How Do I Get My Tandem Through The Airport Bill?

Photo shamelessly poached from Santana’s Website. Yeah, that’s Bill stoking and getting busted “doin’ biznezz’ at the same time!

Bill McCready of Santana Tandems is someone we’re fortunate enough to have spent time visiting with on two Santana tours and via countless hours on-line or on the phone.  He truly was the driving force behind the American tandem cycling renaissance that paralleled his career as a tandem enthusiast and entrepreneur / founder of Santana Cycles.  He was also a pioneer when it came to marketing and selling the tandem lifestyle and Santana’s tandem tours & rallies have long been the benchmark for tandem cycling vacations.

Of course, if you have to fly to get to one of these events the prospect of attempting to get your tandem bicycle onto an aircraft without spending hundreds of dollars or otherwise having a traumatic beginning and end to an otherwise wonderful vacation can indeed give one pause as they ask themselves: how do I do this.  Or, more to the point, cause Santana’s clients to call the home office out in LaVerne, California to ask, “How do I get my tandem through the airport Bill?”

Having been asked that question hundreds of times over the years, Bill sat down and drafted the first edition of “Bill’s Tips for Traveling.”  A plethora of information that answers just about every question a would-be traveller with a tandem in tow might ask.  As you can imagine, the earlier versions published before 9/11 and the advent of the TSA, baggage restrictions and astronomical baggage related fees is quite different from the more current revisions.

Bill recently sent me a copy of the 2014 appended to an Email from someone who had asked “the question” after Bill and Jan had recently returned from a trip to Kona for a Santana tandem rally wherein he noted:


Another uneventful check-in. Well tipped sky cap handled our 5 checked items (that included 2 tandems in SafeCases) for free. Then lead the way to oversize check in, where he tagged the bike and put it through while I pulled out my credit card and paid a “bicycle fee” of $100 .

6 items including 3 tandems for $100. YMMV.

Don’t phone the airline!!!


As he noted to Tom in reference to “Bill’s Tips for Traveling,” read it twice!  You can find Bill’s comprehensive collection of tips — and I do mean comprehensive; it’ll take a good 15 minutes to read through them twice — in three different ways:

  1. You can download the .pdf version that Bill sent to me by clicking HERE.
  2. You can find it in three parts on Santana’s Website by clicking HERE.
  3. You can call or write to Bill at Santana and I’m sure he’ll send you a copy!

Well worth your time as you plan your vacation!



About TG

I've been around a bit and done a few things, have a couple kids and a few grandkids. I tend to be curmudgeonly, matter-of-fact and not predisposed to self-serving chit-chat. Thankfully, my wife's as nice as can be otherwise we'd have no friends. My interests are somewhat eclectic, but whose aren't?
This entry was posted in Commercial Tours, Events, Tandem Rallies. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to How Do I Get My Tandem Through The Airport Bill?

  1. cbratina says:

    We have flown to Europe several times on British Air with our tandem in a Crateworks box and they never gave us any hassle or charged anything. In fact the clerk in Newark jumped over the counter to check our box after realizing it was a tandem.

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