Destroyed Bike Update: Air Canada Steps Up

Words Cam McRae
Date Jun 19, 2015

At first Air Canada tried to deny all responsibility for the damage to Jared Walker’s bike. Then social media began to spread the word about Jared’s story and they re-opened his file – but offered only their maximum  payout, which would have only put a small dent in the cost of replacing the damaged parts of Jared’s bike.

before

The before shot. Nothing but the best on this build. Jared estimates the retail value of the damage to his bike at $6000 – but because he works in the industry he did not pay retail – nor will Air Canada as a result.

Finally Jared received the phone call from he was hoping for from an Air Canada representative. Here’s what he told me:

“I received a personal call from a very understanding employee in upper management. I believe quite high up in the management team.

He was very apologetic and wanted to do everything possible to make this right. He confirmed that they would cover all costs involved in getting my bike back to original condition and gave me his personal email and cell number should I have any questions.”

Something that hasn’t been revealed before this is that Jared works for a distributor in the bike industry. Here’s how he dealt with that:

“I’ve been up front with AC the entire time that I work in the industry and would be able to order some of the parts through my channel, and therefore lower the cost to them. I’m not in this to make a cent and have no intention of working angles to get newer, better parts. I just want the bike returned to the exact condition it was.”

Jared has been receiving lots of support from the industry and we have been fielding offers to help out as well.

“The marketing Manager from Evoc in Munich contacted me and offer to replace the Evoc Bike bag at no charge. Above and beyond from a company that obviously knows what it means to stand behind their products.

I’m blown away at the generosity from the Industry. I haven’t excepted the offer from Evoc, as Air Canada has offered to pay to have it replaced. I’ll let Evoc decide and should they still want to send a bag no charge and providing Air Canada is comfortable with it, I’ll donate the compensation from Air Canada to SORCA (Squamish MTB association) for trail support.  This would all be unconfirmed at this point. I’ve left the decision to them. “

Congratulations to Jared and thank you to everyone who spread the word about this. Together our squeaky wheels made a lot of noise.

And well done Air Canada as well. Hopefully the company has learned some lessons from this situation and that policies will evolve as a result.


Situations like this show that the power of social media can be used for good.

 

Trending on NSMB

Comments

karmen-jayne
0
Karmen Jayne  - June 21, 2015, 5:21 p.m.

I'm glad this worked out. I really am. But what bugs me more is the number of times this happens to a wheelchair and nothing happens. This policy needs to change, and not just for bikes. Getting a bike damaged sucks big time. But getting a wheelchair damaged robs a person of their ability to function. I'd like to see a safer baggage handling system, not just improved compensation.

FixTheProblemAndYouCanStopCompensatingPeople

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bbgunassassin
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bbgunassassin  - June 19, 2015, 9:41 p.m.

Glad this is turning out to have a positive outcome. Incidents like this can be avoided as long as AC doesn't mishandle cargo. If they weren't aware how much our bikes cost to repair and replace, I'm sure they are now.

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blackbird
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tw  - June 19, 2015, 1:02 p.m.

Take that phone out and get some pictures of your gear right before you give it to any airline. This way, you will have indisputable evidence of the before condition and can be compared with the after.

Great it was resolved, but as others have said, what will AC be doing about this to streamline the process in the future?

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muldman
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muldman  - June 19, 2015, 12:20 p.m.

The AC policies will absolutely evolve from this. Now when you pay $150 to check a bike, there will be a waiver you need to sign stating that they are not responsible in any way for any damage whatsoever.

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poo-stance
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Poo Stance  - June 19, 2015, 1:29 p.m.

I've seen a few airline companies have that with their surfboard policies. $150/board in a bag plus oversize luggage fee for the board bag plus waiver that they are not liable for damages

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city-rider
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City Rider  - June 19, 2015, 2:35 p.m.

As customers we should pull out a form and ask them to sign it that will do there best to ensure that our properly packed luggage that we have paid to be a customer with them will be looked after in an appropriate manner to ensure it arrives in the same condition that it is as of now.

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hendo
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Hendo  - June 20, 2015, 5:47 p.m.

I find a lot of airlines already do this with skis. You check the skis on and they make you sign a damage waiver. It is often the small print on the fragile sticker they want to stick on the bag. I usually challenge them on this. I say "what is this for?" and the reply is usually first: "because the skis are not packed safely and could be damaged." To which I say "they are in a padded, purpose made ski bag, how are they not packed safely? Then they say "it is because the skis are fragile and could be broken easily." At which point I say: "I jump off cliffs using these skis (I don't, but it is fun to be dramatic). How are they fragile?" At this point, often, they give up. The fragile sticker does not go on, and I don't have to sign the damage waiver. If they do make me sign it I cross out the parts about them being inadequately packed, or fragile.

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illegalalieninbeijing
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illegalalieninbeijing  - June 19, 2015, 12:15 p.m.

Congratulations. It is just right that Air Canada and the rest of the airline airline industry must be held accountable upon entrusting our luggage / possessions with them. This wouldn't have happened if the baggage handlers took diligent care of this - we do all know how they treat passenger's luggage / possessions, right?. Air Canada should start evaluating their people who handle these and adhere to strict policies. Their employee's screw up will always severely cost them money.

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andy-eunson
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Andy Eunson  - June 19, 2015, 11:58 a.m.

I figure AC and all airlines get claims all the time many of which are bogus. It may be that they have a corporate policy to deny all baggage damage claims no matter what and most claims fall by the wayside legit or not. I know that the City of Surrey implemented a policy to deny all claims made against them. Before that policy the City had numerous trip and fall claims and other claims like that that weren't worth much and which they often paid out as on a per claim basis it was cheaper to pay damages then to pay lawyers. However after a few years of fighting all claims the small ones have gone away because plaintiffs' lawyers have learned that it will cost them more in time and fees than the claim is worth.

I can only guess that AC gets hit with all sorts of stupid claims. People putting glass containers in soft luggage or things like that. Any traveler needs to expect some rough handling and should pack accordingly.

In this instance though it seemed pretty clear that the damage went far beyond a little rough handling.

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peterk
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peterk  - June 19, 2015, 11:28 a.m.

I pointed out the distributor connection, but my comment was deleted
because it was posted anonymously. Nice of him to be upfront with AC
about it, and the possible SORCA donation.

Will the mountain bikers who "shared" this be able to expect the same love for a borderline warranty issue?

No love for the THULE bike boxes OGC distributes? 🙂

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JulieT
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ashroadadam1 .  - June 19, 2015, 10:58 a.m.

I'm currently waiting on a smashed suitcase claim. I highly doubt I will receive any type of reasonable compensation….shame only works when there's a story.

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sam-h
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Sam H.  - June 19, 2015, 10:51 a.m.

Glad it worked out for Jared, but I'm always bothered by these stories. Air Canada comes out looking like an OK guy after all, because they took care of the problem.

But the reality is that while journalists and industry reps have a social media pulpit, most of us don't have the media presence to accomplish the same thing. If I posted to my social media account the same story, the odds are 99% that it would go absolutely nowhere.

I'd only consider this a positive outcome if Air Canada, while stepping up to the plate for Jared, also revamped its system to allow the rest of us some recourse when our claims are arbitrarily denied.

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jerschwab
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Jeremy  - June 19, 2015, 12:13 p.m.

I almost want to create multiple accounts so I can upvote this more… absolutely. Companies like AC will do whatever they can get away with… which includes whatever is necessary to minimize any PR backlash.

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tim
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Tim  - June 19, 2015, 12:43 p.m.

exactly. While im stoked for jared, i still see this as a an example of how ac will screw you unless you put up a good fight. theyre still acting in their own best interest.

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cam@nsmb.com
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Cam McRae  - June 19, 2015, 2:39 p.m.

One point Sam is that I had no idea that Jared works in the bike industry when we first shared his story. I don't know Jared and we weren't friends on FB. His story was spread by his friends and went further from there. His connection to the industry might have provided a more direct path to our social media feeds but I'm confident it would have arrived there even if he was a trucker or a physician.

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sam-h
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Sam H.  - June 19, 2015, 4:04 p.m.

Sure, and I didn't mean to imply that NSMB acted in any way improperly, or gave additional credence to his story due to his role, but the fact remains that stories which find their way onto high-traffic news sites get quick responses from companies, while those that for whatever reason don't find their way get no responses.

Imagine for a moment that Fred was also on Jared's flight, and Fred's bike was similarly mangled. Just like Jared, Fred filed a claim with Air Canada. Just like Jared, Fred posted on his facetweet+ stream about the issue, but Fred has 7 followers, 8 if you could his Grandma who signed up for facetweet+ but never logs in. Fred's followers thought "Oh man, sucks to be Fred", but even if they reposted it, their 3 followers don't give a rat's ass about Fred or his stupid mountain bike that costs more than their car.

While Jared's issue is now resolved and he'll get $8000 worth of repairs because some Air Canada VP with $100K signing authority wanted the problem to go away, I assure you that Fred's claim continues to be denied. So good for Jared, and I'm glad that he's being made whole, but I won't consider it a happy ending, or consider Air Canada absolved, until their process is updated to take care of Fred (and all the other Freds out there) too.

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fred
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Fred  - June 19, 2015, 4:21 p.m.

I also work in the bike industry and think that I could have reached out to the right people in order to get my story out if this had happened to me.

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bruccio
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Bruccio  - June 19, 2015, 5:18 p.m.

so, bottom line: people got the power…with proper knowledge.

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D_C_
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DMVancouver  - June 19, 2015, 10:49 a.m.

Kudos to Air Canada for making it right (eventually), but it is disgusting that they only agreed to do so after persistent public shaming.

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