We think the airlines' bike carrying fees are egregious. $100 to $200 tariffs to bring your bike along on a trip are insane, not to mention discouraging to a healthy lifestyle. So, although we're not recommending the following and cannot guarantee that the "mistake" is foolproof, several people we know have shipped their bikes on United Airlines for $20 each way:
These cyclists checked-in at the United self-help kiosk and mistakenly assumed that their bike qualified as their "first bag checked". United's fee for checking the first bag is $20.