Take the Southwest flight with a bike
Taking the bike on the plane can be an odyssey and stressful, especially the first time you’re traveling with it.
There are two ways to take the bike on the plane, packed in a cardboard box or in a bike carrier bag. However, we advise you to focus on the first option.
First of all, you must be aware of the Southwest transport conditions in terms of the weight and dimensions of the bicycle you wish to transport in the hold.
Be sure to check the maximum weight allowed per package, the price and how it should be packed (almost always in a box or bag).
Weight not to exceed: 60 Pounds
Maximum bike dimensions: 62 inches
Transportation costs: $75 / bike
Add the bike to the plane ticket
Southwest lets you add the bike when you buy the ticket online and pay for it all together. Otherwise, you can also call the customer service center to inform that you will be flying with a bicycle and pay for it once at the airport.
Pack the bike to fly
Normally, boxes for transporting bicycles are standard sizes. They can vary a few centimeters from each other, but in general the measurements are usually 55x30x09 inches.
You can get a box from a bike shop because they usually end up throwing them away or buying one.
In some airports they sell these boxes but find out beforehand lest you arrive at the airport and have no options to do with a box.
Let’s see how to pack the bike in a box of standard sizes:
– Remove the pedals.
– Deflate the wheels.
– Remove the front wheel.
– Remove the handlebar and place it parallel to the fork or frame.
– Protect the fork legs, chainrings and rear derailleur with newspaper or plastic bags.
– The front wheel is placed on one side of the main frame triangle.
– The rear rack is mounted on the bike. If you have a facade, you can place it between the frame or any space.
– The wheel, pedals and handlebars are usually attached to the frame with plastic ties, you can also use bungee octopuses if you carry them in the panniers.
Here is the list of things you can put in the box:
– Sleeping bag
– Cooking tools
– Handlebar bag if it is not very big.
When you arrive at the airport with the box, you need to go to the airline counter. Maybe they weigh the box or maybe not, it depends on the size of the belts where the scales are.
They will immediately put the corresponding stickers on you and direct you to the special measures baggage carousel. There you go, you leave the box to go directly to the boarding gate.
Collect the bike at the airport
At all airports there is usually a special baggage claim belt. In theory, your bike box should go through this.
Sometimes it goes well and other times it doesn’t. They just leave him last, they push him and he stays there half blocking the whole gang.
It depends a little on the desire to work of those who take care of the suitcases. You have to be very careful and ask someone at the airport in the baggage claim area, even if it’s not worth much.
Tips for taking a Southwest Airlines flight with the bike
If you are going to do a circular journey or if the return trip is from the same airport, you can ask them to store the box for you in the accommodation where you are staying the first night, or even in a bicycle shop or in luggage storage for airport users.
If you are returning from another airport, keep in mind that you will need to obtain a box. In most major towns you will find several bike shops, although if the town is not very big you may have trouble finding a box. Find out before buying the return ticket. If there’s only one store you’re returning from, call a few days ahead to see if they can reserve a box for you.
It is advised that the flight is direct, the more stopovers there are, the more likely it is that the bike will be lost or sent on another flight. Plan how you will take the box with the bike to the airport.