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United Airlines Bike Fees are no more – another airline where bikes fly for less

A United Airlines plane sits on the tarmac with baggage containers in the foreground
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United Airlines bike fees are a thing of the past. Well, the oversized fee that is. This move puts the airline – the third largest in the world by some measurements – in the company of Delta and American Airlines, both of which phased out their bicycle fees in 2019.

According to United, bicycles must be packed “…in a sealed box using plastic foam or similar protective material inside. The box should be a hard-sided case or constructed from durable cardboard.” That leaves out soft sided cases like EVOC bags, which generally work quite well. But the wording does make us think that if your bike was damaged in a soft bag, you might be stuck with the bill.

United goes on to say that “motorized or battery-powered bicycles are not permitted.” Sorry, E-bike users. Given that the FAA doesn’t like you checking Li-ion batteries for, say, your camera, we reckon an E-bike restriction makes sense (an e-bike with a removable fly-safe battery may be another story).

While the airline will no longer penalize cyclists for the size of bike boxes, the standard weight fees and limitations apply. United allows 50 pounds for Economy and 70 pounds for Business, First, and Polaris class. Go over those weights and they’ll charge you anywhere from $200 to $400. And of course, you still have to pay the airline’s checked bag service charge – so depending on your status with the airline or fare class, your bike may fly completely free.

It’s not perfect, but it’s better than nothing and may give more riders a chance to explore terrain, races, and events they wouldn’t otherwise tackle.



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2 years ago

Don’t praise this…. It is now often times more expensive to fly a bike than before. I am lucky enough to fly with my bike regularly and those “bike” fees actually was a benefit to the passenger as it was a fixed rate. Now they hit you with an extra bag, oversized, and overweight fee all in on.

Mike Huffaker
Mike Huffaker
1 year ago
Reply to  Mongo

I agree, very few bike cases are =/< 62″ and for usually only special folding/coupled bikes. The Airport Ninja, large size also exceeds that size and requires fork removal which is a problem for disc/internal routed bikes. So, for me with an 84″ case and 60 pounds the cost went from $200 fixed rate to $350. Southwest which was $75 for my bike will no longer take it since it is greater than 80″. I have flown my bike on Southwest for years but now I cannot. Bikefights has more than tripled costs in the past 2 years. Flying with your bike is pretty much a thing of the past if it is not a unique folding or coupled frame. American Airlines charges $200 oversize fee which is better than United.

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