I decided to bring my bicycle with me when moving abroad and it was an entirely new experience because as much as I love my bike I had never taken it with me on a trip. Thanks to a good, straightforward experience with Turkish I would not hesitate to bring it with me for a cycling trip and while I cannot speak for other carriers Turkish Airlines did a fantastic job.
When planning this scenario I had read some posts online that are almost 8 years old now. The consensus was that Turkish Airlines was not a good option for sports cargo, that they had lots of unnecessary fees and mishandled the baggage. Thankfully they either changed or it was never the case. In my experience Turkish has very clear policies and fees on their website about exactly what to expect.
First off they are clear that the bicycle needs to be properly packed in a shipping container. It would be made as small as possible and parts disassembled in order to make it fit. I invested in the THULE hard case because it offers great protection. It got plenty banged up enough that I wouldn’t recommend anything lighter if you value your bike.
National Flights are Free:
As long as your bike fits the weight limits of regular checked baggage and is in a proper container it is considered part of the baggage allowance for any domestic flight. Turkish Airlines has good weight and baggage allowances even on domestic flights. So if you have a light road bike with even a hard shell case you should be within the limits. Turkey has some amazing cycling routes and nature to explore, so this can be a fantastic idea to book flights around the country and cycle.
International Flights have Good Rates:
There are special baggage fees for each segment of the world to Turkey and these are combined for the total cost. So for instance I had two checked bags (my allowance) and I brought my bike case. Coming from North America and flying to Turkey was 60 Euros. Going from Turkey to the Middle East I paid 30 Euros, so the total cost came right around $100 USD. As far as what some airlines can charge this is a very fair rate.
Special International and National Rates:
It seems that occasionally the bicycle rate for certain international routes changes from special fees to included in the luggage allowance. For instance until Dec. 31, 2018 Prag (PRG); to Batumi (BUS), Tbilisi (TBS), Bishkek (FRU), Casablanca (CMN), Tel Aviv (TLV), Dushanbe (DYU), Delhi (DEL), Cape Town (CPT), Johannesburg (JNB), Kathmandu (KTM), Havana (HAV), Beijing (BJS) are all included in the international baggage allowance.
Some national promotions apply too: between 01 November 2018 and 30 April 2019 on flights arriving to Gazipasa (GZP) and Antalya (AYT) airports; and between 01 January 2019 and 15 November 2019 on flights arriving at Kayseri Airport (ASR), Nevsehir Airport (NAV) as well as on the return flights.
If you love the outdoors and cycling I can’t stress enough how bringing my bike has allowed me to adapt to my new home and get to know it, I will certainly be bringing it even more on travels so as to get to explore destinations further and to encourage airlines like Turkish to have good baggage rates and allowances for those who like to bring their wellbeing with them.