While some of the airlines are talking green, they are simultaneous working to undermine green choices by their customers!
In the dark of winter, the airlines have effectively increased cost of a trans-Atlantic ticket for a bicyclist by as much as $300. If the base ticket price is $900 that is over a 30% increase in the cost of travel.
Prior to January of 2007 most airlines let bicycles on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights fly free, in lieu of one piece of baggage (as long as they were within the two-bag limit and underweight limit of 30kg). Early in 2007, most of the world’s airlines seem to have entered into collusion and simultaneously changed their baggage regulations for bicycles. By February of 2007 the regulations, for most airlines, call for all bicycles being charged on these flights. The charges range from $80 to $160 each way -- $160 to $320 roundtrip!
It is not a weight issues because many of their lean bicycling customers plus their bikes are going to weigh less than many of their other customers without any bags. It is not a size issue because today’s modern airplanes can, and have, easily accommodated bicycles. And, if is a bottom line issue, the airlines are delusional, because there aren’t enough bikes flying to make a visible difference in there revenue.
The work around for the bicyclists is not as easy as renting a bike at their destinations. There are very few rental bikes available in the world that are suitable for serious environmentally-friendly, multi-day, long distance, bike touring.
For more information on flying with a bicycle see www.ibike.org.
I understand that sometimes if you want to get to a particular place, it is simplest to fly, especially for those of us who work regular jobs, which don't come with much vacation time these days. But air is possibly the most environmentally-devastating way to travel, so I'd suggest that if it is possible, go there by train.
For overseas trips there's little choice, but boat travel will probably make a comeback as fuel prices continue to climb, and global warming effects become more in-your-face. But explore the possibilities. Trains can be wonderful (though in the western US they seem never to run on time), and there are still passenger freighters that will take you across the ocean in a more adventuresome way than any flying cigar tube can.
And door-to-door bike touring rocks, if you've got the time!