Chicago Sun-Times

Lost luggage

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Today's column about the worst flights to take out of O'Hare Airport got me thinking about another liability when it comes to air travel: lost luggage.

According to the latest report from the government's Bureau of Transportation Statistics, passenger complaints about mishandled baggage are on the rise.

I've been lucky not to have that happen yet, but I'm reminded of the time my grandma came to stay with us a few years back.

She made it from Jamaica to Atlanta in one piece, but her luggage did not. Two suitcases worth of almost all grandma's earthly possessions just disappeared with no explanation from the airline. We spent two days on the phone with them trying to track the bags down, but we never did. Finally, Delta gave Grandma a $100 reimbursement for her things. But as you can imagine, my 89-year-old grandmother was livid.

Has an airline ever lost your luggage? Tell me about it.

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Eurofly Stole My Luggage

For just an instant I felt uneasy as I approached the check-in counter at Naples Airport. There were three hulking security guards standing next to the desk, laughing and pointing at us. I focused my attention on handing our passports and tickets to the Eurofly Airlines representative, and then putting our bags on the scale. Then she announced something I’d never experienced in 40-plus years of air travel: “You only gave me three bags.” Now my daughter and I had been lugging two bags each from New York for the whole trip, and obviously had passed all four bags over to the clerk. “No, I gave your four bags!” was my verbal response. In my head I knew it was impossible for her to warn me I’d only given her three bags, unless she knew I had given her more. “Well, I only tagged three.” I hurriedly asked her to stop the conveyor so she could tag the bag. She refused, saying it was too late, because the bag had already “gone through”. The bag contained a year’s worth of my daughter’s musical scores, other heavy things like SLR and camcorder batteries, and some precious family hand-me-downs. I then insisted she stop the chute. As if rehearsed, those three security guards marched between me and the clerk, crossed their arms, and shooed me away.

Fast-forward by 4 months. I never got the bag. I never got the promised reimbursement. I never got an apology. What did I get? I sent an itemized list of the contents’ value to an address Eurofly gave me. It came back in the mail today. “No Such Address” was stamped on the front. The Eurofly telephone representative curtly said the airline probably put my bag in an insecure area and it had therefore been stolen. She said they had no one who could look for our bag in Naples, but instead said they’d do a computer search of all the other airports in the world! She said they’d reimburse me in 6 weeks. Our wonderful American Express representative tried calling them for 21 straight days before finally getting this response: no one knew where my bag was.

Naples Airport is a bad place. It has a 50% lost baggage rate. Thus why wouldn’t Eurofly have someone at the airport to look for lost bags? My experience must be a common occurrence. I rather think this airport is set up to steal luggage. How could anything else explain what happened? So Eurofly splits the profits after they auction the bags or sell the contents on e-Bay. At best, they turn a blind eye to the problem and care zero about their customers.

This message is a warning to anyone who intends to take anything they don’t wish to have stolen to Naples Airport...carry it on, or don’t take it. And further, if you fly one of these rinky-dink airlines, prepare to be treated like the mile-high piles of garbage in Naples.

So after all is said and done, what did I get from Eurofly Airlines? I got railroaded. Don’t fly them.

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This page contains a single entry by Monifa Thomas published on May 28, 2007 11:04 AM.

Problem intersections was the previous entry in this blog.

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