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Cleaning crew theft of wallet left in seat pocket on AA flight

Cleaning crew theft of wallet left in seat pocket on AA flight

Old Feb 3, 2020, 2:34 pm
  #1  
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Cleaning crew theft of wallet left in seat pocket on AA flight

I am trying to get American Airlines to compensate me for a wallet stolen by a cleaning crew member. I am 100% sure the cleaning crew member stole it - it was left in the seat back pocket, I noticed right away but it was already gone, they tried to make a purchase with my card, the police investigated, and when confronted with the evidence that the attempted purchase matched the name and address of the cleaning crew person, they confessed to the officer on record. I don't want to take something so petty to court but the crew member tossed the wallet and kept the cash, and in my view American should cough up cash compensation for this. Their customer service rep offered me a pathetic $100 voucher and told me to go to court and get the crew member to pay restitution. I am still out the cost of the wallet itself and cash inside, plus the costs I incurred dealing with all this on vacation. If this were baggage and not a carry on item, they would have to give me cash comp, by law (US). I have hit a dead end with their customer service. Is there a way to get them to pay up for my loss? I'm never getting a dime out of the cleaning person and I don't want to go after them - they lost their job over this which is enough punishment, and the cost of going to court in another state where I don't live is greater than the loss and I don't want to ruin their life further, but I am livid with AA and their attitude. Not one of their reps has sincerely apologized much less acknowledge the loss was their fault via their employee they failed to properly screen. Should I give up or is there some other way to escalate this to get a few hundred comp for the wallet and cash?
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 2:47 pm
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I am pretty sure the perp is judgement proof. The situation is awful. Just FYI I separate my "wallet" from my most likely to be used credit cards/debit cards on a trip. having been the target of multiple attempts at pick pocketing etc, this approach has served me well. I dont have this particular wallet but this one looks pretty good

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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:02 pm
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Originally Posted by eeknight
the cost of going to court in another state where I don't live is greater than the loss
You may be able to sue AA in your home state at little cost in small claims court.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:34 pm
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Originally Posted by eeknight
the loss was their fault via their employee they failed to properly screen. Should I give up or is there some other way to escalate this to get a few hundred comp for the wallet and cash?
I guess maybe it depends on the state, but I would have thought that most likely it is not AA's employee but from a subcontracted firm and AA did not do the screening? That wouldn't absolve AA, but it would make the issue more about the actual loss.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:42 pm
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Sorry for the loss and hassle, but it's ludicrous that you seem to be more upset with AA than with the thief.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:44 pm
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I seem to be a bit lost here- are these what you stated?
you left your wallet in a seat on a plane
it was taken by a sub-contractor employee of AA
the person was caught
and AA offered some compensation and you are not satisfied

and you feel your forgetting the wallet is similar to baggage and AA should apologize....
hmmmm

Welcome to FT - any opinions of writers (including mine) are not legal advice nor are we able to issue policy for airlines.
My opinion is you deserve nothing from AA and should be more than satisfied.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:45 pm
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Can you prove the amount of cash stolen?
You say it is petty and you don't want to go after the thief, but you want AA to pay you whatever amount you claim was stolen?
What "costs" were incurred "dealing with all of this"?
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 3:49 pm
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Last edited by mvoight; Feb 4, 2020 at 12:23 am
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 4:30 pm
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Sorry, but 1)can't prove there was any cash in there and 2)AA isnt responsible for anything you didnt checkin. 3)Even if you had put it in checkin, cash is excluded.

I'm sorry for the loss, but this started because you left your wallet. AA didnt leave it and had no duty to you in regards to it. Sometimes our mistakes cost us, this is one of those times.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 4:47 pm
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I am not intending to pile on here, but who puts their wallet in a seat-back pocket? A laptop - sure. An iPad - sure. But a wallet? When I fly international I lock my wallet and passport - anything important - in my carry-on luggage. But domestic? My wallet can stay in my jeans no problem. Take AA's voucher and consider it a lesson learned.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 5:39 pm
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Originally Posted by CMTinPHL
I am not intending to pile on here, but who puts their wallet in a seat-back pocket? A laptop - sure. An iPad - sure. But a wallet? When I fly international I lock my wallet and passport - anything important - in my carry-on luggage. But domestic? My wallet can stay in my jeans no problem. Take AA's voucher and consider it a lesson learned.
This was my original thought. I’ve found phones in seat-back pockets twice and even that was weird. I maintain positive control of my wallet, passport and glasses at all times. I can’t imagine the hassle of being away from home with no money, no credit cards, no ID or passport, or my glasses.
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Last edited by AA100k; Feb 3, 2020 at 5:40 pm Reason: Spelling
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 5:42 pm
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Originally Posted by CMTinPHL
I am not intending to pile on here, but who puts their wallet in a seat-back pocket? A laptop - sure. An iPad - sure. But a wallet? When I fly international I lock my wallet and passport - anything important - in my carry-on luggage. But domestic? My wallet can stay in my jeans no problem. Take AA's voucher and consider it a lesson learned.
My father does. Flown to like 100 countries and still manages to do this with semi-regularity. *facepalm*

One time, as a kid, he left his wallet on an LH flight. Got it back with everything, albeit after a long detour via several countries.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 6:10 pm
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Originally Posted by eeknight
the loss was their fault via their employee they failed to properly screen.
I’m pretty sure that you leaving your wallet onboard is the root cause...
If this were baggage and not a carry on item, they would have to give me cash comp, by law (US).
No, if you put cash in your checked luggage and someone steals the money, you wouldn’t get compensation.
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 6:19 pm
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I don't see how AA is liable any more than if it was a passenger that took it? The person who stole the wallet is the only one that I can see to be liable and is the person to go after

That AA offered $100 seems to be a generous offering with no proof of loss and it not being liable, , so do not see any reason to be livid with it; also , since it was not AA's fault, would not expect it to apologise

Perhaps in future , if going to leave wallets in seat pockets, make sure not to leave any cash in it; I am assuming that the card company cancelled off the purchase cost when reported stolen ; it does seem an unnecessarily risky thing to do
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Old Feb 3, 2020, 6:38 pm
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So did the cleaner confess to taking the cash? Does the cleaner have a prior criminal record? What was missed in screening the employee?

Unless the cleaner confessed to stealing the cash it may be hard to prove that the cleaner took it. In the past few years I have found two wallets that were tossed -- neither had cash but had ID and cards. Had I been dishonest I could have tried to use the cards -- even though I did not take the cash. I returned both wallets -- one by mail and one by dropping off as it was nearby (left with doorman). Both apparently had cash in wallet; I received thank you notes from both owners - and both had cancelled the cards but were relieved to get ID and photos back.

It is disappointing that the wallet was not turned in intact, but the fault was leaving it in the first place.

Proving loss of cash is always difficult.
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