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Power Napper
2,853 Posts
This past March I flew Southwest from Albuquerque to Tucson. My bike was in a standard large hard shell bike case. They charged my $50 each way. I had called ahead of time and that's what they quoted me. I paid the extra fee when I checked in. There was no hassle at all. In Tucson the baggage carosel was big enough for the case and it came off with the rest of the baggage. Returning to Albq the case was already waiting for me to one side of the carosel by the time I got from the gate to the baggage claim; but then in my experience Albququerque has always been a really easy airport to get through and they have awesome ground crews.

Two things you might want to check on are;
If you are changing planes, do they charge for each leg of travel?
What is the total weight of a packed dual bike case and is it over some limit they may have.

Premium Member
10,106 Posts
azracer said:
What up ?

Traveling with the bike on Southwest airlines and need some in's and out's as to what I should expect.

I am traveling with a buddy back to the midwest for race over Labor Day so we'll be packing the bikes together in dual travel case. It'll be big.

Would it be better to ship it?

I'll hang up and listen now.

Thanks for help in advance.
Southwest is the best of the US domestic airlines when it comes to checking a bike as part of your luggage. The standard fee is $50 each way (as opposed to $80-100 on other airlines). The fee is the same whether you transfer planes or stay on the same plane for your whole flight. You will pay the fee when you check in. On another airline, I had to pay not only the bike case fee, but an additional fee because my bag was over 50 pounds. Since then Southwest has started charging an additional fee for regular bags over 50 pounds and I do not know if Southwest will try to charge $50 plus an additional fee if you bike case is over 50 pounds. After my over 50 pound charge, I have been very careful to make sure that my bike case is under 50 pounds -- a lot of the stuff that I used to put in my bike case now goes into my other piece of checked luggage. FYI: a Trico Iron Case weighs 31 pounds, so if you are using one make sure that your bike plus anything else you put in the case weighs 19 pounds or less.

My bike has flown on Southwest about 10 times. The only time that I ever had an issue was when I arrived very late for a flight (i.e., about 40 minutes before takeoff) and the bike case did not make it -- I had to wait for the next flight for my bike to arrive. At some airports the bike will come out on the conveyor belt with the rest of the checked baggage. In other airports, there is a special door or window at which oversized bags are delivered, often after all of the rest of the baggage has been delivered. One other word of caution: Some airports do not have x-ray equipment large enough to x-ray a bike case. You should be prepared for the TSA to open and unpack your bike case. Back in the day when I used to put a lot of stuff in my bike case in addition to the bike, I had a few things, like some Allen keys and a rain jacket, that were not in the box when it was delivered. If you have loose things in your bike case, I would suggest that you place them in a plastic bag or otherwise secure them so that they do not go astray if you bag is opened and inspected.

32 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks for reply fellas.

I spoke with SW representative today and found out I should expect $50 oversize fee.....extra $25 if it weighs 51-70lbs and extra $50 if it weighs between 71-100. Anything over 100lbs they will not accept. Size wise i have to stay under 62" total size. Anything over 62" and price is an extra $50.

Again..thanks for the insight guys and have yourselves a good weekend.
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