I Survived the Christchurch Earthquake and My Airline does not Give a Damn

Posted on March 2, 2011. Filed under: Travel | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

The letter pasted below was sent to me from a Delta Airline Customer who literally survived the Christchurch earthquake in New Zealand and was lucky enough to get out of the crumbled place she was staying only to fly Delta on a portion of her trip back to Atlanta from Los Angeles and Delta lost her luggage! Read her story below and share it with your friends, family and business associates.   Folks it is time to stand up and demand to be treated with respect and excellent customer service. The airlines since charging you to check your luggage have created a new multi billion dollar revenue generator at the further expense of their customers. The airlines charge you for your luggage then lose it, damage it or? and they don’t even refund the money you paid because the airlines recently stated they do not promise to deliver your luggage on time or even with you! Read on,  get outraged and take a stand!

 

DELTA COMPLAINT FILED 02/28/11 on their form …

I was on Delta flight on February 26, 2011 from LAX to ATL. My luggage is missing (and last night someone else’s bag was brought to give me … but “not mine” so I told the courier to take it back to Delta.  Today I check and see that the online baggage site still shows Delta as having found my luggage and being in process of getting it to me (which was the wrong bag last night).  Please update this on the site!

My flight originated in Christchurch where I had survived the earthquake … but the house where I was didn’t make it so I had to stay with someone I didn’t know until the airport opened and I was able to get out.  We had no water, sewer (but glad I didn’t go to the shelter where they were making tourists leave on Air Force flights to Wellington and Auckland).

So now despite surviving  all of that, a simple thing such as finding my luggage seems insignificant.  That’s not why I’m writing.  I just want to let you know that a little customer service (meaning the person you talk to demonstrates an attitude of interest … not blank/disinterested and that YOU are the one that needs to figure out what to do).  And I’m trying.

I have called twice to let them know I still need to be listed on the online page … as missing my piece of luggage.  The individuals I’ve spoken with say there’s nothing they can do (but both times they offered – and did – leave messages for the Atlanta baggage claim office to call me).  The first Delta person I talked to said the people there said they were busy but would call me in about an hour or so. When over five hours went by .. and no called still … I called my SkyMiles customer service and she also gave the Atlanta baggage claims office a call … but no one answered.  She said she left them again a message for them to call me.

It’s now been over 24 hours … and still no one has called me!

Please see baggage claim ATLDL#####.

Had Atlanta baggage folk simply checked the barcode on the bag they shipped me (or taken the time to notice the name tag wasn’t my name … and maybe that would have gotten them to check barcode) then THAT customers would by now have their bag.

What happens to my claim … that I can’t get anyone to change … as certainly the site now continues to list my bag as located .. and in process of being delivered.  IT IS NOT!

With the attitude demonstrated by the Atlanta Baggage Claim personnel … it will be no surprise they find it easier to just send bags to the unclaimed pile … without making the little bit of extra effort that sometimes is required to take GOOD care of Delta’s customers.

I love it that you end by asking (below) do you want a reply?  How about someone seeing how well (or how poorly) your baggage claims works for me?  It would tell you a lot of issues that might provide benefit from some attention by Corporate staff.  I don’t know what the problem is … but there is a lack of interest in the customer service attitudes demonstrated by baggage claim personnel in Atlanta during my last two experiences (earlier one was during the ice storm).

Could I suggest you send someone in to have a first hand experience … as this is Delta’s problem to figure out.  I’m just going to sit back now and see if you ever produce my lost luggage.

 

If your not outraged at reading this letter then I can’t help you. Lets put Delta and all the airlines in the spot light until they treat us and our luggage the way we deserve to be treated!

 

Scott T. Mueller

Author The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage

http://www.TheEmptyCarousel.com

 

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Carry-on luggage and the savvy traveler, are you at risk? You bet you are!

Posted on June 3, 2008. Filed under: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Could this happen to you?

As a former system manager of baggage services for more than 50 cities, author, consultant to air travelers, speaker, and veteran of the airlines for almost 20 years, I can assure you your attempts to carry your luggage on board a flight is not an end all cure all anymore to your luggage woes. Are you at risk? You bet you are!

Carry-on bags are fast becoming a risk no less than checking your luggage with your valuables. Let me explain.

So you say you are a savvy traveler?  I have helped many a savvy “self proclaimed” traveler who found themselves in a situation of luggage perils and losses.

The added baggage fee that is now being imposed by most airlines is only going to complicate an already frustrating problem of loss, damage, delay, and pilferage of your luggage and the entire air traveling experience in today’s world.

You will see longer waits in check-in lines due to the processing of the checked baggage fees by credit card or cash, heated arguments in the fairness of the new fee and why as your customer I should not have to pay this fee. I can see the mayhem now, can you?

More and more un-savvy travelers or once a year travelers will be packing bags full to try to carry-on and avoid the checked baggage fees.

Next you will see the airlines charge a fee if you want to board before everyone else (I think some airlines are already offering this option) as overhead space will now become a baggage real estate commodity rather than a perk for savvy travelers.

More and more of you will have your carry-on bags taken from you by irritated, underpaid, overworked, airline crews who deal with an irritated traveling public and who probably received a note in their work mailbox announcing another lost benefit or a pay cut that day.

Weight and balance folks, ever hear of it? How does it impact you and your bags? Airlines are talking about reinstating the turbo prop aircraft as opposed to the newer RJ’s (regional jets) some of you have seen come into replace turbo prop aircraft in the recent past. Why you ask? The turbo prop aircraft is more fuel efficient than the RJ yet this problem still affects RJ’s and all aircraft regardless of size.

This is relevant to you because in the recent years do you remember the crash of the commuter flight in the Carolinas where 19 passengers and crew of 3 lost their lives? The investigation into the cause of the crash determined the aircraft was overweight and the weight and balance was off. This prompted the FAA to impose a new rule for bag weight documenting for all flights. This is why every bag is now weighed upon check-in and documented.

Any aircraft has to be within weight and balance limits. Let’s put this into perspective for you. Weight and balance of an aircraft is like a teeter totter if you remember as a kid. We all tried to balance our weight so the board stayed even and we did not have to sit high up in the air while our obnoxious friend kept us in high up limbo because he or she had a few pound advantages over us making them tail heavy…..

Airplanes are the same; they have to be balanced for all things to work on take-off.

More and more travelers are trying to carry their bags on jet and commuter flights (large jets do have more capacity than small aircraft) and the trend has now turned to the airlines bumping bags to accommodate paying customers with a seat and “promise” to send your bag on the next flight to reunite it with you at your destination but they do not tell you when the next flight to accommodate your bag will be.

With fuller flights on commuter aircraft these days, I have seen bags sit in your departure city for days before a flight came along with fewer passengers than bags and now your bag can be accommodated well after you have been at your destination without your bag.

The reality of the problem is to understand all that YOU CAN DO to protect yourself and how? This is where I come in. I am an expert on this subject and the first in my industry to realize that if travelers are truly educated with the inside knowledge on how to protect themselves and their luggage, then and only then can you become a truly savvy air travel consumer. 

So what should you do to protect yourself if this happens to you and it will in time if you travel by air?

You can remove your valuables from your bag if there is time to do so, if not, ask the flight attendant for their name and also ask that the gate agent put a comment in your PNR or personal name record in the computer stating that you were forced to check your carry-on against your will and ask for a printed copy of this for your records, it only takes a minute to do this. Do this with calmness and resolve in your voice as not to be labeled an unruly passenger to only become a target for the airport police and possibly be detained for questioning.

Be prepared and have a plan to protect yourself and your property. Doing the above will provide you with a possible case in the eyes of the CBS manager (Central baggage services manager) who will be in charge of compensating you for your losses. Doing this can also give you leverage in a court of law. Yet no guarantees apply. Prepare yourself for the scenario when you face it and forget about if I face it. No longer is it a question of will this happen to me? The reality is what I should do when it DOES happen to me.

If you really need your bag and your belongings in tact when you arrive to your destination, ship it via FedEx, UPS, DHL, or the U.S. Postal service and pay the price then and not after you arrive to our destination or home again.

I hope you find this information valuable to your travel in today’s complicated and frustrating world of air travel. But make no mistake, do travel and make the best of your reason for traveling, just be safe and protect the very essence of your reason for traveling.

Keep in mind, my mission is to help you the air traveler with this growing problem and I will answer your luggage question for free through my website at scott@TheEmptyCarousel.com

May you and your bags always end up in the same destination at the same time and both in tact and happy, sigh, you can now enjoy being one of the few travelers who made it to your higher purpose, what’s that? Oh #@%!*%# now I have to go back from hence I came and face the same complicated, irritating challenge! Darn!!

Scott T. Mueller
Author, The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage

www.TheEmptyCarousel.com

Scott@TheEmptyCarousel.com

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Air Travelers, Summer is Upon us. What Should You Safely Pack in Your Checked or Carry-on Luggage For Your Long Awaited Vacation? An Excerpt From Chapter 2 of My Book The Empty Carousel Will Guide You!

Posted on May 13, 2008. Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Howdy fellow air travelers and vacationers who no doubt will be heading out to warm destinations especially after the brutal winter and severe weather many of you have experienced this past Winter and Spring. First I would like to take a moment to think of all the people who have suffered losses during these terrible spring storms recently in the U.S. not to mention the devastating events which have recently happened over seas. You and they are all in my thoughts and prayers as I sit and face another uncertain hurricane season here in what is now sunny hot, fire stricken with more losses of property happening as I write this. WOW what is going on in the world? I guess some idiots thought it would be funny and caused these fires in  Florida that have already claimed more than 100 homes and forced so many into an uncertain future with losses that cannot be replaced.

As mentioned above in this blog’s title, what do the airlines and TSA cover in your checked or carry-on luggage in the event your luggage suffers, loss, damage, or pilferage when you travel this summer? Well the easiest way to answer this question for you is to list all or most of the items as listed in the airline’s Contract of Carriage which states what they do not cover  which is certainly more than what they do cover. The problem is by the time you travel, you have not seen this information and most have no idea of the mistakes they are making when packing their luggage.

As the airlines state: The following is a list of what airlines will not cover in checked  luggage with or without the knowledge of the airline. Carry-on luggage is considered in the possession of the owner so airlines will not cover any of these listed contents in your carry-on luggage either. Even if they force you to check your carry-on bag due to lack of overhead storage space in the aircraft cabin, your carry-on bag is now subject to the same rules as if you checked your bag at the counter.

  • irreplaceable items
  • One-of-a-kind items
  • Money
  • Negotiable papers
  • Jewelry
  • Securities
  • Precious Metals
  • Business documents
  • Software and electronically stored data
  • Books
  • Manuscripts
  • Publications
  • Medications
  • Silverware
  • Keys
  • Artifacts and antiques
  • Paintings and other works of art
  • Samples
  • Photographic and electronic equipment (which includes PDA’s computers, camcorders, and digital cameras)
  • Animals
  • Fragile articles
  • And other similar valuable items and commercial effects.

As a summary of the items listed above, the only items generally covered to any extent in your luggage is clothing, toiletries, cosmetics, linens such as towels, sheets, pillow covers. If you have a doubt and are thinking about packing something, I would suggest carrying it on or checking with me or your airline before you do check  the item.

Expect another very busy summer travel season which will no less suffer more of the same problems from the past summer i.e. delays, weather, cancellations, crowded flights, and more. Plan for the worst and hope for the best. You can always email me for free advice through my website at any time and I will do my best to help you http://TheEmptyCarousel.com This is just a small part of the information my book will provide you to help you make sense of this system of unknown obstacles for you and your luggage.

Also remember that the TSA (Transportation Security Administration) adopted from the airlines pretty much the same rules covering what they will pay you for lost, stolen, or damaged  items in your luggage as well.

One thing to keep in perspective is my recent blog regarding TSA theft and the report that they released recently stating that over 42,000 travelers in the last 3 years reported items missing from their luggage at a cost exceeding 30 million dollars. TSA calls this a small number of travelers opposed to the number of bags they process each year.  Let me ask you this, since most of the items claimed as missing forever are not covered by the TSA or airlines, who do you think had to replace the missing items valued at over 30 million dollars????? Your right if you guested the air traveler who suffered the loss. With Fuel and food costs skyrocketing out of control, how much more unnecessary financial woes are you willing to accept in your life?

If the TSA had to repay the 30 million dollars plus cost of the alleged missing items out of their pockets, I highly doubt they would be calling this report insignificant or small!!

One of your losses is too many for me.

I hope you find this helpful and please pass this along to your friends, families, co-workers and anyone who you think would benefit from this post.

Happy travels to you and yours and may your luggage always arrive with you and intact.

Best Regards,

Scott

Author The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage

http://TheEmptyCarousel.com

Scott@TheEmptyCarousel.com

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What are your legal rights when you travel by air?

Posted on April 8, 2008. Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , |

Air travel consumers, did you know that when you purchase a ticket for traveleing, you are now bound by the airlines “Contract of Carriage” Do you know what information the Contract of Carriage contains regarding your legal rights for delays, cancellations, mishandled baggage, bumping and so much more? Do you know where to find an airlines Contract of Carriage? Give me a shout and I can help advise you. As the author of a new book The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage, I will offer you education to protect you and your property when you travel.

Just released yesterday, airline complaints have increased 60% in 2007 over 2006! One third of those complaints were about your luggage. How can I help you?

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