Thinking of taking your bike on holiday? Confused by airline baggage fees? Here’s the deal on flying your bike with the UK’s 10 most popular airlines, including hidden costs and rules on how to pack a bike for a flight.

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How to pack your bicycle for a flight

Most airlines require you to stow your bicycle in a bike travel bag or bike box in order to take it on board. Even if this is not a requirement, it's wise to protect your bike by disassembling things like pedals and wheels and wrapping them securely in packing material to avoid damage en-route. Also consider getting insurance for your bicycle if you're taking it on a flight.

  • When you buy a bike bag for the plane, ask the shop assistant to show you how to take it apart and put it back together. This will need doing before you get to the airport.
  • You'll need a set of allen keys and a pedal spanner. Keep any tools you use to take it apart in the bag so that you have them to reassemble when you arrive!
  • Before removing the seat, measure the seat height as you normally have it.
  • Remove the handlebars and wheels and attach them to the frame using ties or straps - most bikes bags for air travel with come with some attachments.
  • Many airlines ask that you deflate the tyres as well, as cabin pressure can cause tyres to over-inflate. Opinions are divided on whether you need to, but it's a good idea to at least partially deflate them to reduce the risk of damage.
  • Use plastic bags to wrap around messy parts such as the chain.
  • You can use extra padding like bubble wrap, especially if you're using a softshell bike bag. Ask your airline if you can pack clothes or other items in your bike bag to save room in your hold luggage, as some, like easyJet, don't allow this for health and safety reasons.

Bikes on a plane: airline fees and restrictions

easyJet ▼

Bikes can be pre-booked for a fee when you book your easyJet flight, or added to your booking (online or via their customer service centre) before you travel. It's possible to 'pool' your hold luggage and sports equipment, so long you've purchased enough checked bags to cover it and no single item weighs more than 32kg, but you can't pack clothes in your bike bag. See the easyJet website for more information.

Cost for one-way flight

(Online) £40, (at airport) £50.

Weight/size limit

32kg; under 275cm in total. Excess fees start at £10.

Ryanair ▼

Ryanair charge to take bicycles on the plane separately from your standard luggage allowance (which needs to be purchased per item with most fares anyway). See Ryanair's website for more information or take a look at our guide to Ryanair's baggage rules.

Cost for one-way flight

(Online) €60, (at airport) €70.

Weight limit

30kg. Excess baggage fees are charged at €10 per kilo.

Aer Lingus ▼

If you're checking in your bicycle at the airport, bicycles will be taken on stand-by basis, so allow at least 90 minutes at check-in before the scheduled departure time. Most flights have a maximum limit of ten bicycles per flight, although selected European airports will only take 6. See our roundup of the Aer Lingus baggage rules for more details or go to the Aer Lingus website.

Cost for one-way flight

Flights within Ireland/UK/Europe (by phone or at the airport only) €50.

Flights from Ireland to North America free, but if the weight exceeds 23kg, a €75/$100 fee applies.

Weight limit

23kg; maximum 1 piece of sports equipment.

Air France ▼

You'll need to book 48 hours in advance with the customer service department at Air France. See our article on Air France baggage rules for more information.

Cost for one-way flight

Zone 1 (within France, within Caribbean region) €40.

Zone 2 (Between the Caribbean and Miami) €65/$75USD.

Zone 3

(Within Europe, between Europe and Israel, between Europe and North Africa - Algeria, Morocco, Tunisia - between metropolitan France and French overseas departments - Cayenne, Fort-de-France, Pointe-à-Pitre, Saint-Denis in Reunion - between Abuja and Port Harcourt, between Douala and Malabo, between Nouakchott and Conakry, between Niamey and Ouagadougou, between Kuala Lumpur and Jakarta, between Singapore and Denpasar or Jakarta, between Muscat and Doha, between Abu Dhabi and Bahrain, and between Buenos Aires and Montevideo or Santiago €55/$55USD.

Zone 4

(Between Europe or North Africa and the Middle East, India or Libya, between the US and Papeete, Europe and other countries, to and from Canada) €125/$175CAD/$150USD.

Zone 5 (Other long-haul flights) €100/$120CAD/$100USD.

Weight limit

23kg or oversized baggage fees apply.

British Airways ▼

British Airways allows you to take your bike for free, as long as it doesn't exceed your BA allowance. Some fare classes do not include a baggage allowance (so you will need to purchase checked bags if you want to put any luggage, including bikes, in the hold) and some allow for a more generous baggage allowance. See the website for more details. In the event you exceed your baggage allowance, the fees below apply to your booking:

Cost for one-way flight

EuroTraveller UK Domestic (hand baggage only fares) (Online) £20/$30/€25; (at airport) £40/$60/€50.

EuroTraveller UK Domestic (Online) £34/$51/€43; (at airport) £40/$60/€50.

Club Europe (Online) £34/$51/€43; (at airport) £40/$60/€50.

World Traveller Eco (Online) £34/$51/€43; (at airport) £40/$60/€50.

World Traveller Y class (full-fare economy) (Online) £77/$119/€98; (at airport) £90/$140/€115.

World Traveller Plus Premium Plus (Online) £77/$119/€98.

First Club World Biz Bed (Online) £77/$119/€98.

Weight and size limit

Height 90cm x 75cm x 43cm, weight 23kg.

Cycling in San Francisco

Emirates ▼

Emirates accept all sporting equipment, including bicycles, as part of your checked luggage allowance. Individual or collective items exceeding 300cm will be sent as cargo instead of checked baggage, with an additional fee. See Emirates baggage rules for more details.

Cost for one-way flight

Canada/North America & Central/South America (Economy Class/Business Class/First Class) Free.

Weight/size limit:

Canada/North America (Economy) 2 x 23kg bags, (Business Class/First Class) 2 x 32kg bags. Individual items must not exceed 150cm. (Excess bags in Economy class are allowed to be up to 32kg).

Central/South America (All fare classes) 2 x 32kg bags.

Excess/oversized baggage fees

Canada/North America (Economy Class only) $50 USD/CAD , if bag exceeds 150cm and weighs up to 32kg. (All fare classes) $175 USD/CAD if item is 150 - 300cm but within the 2-bag allowance. If oversized item is in addition to 2-bag allowance, fees are $350 USD/CAD.

Central and South America (All fare classes) $175 USD/CAD for items exceeding the 2-bag limit up to 150cm, $175 USD/CAD for items over 150cm and up to 300cm but within the 2-bag allowance. If oversized item is in addition to 2-bag allowance, fees are $350 USD/CAD.

Flybe ▼

Bicycles cannot be pre-booked on a Flybe flight; they are accepted on a stand-by basis (ie. only if there is room on the flight), and are charged in addition to your standard Flybe baggage allowance. See the Flybe website for more details.

Cost for one-way flight

Flybe UK and Stobart Air operated flights Free if you book online. £30 by phone or at airport.

Loganair operated flights Free if you book online. £10 by phone or at airport.

Weight/size limit:

20kg. Items over this limit with be charged as excess baggage in addition to fees above.

Lufthansa ▼

Bicycles are carried as part of your free baggage allowance on Lufthansa flights. Register bicycles at least 24 hours ahead of your flight, once you've booked. See the Lufthansa website for more information. If sports baggage exceeds the maximum 32kg per item weight, it will be treated as cargo, with these additional charges:

Cost for one-way flight

(Continental Europe) €50; (Intercontinental) €100.

Weight limit

Included in free allowance, apart from Economy Light fares which charge for any type of checked luggage. (Economy & Economy Flex) 1 x 23kg, (Premium Economy) 2 x 23kg, (Business Class) 2 x 32kg, (First Class) 3 x 32kg.

Monarch ▼

See Monarch's baggage rules for more details or head over to the airline's website.

Cost for one-way flight

(Online) £25 - £28, (at airport) £30 - £35.

Weight limit: 30kg. Additional weight will be charged excess baggage fees.

Thomson Flights ▼

To take a bike on a Thomson flight, you need to give 2 months notice and go through their call centre (0203 451 2695). Regardless of fees paid, no item must exceed 23kg. See the Thomson website for more information.

Cost for one-way flight

(Short/Mid-haul flights) £30; (Long-haul flights) £60.

Weight limit:

23kg.

Turkish Airlines ▼

Turkish Airlines allow bicycles on board for free, as part of their standard hold baggage allowance. From selected airports, bringing a bike as your second or third set of sporting equipment will incur a fee. See the Turkish Airlines website for more details. If any sporting equipment exceeds the weight restrictions, excess baggage charges will apply as follows:

Cost for one-way flight

Within Europe, North Africa, the Middle East: €30.

US, South America & Canada; South Africa; CIS (Turkmenistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan); East/Southeast Asia: €60.

Africa; South Asia: €50.

Weight limit

Included as part of standard luggage allowance; Economy 20kg, Business 30kg.

(Exceptions) Flights between Germany & Turkey; flights originating in Switzerland or Ireland: Economy 30kg, Business 40kg. Flights originating in Edinburgh, Economy 40kg, Business 50kg. Flights between Turkey & Egypt 50kg all classes.

Virgin Atlantic ▼

Virgin accepts sports equipment, including bicycles, as part of your hold baggage allowance for bookings made as of August 2016 onwards. If your bike falls within the size and weight restrictions, there's no need to pre-book. See the Virgin Atlantic website for more information.

Cost: Free. Extra bags will be charged at excess baggage rates of £65 per sports item.

Weight/size limit: 190cm x 75cm x 65cm; 23kg (all fare classes).

Cycling at sunset

**Published March 2017. Any prices are subject to change; please check with the airline for full details baggage policy and fees.

Read on for more on airline baggage policies (and tricks on how to beat them):

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