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ARCHIVE: Lost baggage /luggage delay, loss, damage - advice, etc. (pre-2016)

ARCHIVE: Lost baggage /luggage delay, loss, damage - advice, etc. (pre-2016)

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Old Jan 3, 16, 4:10 am   -   Wikipost
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Lost baggage /luggage delay, loss, damage - advice, compensation, etc. (consolidated)


This is the archive of older posts for this subject. For the current thread, please see:

Lost baggage /luggage delay, loss, damage - advice, compensation, etc. (2015-onward)
Note: Live AA baggage tracking became available 15 Sep 2015.

Track your bags Link
September 18, 2015:

Hello, Addressee,
AAdvantage Platinum Number:

You can now follow your checked bags from check-in to carousel with your smartphone, laptop or tablet. See real-time information about your bag's status, including when your bag is checked in, on a plane or at baggage claim. All you need is your bag tag number or your record locator.

And, if your flight has Wi-Fi onboard, you can track your bags in the air for free.

Here's how to get started:
  • Go to aa.com/baggage
  • Click "Track your bags"
  • Enter your last name and bag tag # or record locator
Keep track of your bags from check-in to touchdown using your record locator or bag tag number.
NOTE: On itineraries with more than one airline, the responsible airline for lost or delayed baggage is the final carrier; that carrier's procedures may differ from AA's. In any case, most do require if you arrive at your destination and your baggage has not arrived (or has been damaged), be sure to fill out a baggage claim form prior to leaving the airport.

American Airlines: Delayed Baggage
:Baggage delayed less than 5 days
Phone: +1-800-535-5225
24 hours, 7 days a week

Baggage delayed longer than 5 days
See www.aa.com/bagstatus for further information.
American Airlines: Delayed or missing baggage:

We do our best to ensure that your checked bag travels on the same flight with you. If your bag does not arrive on your flight, our goal is to return your bag to you within 24 hours. The measures may take longer for international itineraries due to flight frequency or Customs and Immigration procedures.

Note: These procedures apply when American Airlines or American Eagle are taking you to your final destination.

If you are unable to locate your checked bag:

Notify an American Airlines/American Eagle baggage service agent prior to leaving the airport (If you purchased the American Airlines baggage delivery service provided through BAGS VIP Luggage Delivery in advance of travel, notification must be made within 12 hours of the arrival of the flight on which you traveled.)
  • You will be given a confidential file locator ID and a brochure explaining the recovery process
  • Our Baggage Service desk will contact you periodically to keep you informed of our progress in locating your bag (aspirational statement)
  • Refer to your confidential six-letter file locator (not your PNR) in all conversation and correspondence regarding your delayed bag
  • Use your last name and confidential six-letter baggage file locator (not your PNR)to check the status of your bag.Check Baggage Status
If your bag isn't located in five (5) days:
  • Central Baggage Service will take over the tracing effort
  • Fill out and return a Property Questionnaire within 30 days from the date you traveled
  • Available on the 6th day at www.aa.com/bagstatus.
  • Mailed to your permanent address within 10 days of your travel date.
  • Complete the questionnaire in its entirety including specific details such as colors, sizes, brand names and logos as well as information such as book titles, medication, electronics, gifts, souvenirs and food items
  • Retain a copy for your records
Damaged baggage:

Prompt notification of a damaged bag helps us get your property to you promptly therefore all American Airlines and American Eagle airport locations are equipped to handle the initial report, evaluation and settlement of damage claims. If your bag is damaged, please notify us:
  • In person before leaving the airport
  • At the latest, within 24 hours after you receive your bag for domestic itineraries
  • Within 7 days for international itineraries
Please notify us as soon as possible. Failure to report damage to baggage within the prescribed time limit releases American Airlines and American Eagle from any liability.
Wheels, "protuberances" etc. please see:

Notice regarding damage to wheels, handles, and other components of checked baggage

Baggage_Guidance_rev_11242015.pdf (link)

About this Document

In September 2015, the Office of Aviation Enforcement and Proceedings (Enforcement Office) conducted extensive inspections of U.S. and foreign air carriers’ operations at 16 U.S. airports. The Enforcement Office found, among other things, that carriers routinely exclude from liability damage to specific parts of checked baggage, such as wheels, straps, zippers, handles, and protruding parts. Carriers often post signs indicating that they categorically refuse to compensate passengers for such items. In some instances, carrier agents also discouraged or refused to accept reports of such damage.

Link to aa.com Delayed Baggage; FAQ.

Link to aa.com LIABILITY LIMITATIONS regarding baggage - but see

USDOT reminder to airlines compensation is due for damaged wheels, straps, etc.

Link to aa.com DAMAGED BAGGAGE

Link to aa.com Delayed Baggage tracking form (need baggage claim file locator number to use)

American Airlines Conditions of Carriage (See BAGGAGE et seq., including Liability.)

Q. What can I do to help prevent or resolve baggage loss?
  • Don't place valuables in your checked baggage; such loss is generally not covered by airline policy. Some airports have higher pilferage and theft rates.
  • Have two baggage tags, affixed at different points on each bag; handles do get torn off.
  • Use a baggage belt: some have TSA-approved locks, and a belt may keep your bag from spilling contents if it becomes damaged. A bright color helps distinguish your bag from similar ones.
  • Add a pom, ribbon or other device enabling you - and others - to distinguish your bag from similar / identical bags.
  • Have identifying information and an itinerary inside your case where it will be seen if the bag is opened (which will occur if external tags are lost). Some use an itinerary tag such as this Magellan's retriever tags.
  • Have a photo or two of your bags on your smartphone to show the baggage clerk exactly what your bag looks like.
Others suggest:
  • Don't use high end luggage; fancy, famous brands and fine finishes make your bag a target of thieves.
  • Airline status tags mark your bag as belonging to a high value customer, but nobody's provided evidence that helps. Some have reported status tagged bags may be targeted for delays during industrial actions such as employee slowdowns or strikes.

Updated: 31 Dec 2015

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Old Aug 6, 09, 2:58 pm
  #1  
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ARCHIVE: Lost baggage /luggage delay, loss, damage - advice, etc. (pre-2016)

Here is the situation:

I had booked tickets for a family of 6 to travel from DFW to LAX and also separately purchased Cruise tickets for the entire family departing from Long Beach. On the day of departure the outbound flight was listed to be on time when I checked in at the ticket counter at DFW. Since, I am the only one with status (Platinum) I decided to check in 2 big bags (50lbs each) under my name which contained all of our belongings (clothes, shoes, toiletries etc.). When we reached the gate, the airline started posting delays 30 mins at a time (due to weather conditions at DFW) and we finally departed 2.5 hours late and arrived at 2:30 PM instead of the scheduled Noon arrival time. However, none of our checked bags made the flight. I filed a report at the baggage service desk at LAX and they promised to deliver the bags the next day at the first port where the cruise ship would dock and also authorized $250 in expenses for incidentals until the bags arrived. I left LAX for the port and made it just in time to board the ship before the 5:30PM departure from Long Beach.

From the cruise ship I made numerous calls to the baggage service dept each day but they could not locate my bags for 4 days. On the 2nd day after it was clear I won’t get the bags delivered to the port on time I asked for additional authorization. First couple of times they refused to increase the authorization but on the last try the agent spoke with the supervisor and told me the supervisor wants to hold-off for now on increasing the authorization but that I should go ahead and make additional purchases as necessary and keep all the receipts.

When I reached back at Long Beach on the last day I called baggage service and they told me that the bags had been found and waiting for pickup at LAX airport. When I picked up my bags I spoke with the baggage service agent and she was ready to cut a check for $250 if I produced the receipts but my receipts totaled over $500 so I asked them to leave the case open and that I would settle it with the central office upon my return to DFW.

I am now back home but have not yet contacted AA baggage service because I want to first figure out what is the right compensation I should ask for. I believe, I am definitely entitled to the reimbursement of actual expenses but not sure what additional compensation they should provide for all the inconvenience and agony they caused throughout the trip for all 6 of us, spending hours on the phone with customer service, not having the right attire and spending too much time trying to find the right stuff to buy to survive on the ship (very limited selection and exorbitantly priced). This was our first ever cruise and they completely spoiled our vacation.

Any tips you can provide would be greatly appreciated.

Last edited by JDiver; Nov 10, 12 at 10:16 am Reason: restore post title
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Old Aug 6, 09, 3:08 pm
  #2  
brp
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Originally Posted by svasandani View Post

I am now back home but have not yet contacted AA baggage service because I want to first figure out what is the right compensation I should ask for. I believe, I am definitely entitled to the reimbursement of actual expenses but not sure what additional compensation they should provide for all the inconvenience and agony...
IMO,none. They should reimburse the charges as agreed (in excess of the $250 as there was verbal agreement). The cost of the phone calls would also be reasonable. Beyond that, I don't think the "pain and suffering" thing should/will get reimbursed.

We had BA lose bags on a trip to AMS for 4 days, arriving the evening we were leaving. We got expenses covered for clothing purchases and the cost of the calls. I felt that was reasonable.

Cheers.
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Old Aug 6, 09, 3:41 pm
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I have nothing to offer concerning compensation. However, as to cruising I recommend two things to make it much easier and less stressful. First, ship the bags directly to the ship in care of the port agent the line uses using whatever shipping service the cruise line has an arrangement with. Second, fly into the port the day before the cruise. If you fly in the day before, you can save some by shipping the bags to the hotel using a regular shipping service. Yes, I know all of this costs more. It will save you in the long run.

Last edited by Paint Horse; Aug 6, 09 at 5:22 pm
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Old Aug 6, 09, 4:17 pm
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"agony" C'mon!
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Old Aug 6, 09, 6:02 pm
  #5  
 
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You hadn't mentioned - did you purchase travel insurance?
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Old Aug 7, 09, 1:05 am
  #6  
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No I did not purchase travel insurance.

Well everybody has a diff perspective on what is acceptable. For me, this was the first cruise for the whole family and we had spent a lot of money for the whole vacation and planning the trip for months. It definitely was a huge disappointment e.g. my wife complaining about no clothes or cosmetics, no night dress to wear for anybody, no swimming costumes for the kids, having to laundry everyday, no shorts or tshirts to relax in, spending hours trying to find reasonable priced clothing (everything was in the $50 - $100 ranges, shaving with disposable razors, spending hours on the phone with AA and Cruise line people instead of enjoying the trip etc. I could go on and on...

Having spent over $5K, this was no way to have a relaxing and fun vacation. Who knows when we will take the next cruise.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 1:23 am
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Originally Posted by wrxmom View Post
You hadn't mentioned - did you purchase travel insurance?
Would have it made a big difference? The kind that AA sells only covers $500 of baggage loss or delay, which it sounds like AA is likely to reimburse anyway.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 1:58 am
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Originally Posted by svasandani View Post
Any tips you can provide would be greatly appreciated.
The heaping on of all the woe-and-despair won't likely count for much since it can't be substantiated. Go with what you have receipts for and call it a day.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 2:46 am
  #9  
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Originally Posted by MrPink View Post
Would have it made a big difference? The kind that AA sells only covers $500 of baggage loss or delay, which it sounds like AA is likely to reimburse anyway.
I am suprised OP manage to get stuff for 6 people into 2 bags for a cruise, and got enough stuff for them for only $500. Given 6 people on a cruise out of the county within hours of a flight, I would have taken the max amount of stuff in carryons.

The OP also mention only 2 bags checked on his ticket. I thought people traveling with the elite also got free baggage.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 9:03 am
  #10  
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Originally Posted by svasandani View Post
First couple of times they refused to increase the authorization but on the last try the agent spoke with the supervisor and told me the supervisor wants to hold-off for now on increasing the authorization but that I should go ahead and make additional purchases as necessary and keep all the receipts.

When I reached back at Long Beach on the last day I called baggage service and they told me that the bags had been found and waiting for pickup at LAX airport. When I picked up my bags I spoke with the baggage service agent and she was ready to cut a check for $250 if I produced the receipts but my receipts totaled over $500 so I asked them to leave the case open and that I would settle it with the central office upon my return to DFW.
Originally Posted by svasandani View Post
No I did not purchase travel insurance...
Okay, I'm going to be a little more generous with AA's money than the people above but not much more, since the situation probably could have been avoided. Bottom line: I think you are entitled to full reimbursement for what you bought, as long as you present the receipts. I don't understand why your bags didn't make the flight, but AA clearly didn't deliver on what it told you, including getting your bags on the original flight and then getting it to each of the ports of call. I'm also giving the OP some credit for the fact that not everyone is an expert traveler and the situation was definitely stressful. While the last agent's comments certainly don't guarantee you will be reimbursed above $250, that's certainly what she implied. But good luck proving it.

What you should do differently: My wife and I take at least one cruise every year, so we've gotten used to the routine, but here's a few hints:

As someone mentioned, always, always, always fly in the night before if you are taking a cruise. As you discovered, you just don't know what could go wrong. Always.

You must have travel insurance for a cruise. Not just for lost bags (I don't even know if the travel insurance would have covered the lost bags.) but in case someone gets sick, you miss a flight, etc. It's too expensive a vacation not to insure.

Never check bags if you can get away with carrying on. If you can't carry on, at least make sure you have "emergency gear," or necessities in case something goes wrong.

I'm also curious about your statement "Having spent over $5K, this was no way to have a relaxing and fun vacation. Who knows when we will take the next cruise." The problem was with the airline, not the cruise company. Cruises are an extremely cheap vacation for large groups and a lot of fun (assuming you have your bags). I'd definitely do it again.

Anyway, sorry to hear about what happened with your bags, and good luck getting your money back.

Mike
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Old Aug 7, 09, 10:09 am
  #11  
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Originally Posted by mikeef View Post
What you should do differently: My wife and I take at least one cruise every year, so we've gotten used to the routine, but here's a few hints:

As someone mentioned, always, always, always fly in the night before if you are taking a cruise. As you discovered, you just don't know what could go wrong. Always.

You must have travel insurance for a cruise. Not just for lost bags (I don't even know if the travel insurance would have covered the lost bags.) but in case someone gets sick, you miss a flight, etc. It's too expensive a vacation not to insure.

Never check bags if you can get away with carrying on. If you can't carry on, at least make sure you have "emergency gear," or necessities in case something goes wrong.

I'm also curious about your statement "Having spent over $5K, this was no way to have a relaxing and fun vacation. Who knows when we will take the next cruise." The problem was with the airline, not the cruise company. Cruises are an extremely cheap vacation for large groups and a lot of fun (assuming you have your bags). I'd definitely do it again.

Anyway, sorry to hear about what happened with your bags, and good luck getting your money back.

Mike
+1 Great advice!

However, this appears to be yet another case of inexperience coupled with poor preparation meets the real world.

With all of the information and experience available on this forum, and others, unfortunately the bulk of this "agony" could have been avoided.

I do wish you good luck in getting your money back, though.

Last edited by Dallas49er; Aug 7, 09 at 10:13 am Reason: Speeling & klarity
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Old Aug 7, 09, 11:35 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by svasandani View Post
No I did not purchase travel insurance.

Well everybody has a diff perspective on what is acceptable. For me, this was the first cruise for the whole family and we had spent a lot of money for the whole vacation and planning the trip for months. It definitely was a huge disappointment e.g. my wife complaining about no clothes or cosmetics, no night dress to wear for anybody, no swimming costumes for the kids, having to laundry everyday, no shorts or tshirts to relax in, spending hours trying to find reasonable priced clothing (everything was in the $50 - $100 ranges, shaving with disposable razors, spending hours on the phone with AA and Cruise line people instead of enjoying the trip etc. I could go on and on...

Having spent over $5K, this was no way to have a relaxing and fun vacation. Who knows when we will take the next cruise.
I understand that vacations are expensive for large families. However, I really urge you to look into travel insurance from a travel insurance company (not the airline) in the future. A number of incidents (such as lost luggage, medical expenses, trips cancelled due to illness, etc) can and do happen. I would just suggest doing the research now for your next trip.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 11:36 am
  #13  
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I did have a couple of carry-ons as well but obviously did not do a good job of distributing contents more evenly. The reason I spent only $500 is because I was very conservative and manged to live without a lot of things, laundered everyday and wore same clothes etc.

I was not blaming the Cruise line just saying that I probably won't be taking such an expensive vacation anytime soon.

I agree that I have no way of substantiating every inconvenience but it should be obvious that in general it was a major hassle and must have been quite frustrating. I can recall a couple of instances, once when my wife and son were traveling internationally and their flight got cancelled and were put up in a hotel for one night and routed the next day through a diff airline. There was no monetory loss but we got a $200 travel voucher for the inconvenience and a second time my flight was delayed by 4 hours and I sent AA an email and they gave me 5K bonus miles. So they do compensate for inconvenience.

Anyways, I was hoping to get tips on increasing the probability of some compensation for the inconvenience but nonetheless I will give it a try and see what comes out of it.

Also, thanks for all the advice on future travel. Definitely some lessons learnt and will be more careful in future.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 12:13 pm
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As to what AA "should" do, I am not going to opine and leave myself open. However, as to what they did for us, that's a data point I can offer. A few years ago, 3 of us were scheduled ORD-LHR-BRU, followed by train to Paris, with the other 3 scheduled to follow 2 days later ORD-LHR-BRU, pick up car and meet us in Paris. Over christmas, 12 day driving trip planned for six people; plenty of room in the car for one bag each to avoid need for too many wasted hours at the laundramat. Huge problem with fog at LHR with flights landing, but none taking off. I managed to snag 3 of the remaining seats on the train to Paris and 2 sons and I made it to Paris (out the cost of the train tix which was significantly higher than the tix I had purchased at home for the brussels to paris train). The rest of the group flew in 2 days later (after being assured by AA that the fog was not going to be a problem), were bussed (via ferry) to rotterdam and arrived in Brussels at 4 in the morning without their luggage. This messed up all of our reservations as we ended up a day behind.

Many frustrating phone calls followed. We were repeatedly told that our luggage had been found and would be delivered to our next destination. When it didn't arrive each day we were told that it had not yet been found. Because AA and BA kept telling us it would be there soon, we didn't want to buy a lot of clothes, both because of the cost (at no time was AA willing to commit to reimburse) and because of the time it takes finding clothes in a foreign city. Unfortunately this meant that we had to shop more than once. If anyone needs advice on where to shop in Perpignan... The 3 suitcases arrived at our home 2 weeks to the day after we did; according to their papers, they had been to Italy-we had not.

As to the first 3 of us, the cost of our train tickets was reimbursed. As to the others, we were reimbursed for their hotel in brussels, all of the phone calls, all of the clothes and the price of the suitcase necessary to get them home. We also received a couple of hundred each for the experience. However, all of the reimbursements were made in flight vouchers; since my husband negotiated with them, I don't know if this could have been avoided.
Whole process took months.

Yes, we could have traveled without checking bags (my preference when it's just me and my husband), but that was only part of the problem and part of my ticket price includes the cost of transporting my luggage (which until AA changes their intl baggage policy is a different situation from domestic baggage). The bigger problem, in my eyes, is the misinformation given out once the problem has occurred - something it sounds like the OP experienced too. I take the risk when I check bags of the airline misplacing the bags; I shouldn't have to take the risk of being given misinformation by AA on literally a daily basis for the rest of my trip.

Good luck.
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Old Aug 7, 09, 12:16 pm
  #15  
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There are plenty of threads here on how to successfully "b****" , what's reasonable to ask for, and what level you can reasonably expect. A search will give you lots of do's and don'ts.

Common themes are: Keep it simple, keep it short, keep it unemotional, be specific, and don't neccessarily take no for an answer the 1st, 2nd, or 3rd time.

Good luck!
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