Delta Airlines Bike Experiences

On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Delta Airlines (you can share your experiences here).



Delta Airlines operating KLM flights

I just got back from a trip to the UK and returned with my touring bike (which I had left at my sister's house in the UK over the winter). I carefully chose an airline (KLM) that does not charge extra for bicycles.

"Sports equipment (of max. 23 kg/50.5 lbs) regardless of size is considered as a standard piece of baggage."
See: http://www.klm.com/travel/gb_en/prepare_for_travel/baggage/excess/bagagge_piececoncept.htm

The day before my flight, I called KLM to confirm that I would be bringing a bicycle and they told me that as it would be a second piece of baggage, there would be a charge of 55 euros ($88). Not cheap but at least no different from a second suitcase.

When I got to Heathrow airport, the Delta personnel told me that this flight was operated by Delta and that their rules applied. (The small print on my ticket did say KLM partnered with Delta). I complained and spoke to 3 different people who did not budge an inch and charged me 176 pounds (i.e. $281 dollars).

Janet Miller, April 09, 2011

Delta Airlines and Madrid Bike Box

We flew Delta from Portland, Oregon to Amsterdam, returning from Madrid, Spain.
They charged $200 per bike outbound, 200 Euros coming back.
My bike has S & S couplers so I paid $50 outbound, 50 Euros coming back. That charge was for the second bag, they only allow one free checked bag.
My friend was unable to obtain a bike box from the airlines at Madrid airport.
We obtained a free box at Calmera Bicycle, near the Sol district: http://www.calmera.es/
They have some English speaking employees.

Lee Taylor, October 13, 2010

Avoid Delta Airlines

As of July 31, 2008, Delta Airlines now charges $300 each way to Europe to bring a bike on board their planes. That would be $600 roundtrip!

grrlyrida , September 11, 2008

Delta Airlines Oversize Bag Fee

As of 3/31/08, Delta will charge $150 for an oversize bag, compared to the prior $100 fee. If your bike is counted as an extra piece of baggage that goes over the weight limit and the size limit, then you'll be charged 3 times, once for each of these excesses.

Andrew Schwartz, April 05, 2008

post from thorntree about Delta Airlines

antibike delta airlines

Three of us checked in at Las Vegas last Saturday for a Delta flight to LAX. Just a 45 minute flight. We had been booked in first class which makes what happened at check-in even more amazing.

I had my bike in a regular bike carton and not overweight. No other check-in luggage for me. The fellow on the counter charged me USD100 for the bike. I said I would only pay if given a printout of the calculation and this is what I ended up with...

"Any bicycle presented in a container with overall dimensions not exceeding 62 linear inches (Length plus width plus height) and checked in lieu of one bag is accepted free of charge. Bicycles exceeding this limit are subject to a charge of USD100/CAD118"

Clearly no bicycle let alone a large percentage of suitcases are less than 20" cubed so this simply means they want 100 bucks for a bike EVEN if you paid for first class and EVEN if you are only going on a 45 minute sector with no other luggage.

I fly a lot around the world with my bike and this is a new case for me. I have never even had an excess baggage charge. This seems to be a blatant anti-bike policy. It has achieved the result (evidently the intended one) of swearing me off Delta Airlines for life.

But what about the other airlines? I have not been charged by United or AA in the States as yet. What are you experiencing in domestic US airtravel when you have a bike box?

The responses on thorntree Oct 4-5 2007 are well worth reading

noel mcfarlane, October 04, 2007

Stoves

Surprised to hear that any airline would ban stoves. I flew with a stove (no fuel) Chicago Midway-Atlanta-Edinburgh both ways (Delta), Edinburgh-London Luton (EasyJet), and London Luton-Geneva both ways (EasyJet), and had absolutely no problems.

Fuel, of course, is definitely not allowed. We asked about fuel at Edinburgh airport and had to fill out some silly form while the security personnel disposed of it for us.

Bihui Li, August 25, 2006

Delta Airlines Fee now $100

On a recent (May 2006) flight to Israel from DCA through JFK my bike was considered a second piece of luggage under 50 lbs and not charged extra. On the return trip (through Atlanta) I was charged an oversize luggage fee of $100 and shown the Delta rule book. All went well with shipping in both directions.

Warren Farb, June 05, 2006

Delta Airlines

I flew with Delta from London Gatwick to Kalispell, Montana (via Atlanta and Salt Lake City) last year and was charged $85 for taking my bike.

On my return from Helena, MT to Gatwick the check-in staff didn’t charge and even supplied me with a massive bike box. I was lucky as they obviously didn’t know company policy!

David, June 01, 2004

Delta Airlines - The unfriendly Skies

I booked my daughter from BDL (Hartford) to PDX (Portland, OR) using frequent flyer miles - and as there were no coach seats, in 1st class. With a change of planes en route, her bags arrived in Portland but her bike went to Dallas. Mild consoling from Delta's baggage crew at PDX was the only recourse. The bike arrived the next day - very late in the afternoon. Fortunately, in one piece.

From all the posts re this airline (with whom I was an Exec level flyer), this is one unfriendly carrier when it comes to bikes!

Peter LaPorte, September 01, 2003

Disastrous Delta

Just returned from a trip to the UK from California and everything was fine until I made my Delta Airlines connection in New York headed for San Francisco with my custom touring bike in a box. Virgin had handled its transport up until this time, without charge and without trouble or attitude, but due to unforeseen circumstances I had to switch to Delta.

Check in agent at JFK admitted she really didn't want to charge me to carry the bike in the box but she had no choice...so I put the 80-dollar charge onto my credit card and watched it get carried off for loading. When the Delta baggage guy delivered my bike at Oakland airport there was actually very little of the box left.

Fortunately I did an excellent job of boxing the bike so no parts or accessories were missing. But I was furious that this was how the bike arrived after being handled by Delta for 80-dollars! I tried to get the baggage agent to admit that Delta had screwed up but she was having none of it. She said that despite the fact I had paid more to have the bike on the plane that did not mean it was due any special handling or consideration. She said I could reassemble the bike right there if I wanted to submit any damage claims...but that once I took it from the airport all bets were off when it comes to whether or not the airline would be responsible for damage discovered later.

The Delta baggage office staff at Oakland was not helpful, or understanding of my concerns at all, and just downright rude. If I have a choice in the future I will NOT fly Delta again...and would say you shouldn't either if you're taking a bike you care about.

Michael Bower, August 31, 2003

Delta Airlines -- Canvas Bags

I just returned from a flight from Sacramento to Norfolk VA and return on Delta Airlines. We had our bikes packed in 3x4 zipper top canvas bags I had made at the local tent and awning shop. Each bag weighed about 35 pounds with the bike and all the extra gear, shoes, helmets, etc. The bags were lined on the inside with cardboard with cardboard separating the larger bike components and newspaper separating the smaller ones. The frame tubes were covered with foam pipe insulation.

We had no problems at luggage check in regarding the bikes and were not charged anything extra for them. They were handled just like our other baggage, two sets of Jandd panniers. I had expected an attempt at fees and at least an argument but none came since I had heard that Delta was charging $80 per bike, NO EXCEPTIONS.

In addition to the lack of fees, I felt secure with the bikes in their bags, knowing I was not counting on a flimsy box to keep all my stuff together. I'll be shipping the bikes to London at the end of June and am really pleased with the bike bag transport system so far.

It took about 20 minutes to put each bike together and there was no damage to them in either direction.

(I'm working on the web page for the trip, it's incomplete right now. I'll let the list know when it's finished.)

Jerry in Lodi, CA www.touringonbikes.us/

Jerry in Lodi, April 21, 2003

Will Delta's Policy become standard?

Just received this post from Delta Airlines:

Delta accepts single-seat non-motorized tour/racing bicycles. The handlebars must be fixed sideways, with the pedals removed, or in a cardboard container. For international travel to Europe, a bike is not included in the free baggage allowance. The charge to check the bike $90.00 each way.

Will this become the standard on other major airlines for international travel?

Lyndon

Lyndon, April 06, 2003

Delta's current policies. PLEASE FILE A COMPLAINT

These enemies of bikers are now charging $80 per bike -which has to be boxed- per way, in domestic US flights. I think it's the same for international flights.

PLEASE anyone flying Delta or having a friend flying Delta: ask for a complaint form and file a complaint for this abuse.

I've seen hunters take huge deer antlers (yuk!) for free... I've seen golfers take their sh** for free too. Same with skis, etc, etc.

The only way to get around the $80 seems having the dimensions of your box add up to less than 62" (1,58 m). Then, this box should NOT be treted as oversize, but as a regular piece of luggage.

Now, for those of you having a miniature BMX or a folding bike that might be handy. The rest... good luck.

I've heard of some assinine Delta clerks trying to apply the $80 charge in automatic pilot without caring for the measurements of the box. If this happens, argue the heck out of it (politely.

ANOTHER GREAT OPTION: UPS ground, hold for pick up at UPS customer counter. In most domestic trips you may save A LOT. Use the web ww.ups.com to locate the UPS counter closest to the destination airport. Be careful, note the operating hours. UPS is closed weekends...

Damm! I hate American airlines. Europeans are sooo much bike friendly. With buses and trains the same applies. Must be the Detroit lobbies, or just greed.

Take care
Manuel

Manuel, March 11, 2003

Delta Airlines

Flew Delta from Portland to Madrid via Atlanta on January 31. $90 one-way charge for the bike in a hard-shell box. I was given the "opportunity" to pay another $90 for the return trip at that time. (I declined.)

On the return, I checked the bike in Palma de Mallorca with Air Europa, who cheerfully tagged it through back to Portland via Madrid and Atlanta. Air Europa did this even though I had separately purchased electronic tickets on Air Europa and Delta. No charge for carrying the bike, not from Air Europa and not from Delta, for the return trip.

No problems resulting from new baggage screening in the US.

Allan Leedy, February 23, 2003

New Travel Rules (Weight Limits)

Found on: touring@phred.org

I just found out about a new one that is very important.

Some airlines have lowered the weight limit. Previously, most accepted up to 70 pounds per item. Now, some have lowered that to 50 pounds. Delta and Horizon are still at 70. Northwest is now 50. I did not check others.

Last time I travelled with the Friday, the scale said 51. As I recall, that included the trailer frame and some accessories.


Al Davis, January 07, 2003

Delta Airlines experience

Just wanted to say that I returned to the US from Japan in August this year. My bike was packed in a cardboard bike box that I measured and found to be "oversize".

I called Delta in Tokyo, spoke with a Japanese employee who took my phone number and waited about 10 minutes to hear back from him. He had called Delta ground crew at Narita airport, gave them the dimensions of the box and despite it clearly being well over the limit they said no problem.

There was no extra charge for Delta handling this item. I finally arrived in NY and had my bicycle intact. What more could one ask for.

Thanks Delta.
John G

John G, October 05, 2002

Delta Airlines charges Bikers, not Golfers

To Delta Customer Care - April 8th Flight Little Rock Cincinnati / Greensboro DL 5610 & DL 2025

When I checked in for the above flight I was informed that since 9/11 terrorist attack, Delta has started to change $80 for transport of a bike.

I have received many notices and offers from Delta but no notice of this new charge. Had I been notified, I could have dismantled the bike into smaller pieces, frame, wheels, etc. and checked as free baggage as I only checked 2 pieces and had no hand baggage. Also two were traveling, so total allowance 6 pieces.

Also, I am told that no change has been made for golf bags, which weigh the same or more, and probably occupy the same space. This is not good policy and discrimination against bikers.

Michael Rahman, April 11, 2002

Argentina on Delta Airlines

We just flew (Delta) from La Guardia to Buenos Aires via Atlanta with 2 bikes in boxes and stuffed panniers in the boxes. At La Guardia, they charged us first $80 per bike, because the boxes were bigger than 62 (all dimensions combined). Then, they let us tape the two boxes together, but charged us $30 extra, because of the excessive weight (over 90 pounds).

Still, $110 is better than $160, but it was nearly as expensive as our plane tickets!

In Argentina, we had no problem shipping the bikes (still in their boxes taped together) for an interior flight. By the way, Argentina is GREAT for biking (we went to the Salta and Jujuy provinces). I highly recommend it, for the variety of the landscape (desert, jungle, mountain, plateau) and the kindness of people there.

Pauline

Pauline Leven , March 23, 2002

Delta Airlines

Found on: touring@phred.org

We had some trouble with Delta this past summer. We were headed to Munich from Atlanta. This first leg of the trip went fine, that is no charge for the 2 Trico bike boxes. Munich to Atlanta was another story! The ticket agent not only wanted $75 per box, she also wanted to collect another $75 per box for the first leg of the trip. Keep in mind we departed Atlanta 40 days earlier. I said that we would seek political asylum and become German citizens before we paid for BOXES that met Delta's size and weight requirements for checked baggage.

Let me see your supervisor!! I showed her supervisor Delta's printed size regulations, then proceeded to prove our boxes were smaller and lighter than Delta's maximum size and weight allowance. Well, she wasn't buying it! There were 2 bicycles hidden in those boxes and she was going to collect round trip air fair for both or die trying! I then requested to see her supervisor.

Whereupon I was introduced to the station manager who ask me if I was sure the Trico boxes were under weight and under size. Once again I proved they were and his reply was They meet size and weight requirements, there is no charge for these boxes. Enjoy your flight and thank you for choosing Delta Airlines.

I guess the moral of the story is know the airlines size and weight requirements, have them in writing from that airline and NEVER TAKE A TICKET AGENT'S OR THE TICKET COUNTER SUPERVISOR'S WORD AS LAW. GO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE. AND BE NICE WHILE DOING IT.

RMitc, September 26, 2001

Delta Airlines

Found on: touring@phred.org

We had some trouble with Delta this past summer. We were headed to Munich from Atlanta. This first leg of the trip went fine, that is no charge for the 2 Trico bike boxes. Munich to Atlanta was another story! The ticket agent not only wanted $75 per box, she also wanted to collect another $75 per box for the first leg of the trip. Keep in mind we departed Atlanta 40 days earlier.

I said that we would seek political asylum and become German citizens before we paid for BOXES that met Delta's size and weight requirements for checked baggage. Let me see your supervisor!! I showed her supervisor Delta's printed size regulations, then proceeded to prove our boxes were smaller and lighter than Delta's maximum size and weight allowance.

Well, she wasn't buying it! There were 2 bicycles hidden in those boxes and she was going to collect round trip air fair for both or die trying! I then requested to see her supervisor. Whereupon I was introduced to the station manager who ask me if I was sure the Trico boxes were under weight and under size. Once again I proved they were and his reply was "They meet size and weight requirements, there is no charge for these boxes. Enjoy your flight and thank you for choosing Delta Airlines."

I guess the moral of the story is know the airlines size and weight requirements, have them in writing from that airline and NEVER TAKE A TICKET AGENT'S OR THE TICKET COUNTER SUPERVISOR'S WORD AS LAW. GO TO THE HIGHEST LEVEL POSSIBLE. AND BE NICE WHILE DOING IT.


RMitc, September 26, 2001

Delta Airlines


Hello Chris,


Based on the information provided, the total dimensions of your bicycle are 88 inches. Baggage that is exceeding 80 inches must be shipped via Air Cargo.

Please contact Delta Air Cargo at 1-800-352-2746 for assistance or visit our Web site at http://www.delta-air.com/prog_serv/cargo/index.jsp">http://www.delta-air.com/prog_serv/cargo/index.jsp .


Sincerely, Casey Hunter Online Customer Support http://www.delta-air.com


Original Message Follows:


------------------------


Comments/Suggestions: I have booked a flight with a friend using Delta Airlines. We are travelling from Manchester to Denver via Atlanta. My agent informed me that we could each take two pieces of baggage under 32 kilos each. He said that a bicycle could form one of these baggages.


After booking the flight I have found conflicting information regarding the shipment of bicyles on Delta, especially at the following web address: http://www.bikeaccess.net/Articles_db.cfm


Please can you confirm


1. What we would pay (if at all) for a bicycle packed in a hard case of dimensions 46x14x28 not exceeding 32Kg in weight on the above journey.


2. What is the maximum dimension before a charge is incurred.


Many thanks.


Would you like to be contacted?: yes


Nature of your comments: service

Chris Whalley, July 17, 2000

Delta Airlines Extortion!

Found on: rec.bicycles.misc


The following is Delta Airlines response to a friend of mine's inquiry into the recent increase in shipping charges for bicycles. A 50% percent increase due to ...increased fuel costs...? You can draw your own conclusions, but my future travel plans will not include Delta Airlines.


>>Hello Ken,

>>

>>Thank you for your e-mail to Delta Air Lines.

>>

>>The fee for handling a bicycle is $75.00 each way. This fee is charged

>>to cover the cost of transporting your equipment. Due to increased fuel

>>costs, the cost of of transporting your bicycle has increased as well.

>>

>>We appreciate your interest in Delta Air Lines.

>>

>>Sincerely,

>>

>>Dana Skelton, Online Customer Support

>>http://www.delta-air.com

tri_deet, June 07, 2000

Delta Airlines

Four of us flew Delta Airlines from Cleveland to Munich, Germany in August of 1999. We contacted Delta and told them we had bike boxes and have it put on the computer record. The day before when confirming reservations we found the plane leaving Cleveland was a small jet and they could not, would not take our bikes from Cleveland to JFK in New York for the next leg of the flight.


They provided no help and suggested we ship them through Delta trucking. This would have cost a couple hundred dollars each plus no guarantee they would arrive in JFK the next day. Delta could not offer any other solution and said the bikes must be on the planes with us to Europe.


We ended up finding a local trucking company to ship the bikes overnight to JFK at our expense. Then Delta wanted us to pay $75 for the flight from JFK to Munich. We raised hell and they did waive the fee to Europe but we had to pay the $75 for the return. Lessen learned is to check the size of the planes you are flying on in each leg. Bob Parry


bob parry, March 26, 2000

Delta Airlines

Delta has unilaterally decided that trans-atlantic and trans pacific flights will not accept bikes as one piece of luggage the way other airlines do. Sept. of 99 it was $75 to fly my bike to Dublin from Memphis, TN.


I'm off to Sweden this year on SAS. They still take the bike as one piece of luggage. Best, Steve Gordon

Steve Gordon , February 10, 2000

Delta Airlines

Frank Keller wrote to me:

Hi, I have a problem, Delta damaged my frame on a flight from Italy to Phoenix, for which they made me purchase an extra luggage ticket for $75, which I did not have to payon the way to Italy...NOW I can"t find the Delta claims dept, I have been connected to fax machines, GYN office, put on hold for 12 min. then disconnected...I am wondering, do you know how to help me????

My Klein bike was packed in a hard case upon return something punctured the case and dented(big time) my frame...THANKS
Scott Keller

I answered:

I do not know how to locate Delta claims but if you ever find out, please tell me, so that I can tell the next person.

Frank eventually discovered:

Hi, There is "no one" to actually contact, I have been getting information from BSC.ATL655@delta-air.com. The person does not give a name but has at least led me in a direction, with apologies for the incident. They say you have to go immediately to the baggage claim lost and damaged area to fill out a form and leave the damaged item or let them see it upon arrival. We were not directed to do that at the delta counter, someone took the flight info and name and address and said we would be contacted. It never happened, so we have to go back to the airport with the case and bike. WHAT A PAIN...

Frank Keller, August 28, 1999

Delta Airlines

I used Delta's direct service from Cincinnati to Gatwick in June. I rolled my bike into the terminal with pedals removed and stem/handle bars taped to the top tube. They provided one of their own boxes and I slid the bike into it and taped it shut. There were four of us traveling and we only had five pieces of luggage and the bike. I was NOT charged for the bike.

On my return I was alone and the routine was similiar (please be advised that if you need a box from Delta at Gatwick you should reserve one of theirs when you arrive because sometimes they have boxes and sometimes they don't!! Better yet have them save your box for your return.) I broke the bike down as before and put it in their box. The only other luggage I had was a large duffel with all my other "stuff" in it. Once again there was no charge for their "oversized" bike box. I didn't ask any questions (the old "if it's not broken don't fix it" philosopy) but had expected to pay $60 each way.

Randy

Randy, August 17, 1999

Delta Airlines

Delta charged us $60 per bike in the US and to Hawaii. There is no additional charge if Delta has a baggage agreement with another connecting airline.

Bruce Jacobs

BJ, July 22, 1999

Delta Airlines

Please note these baggage rules do not seem distinguish between domestic and international flights, I have asked Delta for a confirmation.

SPECIAL BAGGAGE HANDLING INFORMATION
Do you plan on bringing any unusual-sized baggage on your next Delta flight? A bicycle? Ski equipment? Antlers? If so, this is where we present all the appropriate handling information.

Bicycle

Delta Air Lines will accept non-motorized touring or racing bicycles with single seats for carriage as checked baggage under certain limitations. Any bicycle presented in a box with overall dimensions (length + width + height) that does not exceed 62" may be checked as part of a customer's free baggage allowance. Please note that any bike placed in a Delta Bike Box will exceed 62" and will be subject to excess charges. Delta bike boxes measure 69" x 39" x 9" and are available at most Delta airport locations. Delta Air Lines charges US$60.00 for bikes that exceed either the size limitations or the baggage allowance limitations. Delta's airline partners' rates may vary. Please check with the specific carrier for their applicable rate. Any bicycle presented for carriage must be packaged in one of the following ways:

Handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed and enclosed in a cardboard container

-or-
Pedals and handlebars encased in plastic/Styrofoam or similar material John & Marty Volz, April 22, 1999

Delta Airlines

I fly Delta all the time with a bike: last time was to Geneva July, 1997. As of that date, Delta did not charge for bikes on overseas flights. They do charge for domestic flights and if the overseas flight includes a domestic leg after a stop, they charge for that. A one day stopover in Amsterdam on the way to Atlanta from Sweden cost me a lot for that reason.

I had a couple of bad experiences coming back from Geneva through Kennedy Airport.

Geneva was not equipped to deal with bikes: they did not know that the bikes were free (and had to call the US after I insisted), they did not have boxes, and when they took the bikes, they pulled out a cart and threw the bikes (there were two) on top of each other.

At Kennedy, there was some confusion about rechecking the bikes from the overseas to the domestic flight because they were not in boxes. The handlers insisted that I leave the large secure luggage area because they would not directly check the bike to Atlanta without a box and they did not have boxes there. This meant that I had to go to the outside and back to the main check in area. The security there insisted that I put my bike through a large x-ray machine, the bike got jammed in the machine and the frame was bent slightly and other parts were damaged. When I got to the check in lines, they sent the bike without a box anyway because they didn't have any left.

Anyway the bike is fine now.

Thomas Hart, December 10, 1998

Delta Airlines

In the summer of 1998, I took a tour of Southern Colorado, starting in Durango, supported by VBT. The VBT travel agent told me it would be $60 to ship my bike each leg of the trip. My itinerary was Cleveland to Cincinnati to Denver via Delta then Denver to Durango via United. When checking in at the Cleveland airport, I was informed that it would be $60 (for Delta) plus $50 for United. A total of $110!!!

When I returned, however, the agent at Durango only charged $50 (for United) and ignored any charge for Delta.

Moral: watch those interline transfers.

Tom Jenkins, November 12, 1998

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