Bicycle Touring Experiences from Fiji


On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who travel to Fiji (you can share your experiences here).

Airline Policy

I spent approx 1 hour at the Vancouver International Airport today confirming the "bike as baggage" policy with various airline representatives. Due to my screwed up routing on my upcoming trip, this involved airlines in the American/Canadian/Qantas/etc alliance (OneWorld) and airlines in the United/AirCanada/etc alliance (Star).
Here's the scoop:

"Official" IATA policy (not specific airline policy) is that on "International" flights, bike can travel in lieu of 1 of 2 total pieces of baggage. Turn handlebars, remove pedals, part deflate tires. Airline can require box, bag, nothing. Airline will not necessarily supply required box at the airport. On "domestic" flights, a surcharge can and usually does apply.

Both OneWorld alliance and Star alliance airlines will follow these IATA rules.

What is important to check is whether your flight is classified as "international". This is left to the individual airlines. For example, Canadian airlines considers flights between Canada and USA as "domestic" and will charge for a bike unless there is a direct connection with no stopover to an onward international destination. Qantas will consider a domestic flight in Australia for a stopover as "international", with no bike fee, if it is part of a larger international ticket. On my ticket, Qantas considers a flight from Australia to NZ as international for this reason, whereas they may consider this as domestic for other tickets. Apparently flights between European countries part of the EU are often considered domestic and subject to a fee.

Each of the airline reps said it is best to get all of your flight plans issued as one big ticket, including the international leg. If the international leg is on the same ticket, you will sometimes not pay for a domestic leg.

The other exception to this international/domestic rule will come about if you purchase certain cheap package, charter, or consolidator type fares even if on one of the airlines above. For certain of these fares, the airline limits baggage allowances for everyone (below the typical 2 piece, 70 lbs each). If this is the case, and it should be printed on the ticket (but always ask), you'll likely have to pay extra for the bike.

In terms of web links that provide this info, you might be able to find the baggage policies for international and domestic luggage. However, the only way to clear up the issue of whether you are on an "international" flight is to ask the airline directly with your ticket/itinerary in hand.

I had the airline reps. check out all of my flight segments to make sure I will pay no fee. This is still the best method. A travel agent can usually provide you with the same info, but I prefer to get it straight from the source.

My only problem now is that my flight segment from Nadi, Fiji is on Air Pacific which requires a box. Air Pacific will not provide a box. Do other airlines sell boxes there? Any friendly LBS's to try? Good hostel with storage too? Any other suggestions?

Adam in Vancouver

Adam Lubell, June 08, 1999

Auckland, New Zealand

I've been having my vicarious scroll through the archive and saw some stuff about crossing our borders and cycle touring here. Yes we are paranoid about pests. 80% of our economy is from agriculture or forestry and we don't have many of the pests, fungi, bacteria etc that live other places - the benefits of being an island nation. You are allowed to bring your bike and used tramping / camping equipment into NZ. You will be asked if its been cleaned and if you have been on a farm, orchard or rural place in the last 30 days. If you vow and declare that you have washed your bike, boots etc, you will probably be let in without inspection (please make sure you HAVE washed your bike).

Otherwise you'll have to unpack your bike for inspection. Last time this happened to me the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries guy helped me assemble my bike. I have bought my mountain bike and camping equipment back from Australia (where nearly every insect species is represented), Bali, Fiji, and Thailand without undue hassle from customs. Returning from Canada last week, I watched a young German man and his bike go through the Ministry of Ag and Fish check, and they seemed more interested in the fruit in his muesli than his bike. Generally the Ag and Fish queue is shorter than the "nothing to declare" queue so you get through the formalities quicker.

They seem to have stopped that spray the inside of the plane thing for some flight originations now. I got sprayed arriving from Bali earlier this year, but not from Toronto via Honolulu and Fiji last week.

Absolute no-nos are fresh fruit of any kind (we had a bad fruit fly scare last year) and dirty bikes, shoes or boots from areas where there is foot and mouth disease or Tsetse fly. These will be impounded, fumigated and mailed to you (takes forever). Be extra paranoid about the clean thing if you are arriving from Africa.

Anyone who wants some info about touring in NZ, mail me and I will respond.
I spend more time on planes than on my bike!

Veale, March 07, 1997

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