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I’ve written a few times before about airlines losing or damaging people’s luggage, especially when it is something unusual and/or expensive.

(SEE ALSO: A Couple Searched Months For Their Lost Luggage… It Had Been Donated to Charity)

(SEE ALSO: Cathay Pacific sends crew luggage to garbage dump to “keep things tidy”)

(SEE ALSO: United may break guitars, but American Airlines breaks sewing machines)

It’s almost enough to wonder why anybody could possibly check luggage without an Air Tag in 2023 (currently on sale at Amazon!).

Lost $12,000 Bike

I wrote a few months ago about British Airways losing an $8,000 bicycle (see what I mean, it’s a thing!), but this time Brussels Airlines and United teamed up to lose an even MORE expensive bicycle ($12,000). I first read about this in CNN, where it told the story of 16 year old Gray Barnett, who is a cyclist and the US national time trial champion for his age group. He had done some races in France and Belgium this summer, but on his way back to the United States, he booked a ticket through United from Lyon, France to Brussels (on Star Alliance partner Brussels Airlines) and then back to the US on United.

But while he made it home safe and sound, his bike did not…

Tracking the bike (and finding someone who cared)

Gray’s mom had recently purchased an Apple AirTag to go with his luggage as a way of preventing things from getting lost, and boy did it come in handy this time. Ever since they noticed that it had failed to arrive in Greenville (South Carolina), it had not moved from the arrivals area at the Brussels Airport. Gray and his dad tried contacting United Airlines, Brussels Airlines, the Brussels airport – nobody seemed to be willing to help him. United sent him a form letter saying they’d get back to him in 8 to 12 weeks.

Finally, he managed to get a lady named Ella who worked for the Brussels Airport. Even though it wasn’t her job or responsibility, she said that she would go look for it once her job was done. Then came the words Gray and his family had been waiting to hear for days

“Thank you for your patience. We have found your baggage. They will send it tomorrow on flight UA 2337 to Greenville via Chicago.”

$150 in travel credits as compensation?!?

United said in a statement: “We worked with Mr Barnett to reroute his bike to Greenville-Spartanburg International Airport as soon as the other airline gave it to us. We’ve apologized to Mr. Barnett for the delay and provided travel credits to use toward a future flight.”

They say that they have received $150 in travel credits, which seems like a bit of a joke considering it cost $400 to check the bike in the first place. It seems like the very least would be a (cash) refund of the amount they paid to check the bike, seeing as the airlines uh… didn’t do so good on that.

(SEE ALSO: Outrageous Air Canada Broken Seat Compensation)

The Bottom Line

Brussels Airlines and United teamed up to lose a $12,000 bicycle. After days of tracking it via an Apple Air Tag, they finally found a Brussels Airport customer care representative who went out of her way to find the bike and get it on its way. Who knows what might have happened without an Air Tag…

Got any good lost luggage stories? Leave them in the comments below!

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