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Old 08-16-14, 10:36 AM   #1
Simon_Henley
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Airline destroyed bike but wont pay full cost to replace

Does anyone have any experience getting an airline to cover the full cost to replace a damaged bike.

British Airways lost my bike for 5 days then returned it with the top tube cracked in half. They accept they have caused the damage. I have provided the quote from the local bike shop but BA will only offer me £1000 despite the like for like replacement costing £4600.

Any experience or help would be much appreciated
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Old 08-16-14, 10:56 AM   #2
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Why the whole bike if it is just the frame that was damaged?
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Old 08-16-14, 11:22 AM   #3
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The claim is for the damaged parts which include frame, shifters and wheels. I've only claimed for the parts that are destroyed. The reason for the high price is Di2 components and a pair or mavic cosmic SLR rims. The full bike would cost close to £7000
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Old 08-16-14, 11:48 AM   #4
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I don't know about the UK, but here in the USA there are caps on airline baggage liability. If you want protection above that you have to buy insurance. It's possible that the UK has a similar liability cap, and the airline is willing to pay up to that and no more.

BTW- in a way you might be lucky because the airline might have an out altogether based on the theory of improper/inadequate packing. Not saying you didn't pack well, but this is a common out claimed by carriers when there's damage rather than loss.
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Old 08-16-14, 12:28 PM   #5
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Check the airline policy, I am willing to bet they have a base coverage, anything over that value you have to purchase additional coverage. It is usually pretty inexpensive in the long run. I ship bikes via Amtrak a fair bit, their base value is $250 IIRC. It costs ~$5 to bump that insurance up to $1,000. Well worth the cost IMHO. I suspect the airlines are the same way.

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Old 08-16-14, 01:30 PM   #6
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I'm familiar with this from photo equipment, but the rules would apply equally to bikes.

The Montreal Convention limits air carrier liability for passenger baggage on international flights. That's true of any carrier covered by the Convention, not just BA. Some national regulations require higher limits on certain flights, but the Convention sets the baseline for covered carriers.

Coverage over the Convention limit is often available if you declare the higher value at check-in, request coverage, and pay for it. Otherwise, compensation is capped at about £1000 (depending on the currency of the carrier and exchange rate fluctuations -- it's actually expressed in "special drawing rights" from the IMF.)
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Old 08-16-14, 02:13 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
BTW- in a way you might be lucky because the airline might have an out altogether based on the theory of improper/inadequate packing. Not saying you didn't pack well, but this is a common out claimed by carriers when there's damage rather than loss.
Not my experience. Finnair did a pretty good job asploding our baby stroller on a recent trip. I didn't even notice the damage at first (we didn't need the stroller in the first few days in our destination). When I did notice it, I called the airline very much expecting them to claim inadequate packing and possibly our fault in not reporting it immediately. That didn't happen, instead we got all the necessary documentation from the airline to take the stroller to a local shop for evaluation. They said it cannot be fixed (damage to frame), so we received a brand new stroller. We were of course well below the cap limit (new stroller was about €300), but still.

OP, does your travel insurance possibly offer additional coverage on top of the airline cap?

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Old 08-16-14, 03:10 PM   #8
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Have a solicitor to contact for legal remedies? Its Small Claims law courts over here..
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Old 08-16-14, 04:22 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Juha View Post
Not my experience. Finnair did a pretty good job asploding our baby stroller on a recent trip. I didn't even notice the damage at first (we didn't need the stroller in the first few days in our destination). When I did notice it, I called the airline very much expecting them to claim inadequate packing and possibly our fault in not reporting it immediately. That didn't happen, instead we got all the necessary documentation from the airline to take the stroller to a local shop for evaluation. They said it cannot be fixed (damage to frame), so we received a brand new stroller. We were of course well below the cap limit (new stroller was about €300), but still.

OP, does your travel insurance possibly offer additional coverage on top of the airline cap?

--J
As I said - "might". Airlines vary tremendously in how they treat damage claims, and there's even great variation within the same airline, depending on the mood or whims of the claims agent you deal with. Some are great, and with others it's like pulling teeth to get them to evan acknowledge any liability.

Expensive bikes are especially problematic with any type of damage claim, because the costs are so far out of line with layman's expectations of what bikes cost. "$3,000, come on buddy, I saw one just like yours at Walmart for $200, brand new"
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Last edited by FBinNY; 08-16-14 at 04:31 PM.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:21 PM   #10
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Not good news:

Notice of liability

Quote:
The air carrier is liable for destruction, loss or damage to baggage up to 1,131 SDRs (approximately £1,000 or EUR1,230). In the case of checked baggage, it is liable even if not at fault, unless the baggage was defective. In the case of unchecked baggage, the carrier is liable only if at fault.

A passenger can benefit from a higher liability limit by making a special declaration at the latest at check-in and by paying a supplementary fee.
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Old 08-16-14, 06:24 PM   #11
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You can try the British Airways forum here:

FlyerTalk - The world's most popular frequent flyer community

Lots of experienced frequent fliers on that site - and the major airlines actually monitor it. Someone there can probably give you some REAL contacts at British Airways that might help.
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Old 08-16-14, 07:43 PM   #12
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As mentioned above ...


This ...

Quote:
Originally Posted by FBinNY View Post
I don't know about the UK, but here in the USA there are caps on airline baggage liability. If you want protection above that you have to buy insurance. It's possible that the UK has a similar liability cap, and the airline is willing to pay up to that and no more.

It's one of the issues of travelling with a bicycle that is a bit more on the expensive side.
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