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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 .

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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.


The Velosurance cyclist insurance policy has no equal, not home owners, not renters, not auto. There simply isn't an insurance policy out there that covers a bicycle as well as a Velosurance cyclist policy.


Dave Williams - CEO
Velosurance
888-663-9948

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.


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