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Complete Run Around-14 Days in Africa with no luggage

Complete Run Around-14 Days in Africa with no luggage

Old Aug 19, 19, 2:57 pm
  #1  
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Complete Run Around-14 Days in Africa with no luggage

Looking for a little guidance. I will try to keep my story very abbreviated. Booked an award business ticket SFO-DFW(AA)-DFW-DOH(QR)-DOH-JNB(QR)-JNB-VFA(BA). On the SFO-DFW flight, maintenance preformed a software upgrade to navigation system on the changeover. Captain allowed everyone off the plane. This took 3 1/2 hrs. so I was going to miss my DFW-DOHA flight. Gate agent said only option was to move to all BA SFO-LHR-JNB-VFA with only coach available SFO-LHR. I agreed as this was a 14 day safari and any major delays would cause significant logistical issues (ground transfers and bush flights). Agent put in order to have bags pulled off the plane. Wife's bag made it no problem on first request but after frantic racing around airport and complete incompetence in baggage department mine was left on the SFO-DFW flight. I did not see this bag until 18 days later and I had been home for 2 days...For anyone who has been on safari knows, this was borderline catastrophic. Spent $750 USD in JNB airport trying to find items to just get by but was impossible to replace many things and the quality was crap. No hat, gloves, heavy jacket (temps sub 5 C every morning), tripod, flashlights, field guides, etc. Oh no underwear to buy at JNB airport, had to go 18 days with only 2 pair...to top this off, credit card was compromised at one of the stores, two days into trip credit card was turned off! Needless to say, this every expensive trip was severely compromised. Also, when my bag arrived home my shoes, flashlights and jacket were all missing.

I have tried the usual customer complaint link on AA website and even sent two emails to Sean Bentel (VP Customer Relations). Mr. Bentel never replies but has a customer service rep with no email reply capability, tell me to contact BA as they are who I actually flew with. BA didn't loose my bag, AA did. I don't believe the customer service reps have even read my correspondence which via the site is limited to 2000 characters, my situation is complex and 2000 characters isn't enough.

Any suggestions as to how to proceed?

Thanks for reading through this long post.
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Last edited by paulbtravel; Aug 19, 19 at 3:56 pm Reason: spelling
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:09 pm
  #2  
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(1) Use Chase CSR (free) or buy good quality travel insurance to cover checked bags and delay, particularly for "this type of trip"
(2) Never check luggage. I can go 2 weeks easy with no luggage (do laundry). If you must check take essentials in carry-on.
(3) Never accept economy flight TATL in place of business class. Unacceptable.
(4) Always give yourself a margin of error to arrive at a destination before a major excursion. For a cruise departing the USA or Canada that would be minimum 2 days, i.e. land Saturday for a Monday departure. For international I'd go 3 days.

Sorry not blaming the victim - AA is clearly at fault here. But there are things you can do to prepare for this type of disaster that will make your life easier.

As for AA customer service you can google the emails for executives but unlikely to help much unless you have high status. Or try Chris Elliott LOL.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:18 pm
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You need to start by claiming from the airline you last flew with not the one you were supposed to fly on or who you booked with,
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:25 pm
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It does not matter who lost the bag. Final carrier is responsible. This is actually a reasonable rule as it avoids finger pointing between the airlines and allows the pax to deal with the local airline upon arrival.

Arguable you should have bought more replacement items as they "owe" you for these. It will be hard to argue this post-hock though.

As a starter, you should receive cash for expenses paid (from BA). Then after that you have a very legit request for some sort of compensation [customer service jesture before Often flames me :-) ] from AA for the entire cluster-f.
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Last edited by exwannabe; Aug 19, 19 at 4:31 pm
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:31 pm
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Boraxo-can't disagree with your suggestions. I am a 2 million miler with AA and this was safari #8 . Lugging 30 lbs. duffle bags through JNB is a sweaty workout.

UKtravelbear-thank you. I will pursue via BA. Would they really provide any compensation?

Is it reasonable to ask for $750 USD and 60,0000 mile refund as that is the difference between economy and business?
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:37 pm
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Originally Posted by paulbtravel View Post
Boraxo-can't disagree with your suggestions. I am a 2 million miler with AA and this was safari #8 . Lugging 30 lbs. duffle bags through JNB is a sweaty workout.

UKtravelbear-thank you. I will pursue via BA. Would they really provide any compensation?

Is it reasonable to ask for $750 USD and 60,0000 mile refund as that is the difference between economy and business?
I think that is a minimum. I would start with more.

$750 cash direct expenses
60K miles downgrade
$500? cert for bad service
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Old Aug 19, 19, 4:50 pm
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There are clearly established procedures for delaying with delayed luggage. Upon arrival at JNB you should have gotten a report of he missing bag by showing your checked lugagge tags to the baggage agent. After you receive the bag, you cna submit your expenses to BA though their website. I had to do this last year and after a couple of weeks I called and agent over phone expedited my claim and they direct deposited close to $700 into my bank account.

the issue about being downgraded for half your trip is another issue and you might or might not get some miles back. This is separate from the bagga issue and should be dealt with separately. Good luck...
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:00 pm
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Originally Posted by paulbtravel View Post
Boraxo-can't disagree with your suggestions. I am a 2 million miler with AA and this was safari #8 . Lugging 30 lbs. duffle bags through JNB is a sweaty workout.

UKtravelbear-thank you. I will pursue via BA. Would they really provide any compensation?

Is it reasonable to ask for $750 USD and 60,0000 mile refund as that is the difference between economy and business?

You are asking for separate things

1. Is REIMBURSEMENT of your actual expenses for replacement items. Should be no issue if you provide receipts etc Send this to BA. There is an online form on their website to upload scanned copies. Keep text simple - don't mention your credit card issues for example/

2. The miles are a different issue and assuming that the calculation AA would use then yes ask for that from AA as they were the ones who ticketed you onto BA and into economy on the SFO-LHR leg.

3. Yes I'd ask AA for some additional miles / vouchers as actual compensation to make up for their mess.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:22 pm
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Originally Posted by paulbtravel View Post
Mr. Bentel never replies but has a customer service rep with no email reply capability, tell me to contact BA as they are who I actually flew with. BA didn't loose my bag, AA did.
See - as stated by other posters - this is the correct procedure for the baggage issue. File lost baggage claims with the last airline you were on. First piece of advice: don't be so quick to dismiss the response from the AA CS.

So:
1) Your expense reimbursement claim is with BA. All they need to know is that you were on a BA flight, and your checked luggage did not arrive. Here's my ticket number, contact info, and expense reimbursement claim with receipts.

2) To the best of my knowledge: You should be entitled to some amount of miles back for the downgrade. This is a claim with AA. And don't use the word compensation for this.

3) AA may also - likely - give you additional miles as a customer service gesture. Based on a clear, concise complaint. (i.e. - they don't need to know how many pairs of underwear you had).

This is all made more complex and confusing since you've already been sending things to AA.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:32 pm
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Just curious, did you file a claim with BA upon arrival at JNB?

As others have said, the industry rule is the last carrier you flew is responsible, in this case BA.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:53 pm
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8 safaris - wow - that's impressive. And yes I would carry on the photo equipment too (minus tripods) rather than my clothes (though it would seem to me your wife could have packed some of your clothes in her carry-on).

Interesting about the bush flights. Not having wheels (on a 22") would definitely put a crimp in my travel plans. Are baggage carts not available at JNB? I hate paying for them but made an exception for duffel bags, which are also preferred by my kids' camps. Fortunately only have to haul them to the rental car and then into the camp. You could consider what I did on my last trip (on a smaller scale) which is packing a duffel into the suitcase and then using that for the shorter trip (leaving the wheel bag at my first hotel). But of course none of this goes to resolving your current claim.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 5:55 pm
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Originally Posted by USFlyerUS View Post
Just curious, did you file a claim with BA upon arrival at JNB?

As others have said, the industry rule is the last carrier you flew is responsible, in this case BA.
I actually tried to file in LHR on our layover but that is the day the BA baggage system crashed. How is that for timing! I filed in Victoria Falls when we landed. FWIW, everyone at BA was fantastic especially in Victoria Falls. It makes no sense they are on the hook to pay.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 6:40 pm
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Originally Posted by Boraxo View Post
(1) Use Chase CSR (free) or buy good quality travel insurance to cover checked bags and delay, particularly for "this type of trip"
(2) Never check luggage. I can go 2 weeks easy with no luggage (do laundry). If you must check take essentials in carry-on.
(3) Never accept economy flight TATL in place of business class. Unacceptable.
(4) Always give yourself a margin of error to arrive at a destination before a major excursion. For a cruise departing the USA or Canada that would be minimum 2 days, i.e. land Saturday for a Monday departure. For international I'd go 3 days.

Sorry not blaming the victim - AA is clearly at fault here. But there are things you can do to prepare for this type of disaster that will make your life easier.

As for AA customer service you can google the emails for executives but unlikely to help much unless you have high status. Or try Chris Elliott LOL.
Despite your disclaimer this is pretty much the definition of blaming the victim.

i love how how the recommendation to arrive early has now progressed to 2 days because we just accept so much incompetence from airlines. Thatís really not a reasonable possibility in many instances.
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Old Aug 19, 19, 6:52 pm
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Under the Montreal Convention the airline is liable to XDR1133 for delayed or missing baggage
The airline that it is easiest to claim from is the airline that failed to deliver the baggage ( in this case BA )
You can purchase items that you need up to this limit (approx USD1553) and claim this from BA

As far as compensation for the delay that led to being rebooked onto BA, that would be something to request from AA
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Old Aug 19, 19, 7:10 pm
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Originally Posted by IggySD View Post


Despite your disclaimer this is pretty much the definition of blaming the victim.

i love how how the recommendation to arrive early has now progressed to 2 days because we just accept so much incompetence from airlines. Thatís really not a reasonable possibility in many instances.
All itineraries, simple or complicated are not guaranteed. If OPís first flight was delayed for weather instead of Mx would that be ďincompetence from airlines?Ē You canít plan for every contingency but you can lower risk in a number of ways suggested by others above and soften the blow in the event things go sideways. No one is blaming OP, AA is responsible in this case.

Like OP, I travel with a lot of camera equipment. My two carry on items, a backpack and 22Ē spinner hold around 60 pounds, all of which board with me and are never checked. I donít understand the issue with wheels and bush pilots but I would definitely ignore that for Safari #9 and go with a two wheeler at least and carry more onboard.
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