By now I'm sure you've heard that American Airlines has followed suit of other forward-thinking airlines like Alaska by cutting the fees associated with oversize baggage like bicycles... or have they?
Last year Alaska Airlines introduced a new policy. Sports equipment flies for $25, and they'll waive oversize and overweight fees. Keep note of the 'waive oversize AND overweight' terms...
Yesterday American Airlines announced that it will be waiving the oversize fee typically associated with sports equipment. Here's their press release:
"As the busy summer travel period quickly approaches, American Airlines has announced changes to its policies regarding oversize sports and music equipment. American is eliminating oversize bag fees for common sports and music equipment, effective for travel on or after May 21. The updated policies, which will be music to the ears of musicians who fly on American, will also ensure that customers can more easily pursue active and healthy lifestyles wherever their travels may take them, without having to pay additional oversize bag fees.
Customers can check common oversize sports and music equipment as standard baggage, up to the maximum allowed dimensions and within the weight requirements. Refer to the full policy for additional information."
A useful way to think about this is the concept of usable weight. For most domestic airlines the maximum allowed weight for a checked bag is 50 pounds. Above this and an overweight fee will apply. In the case of American Airlines this fee is an additional $100.
So start with 50 pounds, and subtract the weight of a case. The most popular hard case on the market weighs 37 pounds (we won't name who, but we've all seen 'em). 50 - 37 = 13 pounds. So unless you have Phil Gaimon's KOM grabbing bikes you're out of luck for avoiding the overweight fee. $100 + $25 (for the checked bag), and your at a grand total of $125. On par with their previous bike fee of $150.
"Please note that if your bicycle is not in a hard-sided case, it will be treated as a fragile item.”
This severely limits your choice of cases on the market, and there's a reason we make all of our cases with hard plastic sides. We've used our 30+ years of racing experience, and 500+ flights on both our own cases, prototypes, and every bike case on the market to design the Airport Ninja, B2, and Sub62.