With summer approaching, a busy time of the year for air travel worldwide, American Airlines has announced some promising changes to its policies regarding oversize sports and music equipment. Yes, this includes bicycles! Oversized equipment will now be checked in as standard luggage, counting towards each passenger’s normal baggage allowance. For example, traveling with a bike within the United States was previously around $150, but will now cost just $30, the standard fee for the first checked bag. It looks like the only major hurdle is keeping your bike box below 50 pounds (23kg), otherwise the standard overweight fees will apply. We’ve also heard that American Airlines will only accept responsibility for liabilities if the bike is packed in a true hard-sided bike box. Meaning, if your bike is packed in a standard cardboard box and is damaged in transit, you may be out of luck.
From a bikepacking perspective, this is great! Travelling by air with a fully loaded bikepacking setup can get expensive, so this is definitely something we will be looking into this summer to help keep costs down during travel. Of course, there is plenty of fine print to familiarize yourself with, as this new policy changes depending on destination, class of flight, and certain gear / equipment will be treated differently. We’d recommend reaching out to the airline to confirm any suspensions you might have. Check out the video American Airlines put together to outline the new changes…
For more tips on flying to your next big bike trip, make sure to check out our Guide to International Bikepacking Trips article!
The original press release from American Airlines can be found here.