Fly Your Bike For Free
All this month, JetBlue is letting cycling fans bring along their two-wheelers for free. The carrier said it was waiving its regular bike transport fee of $50 each way to celebrate the Tour de France.
The carrier is broadcasting wall-to-wall coverage of Lance Armstrong and gang for a seventh year in a row on the seatback TVs of all its flights. The coverage is on VERSUS, the TV home of the 23-day Tour de France in the U.S.
The free bike deal is available through July 31, on all flights except those to and from the Dominican Republic (due to baggage restrictions in the DR). There are specific packing requirements -- you can't just ride to the airport and turn over your bike.
According to jaunted.com, JetBlue was already more "bike-friendly" than some carriers, that charge $200 and sometimes even more to bring a bike on a plane.
After yesterday's story about cyclists being unhappy with United's exorbitant fee to check bikes on their planes, the folks over at Bicycling wrote to share their breakdown of the best and worst airlines for when you're taking your wheels with you.
According to Bicycling, JetBlue, Frontier and Southwest are the bee's knees, with each charging only $50 for placing your bike on board. Additionally, they note that Frontier will transport your bike by hand from the ticket counter to the plane.
Because of the sky-high fees, on the following airlines, Bicycling.com doesn't advise trying to stash your bikes on board: Delta/Northwest ($175); United ($175); American ($100 + regular checked bag fee of $20-$30). Also of concern to United passengers, their weight limit is only 50lbs, so don't plan on packing your expensive bike in a hard case
NOT AS BAD:
They list U.S. Airways and Continental as "in the middle," with each charging $100 for your bike. However, U.S. Airways makes you sign a liability waiver and Continental not only has a low weight limit of 70 lbs, they will not offer liability for soft cases.
In addition to rating the airlines, Bicycling also has some helpful tips for travelers:
•Don't use the bike bag as your suitcase. Some carriers assess both oversize and overweight charges.
•Read your airline's policy carefully. United, for example, will not take packed bikes over 50 pounds, period. They also charge extra on flights to Japan and Brazil.
•CO2 cartridges are prohibited in all checked bags and carry-ons.
•Checked bag liability usually tops out at $3,300 for domestic flights. Damage must be proved. Check your homeowner's policy to see if it covers items damaged in travel.
*Finally, it's an urban myth that your tires will burst in the cargo hold — there's no need to deflate them.
For the full listing and more tips, go to Bicycling.com.