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Baggage Inconsistency for Bicycles on American Airline

 

 

 


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American Airlines seems to be striving for new lows in customer service with bicyclists, but read to the end because it has a happy ending. Here is the situation as reported to us by Alex D. of Northern Ireland (Oct 2009):

[Editor: From the information we receive this experience that is not totally unique to American Airlines customers.]

Flew Honolulu to Belfast.

Checked in 1 box 95 x 72 x 20cms, 17kg. (My only piece of luggage.) Charged $150, but http://www.americanairlines.co.uk/i18n/travelInformation/baggage/specialty-sports.jsp
(editor's note: at the time) says,

-------------------

Bicycle*

- One bicycle will be accepted in place of one checked bag within the baggage allowance regardless of the actual dimensions of the bicycle.

-------------------

So, the website says Free -- I get charged $150.

So I email American Airlines the website link and all the flight information. They reply with the following...excerpt, the full message is below...

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Moreover, we depend on our agents to assess the items and collect the applicable charge. We do not countermand our airport agents' decisions regarding excess or overweight baggage. Accordingly, we must respectfully decline to refund the baggage charge you paid.

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They also include a completely different website link stating the bike charge is $100 not $150

---------later----------

An update - they have finally given me a refund - but it took a lot of persistence on my part!

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Subsequent message from American Airlines Customer Relations:

Thank you for contacting us again.

I have checked the link you provided with regards to the transportation of your bicycle. As our agency website states that one bicycle will be accepted in place of one checked bag within the baggage allowance regardless of the actual dimensions of the bicycle, we are happy to offer you a refund of the baggage fee.

We will issue an adjustment to the credit card account used to pay the baggage charge. A credit in the amount of $150.00 should appear on one of your next two billing statements. In the interim, we appreciate your patience.

Mr. D..., I regret any misunderstanding with regards to this charge and will forward your feedback to the appropriate supervisory staff for review. We hope this has now been settled to your satisfaction and look forward to welcoming you onboard again soon.

Sincerely,

(name removed)
Customer Relations
American Airlines

-------------------

First message from American Airlines Customer Relations:

Thank you for contacting Customer Relations.

I can appreciate your dismay at having to pay an additional charge for transporting a bicycle as checked baggage. Thank you for this opportunity to address your inquiry.

While all sports equipment counts towards your bag allowance, there is an additional charge for some sports items that exceed our size and weight restrictions (bicycles, surfboards, hang gliders, and javelins, for example). While it may not be readily apparent, there are additional costs associated with handling these items. For example, such items generally cannot be placed on standard baggage conveyor systems and may have to be transported by other means to and from bag rooms and aircraft. In addition, the cubic space required to secure such items in aircraft cargo compartments is space that may displace other cargo and reduce our revenue. To recover some of these costs, we believe it is reasonable to charge those customers who choose to travel with these items. For more information, please click on the following link:

http://www.americanairlines.co.uk/i1...ts%20Equipment (editor's note: this page has since been removed.)

Moreover, we depend on our agents to assess the items and collect the applicable charge. We do not countermand our airport agents' decisions regarding excess or overweight baggage. Accordingly, we must respectfully decline to refund the baggage charge you paid. I am sorry.

Again, thank you for allowing me to explain why we charged to check your bicycle. Please travel with us soon. We look forward to welcoming you onboard again in the near future.

Sincerely,

(name removed)
Customer Relations
American Airlines

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