Stab Magazine | Alex Gray Receives $3,500 From American Airlines After Broken Board Incident

Alex Gray Receives $3,500 From American Airlines After Broken Board Incident

The legally allowed amount of retribution.

Words by stab

There are few things like an impressive display of destruction. Frustrating to be on the receiving end of, sure, but great for generating conversation. Especially if you know how to manipulate the audiences’ reaction in your favour.

Let Alex Gray be a case study in how to generate crowd-sourced retribution in wake of a personal tragedy. Should you have forgotten: Last week, Alex landed at the American Airlines terminal at LAX on flight AA 285 from Honolulu. Following arrival, AA ground workers ran over, suplexed, mishandled and did just about whatever it takes to snap a hefty amount of Alex’s accompanying fibreglass. 

Mr Gray became aware of this after a halved board bag with his name on it arrived at the oversized luggage pick-up. Upon opening, Alex discovered that four of his five boards were broken (one of which was snapped cleanly in half) and responded with a social media tirade.

After a week of detailing the specifics of his nightmare, which included talking to a local television station (see above video), American Airlines finally fessed up. Claiming that the boards had clearly been run over by a truck or landing vehicle of some sort. An incident that would settle to the tune of $3,500 USD.

Screen Shot 2017 04 18 at 12.39.35 PM

Alex posted the above image to his Instagram with these accompanying words:

#Americanairlines has replied, and I give them two thumbs up! @americanair will reimburse ALL damaged @cisurfboards and the @onamission bag. They are also returning the excess baggage fee. The airline was apologetic while acknowledging their negligence, and agrees the boards were most likely run over. I’d like to commend AA for handling this situation appropriately. Most of all I’d like to thank all of YOU for your engagement. It’s amazing to see the positive side of social media bring like-minded people together in stance of a fair result. Moving forward, I am positive the reply to this circumstance will hold as the example for all surfers in the future. Again thank you all. Let’s get ready for more surf adventures 🙂

Trusting airlines with gear has always been a necessary evil of surf travel. As we’ve seen from the John John Florence JetBlue debacle of 2016 to The People vs Hawaiian Airlines saga, their scorched earth hardware policy knows no boundaries. It’s warming to learn Alex was able to flip his bad experience into something beneficial. 

Alex plans to send a portion of the board reimbursement to the Jimmy Miller Foundation, a nonprofit that provides ocean therapy to wounded veterans and children. He also plans to use the money to fix the damaged boards, which he will sign and giveaway through his Instagram.


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