Ryanair has apologised to a triathlete after managing to ‘lose’ his bike twice on separate flights in different countries as it was left off aircraft in both Scotland and Ireland.
Tom Kennedy, aged 31 and from Stirling, was heading from Edinburgh to Nantes to take part in last weekend’s Ironman 70.3 Triathlon at Les Sables d’Olonne in the Vendée on France’s Atlantic coast.
However, on arrival in France he discovered that the bike box containing his £9,000 bicycle, as well as other kit including his cycle helmet and his wetsuit, had not made it onto the flight from Edinburgh.
The airline said it would get the bike box to him in Nantes via a flight from Dublin – only for the bike box not to be loaded onto the flight after its journey there from Edinburgh.
His mother, Sally, bombarded Ryanair with phone calls to try and find out why the bike box had not made the flights and get it forwarded to her son, reports Edinburgh News.
She said: “Nothing about this was straightforward. After being told the earliest they could get it here was next week, we then received a call to say it was being flown to Dublin and then onto Nantes on Saturday morning.
“But Tom’s Airtag showed it hadn't moved from Dublin after the flight had taken off and they confirmed it had once again not been transferred onto the plane.
“We couldn't believe it as we had actually started to believe it was coming,” she said. “Thankfully after further calls they agreed to send it back to London and board it onto a later flight.”
.The bike box made it to France on the eve of the event, enabling him to register for it after organisers granted him an extension because of the delays he had experienced and despite being unable to train ahead of the event, Kennedy managed to put in a decent performance, as his mother explained.
“Tom performed brilliantly in the race,” she said. “He achieved a personal best of four hours, 47 mins, 10 seconds. This is eight minutes less than his previous best.
“How phenomenal given the lack of training the last two days,” she added. “What an athlete.”
A spokesperson from Ryanair defended the airline’s record when it comes to lost luggage, although it should be pointed out that its baggage policies mean that compared to some other operators, its passengers may be more likely to travel only with hand luggage, without any bags being checked in as hold luggage.
“Ryanair operates over 3,300 daily flights across more than 230 destinations and leads the industry with fewest lost bags – one bag mishandled per almost 10,000 passengers,” the spokesperson said.
“We have located this passenger's lost baggage which is now being short shipped to Nantes.
“Ryanair apologises for any inconvenience caused as a result of this delay,” the spokesperson added.
It’s not the first case of missing luggage we’ve reported on in the past week. Ahead of the Grand Depart of the Tour de France in Bilbao last weekend, Intermarché Circus Wanty rider Mike Teunissen’s luggage went missing as he travelled from the Netherlands to Spain. That article also referred to the first flight that Kennedy’s bike failed to make.
Dutch pro Teunissen revealed on social media that Vueling Airlines had told him last Thursday that the suitcase, which had been left behind at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport, would be “sent on the on the next available flight.”
That didn’t happen, and Teunissen, who took a surprise win to get into the race leader’s yellow jersey on the opening day of the 2019 Tour de France, tweeted on Monday to say that he had finally been reunited with it as the race prepared to leave Spain’s Basque region, around 100 hours after it had first gone missing.
Last year, we reported on a number of instances of bikes going missing in transit sometimes for weeks on end as airports, which had reduced baggage handler staff numbers during the COVID-19 pandemic, struggled to cope with a big increase in passenger numbers as people returned to travelling abroad following the easing of coronavirus restrictions.
Among those to be briefly separated from their pride and joy was retired pro cyclist Nicolas Roche, whose custom-made FiftyOne bike went missing for 11 days as he travelled home to Monaco on an EasyJet flight from Gatwick to Nice after attending an event in the UK.
Simon joined road.cc as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.