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When I got there, the JAL personnel could not have been more gracious, and were appalled that AA had had me jump through hoops to get the bike to them.
JAL was wonderful (my best airline experience ever) but when I go back next summer, I will fly one airline (either United or Northwest) the whole way, since JAL doesn't serve St. 🙁 And in the future, I will avoid AA whenever possible!
Found it was very easy to take a fully loaded rig onto the Downeaster.As of this writing (3 days later) I do not have my bike yet.Air France lost baggage service in France was pretty good. I would recommend calling Air France baggage in France if they lose your bike.I had exactly the same experience in San Francisco last September, although I can't remember if the company names were the same.
I was the last stop on the trip and the van driver wasn't expecting a bike box.None of their employees either on the phone nor in person had the straight story on how big, how heavy, or the price of the "extra" baggage.