On this page we attempt to make available the experience of individual bicycle tourists who have travelled with Qantas Airlines (you can share your experiences here).
Qantas from Canada to Australia and return..
In July 2006 I flew Winnepeg (YWG) to Brisbane via LAX and used Air Canada to LAX and Qantas to Brisbane. Somehow the bike (overweight at 70 lbs) was forgotten at Calgary by AC, but it DID arrive in Brisbane a couple of days later. Then I repacked the bike into 2 boxes and flew along with my IBEX (3rd box) to Cairns.
Then, for the next 6 weeks I bicycled across the Savannah Way to Darwin. At Darwin airport Qantas gave me 3 bike boxes at no charge and packing tape) and watched me pack the parts for the next couple of hours and I flew to Melbourne at no extra cost for checking in the 3 boxes.
I traveled from Melbourne by train to Sydney visiting friends but had to ship the boxes separately (at a cost of over $100 AUD) as there was no way to take the boxes on the train (no baggage facilities). In Sydney I had to pay someone to take the boxes from the freight facility in a suburb.
At the airport I paid Qantas just over $100 AUD extra because I was hugely overweight, and flew to LAX with Qantas. Then I flew with NorthWest to YWG via MSP. The boxes arrived when I did with no damage (in either direction). The fees I paid AC and Qantas were worth every penny since I was hugely overweight and the staff was really interested in the fact that I had bicycled across the outback and THEIR airline was carrying my gear 🙂
Auckland-LA-Vancouver-Stockholm with British Airways
I brought my bike with me when I shifted from Auckland, NZ, to Stockholm, Sweden in August 2005.
I bought my ticket with BA but flew Qantas from Auckland to LA, Alaska Airlines from LA to Vancouver (where I had a two week stop-over) and then BA Vancouver to Stockholm via Heathrow.
I was worried I would end up paying overweight. I had the piece-system (2 x 32 kg, max height + width + depth of each piece 158 cm) and as anyone can figure out a bike does not fit those dimensions.
When questioned BA gave lots of different answers including âthey donât usually measureâ but when cornered they said that the correct procedure at check-in would be to count a too big box as two pieces. (www.britishairways.com/travel/bagsport/public/en_se)
On the other hand it is the airline that you check in with that decides, in my case in Auckland that was Qantas. Qantas provides bike-boxes (cardboard) which are 140*30*80 cm (way over the size-limit) and they say one bike counts as one piece. (www.qantas.com.au/info/flying/beforeYouTravel/sportingEquipment)
I decided it was worth a try and packed my bike in a card-board box (free/cheap from bike shop). Front wheel, handlebar, pedals and derailer came off. I wrapped sensitive parts in bubble wrap and filled the empty space with clothes that I wanted to bring. I put tape on all corners and sides and secured the box with more tape and two straps around it. My bike is 13 kg, the box when packed was 30 kg.
Apart from a randomised hand-search of my entire luggage, check-in in Auckland (Qantas) was hassle-free. At LAX I had to pick up my luggage, take it through customs and trolley it myself to my connecting flight in another terminal.
After my stopover in Vancouver I checked in with BA and they didnât even bother weighing the box.
In LA and Vancouver the bike came on a special oversize luggage band.
On some of the other postings it seems to me people have been trying to hide the fact that they are bringing a bike. I donât see why. My bike-box obviously contained a bike (it said KONA all over it) and I was more a tension-braker in cues than a problem in any way. It even made it possible for me to bring more stuff, since the volume in the bike-box is about twice that of a maximum suitcase.
The bike-box has done its service and is now retired. The bike survived well, no scratches or dents, and apart from the lousy information from BA prior to my flight I am very happy.
Good luck with your travels!
I went on a flight from Auckland, NZ to Sydney Australia. My bike box, which I checked-in, weighed 25KG and I wasn't charged for any over-weight (although the luggage allowance was 20kg). Plus my hand bag weighed about 12 kg - but that was not a problem as well.
All in all a good experience.
Have just flown with Qantas from Melbourne to Bangkok with my boxed bike and Bob trailer.
Total weight 36kg, the check-in woman charged me 5kg excess (20AU$ per KG) so I had to pay 100AU$.
British Airways -- Lost Luggage
My boyfriend and I travelled from Manchester, UK to Auckland, New Zealand with Britsh Airways/Qantas on 30th November 04. I found BA's website quite ambiguous when trying to get information about how much weight we could carry; we knew we were allowed 2 pieces of luggage each, but it was difficult to tell what the maximum weight allowance was.
On arriving at the airport we found that we had a total allowance of 64kgs, and that each piece of luggage could not exceed 32kgs.
We flew via Los Angeles (where we had to collect and re-check our luggage), and the bike boxes were opened and checked by customs at LA and Auckland. This was not done while we were around.
When we arrived in NZ, we discovered that our bikes had been lost, but there were at least 10 other people on our flight that had also lost baggage. Two reasons for this are that the connection was quite tight, and that that flight is one of the busiest you can take, as prices go up dramatically from 1st December. The bikes were located using the luggage barcodes (make sure you keep hold of your copies of these barcodes!) and were delivered to our hostel within 2 days. As we're here for a year, this was not very stressful for us, but obviously this could cause other people huge problems.
The bike boxes were the most bashed about that I've seen (we've always used cardboard bike boxes), but the bikes were not damaged; we padded the boxes out with sleeping bags etc, all zip tied to the bikes, and used the packaging which comes with new bike - i.e. axle replacements etc.
Our advice is: It's very important to put your home address on your bike box, and if possible put the address of where you'll be staying when you arrive. Even though the boxes were barcoded, we were asked several times if the boxes had our home address on them. Make sure you keep a copy of the "lost baggage / irregularity report" - in the worst case scenario, this document is your proof that you informed the airline as soon as possible that your bags were lost.
Even though the bikes were lost and the boxes were a bit bashed up, I would still fly with BA and Qantas again. Their customer service was excellent and i think its just the luck of the draw over whether it's your bike which is lost, and if its you that gets a string of bad baggage handlers.
We flew on mainly Qantas but also Cathay Pacific and BA on a One World round the world ticket. Bikes go for free on Qantas but have to be in a box - provided at every airport we went to (Wellington, Bangkok, Hong Kong) for a small fee. The word "tandem" however did get them excited and they threatened to charge 300UKP for the carriage. With S&S couplings however the bike fits in one of their boxes and went free. I made sure there was a note put on the ticket to say the bike would be free, as the head office would not put it in writing to me personally.Alistair Morris, February 28, 2004
Melbourne to Denver via Tokyo, LA
I travelled from Melbourne Australia to Denver USA in March 2003 on a JAL flight via Narita (Tokyo). I expected to be charged a fee by Japan Airlines when I checked in two large peices of luggage and a bike box but to my suprise and delight they didn't.
The Melbourne-Tokyo leg was a code shared Qantas flight. When I arrived in LA I thought United might charge me for the LA-Denver leg of my journey but since I didn't have to check in my baggage the question never arose (the bag & box was transferred to the United Terminal by airport personnel after leaving LAX customs and the INS passport check area).
I'm hoping now that I will have the same experience travelling back to Melbourne with Frontier and JAL in December.
Bikes to New Zealand from UK
We went from London to New Zealand via Los Angeles with two bikes plus camping gear. The weight allowance via the US is much better than going via the far east therefore avoiding excess baggage charges.
At Heathrow and Los Angeles we removed pedals and turned handlebars through 90 degrees and wheeled the bikes on. I think baggage handlers prefer this as it is easier for them to wheel a bike than carry a large box, it is also clear that it is a bike and we had no damage to our bikes.
From Christchurch to Brisbane we had to cover the bikes with two large polythene bags supplied by Quantas.
On the return trip from Brisbane to Heathrow via Auckland & Los Angeles we were told by Quantas to check in our bags (and tools) as normal and then go and get bike boxes from the large items loading area, we had to pay for these.
I kept one allen key out to allow us to remove the handlebars (pedals had already been removed) but despite this the boxes were too small for our touring bikes. At this point the baggage handlers said we could put our bikes on the plane without boxes and we had to sign a waiver just in case they were damaged. We were refunded the cost of the boxes and our bikes arrived in London without any problem.
I lost my allen key when I went through security -- a dangerous weapon. We were then supplied with metal knives and forks with our meal and a glass wine bottle!
All in all it went well, British Airways were very good but Quantas need to have some joined up thinking.
My experiences with QANTAS on an international flight from Melbourne (AUS) to Europe, 21-Sep-1998.
QANTAS stated that they require bikes to be boxed and they will provide boxes at the airport (for $10 Australian). When I reached the airport I found that the international terminal has no boxes and they directed me to the domestic terminal which is just next-door. The attendent at the domestic terminal did not however charge me for the box, whether due to him not knowing to or assuming that I had paid at the international one, I don't know.
The bike box provided was *large*. I only needed to take the front wheel off and lower the seat to fit a touring/Mt bike into it and could probably have put most of my pannier contents in there as well.
Before my trip from Oz to the USA I phoned up the airlines (Qantas and Thai) and they implied that flying to or from the USA (not sure if this actually applies to North America, ie including Canada) a two piece luggage limit applied (economy class) each piece not to exceed 32kg in weight. There was also a dimensional limit on each piece, but the bike box easily meet this requirement.
I flew Qantas from Melbourne to Sydney to Los Angeles. I packed my bike in a box with a few other odds and ends and tossed the rest of my gear that I would need for my fully loaded trip (minus food and water) into my panniers and the panniers into a large cheap ($4) laundry bag, (excluding one pannier I used as a carry-on bag. At the Melbourne airport check-in counter the lady asked something about how did I manage to get about with so much luggage. As I was too worried about other things, I did not reply and nothing else was said. The boxed bike weighed in at 21kg and the other bag 20kg (ie total 41kg).
I flew home with Thai from Los Angeles to Bangkok to Perth. I packed my gear basically the same. At the LA airport check-in counter both pieces of luggage were placed on the scales at the same time and a reading of 99 showed on the display. The lady started to say that I would have to pay excess luggage, however before I could say anything the manager behind her suggested to her that she may like to switch the scales from reading pounds to kilos. The reading then changed to show 45 (kg) (I had gathered a few souvenirs along the way but still well under the 64kg total limit). She then said I might be charged for oversize luggage (the boxed bike). I calmly explained that prior to my travels I had enquired about the requirements and was lead to believe it was alright. She consulted the manager who said it was fine. I also made sure that my luggage was checked all the way to Perth as I had a 24 hour stop over in Bangkok, and did not want to lug it all around Bangkok. This turn out to be quit fortunate as when I checked in at Bangkok airport for my flight to Perth. I did not have to worry about my luggage but the lady noticed the 45kg luggage weight written on my ticket and asked if I had paid for the excess. I explained that I was travelling from the US to Australia, with my stop in Bangkok effectively being a transit stop. She phoned up somebody and then returned saying I did not have to pay excess.
So travelling to or from the USA, weight does not really seem to be an issue. However if I do travel economy class from Australia to any other country with my bike I will be limited to the 20kg limit as Malcolm has mentioned and thus I too would be interested to hear how other people have overcome this problem. One way would be to make a stopover in the USA irrespective of destination, however this would be an looooong (and expensive) way to get from Oz to NZ.
Just before my trip to the USA a similar question was posted to the list by Yvonne van den Hork (in March 1997) who was travelling from Nederland to Australia via Qantas and was limited to 20kg for economy class with a surcharge of 4% for every extra kg. I have read her trip reports on the www but there was no mention how she solved this problem (or not).
Regards, RichardRichard, March 03, 1998
Notes: Box required-$10, taken on small 60-pass. jet no problem from Cairns to Alice Springs. Ansett charges more for box.Sean McGann, September 01, 1997
We started the trip in Sydney Australia from where we flew with Qantas to London Heathrow. Qantas have boxes for bikes at the airport but weren't willing to let us have them a few days before the flight. We wanted to pack before leaving for the airport so we got a bikeshop in Sydney to box the bikes for us. We recommend this. Bike shops know how to make bikes safe and secure. They arrived in perfect shape at Heathrow.Ken Nielsen, June 26, 1997
Sydney-Melbourne-Tasmania RTN. Bike boxes recommended, but not mandatory. (Qantas will supply a box, but numbers are limited - a relative missed out on one when travelling to a big bike event.) No charge for bikes (part of normal luggage allowance). Watching plane being unloaded, it seemed that unboxed bikes were treated with more care than "anonymous" boxes, which were just thrown around like any other luggage.
But, in our case, boxed bikes survived A-OK.