Airlines love to charge fees for just about everything. Want more legroom? There’s a fee for that. Check a bag? Pay a fee. Want to choose your seat? Depending on your ticket, you may need to pay a fee for that, too.
But every once in a while, a fee just disappears.
In mid-2019, American Airlines dropped its oversize baggage fee for common sporting goods and music equipment. Delta followed suit a couple of months later, at least for sports equipment. For those who wanted to travel with their surfboards, golf clubs or bicycles, they would no longer have to pay the $150 “oversize baggage” fee when they checked such equipment.
Of the legacy carriers, United was the one holdout. But now they’ve joined the fray, as well.
Changes in the “sports equipment” page of United’s website show that they’ve now eliminated the “oversize baggage” fee for many pieces of sports equipment.
As an example, the new rules for checking a bicycle are:
We can transport bicycles as checked baggage if they are packed appropriately. To pack your bicycle as checked baggage:
- Pack it in a sealed box using plastic foam or similar protective material inside. The box should be a hard-sided case or constructed from durable cardboard.
- Secure the handlebars sideways and remove the pedals before packing the bicycle. All loose items should be inside the box.
- Motorized or battery-powered bicycles are not permitted.
- We’re not liable for damage to any checked bicycles that are not packed as described above.
Oversized bag fees do not apply to checked bicycles. Standard checked baggage fees as well as overweight service charges still apply.
Of course, sports enthusiasts aren’t getting away with checking their bags for no fees – perish the thought! 😉 They still count as luggage and if someone checks, for example, one suitcase and their bike, they’ll still be charged for checking two pieces of baggage. They just won’t have to pay $150 or $200 for the box with the bike, because it won’t be considered oversized baggage anymore.
Overweight limits will still apply to all checked sporting goods.
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This post first appeared on Your Mileage May Vary