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Flying with a Bike on Air France

Flying with a Bike on Air France

The Bottom Line on Taking a Bike on Air France:

Our team of highly-trained bicycle travel scientists gives Air France a Bicycle Flight Grade (BFG) of C. Air France is a good example of the trend toward more complexity and opacity in airline fees. Fees for extras vary widely and are dependent on route, fare class, and status. There are so many contingencies and exceptions that for many services it's hard to understand what you will pay. The bike fee of $150 for flights between North America and Europe is pretty standard, but Air France states that you must seek pre-approval to check a bike at least 48 hours in advance of departure. If you plan to try to skirt this requirement and fee, understand that if your bag is over 62 linear inches and the ticket agent notices, you might get stuck paying the $300 oversize fee. Air France posts a notice to passengers traveling with a bicycle who plan to continue their travel by rail: SNCF, the French national rail company, sets maximum dimensions of bike containers at 47x35 inches. 

Air France's base fares are actually quite reasonable and hand luggage is always included. If you are considering purchasing an Economy Light fare, think carefully about how much luggage you will need to take with you. A checked bag is not included with Economy Light, and the price difference between Economy and Economy Light is often not as much as the checked bag fee. So if you plan on checking a bag, it might be worth the upgrade. Lastly, if you suspect you may be liable for additional fees, you can save money by paying them online at booking.

Air France Baggage and Bicycle Policies at a Glance:

Please note that this information is subject to change and may not reflect the most recent information available on Air France's website. (Updated 9/14/18) 

Specifications

 

 

 

Dimensions

158cm (62 linear inches)

Oversize Fee

$300 between North America and Europe

Weight Limit

23kg (50lbs)

Overweight Fee

$100 between North America and Europe

General Baggage Fees

 

1st Checked Bag

Included with Economy fare class and up*

2nd Checked Bag

$75**

 

Carry-on

Included

Bicycle Baggage Fee

$150 between North America and Europe IMPORTANT NOTE***

 

* Economy Light fares do not include a checked bag. Fees start at $80 and depend on the route. 

** For Economy Class fares. For Economy Light, this fee will be higher. 

*** Bicycles must be pre-approved at least 48 hours prior to departure. 

start saving on bike fees

A few general notes on flying with a bicycle: 

A few things to keep in mind when flying with a bike on Air France actually apply to all airlines. It’s important to come to the airport prepared with a knowledge of airline policies and procedures. We have found that airline employees are often woefully misinformed about their own company's policies, so it can be helpful to bring a printed reference of any relevant policies, especially those regarding baggage allowances and fees. It’s also prudent to take baggage policies into account when planning a trip and buying tickets. Why take the budget airline if they are sticklers at the baggage counter and will likely charge you double or triple to fly with your bike? 

Lastly, a true Airport Ninja knows that airline employees don’t always play by the book, and this can both help us and hurt us as customers. Many gate agents will never look twice as your bags, while others are vigilantes who play fast and loose with the tape measure. Checking in early, approaching a well-rested-looking ticketing agent and being very polite, or using curbside check-in and offering a small tip are all strategies that can all help turn the odds in your favor. For more advice on how to be an Airport Ninja, see our blog Ninja Tutelage Lesson 1 - What's in the Bag?

Your best chance to avoid paying fees is to pack your bike in the smallest possible bike case, especially one with no obvious markings that indicate that it is a bike. This is where the Orucase Airport Ninja comes to the rescue. Designed and tested by professional cyclists to minimize or even eliminate excess baggage fees. Become an Airport Ninja Today. 

"I bought mine about 2 years ago and since then I've more than made my money back on fees avoided. To date I have not been charged a bike fee by any airport and I'd estimate I've used it on close to 20 round trip flights. It's definitely made my work/life balance a lot more balanced being able to bring a bike with me when I travel."  -- Rob K., Airport Ninja (56cm Specialized Tarmac)
"I'm 2-3 for #worstretirementever so far, but 5-0 on not paying oversize charges on planes. Thanks, @paynobikefees!" -- Phil Gaimon, former World Tour cyclist, Airport Ninja (58cm Cannondale Supersix)

Orucase Airport Ninja Bike Travel Case