggage. Services charges (one way):
1 surfboard $100.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to two boards $100.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to three boards $400.00
1 surfboard bag containing up to four boards $700.00
This service charge is in addition to any excess baggage charges that may apply.

The skeg/fin must be removed or well padded. The entire board must be encased in a suitable container to avoid scratching. Continental Airlines shall not be liable for damage to a surfboard/wakeboard. Excess Valuation may not be purchased for a surfboard/wakeboard.

Surfboard/wakeboard and surfboard bags over 70lbs (32 kg) will not be accepted as checked baggage."
carvalh2 is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 4:33 pm
  #12  
 
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 101
Originally Posted by carvalh2 View Post
Surfboards are def not free.
My mistake; thank you for clarifying.
In the past, I understand surfboards WERE free. But at the same time, there was already a bike fee.
No offense, but a surfboard is MUCH more cumbersome to move around.

I consider this a "we don't want your money" fee, rather than a legitimate "price of business" fee. Maybe CO is afraid that everyone will box a bike if they charge a reasonable fee?
Domestically, it's cheaper to ship the bike back and forth.
fugacity is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 8:25 pm
  #13  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Redwood City, CA USA (SFO/SJC)
Programs: Last 1K flight 1/21/11; fun while it lasted, 1P in 2011, Plat for 2012,13,14,15 & 2016. Gold in 17 &
Posts: 8,520
Originally Posted by fugacity View Post
Rules vs reality?

Expect to pay the $100 fee; notice that it's $100 each way. It's uncommon to avoid it. Changing carriers? Don't be surprised if you have to pay again, on your connecting flight(s).

A folding or collapsible bike will fly for free, because their custom case is about the size of a suitcase. Decent collapsibles aren't cheap, esp if you're looking for a mountain bike.

I had a supervisor waive fee for me from IAH-DEN once, even though it's too big (LxWxH). She even said "i know it's too big, but it's within your weight allowance and you're a plat." Some of the IAH staff are REALLY helpful to platinums, that was my only luck.
On the way back...a redcoat working DEN at 5am acted like she was going to deny me boarding, simply for ASKING if they could waive the fee for a plat.


It's ridiculous that a surboard or golf clubs are free while a bike box isn't; but that's how it goes. A popular belief is that PGA, surfer's groups, etc lobbied the airlines hard for free bags. Since the bike teams are given free transport of their bikes from airline sponsors, the cycling associations don't lobby the airlines to remove the bike fee.
The cycling "associations" don't have much power, because they're fragmented. Their members are not all part of a single travel agency or company... they choose whichever carrier works best for them on a given day. They did, for a while, have a deal with United (I think) that allowed their fees to be waived (when it was just $50 or some such) but it required that members book all flights through the federation's travel agency, and the rates weren't always favorable.

The best way to exert influence on the carriers would be if the industry itself lobbied. A large company like Trek or Specialized or Giant has quite a substantial travel budget. If those companies were willing to consider free or reasonably-priced bicycle carriage a negotiating point each year, we might see something change. But they don't, because they have such favorable rates with shipping companies that they generally ship their bicycles directly to their hotels, saving the hassles of getting the bike to & from the airport. If the companies could see the forest for the trees, they'd see that, if their customers could travel more easily with their bikes, they'd incorporate cycling into their lifestyle more and spend more $$$ (on bikes).
Mike Jacoubowsky is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 9:25 pm
  #14  
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: EWR
Programs: United Mileage Plus Premier Silver
Posts: 223
Delta and United are truely the worst airlines for traveling with bikes. Delta charges $175 for Domestic and $300 for International, which is beyond outragious. I'm assuming that they are not trying to attract bikes on there planes. And United, the official airline of USA Cycling is not much help at all. They have a 5% discount for members. They went from charging $85 in early 2008 to $100 in Summer 2008, to $125 in early 2009, and up to $175 in Spring 2009 for Domestic Flights. I belive that an official airline should at least support the members. I race bicycles and travel with them, and I know that alot of riders void United because of there prices, and it should be the opposite because there the "Offical Airline".
daganderson is offline  
Old Jan 15, 10, 11:00 pm
  #15  
 
Join Date: May 2009
Location: New Jersey
Programs: CO One Pass Hipster, *G, Expedia Elite Plus, :rolleyes: Premier Exec.
Posts: 2,694
This may sound crazy, but here is an idea:
Have you thought about shipping the bike via UPS or FEDEX or DHL? Maybe you could ship some parts of it ahead of time (like both wheels, handle bars, and pedals), and just bring the frame with you. It should fit in a box that would get charged like a regular bag.

Or maybe split it into two boxes, and pay for a 3rd bag. I don't bike much, so Idk how complicated it would be to take the bike apart...

If traveling domestically, FEDEX or UPS ground would surely be cheaper than $100, and you KNOW your bike will get there.

I don't have to remind anyone here, but have you seen how baggage handlers throw bags around? If you haven't, it's like watching sausage being made.
carvalh2 is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Search Engine: