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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    home
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    F*ck American airlines.

    Had planned a bikepacking trip in Spain for last week. Delayed flight made us miss connection to Spain, but ticket agent worked her magic and got us a flight right into Bilbao. She assured us bikes would make it. They didn’t. They never even made it to Spain (stuck in France). Luckily they were found (I had an airtag in my bike bag) and arrived home before I did. When I open my bag I found a brake lever snapped in half and a crack in my seat stay (carbon frame). Have filed a claim but not super optimistic. Just want to let others know.




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    Perfer et obdura, hic dolor olim utior tibi. -Ovid

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
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    Boulder
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    Bummer man. Air travel (especially with bikes) is a shit show right now. Hope you get it sorted.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Sep 2005
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    29,527
    Fuck American Airlines for sure, that sucks. That said, I don't know if there is an airline that doesn't suck.
    "fuck off you asshat gaper shit for brains fucktard wanker." - Jesus Christ
    "She was tossing her bean salad with the vigor of a Drunken Pop princess so I walked out of the corner and said.... "need a hand?"" - Odin
    "I'd eat a bag of Dicks and wash it down with a Coke any day." - iceman

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    2,505
    If you bought from a LBS, grab a box of doughnuts, go down to the shop and have them print you a backdated reciept for MSRP plus markup for that sucker. profit??? Also, dont airlines comp you the price of rental skis when they lose your skis... why wouldnt they comp the price of a rental bike till the buy you a new frame? Demo a few new ones to help decide which one to buy with your airline money.

    Make lemonade out of that lemon of situation.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    3,624
    Vibes man, that really blows.

    Couple buddies have experienced this in the past year with Delta. One arrived in Switzerland with his Ibis rear triangle smashed (both seat stays), the other had his gravel bike forked shattered. In both cases Delta told them to fuck off as their bikes were in Evoc bike bags which are apparently not considered sturdy enough by the airline (there's a disclaimer somewhere when you buy a ticket about that, only hardcases are OK). They both had receipts for the bikes and were both told to eat it as there's a limit on liability for luggage, I want to say $1500 or so. They both got that much after getting a bike shop to certify that the damage was not repairable. Took months but they eventually were made more or less whole, as in bought a new fork or rear triangle for less than the money they got. But they didn't get to ride their bikes for months because of the incident.

    Flying with bikes is terrifying. I personally took to removing cassette, pedals, basically anything easy to get off that is heavy, and maxing the weight of the bike bag using high density foam I get from work which I've cut to shape to protect anything that is fragile (brake levers, shifter, etc), that sticks out, or that can be compressed (rigid foam between seatstays, etc...). It's a bitch to pack the first time but I have it pretty dialed now and so far the bike has been fine. Delta has done its best to fuck it up though, the Evoc bag has been on 3 international trips and looks like it's been recovered from the tomb of some ancient ruler then systematically ran over with large vehicles.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2013
    Location
    An Anheuser-Busch Barley Field
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    5,793
    Would much rather ship my bike in a crate than risk some luggage jockey molesting it.


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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    The land of Genesee Cream Ale and homemade pierogies!
    Posts
    1,997
    Bummer. Options for next time:

    - Ship to a local (local to your destination) bike shop. Of course you have to research this, some of the your-oh-peon bike websites will be a good place to start.

    - Insurance if you ship by AA. Allianz is the best out there, quick settlement they could reimburse you the same day you arrive and find out there's a damage claim. Don't buy through the AA website (at the end of the booking process where they prompt you), go to www.allianztravelinsurance.com after you book flight. Check that the one-time policy you sign up for includes skis, bikes, golf clubs, surf boards, fishing rods etc., etc.

    - Edit to add, certain credit cards (AMEX in particular) have some supplementary travel insurance. Check the card you booked with. AMEX used to cover sporting equipment, haven't checked in a while -- Allianz is my go to -- but they used to list things like boche ball gear, butterfly nets, pool cues, bowling balls (imagine you're a championship bowler and the airline destroyed or lost your balls!), table tennis gear, ... it was a real interesting list to read through.

    https://www.allianztravelinsurance.com/travel/planning/how-to-travel-with-sports-equipment.htm
    Last edited by Nobody Famous; 08-09-2022 at 07:49 PM. Reason: AMEX
    “The best argument in favour of a 90% tax rate on the rich is a five-minute chat with the average rich person.”

    - Winston Churchill, paraphrased.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Location
    The Fish
    Posts
    4,146
    Bikes are big and bulky and a pain in the ass for baggage handlers so they are gonna treat them like shit. Pack your bikes accordingly.

    That being said sorry for your losses and that for sure sucks, travel insurance?
    a positive attitude will not solve all of your problems, but it may annoy enough people to make it worth the effort

    Formerly Rludes025

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    home
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    Claim filed with AA, the lbs I used to work gave me a generous quote, so now just waiting to hear from airline.

    Bike was well packed in evoc bag with soft stuff all around to protect it but tsa just chucked everything back in without strapping anything back up.

    Will check on travel ins. And definitely will look into shipping next time. Thx for advice.


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    Perfer et obdura, hic dolor olim utior tibi. -Ovid

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    between campus and church
    Posts
    8,779

    F*ck American airlines.

    This just sucks, Laps. I thought it was bad enough your bike trip was a bust but then to have your ride come back in pieces is just icing on the turd cake.

    Good luck with pursuing AA for your expenses.

    Oh and TSA sucks too (sorry MNIAW).

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Dec 2002
    Location
    cow hampshire
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    7,375
    Ah shit. That sucks.

    I've shipped via bikeflights without issues for whatever that's worth. Vacation travel you obviously need a safe place to ship to, so that may be an issue.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    2,505
    Quote Originally Posted by Laps View Post
    Bike was well packed in evoc bag with soft stuff all around to protect it but tsa just chucked everything back in without strapping anything back up.
    Oof. Thats really rough. No matter how well you pack something, if TSA searches your bag, no way they bother repacking in a halfway decent manner.


    Another possible option is to blow the airline up on Social Media. Tag the shit out of them in twitter, facebook and instagram posts, with pictures and the story, a few times a day for a few weeks. Also tag people with larger followings so your posts get more views. Might catch the attention of someone there and they might just pay you what youre owed to fuck off.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    And today I tested positive for Covid!!


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    Perfer et obdura, hic dolor olim utior tibi. -Ovid

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Ogden
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    7,908
    Holy shit Evoc cases are pricey.

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
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    SLC burbs
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    Holy shit Evoc cases are pricey.
    Yeah the soft cases cost an arm and a leg with no guarantee the bike will come out in one piece which isn't super enticing.
    They're the only option to fly a MTB while staying under the weight limit though, rigid cases are probably much safer but definitely > 50 lbs (meaning mucho $$$). At least with Delta bikes fly as regular pieces of luggage if they're under that weight so the surcharge is only for a 2nd bag ($100 for international).
    Seems like all the EWS bros fly around with soft cases, they must spend a lot of time fearing for their bikes.
    "Your wife being mad is temporary, but pow turns do not get unmade" - mallwalker the wise

  16. #16
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Posts
    3
    I've been lucky flying AA with my Evoc Pro bag this summer even after witnessing the bag being slammed around. My family travels with two bikes and neither have been damaged inside of the bag. Both bikes are size XL 160/150mm trail bikes with tire inserts and total packed bag weight of 53ish lbs. AA marks them as heavy but have not charged any additional fees. I remove the handle bars and disconnect the derailleur but no real additional padding. The Evo Pro is expensive but after several international and domestic round trips we have yet to experience a failure of protection.

    The majority of pros I know, or have witnessed, use cardboard bike boxes on the reg.

    American Airlines Sucks.

  17. #17
    Join Date
    May 2016
    Posts
    2,101
    This is one reason I hiked the Colorado trail and didn't bike pack.
    Any mags in New England need a hard sided bike flight case I have one to loan. I bought it at a yard sale and have yet to use it.
    It's not just the airline's fault, also TSA.
    Good luck on the claim.
    I have made a claim with skis and got some money back but it took a very long time.
    Time to start running!

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    I <heart> hot tele-moms

  18. #18
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Location
    Land of Brine Shrimp and Magic Underwear
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    6,318
    Dang, flying to Croatia Sunday on Delta/Air France with two bikes with Dakine bags. Steel hardtails at least so they're tough. Fingers crossed!
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  19. #19
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    Oct 2003
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaterdit View Post
    Dang, flying to Croatia Sunday on Delta/Air France with two bikes with Dakine bags. Steel hardtails at least so they're tough. Fingers crossed!
    Fkna, you’re going to have a blast. Enjoy!

  20. #20
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    Fkna, you’re going to have a blast. Enjoy!
    Thanks, excited! Not super stressed about the bikes but seeing threads like this gives me a little anxiety. We're gonna do at least part of the Adriatic Crest trail, 100 miles, maybe more. Kinda more focused on R&R for this trip. Looks like good riding all around Rijeka where we'll be based out of though.
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  21. #21
    Join Date
    Mar 2004
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    home
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    1,475

    F*ck American airlines.

    I think a direct flight to destination in Europe is key…if you don’t get rerouted like I did.

    Running would be easier…but nowhere near as fun!

    Filed with American, maybe I’ll hear something someday. Might go through homeowners ins instead.


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    Perfer et obdura, hic dolor olim utior tibi. -Ovid

  22. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2003
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    Ogden
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    Quote Originally Posted by beaterdit View Post
    Thanks, excited! Not super stressed about the bikes but seeing threads like this gives me a little anxiety. We're gonna do at least part of the Adriatic Crest trail, 100 miles, maybe more. Kinda more focused on R&R for this trip. Looks like good riding all around Rijeka where we'll be based out of though.
    That area is fucking awesome. Rijeka and Rovinj were two of my favorite spots. Eat lots of truffles and olive oil.

  23. #23
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
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    Land of Brine Shrimp and Magic Underwear
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    Quote Originally Posted by Laps View Post
    I think a direct flight to destination in Europe is key…if you don’t get rerouted like I did.

    Running would be easier…but nowhere near as fun!

    Filed with American, maybe I’ll hear something someday. Might go through homeowners ins instead.


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    Didn't work out for our departure flight, ended up SLC->DFW->Paris->Ljubljana, Slovenia. Returning we at least get a direct flight from Paris-> SLC, still one connection though. Seemed like insurance specifically for bikes for the trip was prohibitively expensive and limited in coverage so homeowners will be my plan if something happens and the airlines don't pony up. Fingers crossed!

    Sorry about your experience, That really sucks. Sometimes jealous of people who enjoy running, and can do it, for this reason. I used to but my knees really don't let me anymore. Also, I just love riding bikes!

    Quote Originally Posted by zion zig zag View Post
    That area is fucking awesome. Rijeka and Rovinj were two of my favorite spots. Eat lots of truffles and olive oil.
    Will do for sure!
    There's nothing better than sliding down snow... flying through the air.

  24. #24
    Join Date
    Dec 2020
    Posts
    454
    I operate a bike brand as my day job - we ship a lot of bikes and I fly with a lot of bikes for events and personal travel. It's a total crapshoot whether you're flying with or shipping bikes. We've had stuff damaged either way.

    If I'm using a cardboard box I line the sides with extra cardboard, use a piece of cardboard between the wheel and frame, and cover every inch of frame and handlebar w/ pipe foam (just normal stuff from home depot). Zip tie everything together so if TSA takes it out it's all one piece and they can't put it back in "wrong". I also take off the RD on AXS bikes and wrap it in foam and zip tie it into the frame triangle (battery out).

    I've been using a Scicon case for my road bike recently, which is pretty awesome in that bars and seatpost stay in place and the bike is bolted into the frame of the case. TSA can unzip it, inspect, and zip it back up without playing Tetris. The bags aren't cheap, but if any Mags want one PM me.

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