I cannot make it any clearer than that. I have been a longtime critic of the random pricing of airline bike fees; but a recent charge I was forced to pay was unconscionable. I went down to New Orleans for a trial last week. Based on our position in the case I knew I would have some periodic free time while I was down there so I thought it was a good idea to bring the bike with me. Plus, I wanted to test out my form on the river levee-- nothing says fun like 50 miles of absolutely flat reptitive riding (sarcasm font)!!! So I boxed the bike up and took it to DCA for my morning flight. After some back and forth with the ticket agent, I was charged $200 for just my bike-- $200!!!
This was a $140 increase over the fee I paid in 2008, on the same flight, on the same plane, on the same airline. I consider this to be ridiculous. Of course I thought that this was just the latest in a long line of airline's charging random amounts for bikes for no good reason. And, that on the way back the price would fall back to the $100 range like it is on United and most other airlines. Sadly I was mistaken. I checked the US Airways website and sure enough, the bike fee is listed at $200.
I guess I should have checked the website out first and would have been spared the grotesque shock of hearing that dollar amount. However, in my wildest imagination, I did not think it could possibly be that much of an increase in such a short period of time. What is most interesting is that the bike fee is a 10x increase over their standard charge for other checked bags. I debated doing an airline-by-airline spreadsheet of charges; but I found that the fees change so regularly that it really is not worth my time to try and keep up.
Moral of thes story, check their prices online beforehand and simply do not fly US Airways. The service has always been marginal and its employees are lackluster anyways. By and large Southwest and Virgin are the best and cheapest airlines when it comes to baggage fees-- $50 each way. If possible, my goal is to limit the number of times I check my bike this year. Just means more driving for me; but to save the aggravation of fees and bike boxes I have no problems doing it.