The night before takeoff we checked in online and when asked if we were traveling with bikes, I clicked ‘yes’ to see what would happen. $100 charge per bike is what happened! Oh hell no. I went back and selected ‘no’ bikes, just regular luggage, because our Bromptons in their B-bags are well within the size and weight restrictions for Air Canada’s checked baggage.
At the airport the next day, the employee checking our bags noticed that we had folding bikes inside, but didn’t charge us the bike fee, though he did direct us to put the bags in Oversized. However, he warned us that on our way home we might be charged the fee. It all depended on who was checking in our baggage. Duly noted.
In Amsterdam, we were waiting at the Oversized Luggage spot when we saw our Brompton bags come out with the regular luggage. I guess the baggage handlers decided they didn’t warrant being with the Oversized luggage after all.
Because the B-bags are rather cumbersome to roll, we unpacked and unfolded right there. We’d put cardboard around all the sides just to give the bikes extra protection, and as expected, they were both perfectly fine. I also brought a fancy new mini floor pump. So much easier than using the standard Brompton hand pump. Plus, the new pump has a pressure gauge. That would come in very handy later in the trip.
And we were ready to roll!
On the flight home from Paris, the employee checking our bags didn’t notice that mine contained a bicycle (perhaps because I’d put my dirty laundry inside the B-bag as extra padding so all she felt were soft clothes not hard metal), but she did ask what was in Pier’s B-bag. When he said it was a bike, she directed him to take it to the Oversized area, though she didn’t charge him extra. That was good! But then I worried that something bad would happen to my Brompton while it was going down the conveyer belt with the regular luggage…
But both bikes arrived fine. Again, despite putting Pier’s Brompton in the Oversized luggage, it came out in the regular luggage along with mine.
Overall, flying Air Canada with the Bromptons was a good experience. Though the official policy is to charge $100 for bikes, the employees we encountered were willing to waive that fee since our Bromptons fold down to standard luggage size.
Plus, the food on both Air Canada flights was pretty good. 🙂