The world’s largest individually timed cycle race is just a few weeks away and this year, over 35 000 cyclists will be taking on the 109km challenge. Getting your bike on the plane sounds like a mission but is pretty simple really- check out our fail-safe guide for getting you and your bike to Cape Town on time and ready to win. Just have a scroll below to your relevant carrier to check out the bike freight costs, particularities and procedures.
Featured Image above courtesy of SA Tourism via Flickr
Flying with your bike
Airlines will ask you to sign a “Limited Release Tag” which indemnifies them from any loss or damage to your bike or packaging. You will need to keep this tag after checking in your bike, and take it with in order to collect your bike. Most airlines advise you take out personal insurance on your bike for extra peace of mind, though of course care will be taken not to damage your bike.
The Cape Town Cycle tour advises you to book your flight as early as possible to secure your spot. When booking your flight it’s best to phone the airline and let them know that you will be bringing a bicycle along too. Most carriers prefer that you drop it off a few days in advance. You will also need to consider your mode of transport from Cape Town International Airport– a small hatchback rental can fit one bike and some luggage but you’ll need to hire a larger vehicle for bigger groups of cyclists.
Packing your bike
Image courtesy of Kane Bikes
Packing this expensive and beloved piece of equipment requires some forethought. All of the domestic carriers in South Africa advise that bikes must be securely packed and placed in a bike box or bag. These special boxes or bags are obtainable from most bike outlets. This type of packaging prevents your bike from possible damage.
Mango’s guide to packing your bike
- Clearly mark your name, contact details, flight number and Mango booking reference number.
- No bubble wrapping and or plastic wrapping will be accepted as the only form of packaging.
- Turn handlebars parallel with the frame, remove pedals or turn inward, deflate tyres and put the seat down.
- Remove and transport all electronic equipment separately.
- Please note that CO2 canisters (compressed air cartridges) are considered ‘Dangerous Goods’. Thus only 2 canisters per person are allowed as hand luggage on the plane. No CO2 canisters will be allowed in checked- in luggage. The current Terms and Conditions pertaining to the refusal and limitation of carriage shall apply.
- All bikes will be subject to a security check. Mango suggest you ensure that you have keys to unlock all bags and boxes and bring sufficient tape to securely tape-up your bike once the security check is completed.
- No wheels, rims, frames and any other equipment that don’t comply with the iata hand luggage dimensions and weight allowances will be allowed on board.
- Your bike doesn’t form part of your checked baggage
- Mango guarantee that your bike will be at the collection point within four (4) days of dropoff
- Access to online bike tracking capabilities via the BidAir Cargo website
- You can pay with debit or credit cards
Mango will fly your bike at a cost of R300 one way to Cape Town and/or back (tandem bikes at a cost of R350 one way to Cape Town and/or back) when paid through Mango’s Call Centre, or on www.flymango.com. When paid at the Airport Guest Service desks, the cost will be R365 one way to Cape Town and/or back (tandem bikes at a cost of R400.00 one way). This charge is over and above your airfare.
Please note that no payments will be accepted for your bike at the various Airport Argus drop-off points instead payment for transporting of bikes are to be done at the various Airport Guest Services desks, www.flymango.com or by dialling 086 100 1234 from anywhere in South Africa.
At the time of booking your flight, inform the Call Centre agent that you wish to take your bike to Cape Town. You can call the Mango call centre between 07:00 and 21:00 daily to add your bike to your flight booking and pay for your bike by dialling 086 100 1234 from anywhere in South Africa.
Important to note
SAA Codeshare guests may only pay for their bikes at the Mango Guest Services desks. Mango can’t guarantee your bike will be carried on the same flight as you. It takes up to four (4) days for the bikes to be shipped from Cape Town back to the various destinations. Don’t travel long distances to collect your bike unless you have received confirmation that your bike has arrived. This will be done by way of SMS or a call to inform you that your bike is ready for collection alternatively you are welcome to contact the relevant BidAir Warehouse or track your bike via the BidAir Cargo website, www.bidaircargo.com, by using the waybill number. For bikes arriving into Lanseria, the Lanseria airport staff can be contacted.
Please ensure you have the proof of payment for transportation of your bike, a booking confirmation and your valid ID document/Driver’s License or Passport. No bikes will be accepted unless proof of payment has been verified.
Book with British Airways!
Cost: Free of charge!
SA Express will transport passengers’ bicycles free of charge to and from Bloemfontein, Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth and Walvis Bay for the period from the 05th March to the 10th March .
All bicycles will only be accepted on a space available basis, cyclists will be asked to sign a limited release tag. It could happen that the number of bicycles is too much to accommodate on one flight and will then be forwarded on the next flight.
Packing of bicycles for transportation:
SA Express requires the following to ensure that your bicycle arrives undamaged at its destination. Bicycles need to be packed in cycle boxes or cases, the bicycle boxes are obtainable from bicycle outlets. SA Express will not accept liability for bicycles that are not properly packed.
Please ensure that all contact details are clearly applied to the box or cycle container:
1. Your name
2. Address in Cape Town.
3. Contact details –cell numbers
- Handle bars need to be turned parallel to the frame. Pedals should be turned inwards or removed and packed separately.
- All bicycle tyres must be checked in and will not be accepted as hand baggage due to the capacity of the aircraft.
- All bicycles boxes will be screened and may be opened for searches by the airport authorities.
Arrival Cape Town Airport:
Passengers must collect bicycles together with their other luggage at the baggage carousel upon arrivals. In previous years the area for collection was outside of the arrivals terminal. In the event of a missing bag/bike please proceed to the baggage enquiries office.
Passengers will be checked in as normal at counters 15/16. The bicycle will be tagged and passengers will then proceed to the out of gauge area situated next to the security check point.
Departure Cape Town:
It is advisable for passenger to be at the airport 90 minutes before scheduled departure.
Close off for the acceptance of bicycles will be 45 min prior to departure to facilitate the handling of the bicycles and to avoid potential delays to scheduled departures. Once the bicycle is tagged the client will be requested to proceed to the ground floor where the bicycles and bicycle tyres will be handed in at the out of gauge baggage area. SA Express or Swissport staff will escort the clients to the out of gauge area. SA Express staff will be available at the counters 9-11 to assist with any queries.
All other airports:
Normal procedures on arrivals and departures. Please be at the airport 90 minutes prior to the schedule departure of your flight to allow sufficient time for the handling of your bicycle.
South African Airways (SAA)
Please remember to inform the reservations agent or your travel agent that your bicycle will be accompanying you at time of reservation. Your bicycle MUST be confirmed in reservations as there is a limit on the number of bicycles that are carried per aircraft. The SAA Reservations Department can be contacted on: 0861 606 606.
Your bicycle will be transported to and from Cape Town at a handling fee of R350.00. Payments can be made directly at the SAA Airport office and Pick n Pay including VAT per flight sector, to and from Cape Town.
The applicable bicycle charge will be valid for transportation:
07 – 11 March 2017 to Cape Town
11 – 18 March 2017 from Cape Town
When making payment, please remember to advise the cashier on the amount of bicycles and sectors you will be paying for.
Passengers are advised that, when paying the handling fee at Pick n Pay, a voucher will be generated: this will serve as proof of payment. This voucher must be presented when handing the bicycle/s to SAA for transportation.
For International passengers, the handling fee payment may be made on departure and passengers will receive an EMD, this will serve as proof of payment. The EMD must be presented when handing the bicycle/s to SAA for transportation.
Please note, that this fee is non-refundable.
You can pay the handling fee at a Pick n Pay store or at the airport SAA Ticket Sales and Reservations desks. Payment is applicable to all Argus participants travelling on SAA flights.
When packing your bike take note that the carriage of bicycle tyres in the overhead compartment of the aircraft will not be permitted.
As per IATA Dangerous Goods Regulations SAA may allow a maximum of four small cylinders, containing carbon dioxide or other suitable gas in Division 2.2, per person. The water capacity may not exceed 50ml per cylinder. Due to the number of bicycles we are accepting SAA will limit these to two cylinders per bicycle.
Departing – OR Tambo International Airport
Cyclists departing from Johannesburg must check-in their bicycles at counter B42 at least 90 minutes prior to departure. The closing time for bicycles acceptance during this period is 45 minutes prior to departure.
The customer and bicycle will travel on the same aircraft hence the importance to ensure that the bicycle is confirmed in the booking. Cycles not confirmed will only be accepted on a standby basis subject to space availability.
Arrival at OR Tambo International Airport
Bicycles will be delivered to the normal baggage arrivals area where it must be collected immediately with other baggage. SAA will not store any bicycle or accept liability for unclaimed bicycles.
Departing Cape Town International
Cyclists departing from Cape Town must check-in with their bicycles at the check-in counters at least 90 minutes prior to departure. The closing time for bicycle acceptance during this period is 45 minutes prior to departure.
The customer and bicycle will travel on the same aircraft hence the importance to ensure that the bicycle is confirmed in the booking. Bicycles not confirmed will only be accepted on a standby basis subject to space availability.
Arrival Cape Town International
Bicycles will be delivered to the normal baggage arrivals area where it must be collected immediately with other baggage. SAA will not store any bicycle or accept liability for unclaimed bicycles
Normal handling procedures will apply. You are requested to check-in at least one hour and thirty minutes prior to departure of your flight. Passengers travelling on the Mango code share must refer to the Mango guide lines above.
Guidelines for international travellers:
International customers must clear their bicycles at first port of entry and proceed to Terminal B counter B42 at OR Tambo International Airport for acceptance.
Due to the capacity of SA Airlink’s aircrafts there is a limit on how many bicycles Airlink can carry at a time. The following aircraft types are restricted as follows: J41 – 2 bicycles, ERJ – 3 bicycles and RJ85 – 6 bicycles.
Cyclists are allowed to include their sporting equipment in the free baggage allowance applicable to the class in which they will be travelling. The airline will not accept liability for damage if they are not suitably packed. Sporting equipment in excess of the applicable free baggage allowance will be charged in accordance with the current baggage policy.
You will receive a Free Baggage Allowance of 15kg per passenger. To ensure acceptance of such at the airport, a facility is offered whereby this may be pre-booked as a Special Service Requirement in respect of Sports Equipment (SSR SPEQ) through your travel agent or through the SA AIRLINK Reservations Help-Desk on Tel +27 11 451 7350. (The additional free 20kgs for sporting equipment is valid on South African Airways flights only)
If you are a South African Airways Voyager card holder whereby an additional free baggage allowance shall apply in the following categories; Platinum = additional 30kg; Gold = additional 20kg and Silver = additional 10kg.
Flysafair have a policy that the bike travels with the passenger and at no stage does the passenger travel without their bike. Bikes will also be collected at the baggage collection area.
Bikes carried as sports equipment at R280.00 per bike per flight.
Bikes must be disassembled and packed according to aircraft requirements and checked in no later than 90 minutes prior to departure.
R350 one way bike handling fee.
Pay the bike handling fee before your departure and bike drop off date (credit card payments only).
Call 0861 585 852 daily between 7am and 7pm to pay and book.
Once payment has been received your bike handling receipt will be mailed to you and this will serve as proof of payment.
kulula recommends that you place your bike on your private insurance to ensure optimum peace of mind.
Leave early for the airport to allow for enough time to drop your bike off at the cargo station.
For OR Tambo and King Shaka Airports
Drop it off between the 6th and the 11th of March 2017.
Pick it up post race by the 18th of March.
Contact your relevant pick up station before leaving to collect your bike.
At bike drop off and collection you must produce your flight booking confirmation or reference number, bike handling receipt received via email, valid proof of ID (passport or driver’s licence) depending on the airport you will receive a waybill and/or a limited release tag – keep both as proof of bike drop-off.
When packing your bike
- Don’t lock or seal your bike bag or box until until after security has checked and accepted it.
- The seat must be fully lowered.
- Turn the handlebars parallel to the frame.
- Leave the front wheel attached.
- Remove or turn the pedals inwards.
- Deflate your tyres (do not inflate with nitrogen).
- Your bike must be placed in a bike bag or box or wrapped in bubble wrap which can be sourced from BidAir Cargo.
- Bicycle inflation pumps filled with division 2.2 Carbon Dioxide non-flammable gas will be accepted for transportation as checked baggage only. The maximum amount is limited to four 16 gram cartridges per customer. Please declare this when checking in for your flight.
- Wheel bags cannot be carried as hand luggage and need to be checked into the hold. The standard checked baggage allowance will apply.
- Should an extra baggage fee apply you can either pay R290 online or R385 at the airport.
- Spare wheels need to be packed properly before check in, at check-in they’ll be tagged with a limited release tag.
- You’re allowed to carry speedometers and other electronic equipment in your hand luggage (as long as it doesn’t exceed the carry-on allowance).
If you’re flying from East London or George airport, call the kulula contact centre to make transport arrangements for your bike.
OR Tambo International Airport drop off
Bikes will be accepted from the 6th -11th March 2017.
Monday to Friday 7am to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday from 7am to 5pm
All bikes must be dropped off at the Oversized Baggage or “Out of Gauge” drop-off/ point at OR Tambo International Airport on the check-in level.
At bike drop-off you’ll need to produce:
- Your bike handling fee receipt
- Confirmation of flight booking
- Valid ID, passport or Driver’s Licence
You’ll receive a “limited release” when dropping off your bike. Keep this safe and present it upon collection of your bike in Cape Town.
Collection procedure at Cape Town International Airport
Bikes checked in with kulula will be delivered to Cape Town from 6th -11th March 2017
Post Cycle Race
You’ll need to collect your bike between the 12th and 18th of March to avoid having to pay a storage fee.
Please allow kulula 2-3 days for your bike to make the journey back to its destination from Cape Town.
Before leaving to collect it from the airport it is very important to check that it is there. Call 011 367 0470 to find out from your respective pick-up cargo station whether your bike is ready for collection.
You’ll be able to track your bike on the BidAir Cargo website.
Useful numbers if you need more info:
Contact at the BidAir Cargo Cape Town Int Office
021 935 6100
Multi Story Parkade at Cape Town International
083 283 8829
OR Tambo International Airport
011 978 3733
011 978 5876
Baggage Handling Officer
Cape Town International Airport
Travelstart can’t wait to see your flying finish, happy flying!