Don’t fly airfrance with your bike

Just a rant, airfrance lost my race bike. of course I didn’t insure it, and I think they’ve finally located it almost a week later, but they’ve been absolutely awful through the whole ordeal.

On top of that, they lost my other two bags too, and though I got them back in a couple of days given how they look I’m not super excited about the condition of my bike in an orucase.

Headed to the airport now :crossed_fingers:

Btw, American Airlines was great with my orucase last time, and maybe this is a one-off but it’s a bad one.


Good luck :crossed_fingers:t2:

My worst customer service experiences flying have been with Air France. Unfortunately I had several years of working for a French company and it was almost unavoidable. The organization feels like dealing with the bureaucracy at the BMV. I hope they find your bike. I won’t fly with them again.

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Hey so good ish result! The bike lives and it wasn’t apparently damaged. Maybe posting here changed my karma :joy:


I’ll still make sure to avoid AirFrance though :joy:
Just in case

FWIW, I’ve flown AirFrance multiple times with my bike and had no problems.

I think your ire at AirFrance is a bit misplaced. (I’m not French, so that doesn’t hurt my national pride one bit.) Usually ground services are the responsibility of the two (or more) airports that are involved in your trip. And some baggage handlers have a rather robust attitude towards their job.

Flying with a bike is always a bit of an effort and IMHO you must know in advance whether you want to take the risk or have it insured properly. Typically, the problem is not complete loss, but damage. Note that many insurances only cover up to something like $1,000 or €1,000, which is something like one carbon wheel or so. So if you haven’t taken out insurance or enough insurance, you might be screwed.

The airline’s customer service agents have limited latitude here. Yes, here different airlines have different levels of service, and what they owe you depends very much on the airports. (E. g. if I flew from Japan to Chile via the US, I have a larger baggage allowance than if I were to fly via Europe.) When important baggage is lost, most are able to give you some cash (I received $50 in cash when they forgot my luggage on the tarmac of some other airport). But I don’t think you can do that after the fact.

Another thing you can do in the future, at least if you are in the Apple ecosystem, is get an AirTag and place that on your bike. I have heard several people who were able to track their luggage this way.


Oh I know this could have happened with anyone, and I think the real reason I titled this as such was partial because of the bike and partially because

  1. Airfrance cancelled my USA Paris flight with about four hours of lead time, so I spent the night in jfk, which then made me miss my connection in Paris so then I spent most of the next night in CDG.

  2. It wasn’t just the bike, I payed dearly to check two more bags, and they lost them all. Not only did they lose them, but then they all came on different days and I was not really informed that they had come—had to go to the airport three times in all.

I know this is probably more flying in covid than anything, but I’m actively rebooking my family on a different airline, it was that bad.

That is definitely something you should not have to do. Pre Covid, I’d travel internationally and across continents very regularly. Every 2 years or so, one of my bags would get lost or delayed. (Typically, lost just means they don’t know where it is, but most of the time it has just not made it onto a connecting flight in time. Although one time my dad’s bag ended up in the bomb shelter of all places, all mangled up.) But I never ever had to go and pick it up myself. In fact, it was always understood that the airline would pay for the delivery. And they sure did.

As with everywhere in life, it pays off to know your rights and what is common. They could never pull that non-sense on me, because this isn’t my first rodeo and I know that they can and typically will pay for delivery.

Next time you should also know your rights and what you can expect.

  • In normal times, flight cancellations might entitle you to some perks. A friend of mine got $$$$ when her plane had an emergency landing on some island between Europe and Canada (don’t remember where). For international flights, you might be entitled to free accommodation by applicable laws or by airline policy. At the very least you should be able to get some minor perk like some extra miles or some cash.
  • If a suitcase gets damaged, you can have the airline pay to have it fixed for free. I did that once, and it was a bit of a pain because of time spent. But it worked. My advice: don’t do it for a $100 suitcase. Do it for a $500 suitcase.
  • If they lose a piece of luggage, it will usually arrive one or two days later on another flight. Pro tip: always have a T-shirt, fresh underwear and a pair of socks in your carry-on.
  • If they deliver a piece of luggage late to your destination, the airline will typically have it delivered to your accommodation or home. But be prepared to have to ask for that.
  • You can also get smaller amounts of money for late suitcases. The idea is that this is to allow you to buy e. g. underwear or so until your luggage arrives.
  • Bikes should be packed carefully. But expect that the box might be taken apart by customs. Make sure to check your insurance’s coverage for luggage in general and bikes in particular. (That happened to me when I took my mountain bike to Japan the last time. Ugh, they wanted to check whether I had CO2 canisters somewhere.)
  • Be nice and professional to the staff. I know this can be super hard after traveling for over 10 hours, not having slept properly, etc. Most of them are not trying to be a-holes, they just have very strict orders and limits as to what they are allowed to do.
  • Next time I travel, I’ll definitely put an AirTag with my bike.
  • Lastly, you need to consider the country’s culture. In the US and a few other countries the customer is king. This isn’t the case everywhere else.

+1 on the AirTags. Just bought a 4 pack of them for my recent trip to Mallorca this October.

Was not only very fun to see the bags travel through the airport, I could see them be physically on the plane when we were at the gate, as well as see them when we landed.

Now, it might not help as such if the bags are “lost”, but at least you know where they are. And that could help massively if the airline cant find the bags.

But like a few have said here (dad is a former Emirates pilot), they rarely lose the bags. Usually they just dont make a connection, so the bags are always somewhere in the system. But having a bag that gets lost is incredibly rare with todays digital systems.

At departures:


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This thread reminds me how much I do not miss business travel. COVID has given me the excuse not to do it and proven it is not as necessary as we once all assumed. If my employer starts demanding I do it like I used to, I will go work somewhere else


If your luggage is delayed for a few days it’s worth checking if your credit card (assuming you booked it on the card) gives you some allowances to cover this event. I know my Chase card has this feature:

Reimburses you for essential purchases like toiletries and clothing for baggage delays over 6 hours by passenger carrier up to $100 a day for 5 days.


Very good points. Credit cards can come with all sorts of perks. Mine has a travel health insurance, which basically makes the credit card pay for itself: the yearly fee is half of what a dedicated travel health insurance costs for me.

Other perks can include liability insurance for rental cars or access to airport lounges (I have that perk, too, which also more than paid for the credit card).

However, sometimes these perks only apply if you e. g. paid for the ticket or rental with that credit card. So best pay attention to the fine print.

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This certainly gives piece of mind (see what I did there, Maiden fans?).


On that basis no one should fly with any airline ever again.


Frequent business traveller here (at least in pre-Covid times). They lost my baggage so often. Almost every airline I flew with. This is usually related to flights being late and short connection times. Usually. Dealing with it is often a hassle, independent of the airline. You can have bad service with all of them, you’re just a number.

This is very true. I also had bad experiences with flight connections in Paris. This was not related to airfrance but to luggage service at CDG.

When I travel with my bike, I try to book direct flight or with limited connection if no direct exist. It also safer to take a longer connection to ensure the bike follows you. When doing connections in Europe I would avoid Paris as much as possible as I had bad experiences multiple times.

However, I travel frequently to Paris for work with my bike. With a direct flight to Paris, I never had any issue.

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Thats a good tactic as well that I do also. Never fly with a connecting flight to my destination. Less chance of things screwing up my bike getting there.

Frequent business traveler here, pre-Covid. I never check luggage. Except when traveling for pleasure. And then I always assume it will be lost. If I flew a bike, I’d have the rental place for its replacement already lined up.

And if I stopped flying every airline that messed up something, I’d have to buy a private plane. Or stop traveling altogether - which incidentally is what I’ve done for the last almost 2 years.

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Well, there are jobs where you actually have to bring stuff with you. Or/and stay for more than a few days.

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