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Email and Twitter protests cause cut-price airline to reverse thrust

Cut price airline easyJet has backpedalled on its decision to reduce the weight limit for bicycles, restoring the previous allowance of 32kg which was knocked down to 23kg earlier this month.

Earlier this month, easyJet amended its baggage allowance for large sports equipment to read:

“Large Sports Equipment (items up to 32kg, except bicycles for which the maximum weight is 23kg) for example:

Bicycles;
Canoes;
Wind surfers; and
Hang-gliders/paragliders.”

The specific restriction on bikes was new - you’d previously been able to pay the fee and take a bike up to 32kg.

This was particularly bad news for mountain bikers as a burly all-mountain bike in a well-padded bag could exceed 23kg, especially if you lobbed in some ancilliary kit like a rucksack or riding gear.

But it also threatened cycle tourists who’d got into the habit of slipping the rest of their gear into a bike bag. That’s technically against easyJet’s rules - the allowance is just for a bike and its container - but few bike bags ever got checked. Who wants to make sure there are no sweaty shorts in there on a return flight?

Our very good friends over on Singletrackworld.com were among the riders that who kicked up a fuss, and within hours easyJet said it was reviewing the charges.

The airline’s press office recently announced:

“From Saturday 11th January we are raising the limit on bike weight to 32kg. Whilst this will take a number of weeks to be applied to all our systems, no customer will be charged an excess for bikes between 23kg and 32kg going forward. We hope more people will continue to enjoy our network of over 130 destinations across Europe for great road and mountain bike rides.”

Transport activist Dave Holladay, who has previously persuaded train and airline companies to improve provision for cyclists, says the storm of tweets and emails that went easyJet’s way was the main factor in the rule reversion.

“By the time I was looking for the easyJet contacts to tackle quietly behind the scenes, news came through that the changes had been reverted.”

But Dave points out that problems can still crop up. Things can go pear-shaped, he says, “when the ground handling contractors (who make up a large percentage of the liveried/nominated customer-facing staff at any airport) have an RTFM moment and don't apply the correct easyJet rules as set out by their manual.”

In other words, don’t assume that the person you’re talking to on the desk actually works for easyJet and knows the rules. As ever in these situations, being polite, cheerful and helpful works better than getting stroppy.

Dave adds: “I'm hoping to get some better liaison with the ground handling contractors at key airports used by easyJet, especially to clear the confusion which can occur when the contractors working for easyJet interpret something slightly differently.

“Given also that many CTC Cycling Holidays tours use easyJet with their groups I'm going to see if we can get some direct contact details, for key departure points so that a group can arrange to check in all bikes as a single transaction and thus get them, loaded in a more organised way for a group travelling together.”

Our official grumpy Northerner, John has been riding bikes for over 30 years since discovering as an uncoordinated teen that a sport could be fun if it didn't require you to catch a ball or get in the way of a hulking prop forward.

Road touring was followed by mountain biking and a career racing in the mud that was as brief as it was unsuccessful.

Somewhere along the line came the discovery that he could string a few words together, followed by the even more remarkable discovery that people were mug enough to pay for this rather than expecting him to do an honest day's work. He's pretty certain he's worked for even more bike publications than Mat Brett.

The inevitable 30-something MAMIL transition saw him shift to skinny tyres and these days he lives in Cambridge where the lack of hills is more than made up for by the headwinds.

12 comments

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Max_Leonard [18 posts] 2 years ago
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This is good news.

I am taking my bike one-way to France in a couple of weeks, and the extra allowance will be welcome.

I have also been told by Easyjet that taking the bike box back empty counts as normal luggage – and not subject to the bike-carriage charge. I'll report back what happens with that…

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alexholt3 [53 posts] 2 years ago
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I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

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tom_w [206 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

A downhill mtb weighs a good 17kg and that's before you throw in the spare tubes and tyres, body armour, full face lid, weight of the bike box, weight of the padding in the box etc.

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step-hent [723 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

I have a 7.5kg road bike, which comes in a 18 kg packed in a lightweight case with minimal kit (for a 3 day trip). With a week's worth of kit and a heavier duty case, I've had it at 24kg and been charged by BA. So an MTBer could easily get over the weight limit, as will a cycle tourist.

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dave atkinson [6261 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

a decent hard shell bike case can weigh up to 15kg

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AyBee [85 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

My road bike weighs under 8kg, my bike box weighs 13kg, add in a pump, a few tools, shoes, energy bars/powder, a lock, some clothing and everything else you can't take in hand luggage and it soon mounts up to well over 23kg. On my last Majorca trip I was at 30kg. Besides, most serious cyclists weigh less so it's only fair that we can add that weight to our luggage!

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alexholt3 [53 posts] 2 years ago
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Wow that's crazy. I had no idea hard cases were so heavy. Thanks for the clarification.

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farrell [1950 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

Wow that's crazy. I had no idea hard cases were so heavy. Thanks for the clarification.

You can get lighter cases, or even use a bike bag to save weight.

Best of luck at the other side with those options though!

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cqexbesd [82 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg

I do. I only have one bike so if I go cycling overseas its the one that I take. I don't know how heavy the bike is on its own (Specialized Globe Comp from 6 or so years ago) but once you add rack, mudguards, lights (& dynamo) and probably the killer, a d-lock, it is well over half of 23kg. I don't know exactly how heavy it all is because I gave up flying with my bike many years ago and now only go to places accessible by surface transport. I just spent too many holidays in beautiful locations fixing the bike and wishing I could be riding instead.

Of course I would like a lighter bike and am currently accepting donations  3

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mrmo [2093 posts] 2 years ago
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alexholt3 wrote:

I'm really confused. Who has a bike that weighs half of the previous 23kg, nevermind the full 32?! That's ridiculious. Even with kit you're looking at no more than 15kg for a road bike (and that's being generous). I think my bike and all kit would come in at about 8kg...

Your thinking road bike, change tack, and this matters for Geneva more than elsewhere I think, think MTBs. My Top Fuel is around 25lbs, so c12 kgs, and that is light by current standards. 30+ lb isn't that unusual for those going to the alps for uplifts. Add a bag on top and meeting the 32kg limit is actually not very easy.

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onzadog [4 posts] 2 years ago
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Baggage handlers are not the most gentle. Claiming for damages is almost impossible. Therefore protection is important. My Evoc bike bag weights 9kg on its own. I'd love a hard case but compined with a 36 lbs mountain bike, it's not possible. With a bit more padding inside, I can just make 32kg, I had no hope at 23kg which is why I was one of the first to contact Easyjet about this change.

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racingcondor [216 posts] 2 years ago
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Yep. Went to France last year for a week and the heavies of our bags was my 7.3kg road bike in an Evoc bag. Think with a bit of padding added it was around 21kg, I have no idea how you'd meet the 23kg limit with anything other than a road bike.