What's The Best Airline For Bringing My Bike?

After yesterday’s story about cyclists being unhappy with United’s exorbitant fee to check bikes on their planes, the folks over at Bicycling wrote to share their breakdown of the best and worst airlines for when you’re taking your wheels with you.

THE BEST:
According to Bicycling, JetBlue, Frontier and Southwest are the bee’s knees, with each charging only $50 for placing your bike on board. Additionally, they note that Frontier will transport your bike by hand from the ticket counter to the plane.

THE WORST:
Because of the sky-high fees, on the following airlines, Bicycling.com doesn’t advise trying to stash your bikes on board: Delta/Northwest ($175); United ($175); American ($100 + regular checked bag fee of $20-$30). Also of concern to United passengers, their weight limit is only 50lbs, so don’t plan on packing your expensive bike in a hard case

NOT AS BAD:
They list U.S. Airways and Continental as “in the middle,” with each charging $100 for your bike. However, U.S. Airways makes you sign a liability waiver and Continental not only has a low weight limit of 70 lbs, they will not offer liability for soft cases.

In addition to rating the airlines, Bicycling also has some helpful tips for travelers:

•Don’t use the bike bag as your suitcase. Some carriers assess both oversize and overweight charges.

•Read your airline’s policy carefully. United, for example, will not take packed bikes over 50 pounds, period. They also charge extra on flights to Japan and Brazil.

•CO2 cartridges are prohibited in all checked bags and carry-ons.

•Checked bag liability usually tops out at $3,300 for domestic flights. Damage must be proved. Check your homeowner’s policy to see if it covers items damaged in travel.

*Finally, it’s an urban myth that your tires will burst in the cargo hold — there’s no need to deflate them.

For the full listing and more tips, go to Bicycling.com.