Frontier is removing the flat fee for checked bicycles and will now include them in the standard baggage allowance, meaning customers traveling on Classic or Classic Plus fares can include their bike as one of their two complimentary checked bags and Economy passengers would pay $20 if the bike is one of their first two checked bags. Bikes will be exempt from any oversize fees, but subject to overweight fees and excess bag fees, if applicable. This is similar to the carrier’s current policy for golf clubs and skis. Frontier asks that you arrive 30 minutes earlier than you normally would in order to check you bike.
Frontier’ has three main hubs: Denver, Milwaukee and Kansas City. However they do have flights out of the Atlanta and Raleigh-Durham airports.
Last month Southwest Airlines recently started servicing the Greenville-Spartanburg airport. This Texas based airline also has a pro-bike policy. The Southwest Airline site states that they accept a bike in substitution of a free piece of checked baggage at no additional charge provided the bicycle is properly packaged and the box containing the bicycle fits within the 62-inch sizing limit and weighs 50 pounds or less. A $50.00 each-way charge applies to bicycles that don’t meet the criteria. Bicycles packaged in a cardboard box or soft-sided case will be transported as a conditionally accepted item.
For those not flying either of these carriers a known practice for checking a bike box for free or at least inexpensively is to write on the bike box “Trade Show Display.” The website CXHairs.com made “TRADE SHOW DISPLAY Handle With Care” stickers that could be applied to a box for a more official look.
Pro rider Adam Myerson of Mountain Khakis gives Carolina Cycling News his tips for flying free.
“I always say it’s a trade show display. For me, that’s not exactly lying. If they open it and see that it’s a bike, I could be going to Interbike to put it in a booth. I don’t like directly lying and say it’s a wheelchair or massage table.”
Myerson also isn’t afraid to use his God-given ability to be charming.
“I smile a lot and try to be helpful. I want to make it easy for the check in person to let me on for free. Having to pay for bags in advance with self-check in helps. You’ve already paid once, so they don’t necessarily want to deal with charging you again. Give them a reason to let you on without charging you again. Solve a problem for them.”
Myerson recommends the Pika Packworks bag when he flies.
“It’s very small, and doesn’t say “bike” on it anywhere. It’s also very light, so it doesn’t trigger a response by being heavy or hugely oversize.”
Jelly Belly pro rider Jeremy Powers is well known for his ability to check a bike for free. In fact the cyclocross rider is affectionately know as the “Airport Ninja” for this ability. Like Myerson, one of his “ninja” methods is to treat the person at the check-in desk with as much politeness as possible. Powers shows in the video below how teammate Brad Huff was able to fly for free with his bike, hence joining the brotherhood of the Airport Ninja.