Airline restrictions and overview
Each airline has a list of requirements that you must meet before you can put your bike on the plane i.e. it must be packed in a bag or a box. Check the airline website for full details.
The penalty for going over the allocated weight limits with airlines can be breathtaking – so don’t exceed the limits. Check with the airline’s website and weigh your bike before you check in. Always check the details with the devil – sorry, the airline…
At the time of going to press our favourite airlines have their weight limits for bicycles set as follows:
Weight limit: 30kg
Cost: £50 each way if purchased at time of booking, otherwise £60
More information: http://www.ryanair.com/en/terms-and-conditions/regulations-checkedbaggage/
Weight limit: 32kg
Cost: £35 if purchased online before travel, £45 at airport
More information: http://www.easyjet.com/en/sports-equipment
Weight limit: 23kg
Cost: Free as part of baggage allowance
More information: http://www.britishairways.com/en-gb/information/baggage-essentials/sporting-goods-and-musical-instruments
If money is no object then a rigid bike box is probably the way forward. It means less hassle when packing and offers greater peace of mind during the flight; just make sure you get one the correct size for your bike.
Softer bike bags are cheaper but require more preparation. They are generally lighter and somewhat roomier, so getting one to fit your bike is much less hassle.
Plan well in advance of your flight and practice taking the relevant bike components off and back onto your bike. Don’t leave anything to the last minute; flight travel can be stressful enough already.