On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Emirates (you can share your experiences here).
Emirates Airline bike friendly in 2011
I was travelling light to Italy... one 22x14x9" suitcase, made of sailcloth (under 1 pound), that was cabin luggage. Their rules say 7 kg, but they did not weigh it either way.
I bought a 27kg e-bike in Italy. Packed it in a home-made cardboard box (lots of foam and tape) that barely fit in the rental car.
Emirates economy class tickets are allowed 30kg from Rome to NZ via Australia at no extra charge. They had no problem with the size of the box. I checked in four hours in advance and got the required sticker showing it was checked in subject to being taken to their oversized desk. Next, I took it to Customs to get the paperwork for the VAT refund (post box next to Customs)... took an hour thanks to a Chinese tour group ahead of me that kept having people cut in line). I then checked the box in at the over-sized luggage area. About 40 hours later I collected the bike at AKL. No damage, no fuss, no problem.
Not sure why the bad reviews for Emirates dating back in 2007 and 2009, but in 2011 it was all good. As long as you stay within their 30kg limit, they don't seem to have any other rules. I'm flying them again in 2012.
Emirates airlines - taking bikes
Flew with Emirates from London to Singapore, via Dubai, with bike-in-a-bag. This was a homemade bag made out of shower curtain. Padded vital bike parts with cardboard and removed rear gear shifter and taped to frame.
Emirates do NOT give any extra weight allowance for bicycles - so the max checked luggage weight is 20kg. Initially quite alarming because bike weighs 16kg. But fear not!
Managed to stuff all the non-cabin stuff in a pannier weighing just over 4kg, including items like spare spokes, dodgy sharp tools, etc.
Rammed (and I mean rammed!) everything else in large Ortleib pannier which I took as hand luggage, plus a bar bag which qualified as a "laptop bag" in airline-speak. Also wore nearly all my clothes, including 3 T-shirts, 2 pairs of trousers, jumper, jacket and waterproof (most of which were promptly removed the other side of check in). Looked like Michellin man.
It was going well - until they insisted on weighing my hand luggage, which should have been 6.5kg, but was more than twice that. I think this was just a random check, as I saw loads of other people were carrying much more hand luggage than me and not having it weighed. However, with a bit of friendly banter, they allowed me to decant some hand luggage into the checked baggage (so it was quite over-weight - but she didn't seem to care?!?). In the end all OK.
Summary: Slight kerfuffle at airport, but good reliable airline and by far the cheapeast tickets I could find.
Bicycles and Emirates UAE to/from Australia
In May 2008, I had to call Emirates regarding their policy with bikes. I want to take a Greenspeed GTO to/from Perth and Dubai to bicycle in Australia and then return with it to Dubai.
Airfare is 4800 Dirhams return. A good price. But... The weight allowance is only 20 kg. That means XS baggage of 73.40 Dh per kilo extra (in each direction). So, if 20 kg extra is for bike stuff that means 1468 Dh extra in each direction. Got the idea? At 3.7 Dh per US dollar it is better to fly with a bike from North America to Australia than from the Middle East. The total price is $2090 USD and the flight is only 11 hours non-stop.
Not a complaint - just an observed calculation 🙂 Other carriers in this area (Thai, Singapore, etc) have similar rules regarding bikes/trikes and XS baggage rates
EMIRATES - BEWARE
EMIRATES AIRLINE â BEWARE.
We flew with them from Singapore to UK May 2007. They wanted $SGD2500.00 (About $US1,650.00) for the bikes... OR $US56.00 per kilogram! There were many large people on our flight from Australia, one was at the very least 150kg.. If Emirates charged him a per kilo ticket at those rates he would pay $US16,800.00 (About $21,000 + Australian Dollars) for his ECONOMY CLASS ticket.
This is clearly punitive and is meant to do as much damage to a passenger as is allowed by international law. I have often heard of the âlegendaryâ Arab hospitality, from my own experience this is VERY true.. I can cite examples that would humble many. This Arab Airline is a disgrace to this wonderful heritage and it's obscene âgreedâ is an insult to the Islamic roots of it's home country.
They are relatively new to my country, but, one can guess they are already âgreasingâ the right palms with charity/sponsorship(s) donations and courting the influential, so that they can continue this plunder with impunity. Finally (for the moment) I challenge anyone to find their excess baggage rates on line â I have little doubt that these will be secret... or extremely difficult to find. I was unable to find the âratesâ chart despite an extensive search. Of course hiding stuff like this is indicative of a company that does NOT value transparency.
All this happened despite me letting our booking agents know we were traveling with bikes; clearly they have not done their job... Of course hidden in the bowels of the âLawyer Speakâ they will have every contingency covered, except the important human one... their own morality.
Fiumicino airport - Rome won't take bikes unboxed (flying Emirates)
We flew Emirates out of Rome Fiumicino to Dubai-Johannesburg. Even though the Emirates office in Johannesburg had told us that bikes only need to have handlebars turned and pedals removed, the Emirates staff at Fiumicino refused to check-in the bikes unless they were boxed or bagged, claiming that the airport ground staff would not accept them as they were. I assume then that this rule would apply to all airlines flying from Fiumicino.
Obviously bike boxes aren't an easy thing to come by in an airport so we had them plastic wrapped by a luggage-wrapping service at the airport. This cost us 12eur per bike. Although the plastic would protect our bikes from scratches and other traveller's luggage from our bikes, I got the impression that they were now going to be treated as suitcases and just thrown in with the rest of the luggage with no special handling.
On unwrapping the bikes once back in South Africa my worst fears were confirmed. The bikes had clearly had other baggage packed on top of them and both rear derailleur hangers and derailleurs were bent, one wheel was lightly buckled and my front rack was bent. I am awaiting a quote from my LBS so that I can take this up with Emirates, but I certainly will not be choosing them for my next trip (despite all the hype their food, service and flying experience were no better than any other airline we've travelled on).
BTW, we flew the outbound leg (Johannesburg-Dubai-Rome) with the bikes boxed without any problems. Our intention was not having to waste a day in Rome hunting down bike-boxes, as we've done on previous trips, so the idea of just wheeling the bike on was very appealing.