• A 16-year-old cyclist located his bike using an Apple AirTag.

  • However, his father said they became distressed after trying to get the airlines to return it.

  • One woman at the airport it was sitting at helped send it back home.

A 16-year-old cyclist who remotely located a $12,000 bike he lost during a flight from Europe said he and his family found frustration trying to get it back.

Luke Barnett and his son Gray, a cyclist with the EF Pro Cycling team’s junior development program, spoke to CNN about how, after traveling back from Europe — where he raced over the summer — Gray’s bike did not return with him.

However, using an Apple AirTag, the son quickly found his bike in the Brussels Airport, where Gray hopped on a connecting flight. This set off days of speaking to the two airlines he flew with — United and Brussels — who Barnett said were unhelpful with his requests.

“I was saying, ‘I just needed someone to care enough to take 15 minutes to walk over and get the bag,'” Barnett told CNN.

Frustrated by the lack of progress and working with a 10-day deadline when luggage would be available for pickup, Barnett publicized his story on X. He even filed a complaint with the US Department of Transportation. Still, he told CNN, there was no movement on finding the bike — until he decided to reach out to Brussels Airport.

That’s when the Barnett family told CNN that, after multiple failed attempts, they could finally get through to someone — a woman named Ella Dollinschi, a customer care agent at Brussels Airport. She worked to locate the bike using the Apple AirTag location and sent the cycle on a flight back to Greenville, South Carolina, CNN reported.

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

The son finally got his bike back, Barnett said, which he needed to continue training for an “event in Vermont in a couple of weeks.”

“I just needed someone to care, and finally found someone who did,” Barnett told CNN.

Brussels Airlines did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Insider.

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