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United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay.
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Damage: Two broken wheels (carbon fairings have punctured holes and cracks), a broken bike stem, broken front brake housing on the frame, impacted front brakes, broken bearings, and sliced front brake cable.

Caution to those flying with your bikes... I flew United who damaged it on two different flights and refuse to pay for any bike damages what-so-ever. I wanted to share my experience flying with my bike from Houston to Boulder this past weekend just in case you may be in a position to make a less costly decision in the future.

First and foremost racing the Boulder 70.3 was an amazingly beautiful experience and I highly recommend the race to anyone. Unfortunately Ironman selected a local bike support company, Colorado Multisport, for all bike services. Because Ironman selected them, no other bike transport company was allowed to take your bike up to the race. I checked with 4 different companies who said they would trailer my bike up to the race but couldn't do so because they wouldn’t go against Ironman's wishes. Since Colorado Multisport doesn't transport bikes (just assemble/disassemble/maintenance), this left me with two options. Either I ship the bike or carry it with me on the plane. Since I did not have a bike box, I opted to ship the bike months before the race. Approximately 8 days before the race, I went to Houston’s Bike Barn store off of Wesleyan who was going to disassemble the bike and package it for $50 (very good price). But I had to pay for shipping. UPS wanted $450 for round trip which included leaving me without a bike for 7-10 days after the trip. After going through heart failure, the manager at Bike barn talked some sense into me and suggested that I may as well buy a bike bag for the same price, fly with it, and break even this trip but walk away with a bike bag versus nothing. I was happier with that decision. He highly recommended the Evoc soft shell bike bag because the owner of Bike Barn flew with it multiple times. After his suggestion, I went home to research the bag - I couldn't find one bad review on it and there were an enormous amount of great reviews on the award winning bike bag. The bike bag allows you to keep most of your bike intact, removing just your headset, wheels, and pedals. The wheels had two very padded sections on both sides of the bag with supportive bars. Before flying, I super padded the bike frame inside and added 7 very large labels all over the bag that said "fragile" and "please do not stack items on this bag."

I flew United - $100 for the bike bag (each way). The bike went through a special luggage department to deal specifically for bikes. When I landed in Colorado, the bike bag went straight to Colorado Multisport for assembly ($115). I picked up the bike the next day (day before race). That evening, I noticed that the carbon fairings in both wheels were punctured and damaged. This meant that the bike bag had to be heavily impacted on both sides of the bag. After an emergency call to my bike guy, James McCowen at Houston Cycling Centres, I stuck electrical tape over the holes and cracks in the carbon and raced the next morning (hitting speeds over 40mph).

After the race, I repackaged the bike back in the bike bag, making sure it was overly-padded. After picking up the bag from United in Houston, I rechecked the bag and discovered that TSA inspected my bag, moved items around, and did not repackage and pad the bike correctly. I found loose bike parts in the bottom of the bag and I didn't know where they were from - I later discovered that my stem was cracked, brakes were compacted, bearings broken, and front brake housing on the frame broken off. I went straight to the United baggage claim department where I was informed (and re-verified by a manager) that United does not pay for ANY damage done to bikes what-so-ever. They consider the bikes delicate items and it's up to the customer to get their own insurance. Well luckily I did. So I thought?!? I have USAA and I have been extremely happy with them in the past. I thought my bike was completely covered at all times. Well there is a clause that if the bike is in the custody of an American Government air carrier then the liability and responsibility falls on the air carrier. I don't blame them - it is United's fault but here I am in a position where I can't buy insurance to cover my bike when it's on a plane.

So the bottom line is that if you fly with your bike - any damage done will come out if your own pocket. I contacted Bike Barn and I have to say the manager was extremely professional, felt horrible, contacted the bike bag company Evoc and refunded me the money for the bag. Evoc (German company) was very interested in seeing the pictures of damage and hearing the story but I don't think I am going to be seeing any offers to offset the costs of repairing my bike. I have a 2013 Trek Speed Concept 9.5 and this is going to be costly. Parts are on the way but I am not sure what can be done to repair the carbon on the wheels without basically paying for new wheels. James McCowen from Houston Cycling Centres is doing an amazing job on repairing my bike expediently. He has been taking care of me for years. I just hope that someone can learn from this experience and hopefully avoid this heartburn.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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obviously, we need a new solution, sportwide, industry-wide. i think we ought to look into this, editorially. i know we have in the past, jordan has, but, maybe we need to update what it is we're saying to our readers.

i think i'll ask the folks at markel insurance what it is they have to say about this. maybe have them post here.

Dan Empfield
aka Slowman
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Dan

I like a lot of folks I'm sure fly A LOT with my bike - would really like some articles/advice on.....

Review of cases

Proper packing

How to deal with damage cases as described above

Potential to insure a bike - kinda like a car - including during travel

thx


http://www.clevetriclub.com

rob reddy
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Reddy] [ In reply to ]
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Maybe this is stupid but it has been my experience that United takes public criticism semi seriously. I had a terrible experience with their customer service, put it on twitter with a post similar to "done with @united customer service, going back to @southwest forever" tweet generated responses from both airlines. United asked me to fill out the claim and the more I publicly voiced my displeasure the more they got involved in the conversation. Ultimately, they didn't do much other than apologize, but there wasn't a lot they could do. (I was trying to check in and the girl managing the check in counter wouldn't help me because she was on her iPhone...). Just a thought, maybe if enough people publicly voice their unhappiness they will look into a change.

Superfly Coaching
http://www.superflycoaching.com/eric

IL PIRATA VI GUARDA
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry to hear about this.

What's frustrating is that you pay the extra, $100, or whatever it is, in the hope that your bike will get a bit of extra care, and then this happens. Of course, if you look in the fine print on a receipt they gave you or on the United's web site on the baggage page, it will probably say that passengers are ultimately responsible for their own possessions when traveling. Although, I've never understood that. It's not me that dropped the bike 6 feet off the conveyer belt to the concrete floor, or drove over it with a lift truck - that was the responsibility of a United Employee!


Steve Fleck @stevefleck | Blog
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Reddy] [ In reply to ]
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A case will only protect your bike if it is packed correctly. You yourself may pack it perfectly, but I seriously doubt that TSA is going to take that same care when repacking after an inspection. I opened my TriAll3 case last year at Florida 70.3 after flying with United from Newark to find that none of the straps had been fastened around my bike. I basically had a big box full of loose bike parts...I just got lucky that nothing was broken. For that trip I decided to send it home via UPS...more expensive, but much safer. I've decided that it's TriBike Transport or races that I can drive to only for me. Definitely not worth the risk.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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This is interesting to me as I had somewhat of a similar situation. I came from NY to race in Boulder as well. I went through the process of contacting bike transport companies but ran into the same issues as you. In the end, when faced with the same decision of ship or fly, I shipped mine via FedEx. It is also a SC 9.5. When I got my bike in Boulder I also took it to Colorado Multisport to have it reassembled. And when I picked it up on Friday morning...a broken fairing. It had totally cracked in half. The guys there glued it and made it functional for the race, but I will need to replace it. I'm back in NY now and awaiting the return of my bike (probably tomorrow) and I'm sitting on pins and needles hoping nothing else happens on the way home. Now I have to go through the process of trying to submit a claim with FedEx to get them to cover the costs. I paid for insurance covering $9000 to cover the bike and wheels, so hopefully having done that will help my cause.

It is frustrating that such little care is taken when bikes are shipped or flown with. I don't think I'll ever do a race again that isn't supported by TBT because every time I've used them the service has been great and my bike had been well cared for. I loved racing in Boulder and am glad I did. It was one of, if not the best venue I've gotten to race in. I just hope enough people will use TBT in the future so it is worth their time to serve the race and not take a financial loss.

Good luck with getting your bike back together and hopefully not eating too much of the cost.

____________________________________________________

Instagram | Team Kiwami North America | Nuun
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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That's why I refuse to fly anywhere.....

On the slight chance of qualifying for Hawaii I would turn it down.

There are plenty of great races within driving distance, screw the airlines if they all went out of business tomorrow I could care less.

Trigirl, look at it this way, the creatin that ran over your bike would be out of work, serve him right.

Ron W.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I thought airlines could be liable up to 3400 or so per bag? Or is that only if they lose it rather than damage it?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Wow, a triple screwing. IM for denying competition and therefore there isn't any way to get your bike there through regular means. United for deliberately putting your bike on the bottom of a bunch of crap. And your insurance Company for having a convenient loophole. Oh and I forgot #4 - TSA for having a bunch of incompetents not replacing your bike.

Sounds like you would have better off just putting it in a large plastic bag the way we used decades ago.

BC Don
Pain is temporary, not giving it your all lasts all Winter.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I always fly United, but I feel like the noise and complaints are getting louder and louder.

I've made two trips with my road bike and was lucky. I didn't use a hardshell case, but TJ's Hen House. I was worried, as I saw them just throwing them on the belt to the plane.

I did ask for fragile stickers, and completely covered the bag, but doubt it mattered.

Hope some kind of great resolution comes out for this.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KP-NJ] [ In reply to ]
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I bought one of the scicon aerotech cases. One of the best investments for traveling I've ever made. There is no way they could screw up the packing in Tsa and it could handle getting dumped off a cliff and would still be fine

-----------------------------------------------------------
De Soto Sport Athlete
Formerly Draketriathlon
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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IIRC, when I flew with my bike in the past, I was handed a damage waiver to sign by the airline desk agent stating that I acknowledged that the airline was not responsible for damages to my bike. The last time I flew, I rented a hard-sided case from a LBS. Then, after TSA opened the case, I had to help them rearrange everything to get the bike back in the case properly (which technically was aginst the rules.)

I guess my advice would be to invest in a hard-sided case. Or, if I was only going from Houston to Boulder, I might drive instead of fly.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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A soft shell bag has its limitations. You get one ramper who throws that thing like crazy into the belly of a 737 and its all over. I have flown many times with a hard shell case and never had a problem.

My 2 cents.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Grant.Reuter] [ In reply to ]
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Grant.Reuter wrote:
I bought one of the scicon aerotech cases. One of the best investments for traveling I've ever made. There is no way they could screw up the packing in Tsa and it could handle getting dumped off a cliff and would still be fine

Oh, TSA would find a way.

To the OP, this SUCKS. This is the tiniest silver lining in history, but it's good that the real bike damage occurred on the way back and not the way there. I'm glad you got to race.

I also have USAA and think they're great, so it's good to know this is not covered (although I would expect that same loophole to be used by all of the insurance carriers).
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [rjsurfer] [ In reply to ]
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rjsurfer wrote:
That's why I refuse to fly anywhere.....

On the slight chance of qualifying for Hawaii I would turn it down.

There are plenty of great races within driving distance, screw the airlines if they all went out of business tomorrow I could care less.

Trigirl, look at it this way, the creatin that ran over your bike would be out of work, serve him right.

Ron W.

If you qualify for Hawaii, Tri Bike Transport really is awesome.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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That is a bum deal.

When you get your Evoc refund, look at a Bikeboxalan. I can't recommend mine enough. Wheels, pedals, stem and seat post off and that's it. 10 mins assembly tops. Ally strapped into place during transit.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Seriously I do not understand why people buy a soft case for their tri bikes. This is what happens. We have all seen how our luggage is handled and we need to pack appropriately.

I use a hard case (TRICO). I try to pack it in a way that TSA will have a hard time screwing it up. I don't put in loose parts that will move and damage my bike. I wrap everything in extra foam pipe insulating stuff. I still worry, but my bike has survived about 10 flights.

I used UPS once. Bad idea. Thousands of miles of vibration on a truck causes pointy parts to rub through layers of padding and I got a decent gouge in my trispoke. (No major problem as I think you could put a bullet hole in one of those and it would still retain its structural integrity.)

Southwest did lose my bike a few days before IMCDA but it showed up later that day. FYI airlines do not track luggage. They scan it when you give it to them and maybe when you get it back, but if they lose it in the middle you better hope your name is on it.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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http://www.shipbikes.com is an inexpensive option. It works through FedEx, though somehow prices are less than FedEx. Drop off or pick up is easy. It would have cost you $40-$100 each way insured.

Bike Barn also sold you a soft bag,instead of renting you a hard case. Your loss would have been more expensive if damage blew your race. Soft cases might not be a risk worth taking.

Does your home-owners insurance cover your bike?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [DamonHenry] [ In reply to ]
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DamonHenry wrote:

http://www.shipbikes.com is an inexpensive option. It works through FedEx, though somehow prices are less than FedEx. Drop off or pick up is easy. It would have cost you $40-$100 each way insured.

Bike Barn also sold you a soft bag,instead of renting you a hard case. Your loss would have been more expensive if damage blew your race. Soft cases might not be a risk worth taking.

Does your home-owners insurance cover your bike?

She answered this, see her comments about USAA.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [DamonHenry] [ In reply to ]
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Surfers have been battling airlines forever. Lots of broken, buckled, and dinged boards.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Damn tough break. Soft bags/packaging are a big risk.

I have always used the hard TriAll3Sports box and becuase of the way it is constructed and holds your bike in an upright position, it is really easy for TSA to open it up, look all around without moving anything and then reattach the lid. The hard Trico box requires the layers to be pulled out to see everything. Soft bags or bike boxes require even more disassembly.

I always have a TSA card inside my TriAll3Sports box so you know they are going to open it no matter what.

Sorry to hear about your loss. Not surprised they are not stepping up.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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In my opinion United Airlines has become quite horrible. I am not surprised they are being so awful about this. The last 2-3 times I flew with them the service was sub par as were the amenities. In essence you have to pay for everything! It is ridiculous.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [DamonHenry] [ In reply to ]
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Wow.

Be damn sure to file a report with the better business bureau. It's easy to do online. I did this against Delta who gave away our seats because we were not at the gate 30 minutes prior to flight. We checked in, but we were eating. The CEO of Delta called me, sent me free vouchers for my next trip. The gate attendant also sent me a letter of apology and was sent to customer service training (because there is no rule saying you have to be at the gate 30 mintues before flight and he was an asshole about it). I bet he got a real ass chewing.

The problem with bikes is that everybody (airlines, insurance, etc) say everything will be okay until there is a claim then it's pointing fingers. The consumer left with a broken bike. TSA shredded my Xterra wetsuit. Literally shredded the thing, then used TSA tape to cover the rips and holes. I'm convinced the TSA look for people who dropped out of elementary school and then offer them a job. I had a check within 10 days so at least I was paid (via the airline).

I really hope your situation works out.

_________________________________
The curious task of economics is to demonstrate to men how little they really know about what they imagine they can design.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I traveled with mine from CA to MPLS for Lifetime fitness. In years previous (some) I've rented a road bike from GearWest.

It's cheaper and less worries, but, it's not my bike. But, renting might be worth considering. (I flew with my race wheels, as luggage, no charge)

just an idea

I saw this on a white board in a window box at my daughters middle school...
List of what life owes you:
1. __________
2. __________
3. __________
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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I use a Trico case, but I don't pack my race wheels in the box with the bike. I find that when TSA re-packs things, the part they don't take care with is whether the wheels are pressing against the bike frame. So removing the wheels keeps it simple for TSA. All you have to worry about then is that they are re-attached the box straps.

For the wheels, I use a hard wheel case which is virtually indestructible.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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That does suck, I would keep on pushing them on refund talk to their PR department, maybe you can get some discounted air fair.

That said, its always a hard case or bike box for me. Most of the time unless I can borrow a hard case bike box I will pick up a shipping box from the bike store and ultra pad everything.

Seat and post comes out and is bubble wrapped, handle bars the same and anything that could possibly compress has something wedged in it. And this is just for my Alu beater bike! My tri bike you could drop off a clif or run it over with a jeep(which might happen at the airport)

---------------------------
http://www.nunnsontherun.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Here is the problem - TSA basically has carte blanche to do whatever the heck they want. I don't think this is an insurance question, a bike case problem, or an airline problem (although all may be important). It is a TSA problem. I have been very lucky I suppose - I tell them to please open and inspect my case, but please allow me to be present and make sure it gets packed back properly.

Our civil rights are under severe attack and our bikes are taking the brunt of it!

David
* Ironman for Life! (Blog) * IM Everyday Hero Video * Daggett Shuler Law *
Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [nightfend] [ In reply to ]
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Have any of you thought of packing a starter pistol or flare gun? I have a photographer friend that does it so you HAVE to be present when they open/search the bag.

http://lifehacker.com/...irline-theft-or-loss
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Trigirl357 wrote:
The bike went through a special luggage department to deal specifically for bikes. When I landed in Colorado, the bike bag went straight to Colorado Multisport for assembly ($115). I picked up the bike the next day (day before race). That evening, I noticed that the carbon fairings in both wheels were punctured and damaged. This meant that the bike bag had to be heavily impacted on both sides of the bag. After an emergency call to my bike guy, James McCowen at Houston Cycling Centres, I stuck electrical tape over the holes and cracks in the carbon and raced the next morning (hitting speeds over 40mph).

I'm confused on this part. Did the people at Multisport not notice the damage, call you up, and give you advice on what to do? From you description it sounds like they didn't say a thing which strikes me as pretty negligent.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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You should write a song about it and put it on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [kcb203] [ In reply to ]
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Speaking of TSA and bikes, I had the worst TSA guy I've ever seen at the Austin airport when flying to Ottawa yesterday. He literally took 20 minutes digging through the box, actually took the insoles out of each of four shoes (bike+run), took every piece out of my tools/parts bag. Thank God he didn't fee the need to remove the wheels attached to the top of the case (scion case).

The icing on the top was he had to borrow my TSA standard key to unlock and relock the case. Glad I waited around to watch him go through the bike.

Every other time I've flown they just did a quick visual inspection and ran the sniffer wand over the inside of the case.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I'm going through the same thing right now with United. My Project One SC frame was damaged on my way back from Buffalo Springs. At first I couldn't get anyone from baggage services to talk to me and when I did nobody seemed to know what to do about damage claims. They took my bike and held it for inspection for a week at the airport. 5+ weeks later and 2 calls into United baggage service later and I am still unclear of what will come of the claim. Its really unfortunate to see all the posts of similar situations. Something needs to change.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [manofthewoods] [ In reply to ]
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Definitely do what person said and get on facebook. A lot of companies now have dedicated staff to solve problems from complaints on social media. I use this as opposed to phone calls because you get to talk to someone with more power and they generally contact you and give you a direct number. You also can file a claim against TSA for not repacking it properly. I have received a monetary payment from them in the past for damage. Good luck.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trizomb1e] [ In reply to ]
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That is a great idea! I am so sorry I haven't thought of that!

David
* Ironman for Life! (Blog) * IM Everyday Hero Video * Daggett Shuler Law *
Disclaimer: I have personal and professional relationships with many athletes, vendors, and organizations in the triathlon world.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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Dan,

I have to say that I am absolutely honored that you have responded to this post and interested in helping make a change. For some reason - that alone has started to make me feel better. As you can see from the feedback of other triathletes, a lot of us share the same concerns regarding flying with their tribikes. I know so many of us think the same ... someone negligently damaging our bikes and not taking responsibility not only hurts our wallets but our hearts too. I love being a triathlete and I most certainly love my tribike. It's sad for me to read that so many triathletes choose not to race in triathlons that are beyond driving distance just because they do not want to trust their beloved bikes in the hands of the airlines. I want to be able to race outside of my comfortable driving distance - to include internationally. I used TriBike Transport for IMAZ last year and loved them - affordable - worry-free - quick - reliable - and they didn't touch your fit. I literally begged them twice to take my bike to Boulder but they were stuck. In this one awful experience I feel like I have learned 20 lessons the hard way. I am afraid to say that choosing my next races most likely will be effected by the selection of bike transport options. Thank Gawd I am driving my bike to IMFL this year. If possible, I would like to be a part of changing these problems in our industry.... because we really are a great triathlon community.

~Karen
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [BlackStumpGumby] [ In reply to ]
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Hey BlackStumpGumby - The folks at Colorado Multisport did not notice the punctures and cracks when they put the bike together. When I picked it up at the shop I looked the bike over but was mostly looking at the headset, gears, brakes and never saw any problem with the wheels at the time. Later when I was in my hotel, I noticed a crack on one wheel which triggered me to do a really close look. If you had the bike positioned right - you wouldn't have seen the larger than one inch triangular crack that created a hole. I am not sure why they didn't catch it - but they were insanely busy putting bikes together for racers. I informed Colorado Multisport the next morning while in transition. It was the same guys from the shop the day before. They told me they never saw the cracks and hole but thought the electrical tape would hold up through the race.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [kcb203] [ In reply to ]
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kcb203 wrote:
You should write a song about it and put it on Youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo


This.

I was going to write and post the exact same thing, but then I thought to read through the thread first.

There's also a book out about it now http://www.davecarrollmusic.com/book/
Last edited by: AlanShearer: Aug 8, 13 14:53
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
I thought my bike was completely covered at all times. Well there is a clause that if the bike is in the custody of an American Government air carrier then the liability and responsibility falls on the air carrier.

Are you sure you are interpreting this correctly? Doesn't an American Government air carrier mean if the Army, Navy, etc carries your bike? I'd think USAA has a lot of folks in the military and they can't insure the military flights, but they should insure the commercial carrier flights. Please explain to us why this isn't covered by USAA?????

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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [david] [ In reply to ]
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This is the problem. TSA, moreso than the airlines.

It does not matter what kind of case you put your bike in, if TSA is going to open every case and take the bike out and not put it back. On a recent trip I know TSA took my bike out both ways -- the first because there was a huge paint chip out of my frame, in a place where I had carefully padded and the padding was removed and the large chip was no where to be found -- because it was probably on the concrete wherever they took my bike out. The return trip there was one of those little TSA flyers under my wheels which can only be accessed by removing the entire bike, straps, divider etc.

I got off lucky reading the above posts. I wrote a letter to TSA and of course got a form letter in return. I will be shipping my bike next time no matter what the cost.

If they are going to open every case (almost everyone I have spoken to has received a TSA notice in their bike box that it was inspected lately), they should have a mechanism where you could be there and assist or at least repack after they inspect it.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry to hear about the damage.
Boulder is close enough to me that I drove up, but I've flown with my bikes (variously road and TT) to a number of different races. I also have an EVOC bike bag, which was recommended to me.
On all of the flights (domestic and entering/exiting the US) TSA have opened my bag and inspected it. I'm fine with that. The problem is that TSA also undo at least some of the straps and move some of the packaging. I usually use a little extra bubble wrap. Fortunately I've had no problems - even after TSA have effectively left the bike "loose" inside the case. That's with both carbon frame and alu frame/carbon fork. The wheels I usually travel with are pre-Firecrest 404s, but the carbon fairing hasn't ever sustained any damage.
I've seen my bike bag come on through the regular luggage carousel (that surprised me). I've seen it under other luggage on the car while being unloaded from the plane. In my experience the EVOC bag is very protective, even when the bike is improperly packed (say, after TSA look at it), and even being handled with less care than the airline should take.


Keep on at United. I'm not a fan of theirs at the best of times, but please give them hell over this. Perhaps the claims folks at your insurance company can send you something to confirm why the buck is being passed to United. That'll give you something concrete to talk to them about.

I'm not connected with EVOC, but I think their bag has proven itself to give awesome protection and damaging the bike through it shows utter negligence on the part of United's baggage handlers. The damage you list also seems like more than just the case being crushed under something. Perhaps a hard-case is the way to go now (for your peace of mind), but avoiding United seems to be warranted too.

Like one of the posters above, I'm confused about the fact that Colorado Multisport didn't notice any damage. I had a tiny bit of work done there before last year's race and the mechanics were good. As I was in there shopping after the race I saw Mirinda Carfrae come in and chat to the mechanic. Did you contact Colorado Multisport about the damage? It really doesn't sound like you should have to just suck up the cost of the damage here.

Final word to anyone with renters insurance rather than homeowners... your renters insurance will more than likely NOT cover your bike. So it's worth thinking about separate bike insurance.

----------------------------------
http://ironvision.blogspot.com ; @drSteve1663
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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It seems USGA has gotten with Southwest airlines and now even golf bags fly free. Maybe USAT can do the same. I love flying Southwest and feel like they are always nice when I check in the bike. Granted, I fly so much I am on a first name basis with them but I've never had any issue with my bike when traveling. Seems like a good deal for Southwest if a bunch of triathletes start buying tickets so their bikes fly free...

Superfly Coaching
http://www.superflycoaching.com/eric

IL PIRATA VI GUARDA
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [turneej] [ In reply to ]
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Southwest is the greyhound bus of airlines.

Post your story on their Facebook Page

All I Wanted Was A Pepsi, Just One Pepsi

Team Infinit Performance

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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trizomb1e] [ In reply to ]
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Trizomb1e wrote:
Have any of you thought of packing a starter pistol or flare gun? I have a photographer friend that does it so you HAVE to be present when they open/search the bag.

http://lifehacker.com/...irline-theft-or-loss

This idea intrigues me. I live in a mid-sized Midwest town and fly out of small airports most of the time unless it's on the flight home. Whenever I've flown with the bike I bring it to the check-in counter, never declare it as a bike (instead as exercise gear parts or metabolic test equipment in the case of having a powermeter in my bike bag), the agent weighs it, realizes it's well under 50 pounds, tags it, charges me $25-35 for the checked bag fee, and sends me on my way. I know TSA opens it since I've always had the TSA tag somewhere in the bag, but I have no idea where they're looking at it. I have noticed that it's not packed up as well as I've packed it, which concerns me and did cause a down tube dent on my travel bike (I use a Caad 10 aluminum rather than a carbon frame when I travel simply for peace of mind). If I were to put a starter or flare gun in my case for travel from here on out, would I just be whisked away to a different area with a TSA agent for the inspection? I'd rather avoid having the bag opened in front of the airline agent and then charged $100-$150 each way for the bike, especially since I can get it to pack down to just over the upper limit of the baggage size and well under the upper limit of the 50lb overweight charge. I'd love to know more about this, as being present for the inspection could resolve all of my concerns.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [turneej] [ In reply to ]
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turneej wrote:
Maybe this is stupid but it has been my experience that United takes public criticism semi seriously. I had a terrible experience with their customer service, put it on twitter with a post similar to "done with @united customer service, going back to @southwest forever" tweet generated responses from both airlines. United asked me to fill out the claim and the more I publicly voiced my displeasure the more they got involved in the conversation. Ultimately, they didn't do much other than apologize, but there wasn't a lot they could do. (I was trying to check in and the girl managing the check in counter wouldn't help me because she was on her iPhone...). Just a thought, maybe if enough people publicly voice their unhappiness they will look into a change.

In my experience, United doesn't care what their customers think. My buddy did the tweet complaint a month ago comparing bike travel experiences of Frontier and United. Frontier reached out to him in minutes; United nothing. I called to complain about some major problems and they couldn't care less. That year, I spent close more than $40k on business travel with them with 1k status. I told them I would take my business elsewhere and they said, "that's your choice." Seriously?! Ultimately, our government has allowed consolidation to take place to the point where we have less choices than you would think. Unless you are flying to another company's major hub, choices are quite honestly very limited, even in major metro areas.

When I travel with my bike, I use the big heavy Tri All 3 case, which took major major abuse by the airline. It's a major pain to travel with since it is so big; at least it keeps the bike safe.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Russ Brandt] [ In reply to ]
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Russ,
This is the policy clause that USAA pointed out. I am arguing that I wasn't in a moving status. The matter is being reviewed by USAA's legal department now.

MOVING AND STORAGE

1. Begins when YOUR PROPERTY PASSES INTO THE CUSTODY OF A PUBLIC CARRIER, INCLUDING United States government trucks, aircraft and vessels, or a storage facility. Your property must be under a bill of lading, a mover's contract, baggage check, or other form of shipping or storage document. This coverage ends:

a. When your property is delivered to your permanent or temporary address in accordance with the shipping document; or
b. When you take possession of your property from storage.
2. Provides coverage, in addition to the previously described CAUSES OF LOSS COVERED, for:
a. Loss of your property if, when described under a bill of lading, mover's contract, baggage check, or other form of shipping or storage document, it cannot be located after a reasonable search

Last edited by: Trigirl357: Aug 9, 13 9:54
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Your bike was under "baggage check" wasn't it? It seems clear to me that this should be covered under their definition.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [J7] [ In reply to ]
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I flew mine to IMC in a borrowed hard shell case. The airline managed to puncture the case! It almost looked like a front loader hit it really hard. I was lucky that the bike was not damaged. I suppose it would have been toast with a soft case, but the case was ruined. Then they told me that any damage had to be reported BEFORE I left the terminal. I was exhausted and did not see the puncture until we got to the hotel. So I would suggest unpacking and inspecting when you claim it.

I will never fly with mine again if I can avoid it.
Last edited by: lam: Aug 9, 13 10:16
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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  In my past life I worked as a baggage handler for a major airline. Over 20 yrs and saw many different types of baggage accidents. I can bore you with many stories about what happened during that time. Beer talk!!
For me ,,,, I travel with a hard shell suitcase that can take a beating and is water tight. My personal suit case and my bike case... hard shell. Soft shell in the cabin.
I know it is just a matter of time before shit happens!! That's the fact.

I have packed many a bike over the years and the clam shell cases are the best, either you like them or hate them. Each bike packs differently, some better then others and some just do not pack well at all.

If your case has 4 wheels and you see the guy flip the case upside down, there is a reason for this! the thing has wheels and it can roll off the steel floor baggage cart, if this falls off the cart it can injure the ramp guys, broken foot mostly. Do not blame the bag guys they only have so much time to load and unload your baggage, just get under your table and pack suitcases that weigh 50lbs! 100 people means about 75 bags! depends on type of flight.

Check out the insurance portion on your ticket and see what you sign up for! this is important to understand. Extra insurance is always the best.

Carbon bikes are very strong in many ways BUT do not like impacts. carbon cracks, AL bikes dent, Steel dents- bends
.
I am sorry to hear what happened and I am sure the guys doing the work did not want to see any thing happen to your goods.

When traveling on a flight is your plane hand loaded or baggage placed in a container. hand loaded means the bag get thrown ... you to the check in belt, check in belt to cart, cart to loading belt to the in the belly,, then the you land. maybe 8 times. container flight you to belt, belt to baggage can , can to baggage cart, belt to you. 3 times.

Now what TSA does is a serious question? you can pack your bike right and they open it and they mess everything up then the 300lb guys steps on the case to close it and you have a damage bike they are not responsible ! and then you blame the airline and they have to pay for this scam! it has happened to me..." you don't know how to pack a bike"

In my opinion many yrs as a mechanic The bikes were never made to be taken apart and but back together as many times as there are. You have aluminum parts and steel bolts! One is harder then the other and something has to wear. I have seen the the damage from traveling bikes over the years.

This is why I transport bikes in a NO touch, ride ready, NO scratches either. oh yea leave the frame water bottles on!
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Russ Brandt] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry - I forgot #3


3. Does not cover loss or damage caused by:
a. Breakage, marring, scratching, or handling;

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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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As many have already pointed out, the issue, IMHO is that TSA carries zero responsibility in correctly repackaging our equipment. I had a similar experience as the OP on a TRANSATL flight over the summer. On the outbound leg my Biospeed was inspected by TSA, upon arriving at my destination the carbon race wheel had a puncture from being incorrectly repacked by TSA. The entire contents of the bag were in the center pocket unstrapped and the parts that were wrapped together had been removed from their wrapping. This is a bag and a packing that has survived multiple TRANSPAC flights with no issues. One of the glaring inconsistencies about air travel is that the TSA continue to operate with impunity and anonymity. When I fly TRANSPAC out of SFO the bag is inspected by Covenant Aviation who also open the bag and inspect things, the difference, and to me is the kicker, is that the Covenant inspection notice has the signature of the inspector and a date/time stamp. Why can't TSA institute a similar policy? That was you have a specific time/date that can be reviewed to see where the culpability lies. When you have an organization that acts independent of public scrutiny and with impunity to claims against damage and loss, there can never be trust. If you want change, pressure your local airport to choose private security over TSA.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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The real problem is the TSA.
I have had my bike damaged in some way every single time they "inspect" it, regardless of my pack job.
The level of arrogance and disrespect they show towards personal property is shocking.
I do not experience this in any other country.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [NordicSkier] [ In reply to ]
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Can we as a group not do a mass group email all at once to get this taken care of? We should plan something out. Because the airlines suck, specially Delta, who can severely suck my balls, and we should gather our resources and do something.

Socks
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [NordicSkier] [ In reply to ]
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NordicSkier wrote:
The real problem is the TSA.
I have had my bike damaged in some way every single time they "inspect" it, regardless of my pack job.
The level of arrogance and disrespect they show towards personal property is shocking.
I do not experience this in any other country.

One of the results of the terrible day of September 11 was that the federal government had to ramp up their airport security ASAP. Unfortunately this led to the hiring of a lot of people who were not qualified to do this job(use the proper judgement when making a decision, think on their feet, have some basic customer service skills). Actually most of them probably are not qualified to do any other job. They passed a background check. Now they have a job, benefits, and worst of all- power.

There are some very qualified individuals working for TSA, but they are few and far between.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I work for an airline under the United umbrella and this thread makes me want to emphasize two important points.

1) United cares about one single thing: Being the lowest bidder for your business. They couldn't care less about customer service because they know that the general public has proven over and over again that they are willing to put up with abuse as long as the ticket is cheap. 99% of tickets sold are the cheapest option on Expedia/Orbitz/Travelocity. All the major airlines care about is being that cheapest option so you will buy their ticket. I'm sure a few of you actually shop for better service but you are the small majority. Most of the flying public could open their broken luggage, find a giant turd left by the baggage handler, and would still fly that airline again if it was at the top of the cheap flights list. The major airlines, especially United know this, have studied data proving this, and have subcontracted all work to the lowest bidder to accomadate the only thing customers seem to care about.

2) All luggage will be treated the same. All luggage has the same chance of falling off a conveyor belt or bag cart and being placed at the bottom of a pile of heavy luggage. That is the reasonable expectation of baggage handling. Special treatment for your luggage would require more handlers, more time, etc... all of which drive up costs and prevent the airline from being that lowest bidder for your business. Whether you are packing a guitar, a bike, or your grandmother's Waterford crystal it is YOUR responsibility to pack it to withstand that handling (TSA repacking not withstanding). I'm not sticking up for United here because I hate them. They are awful. But if you pack something fragile in a soft case then I just don't see how you could blame anyone else.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I know this does not help you now but you can buy very cheap supplemental insurance for your bike through USAA. I have $25,000 replacement insurance for my bikes. Covers everything and I think it costs an extra $25 a quarter.
Last edited by: stodr: Aug 9, 13 16:22
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [ComidaDeluxe] [ In reply to ]
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Quote:
ComidaDeluxe wrote...

Now I want Chuy's. Thanks a lot.


@nugget: facebook - flickr - strava - runkeeper - garmin
Last edited by: MacNugget: Aug 9, 13 15:12
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [stodr] [ In reply to ]
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stodr wrote:
I know this does not help you now but you can buy very cheap supplemental insurance for your bike through USAA. I have $25,000 replacement insurance for my bikes. Covers everything and I think it costs an extra $25 a year.


This seems too good to be true...or your not getting as much coverage as you think. I can't fathom how the insurance company would make money off such an offer. Especially if you're covering $25k worth of bikes at that price? How much would they charge annually to insure a $5k bike? $5?

ETA: or a better question would be...what's your deductable? If you crash and ruin your $2000 set of Zipp wheels...are you paying a $1500 deductable for it?
Last edited by: Jason N: Aug 9, 13 16:14
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Jason N] [ In reply to ]
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Tribike transport is worth every penny. Hardshell cases (trico) are the only way to go.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [manofthewoods] [ In reply to ]
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I am a pilot and travel with bike often. Most damage occurs because the idiots at TSA open your bike box/bag and have no clue how to repackage. Next time, show up early, check in your bike and ask to go with your bike and "oversee" TSA inspection. You ARE ALLOWED to watch them repackage it, you just can't touch anything. Trust me on this it will make a difference. I have had to tell them how each part goes back in the box. If they screw that part up, your bike will most likely be damaged somewhere intransitive. I have been lucky and had no problems.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Jason N] [ In reply to ]
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Jason N wrote:
stodr wrote:
I know this does not help you now but you can buy very cheap supplemental insurance for your bike through USAA. I have $25,000 replacement insurance for my bikes. Covers everything and I think it costs an extra $25 a year.


This seems too good to be true...or your not getting as much coverage as you think. I can't fathom how the insurance company would make money off such an offer. Especially if you're covering $25k worth of bikes at that price? How much would they charge annually to insure a $5k bike? $5?

ETA: or a better question would be...what's your deductable? If you crash and ruin your $2000 set of Zipp wheels...are you paying a $1500 deductable for it?

$500 deductible. And it is $25 a quarter not a year sorry about that. One of the reasons it is cheap is because it is USAA and you pretty much have to be military or affiliated with he military to get it. Also it is an add on to my house and car insurance to pay for what ever they do not pay out for stuff not specifically paid by one of those. It is also for any of my possesions not just my bikes up to $25,000 dollars worth. But yes it is true.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [stodr] [ In reply to ]
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stodr wrote:
Jason N wrote:
stodr wrote:
I know this does not help you now but you can buy very cheap supplemental insurance for your bike through USAA. I have $25,000 replacement insurance for my bikes. Covers everything and I think it costs an extra $25 a year.


This seems too good to be true...or your not getting as much coverage as you think. I can't fathom how the insurance company would make money off such an offer. Especially if you're covering $25k worth of bikes at that price? How much would they charge annually to insure a $5k bike? $5?

ETA: or a better question would be...what's your deductable? If you crash and ruin your $2000 set of Zipp wheels...are you paying a $1500 deductable for it?


$500 deductible. And it is $25 a quarter not a year sorry about that. One of the reasons it is cheap is because it is USAA and you pretty much have to be military or affiliated with he military to get it. Also it is an add on to my house and car insurance to pay for what ever they do not pay out for stuff not specifically paid by one of those. It is also for any of my possesions not just my bikes up to $25,000 dollars worth. But yes it is true.

I suppose $100 annually makes it a bit more understandable...at least if the point is to break even and not for the insurance company to profit. I'm curious though if your premium goes up if you make a claim with USAA? So if you've got $2000 worth of damage to your bike, after the $500 deductable, maybe it's not even worth it to file a claim since your overal policy premium (home and car) is a lot higher than the $25 quarterly add on.

Maybe the premium only goes up if the damage to the bike is your fault (crash)?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [MacNugget] [ In reply to ]
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MacNugget wrote:
Quote:
ComidaDeluxe wrote...

Now I want Chuy's. Thanks a lot.

Ha! My username is much more appetizing than yours. ;)
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Sorry about the bike, I see this as TSA's fault not United. United just took the bag and moved it after inspection. I personally use a hard case and would never use a soft case the way I see them throw bags around at the airport. In the end if someone repacks my hard case wrong these could be damage as well.

Not that this helps now but I seen a suggestion to put in a note in my bike case on top and bottom of the packing foam "THIS IS A $XXXX BIKE IF YOU ARE HAVING TROUBLE REPACKING IT PLEASE PAGE GORDON C". I always show up extra early and have been asked once to stay with my bike and repack it. Also because of the notes a border guard has left the box open for me to repack rather than just stuffing the bike and gear back in.

Gordon
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [stodr] [ In reply to ]
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But does it cover bikes that were damaged by airlines? Or just stolen? I have USAA and my bikes are covered for replacement cost in my policy if stolen, but not damaged by an airline.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Couple of things.
1. You can file a claim with TSA for damages. I've had one or two helmets that TSA destroyed replaced this way.

2. I tape notes to my bike box and wheel boxes that they are forced to at least see before they open the box all the way. They say something like: STOP & READ if you unpack this box & I know you are going to. LOOK where everything is placed before removing. It's packed this way for a reason - To Prevent Damage. If you can't pack it back properly don't unpack it or call me/page me for help then list my number.

3. I found a clam shell to be harder for those guys to figure out then the cases with the removable top. Now I just use the cardboard box that the manufacturer ships the bike in. Everything drops in. It's easier for TSA to understand putting something in a box then repacking a clam shell case.

4. You have to make it easy for those guys to repack, you're not dealing with people who care or people who ride bikes. It's not like the old days where you could shove all sorts of shit into the case.
Now you have to pack for the lowest common denominator. TSA employees are not typically the sharpest sticks in the bunch.

Brian Stover
Accelerate3 Coaching
Insta Twitter Aero testing late May, PM for details

Last edited by: desert dude: Aug 10, 13 10:20
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [godekjames] [ In reply to ]
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godekjames wrote:
I am a pilot and travel with bike often. Most damage occurs because the idiots at TSA open your bike box/bag and have no clue how to repackage. Next time, show up early, check in your bike and ask to go with your bike and "oversee" TSA inspection. You ARE ALLOWED to watch them repackage it, you just can't touch anything. Trust me on this it will make a difference. I have had to tell them how each part goes back in the box. If they screw that part up, your bike will most likely be damaged somewhere intransitive. I have been lucky and had no problems.

This is probably the most important (and useful) thing said thus far in this post.

Really, it's about the re-packing (as noted in the original post) that hosed you. I've seen some pretty interesting (bad) repacking jobs. None of which were United's fault (I've flown about 1.5M miles on United). No doubt, you'll get the odd ramper who'll toss your bike in innovative ways, but for the most part even with a softshell bag (what I use), if you've packed correctly and *not* overpacked, it'll come out just fine. It's the re-packing you have to watch out for.


-
My tiny little slice of the internets: dcrainmaker.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [stodr] [ In reply to ]
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I'm flying with my bike to IMCanada next week. I have USAA and I just called to add the $25/quarter $25,000 rider and was told that it doesn't cover bikes. Its for jewelry, guitars, etc that might be stolen. If TSA/United cracks up a bike in transit, and they refuse to pay, USAA DOES NOT kick in for it or provide replacement coverage. They currently do not have any sort of rider that would cover a bike damaged by the airlines.
I talked with Kelly 1-800-531-8111 x30736 extensively about the situation.

I have always packed my bike in a TRICO case and that seems like the best bet. Or shipping it through FedEX with a large insured amount placed on the bike.

leslie myers
http://www.foodsensenow.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Having seen pictures of the Evoc, looks like responsibility lies with you unfortunately for buying it. The bag doesn't have the stiffness to adequately prevent damage from secondary contact. Heck, even my hard case bike box, with its large, unsupported plastic panel, can deflect enough to cause contact and damage.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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General thread reply.

The only times that I can recall having ZERO damage to the bike - not a scratch or anything - is on the off chance that they do not open the case. It's only happened a couple times (no TSA note inside), and the bike is in perfect condition.

That being said, I love knowing that I can watch the inspection. I didn't know that before this thread. It definitely makes it worth arriving at the airport early. The other thing I do is make the order of operations as easy as possible. NO loose parts in the bike box - anything and everything gets put in a bag (the athletic drawstring bags that we seem to get a lot of these days). When everything is bagged, they tend to put it back in the bag.

Greg Kopecky - Slowtwitch Tech Editor
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Another general "reply to thread" re. insurance.

I remember seeing one of the "member benefits" things that came with my USAC membership that was for a discount on bike insurance. Markel Insurance is the company, but I don't know anything about their policies (except that they don't have a race exclusion, which is nice). If you're in the market to insure your bike and your regular insurer won't touch it, Markel might be worth looking at.

If you're a USAC member then it's a 10% discount.

----------------------------------
http://ironvision.blogspot.com ; @drSteve1663
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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OP, so sorry to read this. TSA and airline costs for bikes gave me reason to pursue other resources to get my bike to Nationals (and back). I ended up using bikeflights.com to generate FedEx labels using my TriAll3 cases (both bike and wheel) that I hadn't used for a number of years. I dropped my cases at the local FedEx office on Aug 1 and they were delivered to my hotel on Aug 6 ( I arrived on the 7th.) I paid $300 for the round trip but I also jammed most all of my stuff in the cases (the bike case weighed about 75 lbs) so all I needed for my flight was a carry on. Everything was fine with my bike when I arrived and assembly went smoothly (I am my own mechanic.) Since I shipped ground, I was also able to pack all of my race flat kit without worry. My bike is set to arrive back at my house on Thursday and I don't anticipate anything will happen. Being without that bike was not a big deal for me since I own more than one bike, so it's not an ideal outlet for everyone.

_______________________________________________
Triple Threat Triathlon
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I have my bikes specifically listed on my Homeowners' policy. I am curious to know if they would cover something like this situation and/or go to bat for you (me) with the airline?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [javelinguy] [ In reply to ]
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FedEx has been know to loose (OK, misplace till after your race), bikes. For the Calgary 70.3 a couple were flying in for, I believe, California and used FedEx. They dropped their packed bikes off with FedEx, ensuring plenty of time. But when they arrived in Calgary, no bikes waiting for them. As they had also packed shoes and bike gear, they weren't able to rent bikes or use the ones that many had offered free of charge.

Wish I had an answer other than driving to all events which still only works I'd you stay in your home continent.

Oh one other thing. They do treat all your luggage must kinder if you fly first class!

BC Don
Pain is temporary, not giving it your all lasts all Winter.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [MDSICT] [ In reply to ]
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See my post above re: USAA. They are one of the best insurance companies out there and no, bikes aren't covered under Homeowners nor do they have separate riders available that will cover bikes (the riders will cover other things, however)

leslie myers
http://www.foodsensenow.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I have not read through all the replies so if this has been mentioned sorry.
Maybe check with your homeowners insurance. When I had my bike accident they told me my personal property was covered anywhere in the world that I was. Of course they denied me because I was using it but after two reviews they decided to pay. It is worth a shot to call and ask cant lose anything for asking. Before you ask read ur insurance policy and be ready to throw clauses and section numbers at them .

__________________________________________________
Official Polar Ambassador
http://www.google.com/...P7RiWyEVwpunlsc2JtQQ
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [MDSICT] [ In reply to ]
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We have followed this thread with great interest and the posts and comments confirm why we formed Velosurance, a bicycle insurance specific company. No other insurance policy does what we do, and we do it without argument.


Velosurance offers the availability of a multi-risk, stand-alone bicycle insurance policy allowing cyclists to insure their bikes for theft, physical loss, damage, including FedEx, UPS, TSA & airline damage. We offer USAT/USAC members a 10% discount and the policy is underwritten by Markel American Insurance Co. (A rated by AM Best).

We are a cyclist/triathlete owned company and we are experts at submitting claims for fast payment. You choose the deductible and your bike value never depreciates. Insure your bike for $8,000 with a $300 deductible and if the bike is totaled or stolen 5 years later you receive $7,700, no argument, no BS, just fast claims payment.


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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Bmanners] [ In reply to ]
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I have shipped my bike Fed Ex Ground and brought it on SWA many times. I have a Thule hardcase.

In Spring 2011 I flew out to a training camp and US Air raised bike fees so I opted to send it from Boston to Solvang CA via Fed Express Ground. I packed it well. It arrived 3 days late and had been squished so my frame was ruined. It was a gift from my husband for our 25th wedding anniversary and that bike was special. I had to pack the broken bike back and pay to ship it back home.

With some triathlete lawyer friends and others advice, I submitted a claim to Fed Express Ground. Inspector came to our house to inspect the bike and he asked me why I wasn't asking for total replacement value of my bike. The bike was less than a year old.

My bike shop was able to get same frame from Orbea, and wrote up estimate to move parts, new frame. About 4 weeks after I submitted a claim I rec'd a check for cost of new frame, cost to move parts, incidental parts, refund of my shipping costs both ways which was less than I insured my bike for. Fed Express Ground paid without argument which is great but not ruining my bike would have been better. With Federal Express Ground, how much I could insure my bike for varied to type of address I sent it to...hotel for camp allowed higher coverage, shipping back to my house I believe the limit was $1000.


In 2011 at the PCB airport I had a new TSA agent, who took 40 minutes to inspect my bike in a roped off area while I watched. In the end she had me help her put my bike back in the box which is a big no no and she got in trouble. PCB few days after IM you can't take 40 minutes to inspect a bike and get all those bikes thru TSA. SWA just raised their bike fees to $75 after years of $50. SWA has always treated my bike well. For IMC 2009 our flight from Providence to Chicago was late, they held our flight to Seattle for our family and other connecting passengers, we ran to our seats, pilot says no reason to hurry we have to wait for the baggage. After boarding I did see our luggage including my bike box loaded on the plane.

I always worry shipping my bike as there is no good way at reasonable cost.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Canadian musician Dave Carroll, with Sons of Maxwell out of the Maritimes, had his Taylor guitar smashed up in Chicago with United. He wrote a trilogy of songs, posted them to YouTube, and promptly managed to create a shit-storm of bad publicity for United. The first song of the trilogy is a really good, catchy tune:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

I know this doesn't help you solve the issue, but hopefully it puts a bit of a smile on your face (misery loves company) knowing you're not the first and won't be the last.

Dave
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [djmercer] [ In reply to ]
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Perhaps ive missed something here. Id chalk up the bike damage to someones negligence either tsa or united. Id obviously start by raising the issue with the tsa and airline but really wouldnt expect them to respond other than with a form letter. Has anyone ever taken then next step and initiated legal action? I think you would be suprised at their willingness to move beyond form letters at that point. And as crazy expensive as our bikes can be I think the amounts fall under small claims in many jurisdictions. Ive seen behavior change ranging from insurance companies denying claims, individuals that were just uncooperative and big bad compaines like lexus.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I'm sorry that you've learned a tough lesson. But according to United's website: "United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases." You may not like United's policy, but you can't say that it's not up front about the policy. Long story short, put a bike in a soft bag on United and you take your chances.

Mike Sparks


I have competed well, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [manofthewoods] [ In reply to ]
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I was looking at bike bags/cases last year. Fleck wrote "youmpaynhigh race fees, hotels, air fare, why chance having your bike damaged by a bag so you don't have to pay extra baggage fee". I bought a TriAll3 case and flew Alaska Air ($50 each way) to IM Cabo. When I packed it, I taped pipe insulation around just about everything. I also zip tied pedals to cranks, etc. it was kind of a pain, but everything was pretty much how I packed it. Also, remember to check bike fees before buying your airline ticket.

TEAMFIREFIGHTER.com
STRIVE Omni Sport.com
Get Busy Living - or - Get Busy Dying
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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At post 35 I gave up reading. Evoc bags are practically hard cases, there is no difference to a hard case and a huge difference to a bike box. If it broke in an Evoc, it would have broken in the hard case, too. At least in Europe airport staff usually handles the bike more carefully and are happy (as I am for carrying it around) that it is half the weight of the real hard case ones. Although I need it, because that is the only way of packing a 61 cm Madone, I would have also bought it just for my TT.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [djmercer] [ In reply to ]
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He also left out material facts in his "song"/self promotion which might change your opinion of him. I thought this was funny and good - now, not so much.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [loomster] [ In reply to ]
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loomster wrote:
At post 35 I gave up reading. Evoc bags are practically hard cases, there is no difference to a hard case and a huge difference to a bike box. If it broke in an Evoc, it would have broken in the hard case, too. At least in Europe airport staff usually handles the bike more carefully and are happy (as I am for carrying it around) that it is half the weight of the real hard case ones. Although I need it, because that is the only way of packing a 61 cm Madone, I would have also bought it just for my TT.

Evoc is nothing like a hard case. No amount of rough handling by baggage workers would damage a properly packed bike in a Trico ironcase, for example. You'd need to run the box over with a truck or drop it from at least 2 stories up. TSA not closing the box correctly, not doing the straps, to the point of pieces falling out, that can still happen.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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hey, all--
has something changed in united's policy in the last few months? i feel like in the spring their policy was bikes get charged no matter what; now they have clearly added an exemption based on size & weight.

saw this here:
"If the bicycle(s) are packed in a container that is less than 50 pounds (23kg) and 62 (158 cm) total linear inches (L + W + H), there is no bicycle service charge, but, if applicable, the first or second checked baggage service charge applies."
i could be wrong but don't recall seeing any exceptions made for bags under a certain dimension. of course, they also say that your bike is covered for damage if it is in a hard case or a cardboard box (but not a soft case as mine is).

("United is not liable for damage to bicycles that do not have the handlebars fixed sideways and pedals removed, handlebars and pedals encased in plastic foam or similar material, or bicycles not contained in a cardboard containers or hard-sided cases.")

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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [tetonrider] [ In reply to ]
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62 linear inches??? that's impossible unless its a folding bike or something.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [tetonrider] [ In reply to ]
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Hi tetonrider,

After talking with the United Airlines baggage customer service personnel (including manager) on 8/5/2013, they made it clear that it didn't matter what their website said. They said they will not cover any damage done to any bikes period. I specifically asked if I would have been reimbursed if the bike was in a hard case. They said no - the bike would not be covered regardless. United deemed it a 'delicate item' and would not pay for any damages done to bike's 'what-so-ever.'
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Do a youtube search for "United Breaks Guitars"
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [odin99] [ In reply to ]
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odin99 wrote:
62 linear inches??? that's impossible unless its a folding bike or something.

oh, shoot....you are totally right. i was thinking 158.

d'oh!

too good to be true.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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After seeking legal advice, I am within a few short days of filing on United Airlines in Small Claims Court. The liability falls on the person(s) who actually damaged my property. Although TSA could be blamed for rearranging the padding and improperly re-packing my bike, they still did not damage my property. I am convinced that the damage conducted to my bike on the way back from Boulder could not have been damaged from other luggage simply falling on my bike bag. In fact, I really believe they looked at the seven handle-with-care labels and started using it for 'target practice' before drop-kicking my bike out of the fuselage and onto the ground.
Last edited by: Trigirl357: Aug 15, 13 12:10
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Exactly why I refrain from putting "handle with care" stickers/notes on/in my bike bag/box (Biknd Helium). I want it to be as unassuming as possible. I break the bike down and secure the bars tight against the frame and remove the rear derailleur and secure to the chain stay - after everything has been wrapped in bubble wrap/foam. The only other thing that travels inside the bag/box with my frame is the wheels and only because they help protect the frame as designed by the Biknd case. Anything that could potentially be loose comes with me in carry on or within my other checked bag. Which includes - pedals, seat post, saddle, all bottle cages, wheel skewers, multi tool, etc. Nothing in my bag is available to move/bounce around once packed up. And the only thing for TSA to see when unzipping my bag is a nearly bare frame.

"One Line Robert"
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I am very sorry to hear about your situation and hope you prevail if you take them to court. I just returned to Florida from Ironman Sweden with my bike in my PikaPackworks case. This is the 7th time I've used the case including 3 trips to Europe...never any damage. I selected PikaPackworks on the strength of a shoot-out review where the traveler selected it over 4 hard cases after testing each in real world travel. I invest in a $20 roll of bubble wrap for each roundtrip and the case has more than paid for itself. I flew Delta to Sweden and back and instead of paying their $150 bike fee each way, I paid $100 for an extra bag (you can only check one for free now-a-days which is worthy of a thread on its own). My bike and case combined weigh 35 lbs and it is very well protected. I have had the TSA notices in the case on every trip, but it is easy to open and close, as well as obvious how it all goes in the case. Perhaps I have been lucky, but I think my case is very well designed and I have met folks who got rid of their Thule cases once they have used it.

Again, good luck with your situation. I hope it never happens to you or anyone else again.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [HuffNPuff] [ In reply to ]
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As a result of this thread, I am now minimally packing my bike case. I used to put a ton in there, shoes, pedals, helmet, pump etc. Fortunately I have been lucky with no major damage. However, as of my last trip as a result fo this thread, I now minimally pack it. I am now putting my wheels, seat post and any other removable parts and all gear in a separate case even though they easily fit so there are no potential loose parts if TSA messes up. Basically, all I have is my bike frame, fork, and handles bars in the case. TSA can lift off top, look in and don't need to move anything or release any straps to fully evaluate.

Coincidentally, after my return home from Milwaukee last week, the great folks at TSA didn't even reattach 2 of the 4 latches on the top of my bike case. Presumably, if I had other stuff in there and they messed around with the internal straps, they could have either fallen out or been bouncing around free in the case and damaging my bike. Because there was nothing else in there, fortunately nothing was damaged. Nonetheless, TSA really sucks and doesn't respect our property. I am going to file a grievance even though there was no damage. Hopefully, if there are enough complaints, they will finally improve and have some accountability.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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A bit off topic, but why do we never hear of any pros saying their bike was damaged in transit to races. I figure that they travel more than the typical age grouper. Is it because at a lot of the larger races their bike sponsor may have a booth there and if there is an issue it is taken care of? Just wondering.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [alittleslow] [ In reply to ]
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I flew in to Austin last year on the same flight as Macca. We were in the security line next to eachother and chatted, and then we waited together to collect our bikes. My bike came out in my fancy case and his came out wrapped up in a mangled cardboard box that was bent around the shapes of the frame (not a bike box!). I mentioned something about how his bike was way too nice to ship like that. He had some reason for why he did it, I cannot remember. Anyway, his bike made it just fine! I would have been terrified to put my bike onto a plane like that!

-------------
Ed O'Malley
www.VeloVetta.com
VeloVetta is developing AERO cycling shoes with CFD and wind tunnel testing.
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Last edited by: RowToTri: Aug 22, 13 6:12
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I have been told that you are allowed to ask the TSA personnel to open and inspect your bike case while you watch. You are not allowed to touch the case yourself, but this way you can make sure that they repack the bike correctly.

Jon Ryder
RPM Coaching
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [IronDoc947] [ In reply to ]
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IronDoc947 wrote:

Coincidentally, after my return home from Milwaukee last week, the great folks at TSA didn't even reattach 2 of the 4 latches on the top of my bike case. Presumably, if I had other stuff in there and they messed around with the internal straps, they could have either fallen out or been bouncing around free in the case and damaging my bike. Because there was nothing else in there, fortunately nothing was damaged. Nonetheless, TSA really sucks and doesn't respect our property. I am going to file a grievance even though there was no damage. Hopefully, if there are enough complaints, they will finally improve and have some accountability.

This is precisely why I don't fly with my bike and ship it instead. TSA just doesn't give a rat's ass how they repack/latch things back.

_______________________________________________
Triple Threat Triathlon
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [jpryder] [ In reply to ]
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I think you'll find that it varies depending on the mood of whoever it is that needs to inspect your case. I just had to fly from MSP to CPH with my bike and the TSA agent was in fact very nice and was happy for me to watch her as she checked the case. She was having trouble getting the case opened and I asked her if she wanted me to show her how to open as well as help her put it back together. She was very receptive to my help and we had a good chat while she was doing the check.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [RowToTri] [ In reply to ]
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RowToTri wrote:
I flew in to Austin last year on the same flight as Macca. We were in the security line next to eachother and chatted, and then we waited together to collect our bikes. My bike came out in my fancy case and his came out wrapped up in a mangled cardboard box that was bent around the shapes of the frame (not a bike box!). I mentioned something about how his bike was way too nice to ship like that. He had some reason for why he did it, I cannot remember. Anyway, his bike made it just fine! I would have been terrified to put my bike onto a plane like that!

That's a great story. The guy can probably get a bike box for free, and here it is stuffed in a large cardboard box. Probably jsut habit I would guess for the days when he was racing on a shoestring budget. If he never had a problem doing it that way before, why change. He probably also saves some money since he may not claim it as a bike to the airlines. It's just a piece of equipment for his business.


TrainingBible Coaching
http://www.trainingbible.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [RowToTri] [ In reply to ]
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Most people approach packing their bike from the completely wrong direction. Protecting a bike has way more to do with what's going in inside the box than with the strength of the box itself.

Try this thought experiment. Take an egg, wrap it in several layers of bubble wrap, put that in a standard cardboard shoebox and drop it from shoulder height. Your egg is still intact. Now take that same egg, remove the bubble wrap, put in a shoebox made of heavy-gauge steel and drop that thing from shoulder height. After you dig it out of the crater in the floor you'll find that your indestructible box has a broken egg in it.

What about doing both, using the bubble wrap and the steel box? Wouldn't that be even better? Sure, but the fact is even in the steel box 95% of your protection is in the bubble wrap, the steel is largely just dead weight. Now factor in that with a bike box you're never dealing with a container as strong as heavy-gauge steel or cargo as fragile as an egg.

Spacers in the dropouts, pipe insulation and/or bubble wrap over everything, zip tie it all together so nothing can rattle around (and the TSA only has one monolithic block to look at) and you'll be fine whether you've got a soft bag, a cardboard box or a fancy-pants hardshell case. Skip any of these and you're setting yourself up for a bad time regardless of what's on the outside.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KoopaTroopa] [ In reply to ]
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When I pack art for shipping I deliberately make the outside of the box look weak and I carefully plan the interior. I also plan on how the package can be lifted and make it so dead obvious for the shippers that they can't screw it up. My stuff always arrives fine.

Ian
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [motoguy128] [ In reply to ]
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Macca transporting with a cardboard box is very interesting. For bike transport, United Airlines specifically approves the cardboard box or a hard case. I also found out that the airlines have these approved cardboard boxes available. The mention of the cardboard box made me wonder. Maybe there is more to it than we know.
Last edited by: Trigirl357: Aug 22, 13 8:09
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KoopaTroopa] [ In reply to ]
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KoopaTroopa wrote:
Most people approach packing their bike from the completely wrong direction. Protecting a bike has way more to do with what's going in inside the box than with the strength of the box itself.

Try this thought experiment. Take an egg, wrap it in several layers of bubble wrap, put that in a standard cardboard shoebox and drop it from shoulder height. Your egg is still intact. Now take that same egg, remove the bubble wrap, put in a shoebox made of heavy-gauge steel and drop that thing from shoulder height. After you dig it out of the crater in the floor you'll find that your indestructible box has a broken egg in it.

What about doing both, using the bubble wrap and the steel box? Wouldn't that be even better? Sure, but the fact is even in the steel box 95% of your protection is in the bubble wrap, the steel is largely just dead weight. Now factor in that with a bike box you're never dealing with a container as strong as heavy-gauge steel or cargo as fragile as an egg.

Spacers in the dropouts, pipe insulation and/or bubble wrap over everything, zip tie it all together so nothing can rattle around (and the TSA only has one monolithic block to look at) and you'll be fine whether you've got a soft bag, a cardboard box or a fancy-pants hardshell case. Skip any of these and you're setting yourself up for a bad time regardless of what's on the outside.

How about this thought experiment? A sharp pointy object impales your boxes. Its still better to have a hard case. Not all damage occurs due to drops.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Just last week I finished a four month back and forth battle with US airways to get my wheelset replaced. It took a lot of patience, a lot of persistence, but finally I got about $1500 including my bag damage and wheel damage.

You could contact United's manager, or look into their claims services, send pictures, and get patient.

If you want a fast replacement, it will have to come out of your pocket.

Two different companies here so it will definitely vary.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Cyronman] [ In reply to ]
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We've hosted pros over the past few years for our 70.3. The first year, the pro had her bike in a very light soft sided bag. Another one flew in with a bike in a cardboard bike box. It had gotten quite beat up on the last leg of his trip, so he got a new bike box from our LBS. No issue with his Shiv. And another pro had his bike packed in a hockey bag - mind you, he had it packed down with having the cranks off - but that was a way to prevent the airline fee.

We have travelled many times with our bikes (probably about 4 times per year) and so far, only one cracked front fork on my husband's bike. We have soft sided bags and use pipe insulation around all the frame securing with duct tape and then also have cut pieces of foam mattress pads that we use to add more support. and to wrap around the other exposed parts. Knock on wood, we've had fairly good luck given all the travel. Now, don't ask me how much we've spent in airline fees for the bikes....this is the bag we have (and that guy is neither of us!! photo found on google! LOL!):


Last edited by: cinc: Aug 22, 13 8:26
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [goodboyr] [ In reply to ]
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Sure. All else being equal having a hard shell should offer more protection. But my point still stands. How you package the contents of the box is always going to be more important than the rigidity of the box. Even in the absence of concerns about airline fees/weight/ease of transport/TSA shenanigans etc. I would take a well packed compact soft bag over a haphazardly packed behemoth hard case every single time.

People tend to grossly overestimate the additional protection afforded by a hard case. A hard case isn't magic. It's about 1/10th of an inch of cheap plastic. Pretty much any hit severe enough to damage a well packed and padded bike is going to make quick work of that as well.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Well to follow up on the status of my battle with United .... I just got a shocking phone call and I must say that I am a little speechless.

A little over a week ago, I sent a certified letter to three managers and the President of United notifying them of a ten day notice before I pursued legal action. I still haven't heard a peep from United. On Monday, I had the paperwork ready and plans to travel to court. I was going to appear before a judge to file a small claims petition on United Airlines for my bike damages which totalled $1,705.

Thirty minutes ago, USAA legal department called and told me that they found the smallest little worded clause in my policy which allowed them to cover the damages to my bike. It was the difference in somehow defining that United damaged my bags via careless handling and not through movement of bags on the airplane while in flight. The legal representative literally told me - we know that there is no coverage for you guys and we don't think that it is right for the airlines to do this to you. He said that it was time that they stick up for their customers. He added, "So we are going to cover you and we are going after United Airlines." I will have the money in my bank account within 48 hours.

Jaw on floor.

~Karen, one proud USAA member
Last edited by: Trigirl357: Aug 22, 13 12:46
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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WIN! That's awesome. I was curious what happened when I saw this thread pop back up.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Trigirl357 wrote:
Well to follow up on the status of my battle with United .... I just got a shocking phone call and I must say that I am a little speechless.

A little over a week ago, I sent a certified letter to three managers and the President of United notifying them of a ten day notice before I pursued legal action. I still haven't heard a peep from United. On Monday, I had the paperwork ready and plans to travel to court. I was going to appear before a judge to file a small claims petition on United Airlines for my bike damages which totalled $1,705.

Thirty minutes ago, USAA legal department called and told me that they found the smallest little worded clause in my policy which allowed them to cover the damages to my bike. It was the difference in somehow defining that United damaged my bags via careless handling and not through movement of bags on the airplane while in flight. The legal representative literally told me - we know that there is no coverage for you guys and we don't think that it is right for the airlines to do this to you. He said that it was time that they stick up for their customers. He added, "So we are going to cover you and we are going after United Airlines." I will have the money in my bank account within 48 hours.

Jaw on floor.

~Karen, one proud USAA member

I'll show this to my wife. USAA is awesome!

Funny side story, whenever we get generic veterans related marketing material it's ALWAYS address to me... because you know, there's no way that only a female spouse would be a veteran right? It drives her nuts and she usually goes off, justifiably, on a gender discrimination rant.


TrainingBible Coaching
http://www.trainingbible.com
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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This is good to know. Just wondering if you could post the exact wording of the clause. I need to look and see if it's in my policy.

Hopefully USAA going after united will do something. Though it might just raise their bike fees to cover their liability :-)
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [SpicedRum] [ In reply to ]
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SpicedRum wrote:
This is good to know. Just wondering if you could post the exact wording of the clause. I need to look and see if it's in my policy.

Hopefully USAA going after united will do something. Though it might just raise their bike fees to cover their liability :-)

Unfortunately I don't have the specific wording in my policy that the legal team referred to - although I personally believe that the lawyers literally just defined a new clause under the Airline portion to address this ongoing issue. It may be a new addition & worth a phone call in a couple of days.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KoopaTroopa] [ In reply to ]
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KoopaTroopa wrote:
Sure. All else being equal having a hard shell should offer more protection. But my point still stands. How you package the contents of the box is always going to be more important than the rigidity of the box. Even in the absence of concerns about airline fees/weight/ease of transport/TSA shenanigans etc. I would take a well packed compact soft bag over a haphazardly packed behemoth hard case every single time.

People tend to grossly overestimate the additional protection afforded by a hard case. A hard case isn't magic. It's about 1/10th of an inch of cheap plastic. Pretty much any hit severe enough to damage a well packed and padded bike is going to make quick work of that as well.

I'm probably going to jinx myself with this statement, but I respectfully disagree. The Scicon Aero tech is a hard shell that's virtually indestuctable. The bike is suspended inside with straps . I chose to pad it as well as you've described but the design of this box and the way the bike is installed in it does not require the padding to protect the bike. You could be right for other hardshells, and I'm not going to take a chance with my bike since its so easy to add pipe insulation and bubble wrap, but your statement is an overly general rule that doesn't apply to this case.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [goodboyr] [ In reply to ]
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It's all a matter of risk tolerance I suppose.

For all of the horror stories you can dig up on this forum, the fact is that a well packed bike in a soft case has a pretty low chance of incurring catastrophic damage. A well packed bike in your Scicon has a somewhat lower chance of incurring catastrophic damage. Whether or not this additional piece of mind is worth several hundreds of dollars up front plus up to $300 per trip is entirely up to you. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Trigirl357 wrote:
Well to follow up on the status of my battle with United .... I just got a shocking phone call and I must say that I am a little speechless.

A little over a week ago, I sent a certified letter to three managers and the President of United notifying them of a ten day notice before I pursued legal action. I still haven't heard a peep from United. On Monday, I had the paperwork ready and plans to travel to court. I was going to appear before a judge to file a small claims petition on United Airlines for my bike damages which totalled $1,705.

Thirty minutes ago, USAA legal department called and told me that they found the smallest little worded clause in my policy which allowed them to cover the damages to my bike. It was the difference in somehow defining that United damaged my bags via careless handling and not through movement of bags on the airplane while in flight. The legal representative literally told me - we know that there is no coverage for you guys and we don't think that it is right for the airlines to do this to you. He said that it was time that they stick up for their customers. He added, "So we are going to cover you and we are going after United Airlines." I will have the money in my bank account within 48 hours.

Jaw on floor.

~Karen, one proud USAA member

I gotta admit....I was surprised by your original post with USAA's first response. Seemed totally out of line with how they handle claims, etc.

USAA rocks. I'll never get insurance anywhere else.

Chicago Cubs - 2016 WORLD SERIES Champions!!!!

"If ever the time should come, when vain and aspiring men shall possess the highest seats in government, our country will stand in need of its experienced patriots to prevent its ruin." - Samuel Adams
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Can I ask what type of USAA policy covered your bike in this case? Was it homeowners insurance?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KoopaTroopa] [ In reply to ]
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KoopaTroopa wrote:
It's all a matter of risk tolerance I suppose.

For all of the horror stories you can dig up on this forum, the fact is that a well packed bike in a soft case has a pretty low chance of incurring catastrophic damage. A well packed bike in your Scicon has a somewhat lower chance of incurring catastrophic damage. Whether or not this additional piece of mind is worth several hundreds of dollars up front plus up to $300 per trip is entirely up to you. We'll just have to agree to disagree on this one.

I think you've characterized it correctly. My risk tolerance is super low because I have a cervelo RCA.(sorry for the backdoor brag)
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Billabong] [ In reply to ]
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Billabong wrote:
Post your story on their Facebook Page

+1
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I use a Tri All 3 hard case. I have never been allowed to watch its inspection, despite requesting it several times. TSA has never managed to reclasp all 4 clasps on the box. I even put a nice note inside requesting that they make sure all 4 all securely fastened. I've had it arrive with 2 out of 4 unfastened and gapped open.

Anyone else have this problem? Is the Scicon case easier to close and fasten?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Ironma'am] [ In reply to ]
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Ironma'am wrote:
I use a Tri All 3 hard case. I have never been allowed to watch its inspection, despite requesting it several times. TSA has never managed to reclasp all 4 clasps on the box. I even put a nice note inside requesting that they make sure all 4 all securely fastened. I've had it arrive with 2 out of 4 unfastened and gapped open.

Anyone else have this problem? Is the Scicon case easier to close and fasten?

Just checked my bike for Louisville and requested to observe inspection. Not a problem. They even asked me how I would like it repacked. I use an Ironcase so it's pretty fool proof unless you can't put a male and female clamp together. I suspect this is an issue for some.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Congratulations on prevailing with USAA. They are a great company and I applaud them for find a way to pay your loss. For those of us unable to secure a USAA policy there is velosurance, a stand alone bicycle policy with world wide coverage for what ever can happen to your bike. Once again, well done.

---
Velosurance - Because Accidents Happen. Get your 5 second quote here

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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Ironma'am] [ In reply to ]
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After reading so many airline shipping horror stories over the past couple of years, I bought the Scicon Evolution and have only used FedX to ship my bike. Anything that involves the TSA you want to try and avoid......I know contacts inside and the entire organization, from their perspective and experience, is ridiculous. So far, I've shipped my bike via FedX 9 times last year and this year, so far without any issues. I don't know if the TSA checks the case but it appears not......everything has been in place when I open it up.....have it shipped directly to hotel. There have been threads in this forum on shipping by FedX through a couple of vendors that provide discounted rates. I get a discount through my company but I have checked these two vendors pricing recently and they both charge about the same (for FedX Ground).......example, around $80 from Philadelphia to Florida and Philadelphia to Milwaukee......and only takes two days. I don't doubt I may have an issue someday but I don't think its totally avoidable......shipping a fragile bike is somewhat risky......especially when you do it several times a year. But based on your experience and so many others in the past.....I think FedX might be the cheaper and less risky way to go. By the way, the Scicon has been great......hardshell......everything tied down.....easy locking......easy carry/transport. Easy packing.....I just remove wheels and loosen basebar. Was hesitant to spend the $750.....but well worth it so far. Hope this helps and glad you had success with your persistence.
Last edited by: gphin305: Aug 23, 13 8:00
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [gphin305] [ In reply to ]
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I think you present an interesting alternative to risking your bike with the airlines. How do you ship your sci con case? Does FedEx slap a label on the outside of the case or does the entire case with bike go into another cardboard shipping box? When you are in a different city where do you go to ship your bike home? Do you schedule a pickup or find a hub somewhere? Would this work overseas as well?
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Fenster] [ In reply to ]
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Fenster wrote:
I think you present an interesting alternative to risking your bike with the airlines. How do you ship your sci con case? Does FedEx slap a label on the outside of the case or does the entire case with bike go into another cardboard shipping box? When you are in a different city where do you go to ship your bike home? Do you schedule a pickup or find a hub somewhere? Would this work overseas as well?


When I leave for a race, I take it to my local FedX office.....usually the Tuesday before and it has always arrived at the hotel on Thursday. There is a built in slot on the bike case handle for a shipping label where they zip tie it on. The case does not need to be put in a cardboard box.......and after doing this 9 times so far, the only marks on the case are slight tape residue I haven't bothered to clean off. When the race is over, I pack it up in my hotel room (takes about half hour) and take it to a local FedX office......there is always one less than 10 minutes away. I always stay at a Marriot and a couple of them have had FedX offices right at their location so I never left the hotel. I could probably schedule a pick-up but, again, there is always an office close by. I know one of the two vendors, I think "Shipbikes.com" offers a pick up service both ways for, I believe, an extra $4-5 charge (each way). As far as overseas goes, I have no experience yet.......but am going to London next month for the AG Worlds so need to check into it.
Last edited by: gphin305: Aug 23, 13 9:04
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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Is the USAA policy that is covering home or car? Thanks!
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [GREG_n_SD] [ In reply to ]
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My current USAA policy is a Renter's Insurance Policy. I know that the bike would also be covered the same under the Homeowners policy.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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The only time i had a bike damaged was in a hard case. I've used a soft case for 4 years and have flown with it at least 30 times in addition to many trips on trains and buses. The only damage ive ever sustained was the cable going into the read derailleur. I normally remove it from the hanger and zip tie it to the seat-stay, but i was lazy that day.

The key is how you pack the bike inside the case, just as a poster above described. Spacers in the rear triangle and fork, stick your helmet in the rear triangle, make sure your pump doesnt have a nasty metal base. Keep the bag light so it can be handled easily and manuevered into a good spot by the employee. Keeping it clean in there allows tsa to do their job quickly without fucking up your packing job. Show up early to your flight, so tsa and the handlers are not rushed into moving your oversized bag through.

Another advantage of a lightly packed softshell case is not paying bike fees. I didnt pay one fee on 8 flights this summer.

As a reference my packed bike bag is normally around 35 lbs and i use the unmarked biospeed case by aerus. Wear a nice shirt and shoes, ditch the rubber sport watch and oakleys and you can pass the case off as whatever you want.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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TSA went through my bag once (they put a notice in it) and didn't close one of the zippers. I ended up losing about $50 worth of contacts. I filled out the form on their website and I got a check from them several weeks later.

No clue if this would work for a bike.

________________________________________
Check out my sad excuse for a blog:
http://brianstriblog.blogspot.com/
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [gphin305] [ In reply to ]
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Would a 48cm frame with 650c wheels fit well in the Scicon case? I'm sure the wheel wells are designed for 700c.
Does it accomodate aerobars well?
Do you pack the saddle and seatpost in the case?

Thanks!
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Ironma'am] [ In reply to ]
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Ironma'am wrote:
Would a 48cm frame with 650c wheels fit well in the Scicon case? I'm sure the wheel wells are designed for 700c.
Does it accomodate aerobars well?
Do you pack the saddle and seatpost in the case?

Thanks!


Yes, a 48cm would fit well. I have a 54 Cervelo P4 and it fits without having to take off the rear derailler. The wheels attach with their supplied skewers so any size wheel from 700c on down would fit. Yes, accommodates aerobars well......don't have to adjust/loosen.....just loosen basebars and turn to side. Yes, I pack saddle and seatpost in the case in the provided pouch/bag. Basically you take off wheels......take off seatpost......take off pedals (which I pack in my tri-bag.....loosen basebar and turn.......thats it. It comes with built in padding but i bought extra foam to fit around the entire edge of bag and fill with bubblewrap and use foam pipe wrapping once the bike is tied in. Wheels to roll the case are protected and work well to transport. Has four easy open/close locks. Its probably the most expensive out there but I figure should be able to resell used if I need to. Bought mine from ProBikeKit.......who is still selling for just over $700 versus other places still trying to sell for $1400. There are reviews by BikeRadar and others on YouTube. I've transported 9 times with no problems....great case if you have the budget. Mine weighs 47 lbs when packed. Let me know if any other questions.
Last edited by: gphin305: Aug 25, 13 8:04
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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I flew with United, they broke my front brake on my bike when I travelled with it as well.

I gave instructions that if TSA opens the Bikn'd case, they will need to ensure the bladders are inflated. The response from the agent, we have it 100% covered, we see these 'things' (raised an eyebrow, things?) all the time.

Paid $135 to fly it with me to Denver, 1/2 full flight and paid $85 on the way home, full flight. On my flight to Denver I asked how they charge, the response, it's a flat fee. If the flight is full you may pay a $25 surcharge because of how full the flight is.... That doesn't make sense based on how I was charged.


Came home, front brake bent by the RT pad, handlebars (that helped bend the brake shoe), ruined and completely bent. The one side of the bladder completely flat and a lovely TSA note in the bag.

When I called, they were unresponsive, unprofessional and their final conclusion. 'Your bike may have been damaged, that's not our fault, what you can be assured of, by us checking the bags we ensure the safety of every Amerrrrican citizen. (PS I'm Canadian).

Super disappointing. That's all.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [gphin305] [ In reply to ]
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Do you think you could fit an aerohelmet in with the bike? I normally put the helmet in a case and drop it in my TriAll3 case b/c it would take up half a suitcase otherwise.

Thanks for your help!
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Ironma'am] [ In reply to ]
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Ironma'am wrote:
Do you think you could fit an aerohelmet in with the bike? I normally put the helmet in a case and drop it in my TriAll3 case b/c it would take up half a suitcase otherwise.

Thanks for your help!
Yes, room for helmet and probably some other stuff as well. I prefer to fill the extra space with bubble wrap but there should be no problem.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [gphin305] [ In reply to ]
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I'm convinced. It just so happens that I got a discount code from ProBikeKit today for 10% off. At 650, it sounds like good insurance for a nice frame with Di2.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Ironma'am] [ In reply to ]
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Ironma'am wrote:
I'm convinced. It just so happens that I got a discount code from ProBikeKit today for 10% off. At 650, it sounds like good insurance for a nice frame with Di2.
Thats a great price......especially considering what others sell it for. You should be very happy with it. Good luck.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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That is great to hear, especially since I have USAA also. ;-)

I was surprised when I called them to add a rider on our policy for our wedding rings, that I couldn't get a rider for our bikes (that cost more). They said that they would be covered by the normal homeowners policy.

.
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Trigirl357] [ In reply to ]
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A few years ago, I flew out to tahoe for a snowboarding trip and had just purchased a brand new high end snowboard... Flew out fine and did great on the mountain.. then few back to san diego and I waited forever for my snowboard which was packed in a soft case... I knew something had to be wrong.. well the southwest worker looks at me cause he sees im looking for my snowboard and he makes a gesture with his hands indicating that the snowboard snapped in half. I remember in the Sacramento airport, Southwest had made me sign a waiver that they werent liable for any damage to the luggage.. so I thought my brand new, used once, $800 snowboard was a goner... well, southwest ended up writing me a check on the spot. I just had to log into my email and print them a receipt since I ordered it online. And on top of that, I told them because I brought the snowboard, bindings and boots, I was able to get 10% off the snowboard.. For the replacement snowboard, I wouldn't be able to get that 10% off again so I wanted to get the full retail value refunded... the guy said no problem and immediately printed a check..

Now that is what I call customer service!

Okay so this story doesnt have to do with bikes but I think depending on the airline, they can make it right, or they can screw you over!!! BTW, I had a very bad experience with United last year when I few out to Kansas for a deer hunting trip, and they flew my luggage to Pennsylvania by mistake :(
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [3Aims] [ In reply to ]
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+1
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [Slowman] [ In reply to ]
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I agree it is a serious problem. I flew 6 times with my bike this year in the US. ALL 6 times my triall3 was opened and a note left by TSA. 5/6 times it was repacked extremely poorly with some damage. Actually TSA and I were lucky as 3-4 times they didn't even close all the latches or close the locks.
The worst was on return from Oceanside....the top of the case was only attached by the 2 straps that go around......not one one of the latches or locks were done up!!!!! Very upsetting when you consider there is 12k of bikes, wheels and equipment in that box!
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [KP-NJ] [ In reply to ]
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KP-NJ wrote:
A case will only protect your bike if it is packed correctly. You yourself may pack it perfectly, but I seriously doubt that TSA is going to take that same care when repacking after an inspection. I opened my TriAll3 case last year at Florida 70.3 after flying with United from Newark to find that none of the straps had been fastened around my bike. I basically had a big box full of loose bike parts...I just got lucky that nothing was broken. For that trip I decided to send it home via UPS...more expensive, but much safer. I've decided that it's TriBike Transport or races that I can drive to only for me. Definitely not worth the risk.

x2
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Re: United Airlines severely damaged tribike and refuses to pay. [125mph] [ In reply to ]
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125mph wrote:
A few years ago, I flew out to tahoe for a snowboarding trip and had just purchased a brand new high end snowboard... Flew out fine and did great on the mountain.. then few back to san diego and I waited forever for my snowboard which was packed in a soft case... I knew something had to be wrong.. well the southwest worker looks at me cause he sees im looking for my snowboard and he makes a gesture with his hands indicating that the snowboard snapped in half. I remember in the Sacramento airport, Southwest had made me sign a waiver that they werent liable for any damage to the luggage.. so I thought my brand new, used once, $800 snowboard was a goner... well, southwest ended up writing me a check on the spot. I just had to log into my email and print them a receipt since I ordered it online. And on top of that, I told them because I brought the snowboard, bindings and boots, I was able to get 10% off the snowboard.. For the replacement snowboard, I wouldn't be able to get that 10% off again so I wanted to get the full retail value refunded... the guy said no problem and immediately printed a check..

Now that is what I call customer service!

Okay so this story doesnt have to do with bikes but I think depending on the airline, they can make it right, or they can screw you over!!! BTW, I had a very bad experience with United last year when I few out to Kansas for a deer hunting trip, and they flew my luggage to Pennsylvania by mistake :(

As good as that experience is I'm doubtful it'll occur with a 5k tribike damaged.
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