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This page contains general informations about bike tours and traveling in the countries of New Zealand, Australia and Scotland. It may be useful for other countries as well.

Seen from Europe, Australia and New Zealand are the most distant destinations on earth. A flight to one of these countries is not only extremely long, but also expensive and sometimes painful on the transfers. Furthermore the bike transport has to be organized, this is a revelation of the service quality for an agency, airline and also the airport which is handling it. It's a good advise to check the flights and all options upfront very carefully. The tips given here are coming mostly from my own experience. But everyone should research it by itself, what's fitting best to the actual situation.
The tickets to New Zealand and Australia should be purchased very early, 6 to 9 month upfront the traveling date is a good idea, so you will have many options to choose from. The capacities of these routes are limited, in particular for the main season in December/January. The rising oil price is forcing the airlines to cut unsustainable flights and contributing to this situation. At the times when I travelled, the options and conditions were much better than nowadays. Short transfer times and free bike transports are the best examples for that. Very recommendable is a flight with an A380, it has the biggest seats with the most space in economy.
airline-direct
For a first review of available flights and airlines, a travel agency or a flight search engine is advisable. They are listing the relevant airlines, but the prices may be very different between each of them. I get good results here in germany with Airline direct and Expedia.
Expedia.de
If you found an appropriate flight on one of these pages, re-check it on the websites of the airlines directly. I had many situations, in which flights were cheaper there. With Emirates for example this is the case very often, with Lufthansa it's changing all the time.
Recently the following airlines are serving the routes Germany to Australia/New Zealand. Flight options like times, transfers and prices are varying constantly, so this overview is just for a general comparison.
emirates.de
Emirates
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 32 h, Return: 28 h via Dubai
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 30 h, Return: 28 h via Dubai
Price level on early bookings: from about 1400 - 1500 Euro
Benefit: The airport of Dubai is a major hub with great connectivity in all directions, and it's a really impressive airport. There is an all A380 connection Frankfurt/Munich - Dubai - Sydney - Auckland for Germany. In Europe this is available also from Paris, London, Manchester, Rome, Amsterdam, Spain and more. New is a direct flight between Dubai and Auckland: one of the longest flights in the world.
Downside: No alliance, members of the Skywards program can collect miles only at a few airlines, e.g. easyJet, Qantas.
Frequent flyer program: Emirates Skywards (Qantas, easyJet, TAP, Korean Air, Japan Airlines, South African Airlines, Jet Airways, jetBlue, Alaska Airlines).
Bike transport: A bike is treated like any other luggage. The baggage limit on the route Germany - New Zealand is 30 kg per person in economy class. Per each 5 kg baggage overweight 200 Euro is charged.
Lufthansa
Lufthansa in Codeshare
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 27 h via Shanghai, Return: 29 h via Hongkong (both routes in Codeshare with Lufthansa / Air New Zealand)
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 Euro
Benefit: As a member of STAR Alliance there is Codeshare with many other airlines, the connections with Air New Zealand and Singapore Airlines are adjusted excellently. Lufthansa does not fly to Australia and New Zealand any more. Because of the Codeshare with Air New Zealand there is good connectivity inside of New Zealand.
Downside: Lufthansa is not struggling from the competition, it's struggling with service quality and punctuality.
Frequent flyer program: STAR Alliance is the biggest airline alliance worldwide, so you can collect and spend miles with many different airlines inside the Miles & More program.
Bike transport: Bikes are treated as medium-sport baggage, for intercontinental flights they charge 150 Euro per piece.
Air New Zealand in Codeshare
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 30 h via Los Angeles, Return: 24 h via San Francisco (both routes in Codeshare with Lufthansa / Air New Zealand)
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 Euro
Benefit: As a member of STAR Alliance there is Codeshare with many other airlines, the connections with Lufthansa are adjusted excellently. Air New Zealand is not flying to Germany any more, the only destination to Europa is London. And of course there is excellent connectivity inside of New Zealand.
Downside: Usually a bit more expensive than others, but there is not so much difference anymore.
Frequent flyer program: STAR Alliance is the biggest airline alliance worldwide, so you can collect and spend miles with many different airlines inside the Miles & More program.
Bike transport: The baggage limit for international flights in economy is one bag with maximum 23kg. For one piece of sport luggage, 50% of the fees for an additional bag will be charged (1 piece GBP17.50). These fees apply only on flights operated by Air New Zealand and only for one way (for the return flight you have to double the fees). Clear? Not at all for me, particularly because the flights from Germany will always be operated in Codeshare with Lufthansa.
Etihad Airways
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 31 h, Return: 31 h via Abu Dhabi
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 31 h, Return: 31 h via Abu Dhabi
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 Euro
Benefit: Sometimes Etihad offers also One-Way Tickets for reasonable prices.
Downside: No alliance, miles can only be earned and spend with the Etihad Guest program and with this airline. Transfer to Auckland in Sydney or Brisbane, continuing in Codeshare with Air New Zealand or Virgin Australia.
Frequent flyer program: Etihad Guest
Bike transport: A bike is treated as normal luggage. The baggage limit is 23 kg for economy class, as basic Etihad Guest member it is 28 kg. Each kg above this limit on the route Germany - New Zealand costs 45 US-Dollar.
Singapore Airlines - A great way to fly
Singapore Airlines
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 26 h, Return: 27 h via Singapore
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 25 h, Return: 26 h via Singapore
Price level on early bookings: from about 1450 - 1500 Euro
Benefit: Top airline, always one of the best in the world in terms of quality, and not so much more expensive than others. There is an all A380 connection Frankfurt - Singapore - Sydney.
Downside: With the cheaper tarif classes you cannot earn miles with the Miles & More program.
Frequent flyer program: Member of STAR-Alliance, the Miles & More program can be used.
Bike transport: For a bike with maximum weight of 15 kg on the route Germany - New Zealand 360 Euro will be charged.
qantas_de
Qantas
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 30 h, Return: 26 h via Southeast-Asia/Australia
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 Euro
Benefit: Excellent connectivity in Australia and to New Zealand.
Since March 2013 tight cooperation with Emirates.
Downside: Two transfers are necessary, one in Southeast-Asia, the second in Australia.
Frequent flyer program: Member of Oneworld (British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Finnair and more; NEW: now also Air Berlin).
Bike transport: Qantas has always handled bike fees like normal luggage. When exceeding the baggage limit of 23 kg in economy, you can book additional luggage online before the flight cheaper compared to the Check-In counter. The fees on the ultra longhaule routes from Europa are: +5kg: 175AUD (about 142Euro); +10kg: 350AUD (about 284Euro); +15kg: 525AUD (about 426Euro).
Thai Airways
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 28 h, Return: 27 h via Bangkok
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 27 h, Return: 41 h via Bangkok
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 Euro
Benefit: Thai Airways is well known for its good service.
Downside: On the return flight to Munich there is a long transfer time overnight until noon the next day.
Frequent flyer program: STAR Alliance, but for most of the cheapest tickets no miles are granted.
Bike transport: Maximum allowance in economy is 20 kg. A bike is handled like a piece of luggage and added to the weight of the general luggage. This means you will exceed your baggage allowance most likely. Excess baggage charges (weight concept) are 1,5% of the highest published oneway ticket price per kilo.
Malaysia Airlines
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 31 h, Return: 26 h via Kuala Lumpur
Price level on early bookings: from about 1500 - 1600 Euro
Benefit: Much legroom in economy class.
Downside: Some connections are routed from Germany via Amsterdam or London.
Frequent flyer program: It's Oneworld
Bike transport: Sport baggage, which exceeds the maximum allowance of 20 kg in economy class, will be charged per piece. For the size of a bike 150 Euro on Return flights will be charged. These conditions apply only for Frankfurt.
Cathay Pacific
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 32 h, Return: 26 h via Hongkong
Price level on early bookings: from about 1600 Euro
Benefit: One of the best airlines in the world in terms of quality. Hongkong is a hub with excellent connectivity options.
Downside: Higher price level.
Frequent flyer program: It's Oneworld
Bike transport: Treated as normal luggage - 20 kg is allowed in economy class, each kg more from Germany to Australia/New Zealand is charged with 60 US-Dollar (about 47 Euro).
KLM - Royal Dutch Airlines
KLM
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 26 h via Paris/Hongkong, Return: 30 h via Kuala Lumpur/Amsterdam
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 29,5 h. via Amsterdam/Hongkong, Return: 29,5 h via Kuala Lumpur/Amsterdam
Price level on early bookings: from about 1600 Euro
Benefit: Excellent connectivity from of the merger of KLM/Air France, Oneworld membership and codeshare agreement with Air New Zealand.
Downside: Two transfers are necessary, one in Europa, the second in Asia.
Frequent flyer program: Oneworld
Bike transport: no information yet
Korean Air
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 27 h, Return: 41 h via Seoul-Incheon
Price level on early bookings: from about 1600 Euro
Benefit: Top airline, I have flown with them three times from Germany to New Zealand. Very good service, mostly in time. NEW: A380 service from Frankfurt to Seoul.
Downside: Once upon a time it was the best, fastest and cheapest connection to New Zealand, and the bike transport was for free. Sad to see, how this changed until today. It is hardly recommendable.
Frequent flyer program: It's SkyTeam, together with Air France, KLM, Delta,...
Bike transport: During my times it was for free. Meanwhile it's treated as normal luggage. Each kg above the allowance of 20 kg in economy class costs 30 Euro oneway on the route Frankfurt-Seoul-Auckland. With 10 kg above the limit this is 600 Euro on the return flight.
Air China
Shortest flight:
Frankfurt - Auckland Outbound: 27 h, Return: 28 h via Shanghai in Codeshare with Air New Zealand
Munich - Auckland Outbound: 30 h, Return: 29 h via Peking in Codeshare with Air New Zealand and Lufthansa
Price level on early bookings: heavily varying
Benefit: In many cases it's the best price for the ticket.
Downside: Good prices come at the expense of long transfer times and multiple transfers. The quality (entertainment, food, comfort) on the long haul routes doesn't seem to bee that great, as can be read here.
Frequent flyer program: Member of STAR-Alliance, the Miles & More program can be used.
Bike transport: Baggage limit is one piece with max. 23 kg in economy class. An additional piece up to 23 kg and with bike oversize (longer than 158 cm) is 550 US-Dollar (about 430 Euro) on this route.
The informations about bike transportation are incomplete, as some of the airlines have confusing rules and some informations are inconsistent. But the trend is very clear: treat bikes as normal luggage and charge for any kg above the weight limit - and sometimes also for being over the size limit. The treatment as one piece of sport bag is still there by some airlines, the question is: how long will this last? So please take into account, that bike transportation on these ultra-longhaul routes are charged with several hundreds of Euros.
Miles & More
This is another way of getting there. When enough miles are accumulated in one of the numerous frequent flyer programs, it's possible to get the flight to New Zealand or Australia from that. Miles & More is just one of them, but it offers a wide range of opportunities for earning and spending miles with many airlines.
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