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Flying with a Bike on Southwest Airlines

Flying with a Bike on Southwest Airlines

Flying with a bike on Southwest - An Airport Ninja's guide

First a few general notes on flying with a bicycle: 

A few things to keep in mind when flying with a bike on Southwest actually apply to all airlines. It’s important to come to the airport prepared with a knowledge of airline policies and procedures. Screenshots or printouts of relevant information can come in handy to help clarify these policies for less well-versed airline employees. It’s also prudent to take baggage policies into account when planning a trip and buying tickets. Why take the budget airline if they are sticklers at the baggage counter and will likely charge you double or triple to fly with your bike? 

Lastly, a true Airport Ninja knows that airline employees don’t always play by the book, and this can both help us and hurt us as customers. Many gate agents will never look twice as your bags, while others are vigilantes who play fast and loose with the tape measure. Checking in early, approaching a well-rested-looking ticketing agent and being very polite, or using curbside check-in and offering a small tip are all strategies that can all help turn the odds in your favor. For more advice on how to be an Airport Ninja, see our blog Ninja Tutelage Lesson 1 - What's in the Bag?

Southwest Baggage and Bicycle Policies at a Glance:

Please note that this information is subject to change and may not reflect the most recent information available on Southwest's website. (Updated 11/15/17) 

Specifications

 

 

 

Dimensions

62 Linear Inches (158cm)

Oversize Fee

$75

Weight Limit

50lbs (23kg)

Overweight Fee

$75

General Baggage Fees

 

 

 

1st Checked Bag

$0

 

 

2nd Checked Bag

$0

 

 

Carry-on

Included

 

 

Bicycle Baggage Fee

$0/$75*

 

 

 

 *counted toward standard baggage allowance if under 62 linear inches / 50lbs. 

 

The Bottom Line:

Our team of highly specialized bicycle travel scientists gives Southwest Airlines a Bicycle Flight Grade (BFG) of A-. Southwest is the only airline to give two free checked bags, as well as a carry-on. Bikes are counted toward the standard baggage allowance if they meet the same size and weight requirements. If the bike does come in over the size limit, the oversize fee of $75 is less than half of what most major airlines charge. 

Your best chance to avoid paying fees is to pack your bike in the smallest possible bike case, especially one with no obvious markings that indicate that it is a bike. This is where the Orucase Airport Ninja comes to the rescue. Designed and tested by professional cyclists to minimize or even eliminate excess baggage fees. Become an Airport Ninja Today. 

"I bought mine about 2 years ago and since then I've more than made my money back on fees avoided. To date I have not been charged a bike fee by any airport and I'd estimate I've used it on close to 20 round trip flights. It's definitely made my work/life balance a lot more balanced being able to bring a bike with me when I travel."  -- Rob K., Airport Ninja (56cm Specialized Tarmac)
"I'm 2-3 for #worstretirementever so far, but 5-0 on not paying oversize charges on planes. Thanks, @paynobikefees!" -- Phil Gaimon, former World Tour cyclist, Airport Ninja (58cm Cannondale Supersix)

 

Orucase Airport Ninja Bike Travel Case