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What do I do? (Problem with airline)(19 posts)

What do I do? (Problem with airline)wookieontherun
Dec 21, 2003 7:54 PM
Well, I just got to San Diego from Indiana in hopes of being able to have some really nice riding time for the next two weeks. I sent my bike below on American Airlines in a Trico Ironcase (the same one ive used for a year or so now). Well someone, airline or security, unpacked and repacked my 5200 poorly leading to some pretty significant damage. I'm taking the bike tomorrow over to my LBS in San Diego to have them write up a full damage report, but the damage includes at least a major gouge in the frame and a bending of the rear deraileur hanger. What do I do now? Does the airline bear any responsability? How do I file a claim?

Thanks for any help.

Dec 21, 2003 9:19 PM
Both AA and the TSA bear responsibility. You've already taken the first correct step--having an LBS estimate total damage. Don't be afraid to report it in the worst case scenario, either. The gouge alone might result in the end of the frame--Trek and the LBS will have to determine that. In any case, have the LBS write a detailed report include location, size and extent of the damage to the frame and components. Also, have them write a detailed description of the effects of the damage. Finally, have the estimate the current cost of replacement. Oh, and contact Trek for their advice/thoughts.

At the same time, contact your homeowner's/renter's insurer to file a claim. Follow that up with immediate claims with AA and TSA; you'll have to talk with the local AA office at baggage claim at Lindberg. I'm not sure about TSA, but approach one of their people and ask to speak to a supervisor. In both cases, present them with the LBS's damage estimate and be forceful but polite. Stand your groud--non riders rarely understand the value of a modern bike. ...Just be prepared...both will most likely blame the other. If AA accepts responsibility, you're more likely to get a quick settlement. If it's TSA, be prepared for a long, belabored battle--I work for the Federal Gov't and they don't do ANYTHING fast or easy.

I'm sorry to hear about this. It f-in sucks, no doubt. I'm in SD--which LBS are you going to? B & L in Solana Beach and Holland's in Coronado are my two favorite Trek dealers. There is a Trek store here, but I don't think too highly of them. Oh, and B & L and/or Nytro can probably set you up with a rental for the next couple of weeks.

Good luck,
Dec 21, 2003 9:58 PM

Thank's so much for your reply. I'm taking it over to B&L, I love those guys. I'm hoping that its cosmetic mainly and that the 5200 is still ridable. The worst part about this is that im a 23 year old college student who is struggling to build his own recording studio too, so money is not too easy to come by right now. A lot of PB and J and Grilled Cheese getting eaten to save the pennies. It took me forever to save for this bike, and it's been my baby.

Thank you so much for your help.

Dec 22, 2003 8:46 AM
hey Jonny,

that really sucks about your bike. my only experience with a claim to an airline was to US Air when someone opened my suitcase and either took stuff or stuff fell out. I have to say that US Air was quick and reasonable with the claim. hope AA is the same for you.

I've got a couple questions for you (which have nothing to do with your claim):
1. when you checked your bike did you tell them it was a bike?
if so, did they charge you to put it on the plane?
2. did you have the case locked?

the reason i ask is i'm heading out to SD in a couple weeks for a meeting and i'm planning on bringing my bike. in the past i have just labeled the bike case "Display Materials" and when asked told whomever that the box contained an easle and display materials for a scientific conference. this was usually accepeted without question and i was not charged the "bike fee" of $100. but with the added security i'm hesitant to lie....

anyway, good luck with your claim. be insistant and a pain in their @ss and you will likely get compensation.

Dec 22, 2003 8:53 AM
They knew right away it was a bike. Being from Indiana and seeing a ton of these due to Little 5 traveling teams they knew right away. So I paid the 80 bucks. (it's only 80 for AA)
Dec 22, 2003 10:10 AM
that makes sense. in NC (where i told them it was display materials) they don't see a lot of bikes going through the airport and in SD on my return they just didn't seem to care.

Don't lie........Dave Hickey
Dec 22, 2003 9:02 AM
I'm in the industry. The TSA is getting serious about goods declared improperly. Go the the airport and request that the TSA inspect your bike while you're present. They will put a TSA seal on the case so it won't be opened while you're not there. If you lock the case, they will break the lock.
Don't lie........wookieontherun
Dec 22, 2003 9:33 AM
I never knew they could inspect while i was present. If I had known that I definately would have done that. I'll update when I have the damage report from B & L.
It depends on the airport but almost all have TSADave Hickey
Dec 22, 2003 10:10 AM
inspectors right by the ticket counter. Most of the ones I've dealt with are very friendly. Before you check the bike, walk up and tell them you want a voluntary inspection. It won't guarantee that it won't be inspected later but with a TSA seal already on the box, it's doubtful they'll inspect it again.
good advice. thanks._rt_
Dec 22, 2003 10:13 AM
i figured they'd break a lock, but i didn't realize that you could request an inspection.

i guess since your tax dollars are paying for me to go to SD i can cough up the extra $$ to fly my bike out there. ;)

Another optionsn69
Dec 22, 2003 9:46 AM
rt, if you're going to be staying with someone while you're here in SD, I'd also recommend shipping the bike ahead of you rather than checking it as baggage. In fact, many LBSs offer their shipping account at cost for frequent customers. ...It saves the hassle of dealing with the TSA goons.

Wookie--let us know how it turns out. Hopefully I'll see you on PCH riding in the next couple of weeks (look for the guy on the blue Dean).
Another optionwookieontherun
Dec 22, 2003 10:05 AM
Who knows what bike I'll be on, but usually I'm in my Indiana University kit, as a matter of fact its almost the only clothing i wear since it is so damn cheap from IU and its so comfy
i've thought of that but..._rt_
Dec 22, 2003 10:06 AM
i'm planning on taking my FS mtb and i'd have to ship it out a week ahead of time but i'm scheduled to to a 50 mile epic 3 days before i head out of town (which i'd like to have my FS for) so i'm stuck between a rock and a hard place (hardtail?! hehe)

good idea though. i might end up just sucking it up shipping the FS and doing the epic on my HT.

if you bought the ticket with your CCSadlebred
Dec 22, 2003 9:40 AM
Most Airlines limit liability to something ridiculously small ($1500 seems to stick into my head). If you paid for the ticket with your credit card, you may have additional baggage insurance through your credit card company. Give them a call. I'd be hesitant to claim a damaged bike on my homeowners because of the possiblity of increased rates or the company dropping you.
if you bought the ticket with your CCwookieontherun
Dec 22, 2003 10:06 AM
It would actually go on my parents homeowners insurance and with the value of their house and their premiums i don't think the issue of a company raising or dropping them will be anything to worry about.
re: What do I do? (Problem with airline)Dorf411
Dec 22, 2003 7:29 AM
What size do you ride? If 62cm I might be able to help.
re: What do I do? (Problem with airline)wookieontherun
Dec 22, 2003 8:54 AM
heheh, i ride a 56 though the more i ride the more i continue to feel i should probably be riding a 54, but im right inbetween the two sizes
Hey I ride a 62 nmbigrider
Dec 22, 2003 10:22 AM
Initial Followupwookieontherun
Dec 23, 2003 9:33 AM
Well, Just talked to B&L last night, going to pick up the bike today. Looks like the work is mostly cosmetic and the frame is structurally ok. Also the rear shifter cable needed to be replaced due to a bend in the housing from the way they repacked it, but that's no big deal. All in all the damage estimate is 3-400 dollars. Time to file claims against the TSA and AA and see what happens. Honestly I don't expect anything to get done, but it's worth a shot. I plan on sending my frame back to trek after this vacation and having them repaint it. Who knows, maybe as long as I'm having them repaint it ill have them do a project one job on it!

Trying to look on the brite side.