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Old Dec 10, 12, 1:03 pm   #1
 
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Checked at Gate Baggage Lost

I returned from Hong Kong to EWR on 12/03. When I entered the gate in Hong Kong, the staff told me that the plane was full and I was not allowed to bring my carry on bag. They wanted me to check my bag at gate. I told them I didn't need the overhead space, I could put it under the seat. But the staff insisted to take away my bag.

The bag carried over $5000 worth of photography equipment that was why I chose not to check the bag. It was a soft bag without any security lock. It isn't made of shock absorbing material. They gave me the claim check ticket and took away my bag. I was left with a jacket and that was it.

When I arrived EWR, the bag was lost. I went to the counter to report lost. They gave me a Delayed Baggage Report and told me the bag would be delivered to me within 24 hours to my house. The next day, UA called to tell me that they couldn't locate the bag. On 12/06 they called again to ask about the color and brand of the bag which I already reported.

Today 12/10 I called UA and they still couldn't locate the bag. Until I called they told me to fill in and return the Customer Property Claim Form.

My question is, how would they compensate me if the baggage is lost? I notice the form states that they have limited liability to $20 per kg where the Warsaw Convention applies or 1,131 SDR (roughly $1741) where the Montreal Convention applies. This is when I don't have an excess value receipt. I'm so frustrated. I need this equipment to feed my family!!

I didn't check my bag but the staff insisted to do so at the gate. I told them there were valuable items inside but they proceeded to take away my bag anyway. If the bag is lost, would this make my point and would UA compensate me over the limited liability?
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Old Dec 10, 12, 2:27 pm   #2
 
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I am afraid they have no incentive to break the rules. While I sympathize you, the following is against you:
1) Term of Carrier that define UA responsibility (as well as any other airline) that you implicitely agreed to by buying a ticket
2) your word against "unknown" GA
3) no proof of what was in your bag (which is why they only pay by kg)

If they did it for you - why not do it for the next guy who may be bending the truth to get something out of them.

Personally I would never let such a bag go.

Follow through all the timelines for lost bags, follow up with UA.
if they dont find the bag - write a concise and clear email to UA.

Hope it works out for your, but I wouldnt hold my breath.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 2:49 pm   #3
 
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Originally Posted by dsauch View Post
I am afraid they have no incentive to break the rules. While I sympathize you, the following is against you:
1) Term of Carrier that define UA responsibility (as well as any other airline) that you implicitely agreed to by buying a ticket
2) your word against "unknown" GA
3) no proof of what was in your bag (which is why they only pay by kg)

If they did it for you - why not do it for the next guy who may be bending the truth to get something out of them.

Personally I would never let such a bag go.

Follow through all the timelines for lost bags, follow up with UA.
if they dont find the bag - write a concise and clear email to UA.

Hope it works out for your, but I wouldnt hold my breath.
Thanks for your reply.

So that means they would only compensate me for $20 per kg for my $5000+ worth of equipment? They don't even have a record of how heavy the bag is.

That new bag alone is worth $300 and it was a present from my girlfriend!!! Not to mention the photos I stored in the cameras during the trip which I need to present to my customers. I'm also desperately in need of getting back my equipment for the the job I need to start within this week. I just don't know what to do now!!

Do you mean I should've ignored the staff at the gate and carried my bag to the plane no matter what?

If the bag is lost and they don't compensate me for what the equipment is worth, I and my family will be in deep financial trouble.

1. A project that haven't got paid for (I invested a whole month and over $4000 to that trip).
2. Equipment which is my only tool to make a living.
3. Upcoming projects that start from this week through next year all require this equipment.

I'm so desperately now... will they only give me a $300 voucher after weeks of ordeal? My tears are almost coming out from my eyes right now.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 2:53 pm   #4
 
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Originally Posted by Louie Lam View Post
Thanks for your reply.


Do you mean I should've ignored the staff at the gate and carried my bag to the plane no matter what?

its easy for me to be smart and brave after the fact, but I would probably raise a bigger stink and insisted.
In worst case I would ask for some sort of valuation and receipt from them.
Its all moot now - your only options are to work with UA.
Unless you bought a ticket with a credit card that gives you automatic travel insurance.
Have you checked http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps...e/tracing.aspx
I would try to find out if your bag ever left HGK.
Personally, I think chances are high it disappeared in EWR
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Old Dec 10, 12, 2:58 pm   #5
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dsauch View Post
Unless you bought a ticket with a credit card that gives you automatic travel insurance.
Have you checked http://www.united.com/web/en-US/apps...e/tracing.aspx
I would try to find out if your bag ever left HGK.
Personally, I think chances are high it disappeared in EWR
Great advice RE: Credit card. Also some credit cards give protection on theft or damaged items too, may limit to $1000 per year, but its something to look into. I think the United Presidential plus card does, some of the Amexes do....

Maybe homeowners insurance might kick in if you have it?
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:04 pm   #6
 
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I guess the lesson here is to think about what you are handing to the GA when they say that you have to gate check your bag. As noted, it is easy to say that we would have done things differently, but I would think that in the case of that much camera equipment I would have stood firm on taking it onboard. I have seen people remove laptops and other electronics from a bag that was being gate checked and just carrying them on.

Do you at least have the stub from the gate check tag they put on the bag?
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Old Dec 10, 12, 3:26 pm   #7
 
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Thank you all for the advice!!

I bought the ticket using Chase Freedom. I'm going to check if I'm protected in anyway. I don't make too much for a living. I don't own a home and I rent this place. So I don't have any homeowners insurance.

UA still don't have a clue of the whereabouts of the bag.

When they told me to check the bag at the gate, I only took out the cash and a jacket 'cos what inside were big lenses and cameras. Couldn't carry them without a big bag.

I live with my brother and my parents. That was too bad that two of my family memebers have lost three weeks of working time during and after Hurricane Sandy because their work places were damaged. My super super super beloved cat got sick and died during Sandy 'cos power was down and the house lost heat. Our financial situation has already reached to an alarming level. If I don't have the bag back and UA is not going to compensate me, it would be a total disaster.

Sorry, too much off topic... but I'm really desperate now.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:00 pm   #8
 
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At this point, if you haven't already, make sure you are putting all of this in writing to UA. Fill out all of the forms required, send e-mails, etc. You may need this if you go through your credit card, and putting things in writing always seems to work better with airlines. Calling is ok to check status, but document claims and info in writing.

FWIW, I'm not sure getting into an ugly row with the GA would have helped - you still may have wound up gate checking. With hindsight, perhaps stepping aside and telling the GA's you needed a couple of minutes to rearrange bag contents would have mitigated some of the damage. Done politely (and getting out of other passengers' way) will buy you some extra time. If you have memory cards or similar perhaps you could have pulled those.

One final thought - have you gone back to EWR UA baggage claim to see if your bags happen to be "misplaced" there? Every now and then bags end up stranded in some remote corner of the UA baggage claim area. This worked once for a parent of mine. Don't get your hopes up, but you said you were desparate.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 4:28 pm   #9
 
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Was the equipment insured? I can't imagine not having that amount of photography equipment insured.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:29 pm   #10
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Originally Posted by Louie Lam View Post
I don't own a home and I rent this place. So I don't have any homeowners insurance.
While the name is slightly different there absolutely is an equivalent you can get for a home you rent rather than own. Well worth the investment.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 5:53 pm   #11
 
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Originally Posted by sbm12 View Post
While the name is slightly different there absolutely is an equivalent you can get for a home you rent rather than own. Well worth the investment.
called renter's insurance... But won't cover something like this. The OP needs business insurance and that will cover it (minus the deductible) and cover any lawsuits from unhappy customers as well...
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Old Dec 10, 12, 6:03 pm   #12
 
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Thanks everyone.

I couldn't check online to see if Chase would protect me for this. I need to contact the bank tomorrow to find it out. I live 2 hours away from EWR so I couldn't go there to check every other day. Just called my friend who works in NJ to help out. He's checked with the airline earlier but they couldn't locate my bag at EWR.

My equipment is only insured for functional failure but not for loss. When this is over, I would look for info about home insurance. I didn't buy travel insurance 'cos I'm very familiar with the destination. The other reason is because of financial burden after Sandy. My trip took place a week after the hurricane, that's why.

I'll be filling the form and writing to UA. Don't know what they would come up with. Hope I'll be fine.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 7:36 pm   #13
 
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There is also a distinction between 'gate checked items' and 'checked luggage'

The former are just property, and is not covered under the carriage of contract - even if the airline loses it, it is functionally equivalent to leaving your Ipad in the seat pocket.

Speaking from experience on DL....

See post above - evidence that once an airline issues a gate check, even for gate checked cabin luggage on regionals, it becomes checked luggage and the airline is liable for loss per standard rules.

Last edited by LaserSailor; Dec 11, 12 at 6:34 am. Reason: corrected statement, new evidence your Honor.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 8:26 pm   #14
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Originally Posted by LaserSailor View Post
There is also a distinction between 'gate checked items' and 'checked luggage'

The former are just property, and is not covered under the carriage of contract - even if the airline loses it, it is functionally equivalent to leaving your Ipad in the seat pocket.

Speaking from experience on DL....
Not so I once had a 1 week old video camera stolen from my carry-on on board. I purchased some Duty free and took my bag down and rearranged everythng I guess someone saw the camera and while I was asleep helped themselves to it

I mailed the receipts in to my CC ins and ended up getting reimbursed.

Now if the OPs equipment isnt brand new they will receive the cost for used equipment which can be far less than $5k, thats assuming they still have the reciepts from when it was purchased, w/o receipts it will be by what weight the bag was and w/o that info then probably some pocket change.Thats IF they cover camera equipment at all

I had that problem with my carry-on in MIA a month ago and told them to Off load me and I will rearrange my bag and take a later flight, waited 6 hrs. It was only afterwards that my mind went into gear and I havent stopped kicking myself since then!! Simply since I should have let them green tag my carry-on and then as I walked down the jetway simply tear the tag off my bag and as long as the GA was still up at the gate the FAs would Never have known my bag was Tagged!

Could be at HKG they take it before you hit the jetway but my feelings are they dont and the passenger simply leaves it at the end of the jetway, if it fit under the seat in front of you no FA would have said you cant bring it on and if they did my answer would have been Off Load me since no way am I putting $5k in equipment in my bag as gate checked!
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Last edited by craz; Dec 10, 12 at 11:37 pm.
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Old Dec 10, 12, 9:26 pm   #15
 
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The airline is under no obligation to replace stuff lost in the cabin, sorry. Your experience is near singular.

See post above - gate checked regional carryon luggage IS covered under checked luggage rules (with same exclusions for computer, cameras, etc..)

Last edited by LaserSailor; Dec 11, 12 at 6:35 am.
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