It had to happen. I had to write this post. I’ve postponed it for months with the excuse of giving the airlines time to come through, but in the end enough is enough – and you deserve to know this.
Well I take it back.
To quickly fill in the details of my plight, I returned to Italy in late July and arrived sans baggage. I filed a report and waited two days to receive my bags. One arrived in tip-top shape with 100% of my belongings – the other was half empty.
The following day I called Lufthansa, who relinquished responsibility to my final airline carrier, AirOne. Per their online instructions I filed a report with my local Carabinieri. I called AirOne for three consecutive days – no answer. I sent them two faxes – no response.
Determined not to let AirOne’s inadequacies cause me $800 worth of increased stress, I sent a letter to Lufthansa. I described the situation and offered to send the police report. I explained how given their tight partnership – AirOne’s planes fly Lufthansa’s logo – and the fact I was refused by a Lufthansa representative the right to cellophane wrap my luggage, that I held them responsible.
They emailed me a response that said since I did not report the matter within seven days they could not help me.
Hopeful, I replied with, “Actually, I did file within seven days. Where do I send the documents?”
When I hadn’t heard a week later, I sent a follow-up.
I received another email stating it was not their responsibility since my final carrier was AirOne.
I replied asking them why they changed their reason for denying my claim, re-outlined my frustrations with Lufthansa and asked for a manager.
When I hadn’t heard nine days later, I sent a follow-up.
I received a response from a manager who supported the previous denial of my claim but made note of the fact that “I was unhappy with the Lufthansa representative who refused to wrap my baggage.”
At this point, I sent an email to writer and travel expert Christopher Elliot.
He contacted Lufthansa on my behalf and was sent a response within the day that said something along the lines of …
“Ms. Moore may have contacted her final carrier but we have no record. Her claim is denied because she did not register her complaint in a timely manner… (She) offered no documentation of her claims … We’d be happy to re-review her case again, however at this point it looks like she’s not being upfront with either of us.”
An airline company bucking responsibility and forgoing accountability is one thing, but personally attacking the character of a complaining customer is beyond poor service.
I emailed them about the personal attack – made to a noted journalist I very much respect and admire, no doubt – and called them on their offer to reopen my case.
I never heard back from them.
So what do you do? I’ve pledged not to fly either company again – although this will likely force me to travel to other airports for my international travel needs. I’d rather spend the money to get to Naples or Rome and fly with an airline who respects loyal customers and who accepts responsibility when $800 of personal belongings go missing under their watch.
Have you ever had a bad experience like this with an airline? If so, which company? Was it resolved? How? What would you do in this situation if you were me?
It’s Friday and that means a new recipe from La Buona Cucina Americana team … Thanks, Mary!