reliable airlines for cyclists travelling with a bicycle
May 27, 2016

The most reliable airline for cyclists

Exploring a new city or country by bicycle is a great way see the sites. If you've ever done it, you know it's pretty straight forward. Prices of putting your bike onboard and allowable weights vary from airline to airline. This information is readily available, but we wanted to find out if some airlines are more reliable when it comes to delivering your bike on time so your vacation isn't delayed.

So, we put together a survey to learn from experienced travellers and better understand;

  • Is it safe to travel with your bicycle on a plane?
  • Which airlines are the most reliable for delivering with your bicycle on time?
  • Do things ever go missing from a bicycle box?

Most reliable Airline for cyclists statistics aircanada united airlines

Is is safe to travel with your bicycle?

The good news is that generally, travelling with your bike is safe and it'll most likely arrive on-time. There wasn't much complaining from travellers at all, in fact, 94% of bicycles arrived on time, 92% thought baggage staff where knowledgable on how to handle bikes and 88% of people where satisfied with their experience. There was a strong bias towards cyclist having a positive experience with their bicycle travel.

Which airline is the most reliable?

Of the 195 airlines included in the study 40% of cyclists had flown with one of three airlines ( Air Canada, Delta Airlines and United Airlines ) so we chose to focus on them because they where the most statistically significant. 

How long is the average wait time?

Of these travellers, we calculated the average days cyclists had to wait for their bicycle when it was late. Air Canada passengers waited 13 times longer for their bicycle to arrive then United Airlines cyclists.

Airline late days for bicycle delivery

Which Airline had the most cases of delated bicycles?

We did a comparison to see if some airlines had mores cases of delayed bikes than others. It turns out that 74% of delayed bicycles where on Air Canada flights vs. 3% with United Airlines. So the Air Canada had 25 times more delayed bikes than United Airlines. Delta Airlines was responsible for 24% of the delays.

Bicycle Airline travel bicycle

Do things ever go missing from a bicycle box?

It turns out that things do go missing from time to time. This could be related to what sort of items as each airlines have different restrictions. We asked the question to find out if some airlines had more 'missing items' than others. It turns out that when something was missing, 43% of those cases where traveling with Air Canada of the 195 Airlines in the survey. 14% where with Delta and 0% with United Airlines.


  • United Airlines is the most reliable airlines for bicycle travel compared to AC an Delta
  • Bicycle travel is save! There's a 94% chance your bike will arrive ontime.
  • Cyclist waited 3 times longer for their bicycle with Air Canada than with United Airlines. 
  • Air Canada was 25 times more likely to loose a bicycle than United Airlines
  • If you fly with Air Canada, there's a good chance something might get stolen

 We hope to continue this study in the future to help cyclist decide which airlines to travel with on their next bicycle trip.

Explore the world by bike!

Full disclosure: I recently went to Argentina for a 42 day bicycle tour of patagonia and flew with Air Canada. They gave my bicycle to another passenger to take home instead of delivering to it's destination and turned my 42 day trip into a 25 day trip, as well as that of my travel companion. They've been less than accommodating and have yet to cover my expenses. In the future I'd prefer to fly with an airline that's not going to loose my bike and wanted to find out if there was a difference between airlines. That's why this survey was conducted. 


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