Bikes on planes

We’ve just booked our flights! After a bit of research we decided to book with Emirates – from Melbourne to Munich, returning from London – with our 2 steel touring donkeys.

Given we hope to spend about 5 weeks on the bikes in the alps and dolomites we didn’t want to rely on the hire bikes that are often included with self guided tours. We also want the convenience of using our bikes in between tours.

It was a little bit tricky to determine the best airline to travel with. The baggage policies vary so much and many attract significant excess baggage costs.

One travel agent who had organised a few cycling team trips recommended Singapore Airlines. Their policy was 20kg of luggage, plus if carrying a bicycle it would only be charged as 6kg of excess weight (for a bicycle weighing up to 15kg). This sounded ok until we checked the fine pint about the rates charged for those 6kg… Based on the regional system of different ‘bands’ for different regions it would have cost us around $1500Aud extra for the bikes.

So we went back to another agent and got a second opinion – they suggested that Emirates was the obvious choice because they allow 30kg and treat bicycles as part of that checked baggage limit. Seems simple, however the other agent tells us that 30kg can only be as one piece. It’s probably possible for us to pack our 2 bikes together into 1 box and our bags together in another, however this won’t be easy… Who to believe?

I’ve just checked the fine print online and it seems as though the 1 piece rule only applies in US and Canada. Some earlier googling revealed some very grumpy Emirates travelers who endured bad experiences trying to travel with their bikes, but these bad reviews all seemed to be from a few years ago and without the 30kg limit.

Here’s hoping our trusty steeds arrive intact and ready for some seriously big mountains!!!

Would love some packing tips besides the usual turn handlebars, pedals off and tyres down. I’ve already started saving all our Wiggle packaging… I liked this bloggers recent experience getting their parents to act as bike couriers – looks like they got through customs and airport baggage systems by simply being convincing!

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