United baggage fees?

Finally get to go visit family now that we are all vaccinated and flying United, bringing my mountain bike. According to their website, bike boxes have to be no more than 62 linear inches (length +width+height) to not get charged oversize fee (of $200!!!) My friend says she flew with same bike case (Evoc) in 2019 and got charged only $25. Has anyone flown with a bike recently and can verify? I don’t know of any bike cases that are less than 62 since most are around
48 in length alone. Can’t change to a different airline for this trip, but if this is accurate than I won’t be flying United again! Thanks in advance

I flew from the UK to the US last August. I used a LifeLine EVA bike bag I bought from Wiggle.

I was charged the full $200 out of Heathrow. United.

It appears that much of the time they don’t charge that much. But in a mostly empty Airport seeing a beleaguered and rundown at the end of his rope father shuffling morosely along with his 2 sons didn’t buy me any “relief”.

Paid it. No worries, back home never to return.

Hopefully you get lucky. Safe travels!

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I’ve flown United a few times and it’s hit or miss on the fees, but it’s almost always a horrible experience. Some just charge for an extra bag, some charge for a bike. Also, I have never had an agent who actually knew what they were doing other than once in Denver. They often try to tell you that you should be able to do it yourself on the self check in screens (you can’t), and after lots of confusion send you to a different register with someone who deals with problems and fumbles through it. I live where our hub is United, so it’s frustrating. Give yourself plenty of time to deal with the employees and also to wait for it to show up in the oversized luggage area. I’ve had times it’s been waiting for me when I get there and other times I had to wait a full hour. Bring a positive attitude. No point starting your holiday with frustration.


Bringing up an old post. This is copied from United’s Website. My experience is that you need to know the policy better than the ticket counter employee.

We can transport bicycles as checked baggage if they are packed appropriately. To pack your bicycle as checked baggage:

  • Pack it in a sealed box using plastic foam or similar protective material inside. The box should be a hard-sided case or constructed from durable cardboard.
  • Secure the handlebars sideways and remove the pedals before packing the bicycle. All loose items should be inside the box.
  • Motorized or battery-powered bicycles are not permitted.
  • We’re not liable for damage to any checked bicycles that are not packed as described above.

Oversized bag fees do not apply to checked bicycles. Standard checked baggage fees as well as overweight service charges still apply.

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I have a Scicon Aerocomfort bag that I haven’t put to the test yet. There’s enough space for the handlebars to remain on the bike. Do they still require the handlebars to be removed and secured in that case?

When we flew to Iceland last summer, we had to do some finagling / negotiating. We had four bikes and they were trying to charge us $200 each, despite United having changed their policy. We then got into measuring the cases, and even though 3 out of 4 were over 62 inches, they ended up only charging us for one after I eventually had a Global Services hissyfit. (It wasn’t really that bad, but I finally just said “look, I’m Global, I spend tens of thousands of dollars with you guys…we aren’t paying for the bikes”)

We had no leg to stand on for one of the bikes because my buddies case was HUGE and way, WAY over the 62". :rofl:

Flying United tomorrow to FL with my bike so it will be interesting to see how it goes.

ETA - here is the link for United’s polciy noted above.


Unlikely that they will require it, but they will use it as an excuse to not pay damages if needed(not that they would pay anyway probably)

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Exactly, like I said, you usually need to know the airline’s policy better than the employee you are dealing with does and be prepared to show proof.

At the time, United still had the 62’ limit in place.

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Now that most of the airlines, Delta for me, have eliminated or greatly reduced bike fees you still need to watch the weight. 50 lbs isn’t too hard to get to. In other cases if you have status like Silver or above the weight may go up to 70 lbs.

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I’m now tempted to grab my buddy’s case for my flight tomorrow…thing is a freakin’ coffin, but super easy to pack, plenty of room and rolls easily. Plus I have a 70 lbs weight limit with my United status.

In the vein of 62" limits, I’ve had some differing experiences with different bike cases. I own an ORUCase B2, and an Evoc bag (the one with a frame inside to attach your bike). The Evoc is substantially larger.

I’ve never been charged to fly with the B2, BUT I cannot for the life of me, disassemble my new Tarmac SL7 enough to fit in it. The front brake cable is simply too short to remove the handlebars enough for it to fit. It’s fantastic for travelling with my rim-brake bikes.

Gate agents see the Evoc bag, and their eyes get big. I’ve successfully leveraged my military status to avoid SOME fees, but not all.

If you don’t have issues with disassembly, the ORUCase is amazing. And an easy way to comply with airline size limitations - to avoid fees.

And when asked, its “Therapy equipment” :slight_smile: :smiley:

Yeah, the CT guys had the owner on the Nerd Alert podcast this week from Sea Otter. Sounds like a great case.

I used to just say it was a wheelchair…but post-911 they started opening up any bike cases. I got called back to the counter once and forced to pay the bike fee. Last time I tried that one. :man_shrugging:

When I was in the bike business, I would sometimes say it was “Sales materials”, which was kinda technically true.

I feel the same about calling it “therapy equipment.” :grin:

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Did I mention this thing was huge?

I’m remember seeing some articles and posts at Slowtwitch and their forum about the elimination of bike fees and questions regarding the 62” size restriction being in conflict with allowing bikes at no charge. I can’t find the links now but it seemed like eventually the airline(s) made revisions and it was just about the weight.

My BMC has a mostly integrated front end and when I pack it up I find if I unbolt the front caliper I get just enough slack in the brake line to make it really easy to remove the bar/stem unit.

I’ve flown with my bike in Aerocomfort 3.0 bag a couple times in the last few weeks. As long as I was under the 50lb limit, both American and United charged me the normal fee for having a checked bag. I did have to mention it was under 50lbs a couple times because when they see the large bag, they assume oversized luggage price.

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Great…the clamp that holds the wire in my FSA rear derailleur broke during transit. A ridiculously small piece of plastic breaks and I scrap a $550 rear derailleur.

And now I have to try and find a rental bike for this trip.

Foook me.

I have a United connect flight to connect to a United ticketed code share flight on another airline.

Does anyone know if the “united” rules apply on the more regional united services (United Connect?)?

It used to be that if your ticket was say small airport via big airport to say London, that you got the big airport to London allowance for the whole trip. I’m just not sure these days.