Ok...so here comes the "race-season" and long gone are the days of United Travel vouchers for flying with the bike to races! ...and NOBODY wants to deal with the high cost airlines have been charging for flying bikes, right?
Well here is one more reason to stand in the A/B/and or C line of Southwest Airlines. (maybe you already know this, but if not, this is worth reading).
As we all know, Southwest Airlines typically has pretty good flight rates for travel, but more notably....look at how you can work within their baggage guidelines, and FLY YOUR BIKE FOR FREE!
With the policy listed below, it could be very simple. Pack your bike in two boxes that will both fit within the 62 inch rule. If you do, your two free checked pieces can be your bike boxes, plus a carry-on, Voila! ...free bike transport.
Or if you don't mind paying $25 each way, then check your one piece of regular luggage, plus your bike... split in two boxes. Looks like a plan to me!
Sure you ALWAYS run the risk of having your bike not make it to your final destination whenever you fly, and by putting your bike in TWO boxes the risk is doubled, ...but still i think it's a chance worth taking to get that bike up in the air for free!
With this baggage policy, Southwest beats any other airline out there! Gotta hand it to 'em sometimes...even if you have to stake your claim in line like you're trying to buy concert tickets! Just make sure you invest in some high quality BUBBLE WRAP!
Happy racing in 2009 people...rubber-side down!
Oh...and here is the official word from SWA.
# Baggage Allowance: Beginning January 29, 2008, Southwest will allow two (2) checked pieces of baggage per ticketed Customer. Size and weight limitations apply.
# Excess Baggage: Effective January 29, 2008, you may check a third bag for a charge of $25. Your 4th through 9th bag or item will incur a charge of $50 per piece, and any bag or item thereafter will be $110 per piece.
# Non-motorized Bicycles, including Bike Friday and Co-Pilot, will be accepted 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 lbs or less . (Maximum weight is 50 pounds and maximum size is 62 inches (length + width + height) per checked piece of luggage). The handlebars, kickstand, and pedals must be removed and placed inside the box. A $50.00 each-way charge applies to bicycles that don’t meet the above criteria. Bicycles packaged in a cardboard box or soft-sided case will be transported as a conditionally accepted item.