Cyclist Slapped With Unbelievable Airline Bike Fee – Bike Magazine Australia

Cyclists have long tried innovative ways to avoid airline bike fees that can run up to a few hundred dollars—but the practice has never seemed so prescient after a Canadian junior found himself charged an especially exorbitant fee.

Noah Simms flew to Europe on Air Canada with his cyclocross bikes for the world championships without incident, but upon returning home, the airline charged him with a 537 euro (AU$750) bike travel fee. To put this into perspective, if Air Canada lived up to the promises on their own website, the basic fee would have been $50 (AU$65). 

Simms showed up at the airport with a full bike bag under the prescribed weight limit—and followed the rules for flying with bikes on Air Canada (which lists its bike guidelines online)—but the fee was significantly greater than it should have been. 

Here’s what he was charged, compared to the bike fee rules Air Canada lists online:

Simms’ Bike Fee: 322 Euros
Air Canada’s online rules: “In addition to any applicable additional checked baggage charges, bicycles are subject to a handling charge of $50 CAD/USD (plus applicable taxes) for carriage on Air Canada and Air Canada rouge flights, as well as on Air Canada Express flights operated by Jazz, Sky Regional, Air Georgian and Exploits Valley Air.”

Simms’ Overweight Charge: 143 Euros
Air Canada’s rules: “No overweight or oversize charges apply to bicycles, provided they are within the maximum weight and size limits indicated above.” (Simms’ bike was under the 70-pound maximum.)

Simms’ Extra Baggage Fee: 72 Euros
Air Canada’s rules: “If your baggage count (bicycle + number of bags to be checked) exceeds the maximum number of items allowed by your fare type, additional checked baggage charges will apply, in addition to a fixed handling charge.”

Simms’ Total Cost: 537 Euros (AU$755)

With the baggage fee and the $50 (AU$65) bike fee, Simms’ bike clearly should have come in at around $120 ($AU160) —so he had a 380 percent inflation of the initial fee, pushing the cost to be more than his ticket. 

Beyond the fee itself, a potential added hardship for cyclists is that there may not be a way to argue down the extra cost, or even ascertain what those costs will be—the decision ultimately lies in the hands of the ticketing agent. 

“The women did long addition at the desk to determine my charge,” Simms recounts. 

But far from home with a flight leaving in two hours, what’s was a rider to do? Bust out the credit card and get home, of course. (And that’s how they get you.) 

Simms is not alone in his expensive confusion. Matt Staples, another young rider, produced a receipt for nearly $500 (AU$655) for a Toronto to Texas flight on Air Canada a couple weeks prior.

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