Go Back   FlyerTalk Forums > Travel&Dining > TravelBuzz
Sign in using an external account

Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old Mar 3, 11, 1:05 am   #1
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 6
Exclamation United Airlines reimbursement policy! A horror example

Hi,

I am posting this message here to warn everyone travelling with United Airlines or are planning to travel with UA. This is my story.

I travelled with United Airlines from Stockholm via Chicago to Los Angeles last May (2010). I had over 6 hours transfer in Chicago and yet UA managed to loose my bag. It was lost for over 2 weeks! I had during this time been in Centralamerica and specifically told them to not send it there. If they could not even get it right within USA it would be impossible for them to get it to CA.

During 2 weeks in CA I called UA and tried to track down my bag. I had also help in LA from friends. During this entire time the only persons I could talk to were a customer service in India whose only reply on anything I said was “mam, we are tracing your bag…” independently to if I was asking them about how to fill out a form even.

Coming to LA again after 2 weeks I checked at the airport, just to be sure, where it had just now miraculously turned up! No one knew where it had been and no one understood how it could be there since it was even taken off their tracking system! I was just lucky to have found my bag again with all my climbing and expedition equipment (worth more than 7000 USD). Quite a few people in UA had done quite a few mistakes with the process of my bag, that is for sure.

Obviously during these 2 weeks I had to buy new clothes since I did not have anything and I did not even get a travel kit from UA.

After arriving back in Sweden I followed the reimbursement procedures, submitted the receipts to the HQ in Chicago.

For almost 10 months now I have tried to settle my claim for reimbursement for a bag that UA lost for over 2 weeks! The only way of communication between a customer and UA is by regular mailservice. The name of the baggage claim representative signing all these responses does not have a direct number and the only other number to call is once again directly to India where once again the only response you get is “mam, we are tracing your bag…”

What UA has claimed all along in my case is that I need to contact my own insurance company to settle the claim. This is by principle wrong since it is not the fault of my insurance company but actually that of UA. However, when contacting my insurance company they had never heard of anything similar with any other airline. Deciding thus that what UA most likely wants is a written statement of how much my insurance company can reimburse me for and how much they evidently has reimbursed me for. In this case this is 250 USD. Still almost 450 USD are still missing for me.
Despite me following procedures and the unclear demands from UA and having great patience I received a final response from UA yesterday, they will not pay me anything for loosing my bag for 2 weeks!

So after 10 months of hard work to get my money back for 2 weeks not having a single piece of clothing UA still thinks that they are not at all responsible for their mistakes. Not even once (!) have I received a proper apology from UA and during this entire time the customer service has been so unhelpful that you sometimes have even wondered if you dialed the right number!

It is a great shame that UA is such a big airline. But believe me, I am going to do everything in my power to avoid travelling with UA. My only question is; if they are so incompetent as to not even be able to handle one lost bag correctly how is it possible to trust that not every single person in that whole company are completely incompetent, pilots, flight surveillance, security, you name it. Is it even safe to travel with UA?!

Take this is as an example of probably thousands of stories from people travelling with UA. I am of course not the only one. Avoid United Airlines!! to all costs!

A final message to my baggage claim representative [name of employee deleted per FT policy] who I have never had the chance to properly talk to; whoever you are, it really shows that you hate your job. Take my advice and quit. Not only are you fit for a job working with customers but neither should anyone want to work with UA.

/Frida

Last edited by Ocn Vw 1K; Mar 3, 11 at 10:11 am. Reason: See note above.
frpe3324 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 6:41 am   #2
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: Washington, DC, USA
Programs: UA 1K, SPG LifePlat, MR Gold
Posts: 1,355
One potential problem here is that UA doesn't fly to Stockholm.
EricH is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 9:14 am   #3
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 2,917
Man how did I miss out on this new ARN-ORD UA route?

I see the OP's delayed bag carried some $7000 worth of climbing gear. So was the bag insured against delay, loss or theft? I know if I had that much invested in equipment I'd be real sure I'd be covered in the event of a loss if I couldn't afford to self-insure.

Sorry, but I can't work up a whole lot of sympathy, especially after reading:
Quote:
how is it possible to trust that not every single person in that whole company are completely incompetent, pilots, flight surveillance, security, you name it. Is it even safe to travel with UA?!
It's understandable to be frustrated and angry about the delayed bag but to malign an airline with a top safety record is uncalled for.

But welcome to FT anyway.
El Cochinito is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 9:55 am   #4
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: Seattle, WA. USA
Programs: MR Platinum, AA Platinum, National Emerald Aisle and growing
Posts: 411
Give the OP a break. If you are sincere and curious about his routing ask him as maybe he had a connecting flight.

As for insuring bags.......we all take risks so again give him courtesy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cochinito View Post
Man how did I miss out on this new ARN-ORD UA route?

I see the OP's delayed bag carried some $7000 worth of climbing gear. So was the bag insured against delay, loss or theft? I know if I had that much invested in equipment I'd be real sure I'd be covered in the event of a loss if I couldn't afford to self-insure.

Sorry, but I can't work up a whole lot of sympathy, especially after reading:

It's understandable to be frustrated and angry about the delayed bag but to malign an airline with a top safety record is uncalled for.

But welcome to FT anyway.
__________________
Euromannn
euromannn is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 10:08 am   #5
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 9,084
Is it the case that you have to clear customs (with your bags) at your first entry point in the US? It is years since I did a route like that, so not sure on current rules. I am wondering if the OP was supposed to collect her bags in Chicago, clear customs and recheck the bags on to LA?
emma69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 10:12 am   #6
Moderator: TravelBuzz! & United MileagePlus
 
Join Date: Oct 2001
Location: San Francisco, CA
Programs: UA 1K/1.7MM; SPG Lifetime Plat; HY Plat.; HH Gold; Nat'l Executive.
Posts: 9,880
frpe3324, welcome to FlyerTalk! On your first segment, Stockholm to Chicago, were your bags accepted by United, or was the carrier for that flight SAS???
Ocn Vw 1K is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 11:00 am   #7
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,773
On the UA forum there was a recent series of posts from a German-based UA flyer. He did in the end get resolution. He was given advice from FTers which did result in a resolution.
exbayern is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 2:55 pm   #8
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 6
Wow!

I never thought I would get replies that fast.

Let me clear this out. I did not feel the need to be that specific in my initial thread, but since I got replies I will try to be more specific.
Stockholm to Chicago was flewn by SAS, that is correct. The bag was cleared through customs in Chicago, dropped for LA where all other bags are dropped. The flight from Chicago to LA on which the bag was lost, was flewn by UA. UA wanted me first to talk to SAS, which I did, they however have no responsibilities in this since it was not lost during a SAS-flight. This is completely understandable.

I have insurance for the gear if it was gonna be lost completely, however, the insurance doesnīt cover more than 3 days delay of the luggage (independent of the value), that gives me in this case a total of 250 USD. However, my bag was lost for a total of 2 weeks! Luckily the climbing gear was not gonna be used till I came back to LA from my trip to Centralamerica. Therefore, what I needed to buy in Centralamerica were the essentials for 2 weeks, contacts, a bag (since I obviously did not have one) etc etc. Luckily the gear turned up at the right point of my trip. I could never have bought all that equipment if it had been lost at the worst possible time. If I had needed the equipment I would had to cancel my travel plans in the US.

Understand me correctly here, I am superhappy that my bag arrived. However, that is part of the deal when flying (it not a bonus), they get your bag to the final destination. If not, you need compensation for that from the airline. I have not gotten anything whatsoever. As I wrote, not even an apology.

Thank you for your comments. Would you by any chance know how I can find that thread about the German-based UA flyer? Maybe that could help me.
El Cochinito - I feel no need to comment your sarcastic comment. Nice name though, couldnīt have thought of a better myself.

Maybe I should do as Dave Carroll, write a song about it and post it on you-tube.

Thanks again
/Frida
frpe3324 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 3:15 pm   #9
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: LAX
Posts: 6,900
Welcome to FT. Too bad you joined to post a complaint - perhaps joining and asking questions earlier would have prevented an unfortunate turn of events you had to deal with.

Singling out UA doesn't make any sense - all airlines have this problem and it's more pronounced in US where labor costs are high leading to all sorts of subcontracting and outsourcing of baggage handling. Obviously service quality goes down accordingly.

Here is some info on lost luggage - as you can see UA if far from being the worst there - as a matter of fact most majors have similar numbers:

Quote:
Based on voluntary submissions of data by 19 airlines for 12 months ending December 2008, the Air Travel Consumer Report ranked the following U.S. airlines as having the highest number of mishandled bags per 1,000 – enplaned passenger volume noted in parenthesis:

1. American Eagle Airlines: 9.89 (16,244,392)
2. Atlantic Southeast Airlines: 9.82 (12,344,839)
3. Comair: 8.32 (8,190,831)
4. Mesa Airlines: 7.89 (11,608,433)
5. Skywest Airlines: 7.61 (21,041,922)
6. Pinnacle Airlines: 7.55 (10,237,024)
7. Epressjet Airlines: 6.39 (14,018,563)
8. Delta Airlines: 5.98 (61,910,660)
9. American Airlines: 5.71 (74,446,833)
10. United Airlines: 5.24 (54,114,611)
11. US Airways: 4.77 (50,388,949)
12. Southwest Airlines: 4.55 (104,758,285)
azepine00 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 8:13 pm   #10
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Posts: 6,773
http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/unite...essing-me.html
exbayern is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 3, 11, 8:24 pm   #11
 
Join Date: Jul 2000
Location: Sacramento, California, USA
Posts: 2,917
Yes, this little piggy does like his name, thank you for the compliment!!!

Now back to the situation at hand. What is required compensation for a two week bag delay? $100? $500? $1000?

Actually it is nothing which surprised me.

According to the Montreal Convention ratified by ICAO member states in 1999 (which amended the Warsaw Convention):

Quote:
If my luggage is lost or delayed, what are my rights?The Montreal Convention deals with lost or delayed luggage. Under this Convention, the maximum liability of the airline in the event of lost or delayed luggage is limited to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) per passenger. The value of a SDR will vary each day and is linked to exchange rates. To give an idea of its value, 1 euro equaled approximately 0.85 SDR on 6th May 2010.

This limit of 1,000 SDRs was confirmed in a decision of the Court of Justice of the EU on 6th May, Walz v Clickair SA, in which the Court declared that this limit of 1,000SDRs (1134.71 euros) must be interpreted as including both material and non-material damage.

If your luggage is delayed for less than twenty-one days, it is important to be aware that there are no set regulations stating the compensation payments for delayed luggage. Most airlines take the view that once your bag has turned up you will have future use of the contents and refuse to make any compensation payments.

Some airlines offer immediate one-off cash payments at a set amount to cover emergency purchases until the delayed bag is delivered. Others will pay a set amount per day, up to a maximum number of days.

Other airlines do not make immediate cash payments, but prefer to reimburse a passenger’s expenditure on essential purchases and will often therefore insist on seeing receipts.

If your bag has still not been returned to you more than 21 days after your flight, the airline should treat it as lost and settle your claim on that basis.

Example

Ann flew from Dublin to La Rochelle with the girls for a five day break. Unfortunately, her luggage did not appear on the carousel in the baggage hall and she was advised by the airline that they would try to trace it and would return it to her at the earliest opportunity. Ann spent the five days waiting for her luggage to be returned but did not receive it while in France. It was eventually returned to her home seven days after it had first disappeared. She submitted a claim in the sum of 500 euros which she considered to be reasonable to cover necessary expenditure while in France. The airline offered 30 euros to settle the claim on the basis that the luggage had simply been delayed and was not missing.

It is important for Ann to be aware that while the Montreal Convention provides that the maximum claim she can make is for 1,000SDRs, there is no guarantee that she will be successful if she takes a claim against the airline before the Small Claims Court for the difference between her claim and the payment offered by the airline, as there are no clear rules on liability for delayed baggage.

What if the luggage is lost?The Montreal Convention requires airlines to treat a bag as lost after twenty-one days. In assessing your claim, an airline may request an inventory of the items that were in the missing bag, and may also ask for original receipts. The maximum liability of the airline will be 1,000SDRs.
Reference: http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/contact_...l/index_en.htm

1000 SDR is approximately US$1500
El Cochinito is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 11, 4:38 am   #12
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 6
And the point is?

Quote:
Originally Posted by azepine00 View Post
Welcome to FT. Too bad you joined to post a complaint - perhaps joining and asking questions earlier would have prevented an unfortunate turn of events you had to deal with.

Singling out UA doesn't make any sense - all airlines have this problem and it's more pronounced in US where labor costs are high leading to all sorts of subcontracting and outsourcing of baggage handling. Obviously service quality goes down accordingly.

Here is some info on lost luggage - as you can see UA if far from being the worst there - as a matter of fact most majors have similar numbers:


Exactly what is your point? OF COURSE airlines loose bags all the time! I have had bags being lost with other airlines too (travelling a lot). It just happens UA lost MY bag and I didnt even get an apology or reimbursement for this. What is more surprising here is that it seems like UA has never lost a bag considering the handling process. If they handle each case as they did with mine, they canīt have more than 10 cases per handling officer. I have had much more pleasant experiences with Iberia och SAS. They have a very customer friendly process and even if I have not always gotten reimbursed for my expenses at least I have gotten an apology and some good customer service. I canīt change that (I wish I could), but UA has been far from showing a good customer service in this case.
frpe3324 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 11, 4:59 am   #13
 
Join Date: Mar 2011
Posts: 6
Quote:
Originally Posted by El Cochinito View Post
Yes, this little piggy does like his name, thank you for the compliment!!!

Now back to the situation at hand. What is required compensation for a two week bag delay? $100? $500? $1000?

Actually it is nothing which surprised me.

According to the Montreal Convention ratified by ICAO member states in 1999 (which amended the Warsaw Convention):


Reference: http://ec.europa.eu/ireland/contact_...l/index_en.htm

1000 SDR is approximately US$1500

Thank you for this information. I am surprised that I finally got the best explanation from you. The first impression didn’t exactly impress me so to speak (more than the name of course).

In the end it all comes down to customer service and the obligations that the airlines commit to. In the case of UA they do not commit to much at all, which is just today a general fact and not a personal opinion.

I would not have bought any new clothes on my trip if it had not been for my bag having been lost. I am happy that I am not one of the unfortunate people who actually would not have afforded to put any money whatsoever out on extras because their luggage was delayed. Not everyone can do that, I am lucky that I can put that money out (even if I didnīt get it back).

By posting my message I have already accepted that I will not get reimbursed but I will not accept their way of doing this and no matter what anyone else thinks or feels, the fact that I got very poor customer service from UA and that they lost my bag (without trace) for over 2 weeks is still there.

What I have learned though is to pack everything that you possibly are allowed to pack in you hand luggage. I did not do that this time since my opinion before has been that it is really frustrating to carry around a fairly heavy bag on the airport, potentially taking a long time through the safety control and that it is always hard to find a spot for it once onboard the plane. After this experience, I carry everything that I am allowed to carry or even more (taking a risk). And from my personal point of view of course, I will do all I can not to travel with UA for all those reasons stated above. You do as you wish of course, but if your bag gets lost or delayed, donīt expect anything in this case. And THAT is a fact.
frpe3324 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 11, 7:16 am   #14
 
Join Date: Feb 2010
Posts: 9,084
Or the simpler version than carting everything around in hand luggage, buy insurance.
emma69 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old Mar 8, 11, 9:35 am   #15
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Palm Springs
Programs: UA, VX, AA
Posts: 490
I feel your pain and have suffered equal treatment by other airlines (non-U.S) as well. Since I have done a lot of foreign travel, I have purchased an annual insurance policy to cover such problems at a nominal cost. I was stuck in Rome without luggage but was able to purchase clothing and personal care items and was fully reimbursed. My suitcase eventually showed up after 10 days, just as I was getting ready to leave.

Also, out of curiousity, did you put a copy of your itinerary in your suitcase?
malsf1 is offline   Reply With Quote
 
 
Reply

Bookmarks


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -6. The time now is 1:15 am.