Updated: See bottom for most current information
Checking Luggage… It’s something we all hate. We take our luggage to the airport, drop it off with the Check-In desk and watch the bags disappear on a conveyor belt hoping that it will eventually end up on the plane, make it onto the connecting flight and eventually end up back in our hands at the end of the trip. Most of the time we worry for no reason, our bags arrive and we go on our way, but every once and a while our bag seems to disappear.
This just happened to me last night when my beloved Flat Andrew disappeared and has yet to be found. Flat Andrew has his own box which holds him securely for safe travel. It’s a flat box with labels that say ‘Flat Andrew Project 3.0’ as well as my mailing address, contact information and Do Not Bend stickers all over the place. He even gets special treatment from the airlines and is usually carried directly to the plane due to his size and shape. You think this would be enough to help them find him, but airports are big places and sometimes things go wrong. The next step is one of the most important steps in recovering your bags. I’ll use my story to help guide you through the process.
Filing a Claim: When you have a bag that does not arrive it’s very important to talk with the baggage services employee working for your airline. This is where you explain to them what is missing and they immediately start searching for where the bag is and how to get it back to you. Most of the time the bag or item just missed its connecting flight and will reunite with you shortly (most airlines even offer to deliver the bag to your destination), sometimes it takes a bit longer. It’s extremely important to keep your cool when talking to the agent, these people did not misplace your bag on purpose and they cannot make the bag appear instantly with the snap of a finger. They will do a lot more for you if you keep your cool. They will ask for information like the baggage claim number, size, color, brand and value of items inside the bag, all of which will help them locate the bag fast and get it back to you.
Following up: Many airlines will give you a reference number so you can check on your bag and track it through a website. This can ease your mind especially once they locate the bag so you have an idea of when you will be reunited with your items. In some instances if it’s taking longer than normal (days, not hours) you can even request that they help pay for missing items. I’m not saying that they will offer to pay for expensive business suits or other items, but if you are on a business trip and all your business attire was lost, sometimes they will do what they can to help you out.
Social Media: Airlines hate being blasted on social media. If for some reason you cannot get a response from the airline this is often your fastest way to get in touch with someone to help you with your problem. Last night there was a line of people waiting to talk to the baggage claim lady and I had an Uber waiting, I didn’t have time to deal with it so I went to Twitter, received a response within a few minutes and was given a phone number to call. The Delta representative was able to help within a few minutes and my claim was filed!
Knowing your rights: The MOST important thing that people need to understand is the contract you enter when flying with an airline. Often times the airline will supply the rights to you on the folder that holds your tickets, they also provide the information on their websites. This is something I know inside and out and why I often times get more from airlines when they are in the wrong. I know the baggage information for my airline so when I talk to them on the phone I bring up specific points so they know I am on top of my game. Similar as to when my flights are delayed or cancelled, but I can explain all of that in a different story. (This story is coming about due to an experience with Delta Airlines. Click Here to view the Delta Contract of Carriage)
Updates: Tuesday, July 28th
After a quick discussion with @DeltaAssist late last night they informed me because #FlatAndrew is a time sensitive I needed to contact Baggage Services immediately for compensation. The conversation was a quick one with my baggage assistant telling me to get what ever I needed printed and save receipts. All invoices will be submitted after Flat Andrew 4.0 is received in good condition and Delta will take care of the charges!
Now I’m not saying that this is always the case, but overall with my experiences and other friends experiences this is often times the case. It’s not a free ticket to go crazy, Flat Andrew is not going to be covered in Gold Flake or be rockin’ Platinum rings and chains, but he will be replaced!
Best bet is to always be honest with the airline and they will take care of you. I don’t want to even imagine what would happen if I ordered 15 Flat Andrew’s claiming that that was what I lost and have them find out that there was only one missing. Honesty with everything in life is always key to getting what you need!