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Old Aug 11, 13, 5:10 pm   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: London, England
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Thumbs down Airberlin baggage meltdown

Flew AB 8109 from Stockholm to TXL on 9 August. NONE of the checked luggage was loaded on the airplane from anyone on the flight -- almost 200 missing pieces missing among the passengers including 3 of ours.

Little to no information was provided. We filled out forms and were given baggage service numbers to call, but the phone line had no answer all day. Got frustrated so returned to Tegel in person, where I was told there was no information at all and there was nobody to talk to. Asked to speak to a supervisor and waited 45 minutes to see one but he/she never arrived, then was told, sorry, supervisor not coming.

It's 48+ hours after the flight, still no information whatsoever, nobody to call, not sure what to do. I still can't comprehend why the captain decided to take off before any pieces of luggage were loaded?

So, I start looking around on the internet and what do I find, that tons of people seem to be having massive baggage trouble with AirBerlin baggage, especially in the last few days. Same basic story: No updates, no info, no answer on any phone number. What the heck is going on? Is this airline having a meltdown?

When I arrived back to Heathrow tonight, I asked the BA arrival services guy to do some digging for me, and he was happy to even though it wasn't his airline that lost our bags. I hope to hear back form him. He said that they had heard of massive problems at Air Berlin recently, especially at Tegel. Has anybody heard anything? I do remember seeing massive piles of Airberlin baggage in the baggage hall at Stockholm when I first arrived there on BA. Very disturbing.

FYI, we started a facebook group to keep track of people who had been on the flight: Airberlin 8109 Stockolm to Berlin - Where are our bags?!?!? Please join if you were on the flight or had a similar experience.

Brian
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Old Aug 12, 13, 3:15 am   #2
 
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Heck, that must be an airport problem! I've had absolutely no problems during the last 12 months checking a bag for the following routes:

DUS-STR
DUS-ZRH
DUS-MXP

I nearly always have to check a bag, sometimes they're a bit heavy (as music scores tend to be), never had a weight problem!

Sorry to hear about your problems and thanks for the heads up. Never yet flown to Berlin with airberlin.
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Last edited by Concerto; Aug 12, 13 at 3:16 am. Reason: grammar
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Old Aug 12, 13, 5:57 am   #3
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Concerto View Post
Heck, that must be an airport problem!
This seems to be the case, at least from my recent experience at TXL airport. Even though OPs flight originated in Stockholm, so he should not have suffered from any problems in Berlin !?

My recent experiences at TXL:
  • bags left behind
  • no stairs available for apron arrival
  • no jet-bridge operator available
  • luggage takes forever to come out
  • bags never make it to the belt even though they have been unloaded
  • 3-4 flights' luggage on one belt
  • standing room only in the gate area
and more ...

So be patient with Air Berlin while they have to cope with the limited facilities at TXL.
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Old Aug 12, 13, 8:14 am   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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bklink,

I have posted on another page but we had a similar experience in Budapest through Berlin where 12 of us were at the lost baggage at which time we were told our luggage was still in Berlin. We managed to get my wifes bag the next day but mine never arrived and had to do a 17 day vacation with no luggage.

The annoying part is Air Berlin's no customer service. No voucher for interim compensation and lack of response now we are home attempting to make a claim for compensation and a lost bag.

We hear that airlines are responsible for this, that and the other but if the airline chooses to ignore you who can we contact as a governing body for this situation? Does anyone know, if so please post.
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Old Aug 13, 13, 12:49 am   #5
 
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its seems more airberlin than TXL

Air Berlin seem to have had problems at JFK too (mainly due to Air Berlin choosing to combine baggage from flights of different origins into single conveyor and then getting staff to offload luggage into 4 corners (not one) to make room for so many bags.

Priority bags can come last or first or in middle (doesnt matter as one has to keep going through four corners in addition to checking conveyor belt)

Air Berlion seems like more of a discount airline (similar to Niki) rather than a full fledged OW airline)

Also in OP's case, how can one blame TXL for AB flying out of Stockhom without any bags on board?
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Old Aug 13, 13, 3:07 am   #6
 
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berlin airport

its more of an berlin tegel problem.
tegel is at maxium capacity.

luggage has to be sorted by hand, there is no automatic baggage sorting machine.

dp

Quote:
Originally Posted by desi View Post
Air Berlin seem to have had problems at JFK too (mainly due to Air Berlin choosing to combine baggage from flights of different origins into single conveyor and then getting staff to offload luggage into 4 corners (not one) to make room for so many bags.

Priority bags can come last or first or in middle (doesnt matter as one has to keep going through four corners in addition to checking conveyor belt)

Air Berlion seems like more of a discount airline (similar to Niki) rather than a full fledged OW airline)

Also in OP's case, how can one blame TXL for AB flying out of Stockhom without any bags on board?
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Old Aug 14, 13, 5:44 am   #7
 
Join Date: Mar 2008
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Here is what I learned:
Due to capacity constraints at Tegel, airlines are apparently charged EUR 1000 per minute if they miss their landing slot. As a result, airberlin frequently knowingly allows aircraft to take off before the luggage has been loaded rather than pay this fine. Other airlines do not make such a blatantly customer unfriendly decision. According to ground personnel, there are currently over 2000 lost bags sitting at Tegel now, compared to around 15 normally. Bags are taking weeks to be returned to their owners.
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Old Aug 14, 13, 10:23 am   #8
 
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...based on my humble experience with AB: After registering the issue online, forget about any further attempts to get in contact with them w/o an attorney. Their customer care center is hopelessly overloaded. I would not dare to travel AB w/ check-in luggage unless I wanted to keep my attorney busy.
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Old Aug 14, 13, 4:30 pm   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by derpelikan View Post
its more of an berlin tegel problem.
tegel is at maxium capacity...dp
From what I have read so far, I would EMPHATICALLY say it is Air Berlin's fault. Even if TXL has deficiencies, AB has NO EXCUSE for not providing customer support (fielding phone calls, paying interim compensation etc).

The press reports that AB has some 30,000 cases where they have not even responded. What is AB's excuse for that?

Reading this, I will get busy immediately to switch my forthcoming flight from AB to another carrier.
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Old Aug 14, 13, 6:18 pm   #10
 
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Yup, this has officially scared me off of ever using AA miles on an AB J award flight...
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Old Aug 15, 13, 4:39 am   #11
 
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Hmmmm....sounds like I better check in early for my TXL-AUH J flight.
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Old Aug 15, 13, 5:55 am   #12
 
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Did you hire an attorney? What did you have them do? I am considering taking such steps.

Quote:
Originally Posted by awestphal View Post
...based on my humble experience with AB: After registering the issue online, forget about any further attempts to get in contact with them w/o an attorney. Their customer care center is hopelessly overloaded. I would not dare to travel AB w/ check-in luggage unless I wanted to keep my attorney busy.
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Old Aug 15, 13, 5:44 pm   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bklink View Post
Did you hire an attorney? What did you have them do? I am considering taking such steps.
If you do a search on Google (preferably in German), you will see plenty of references to attorneys and court battles with Air Berlin.

Here is an URL for a firm of attorneys in Berlin, specialized in travel law - have not used them and know nothing about them, other than their website

However, it seems to be clear that Air Berlin's tactic is to ignore complaints from passengers (in the hope they give up); when you confront them in court, their preferred m.o. is to do a deal (naturally at a level lower than the compensation you are entitled to).
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Old Aug 15, 13, 9:43 pm   #14
 
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Wow - have upcoming flights from FRA-TXL and back - connections from AA from/to DFW in F. I assume I can carry on a standard 22" roller bag?

Can you bring a personal item as well? Does AB stop you when you are doing carry on?
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Old Aug 16, 13, 4:48 am   #15
 
Join Date: Aug 2013
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Thumbs down The absolute chaos with AIRBERLIN



The worst performance ever with respect to luggage experienced was this week with AIRBERLIN. For the 3rd time within 3 months (identical route) AIRBERLIN did not manage getting the luggage to the destination in time.
Three days after arrival AIR BERLIN has not yet identifyed the luggage. Systematic chaos of AIR BERLIN of on purpose.
No matter this was my last AB flight.

So far no info, no feed back, no helpline picks up the phone, no AB representative gives any information - just BS.
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