Delta Smashed My Bike And Won't Refund The Baggage Fee

This guy is trying to raise money to build dams in Africa by doing 20 half Ironman races. Consequently, he has to travel with his bike a lot. He says that during a recent trip back from Hawaii Delta smashed his bike and won’t even refund the $200 fee he paid them to transport it. This makes him sad.

Here’s his story:

We looked up some information from the Department of Transportation as well as Delta that we hope can help with the issue.

First, here’s how the DOT suggests dealing with damaged baggage.

Airlines assert a limit on their liability for delayed, lost or damaged checked baggage. When your luggage and its contents are worth more than the liability limit, you may want to purchase “excess valuation,” if available, from the airline as you check in. This is not insurance, but it will increase the carrier’s potential liability. The airline may refuse to sell excess valuation on some items that are especially valuable or breakable, such as antiques, musical instruments, jewelry, manuscripts, negotiable securities and cash.

Keep in mind that the liability limits are maximums. If the depreciated value of your property is worth less than the liability limit, this lower amount is what you will be offered. If the airline’s settlement doesn’t fully reimburse your loss, check your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance; it sometimes covers losses away from the residence. Some credit card companies and travel agencies offer optional or even automatic supplemental baggage coverage.

We obviously have no idea what this guy’s bike is worth, (probably a lot, it looks really nice) but we looked up Delta’s baggage limit and found this:

For travel entirely within the USA, liability for loss, damage or delay in delivery of baggage is limited to $3,300 per ticketed passenger unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges are paid. Carrier assumes no responsibility for fragile or perishable items.

We looked up information about bicycles to see if there were any special rules and didn’t find anything.

Delta’s requirements state that the damage must be reported with 24 hours and a written follow-up be sent within 21 days. It sounds like the damage was reported, so now is the time to write the letter.

If it doesn’t work out, he can file a complaint with the Department of Transportation, here.

Anyone else had to deal with this sort of thing with an airline? Do you have advice for the bereaved former bike-owner? Anything we missed? Anyone want to write a song for him? We hear that is an effective technique.

UPDATE: Delta says, “We will be contacting the customer and working to resolve the issue with the customer. The cause he supports is a extremely important one and we want to be sure he is able to continue his work.”