Don't Check In Your Luggage.
Come fly the friendly skies. But first go through numerous checkpoints. Make your way through the sea of people who know they will board last, but insist on standing right in front of the gate. Deal with crying babies. Look at ugly stewardesses. And in the end, have your baggage delayed.
On my trip my baggage was delayed twice. Once from Heathrow to Dublin, and also from Boston to Los Angeles. I flew from LHR to DUB with British Midland, and BOS to LAX was with American. I only sent a letter to American, because it wasn't that my bag was lost, it was how the situation was handled.
I am writing this letter in regards to my experience traveling with American Airlines and their One World partner Aer Lingus. On January 5th, 2004, I flew from Dublin to Boston on flight XXX which I booked with American but was operated by Aer Lingus. From Boston I flew to Los Angeles on flight XXX.
I checked in one piece of luggage in Dublin and was instructed that upon arriving in Boston, I will need to take my bag through customs and then check it in again at the "In Transit" desk. I did just as I was instructed, and boarded my flight to Los Angeles, thinking that my luggage was safe. Upon arriving in Los Angeles, I discovered that my luggage had not arrived. I notified the Baggage Claim desk as soon as I discovered that my bag had not arrived. I was told that it should arrive the next day (1/06/04), and it was delayed since the time between flights was a little more than an hour. I was further informed that I should have at least three hours between flights to insure that my baggage makes it through transit. My bag was eventually delivered to me on (1/07/04) without any damage.
I have several points of concern over how this entire situation was handled.
When originally booking the flight and/ or checking in at Dublin, I should have been notified that since my layover is a little more than an hour, there is a risk that any checked luggage might not make it. A reasonable person would expect to be warned of such a risk, as it does not appear to be common knowledge that when there is a layover under three hours, there is a greater risk of having your baggage delayed. Had I known of such a risk, I would have thought twice about checking my bag in.
Dealing with the lost luggage was not made any easier when I had to deal with the agent at the Baggage claims desk at LAX. Unfortunately, I was unable to get her name. While she was very courteous, it appeared that she did not know how to do her job. It took nearly 30 minutes to process the claim, when the neighboring agents were helping their customers in nearly half the time. She did not know how to work the computer, nor did it appear that she understood how the process worked. I can understand if she was new, but if that was the case she should have had someone there to assist her, or she should have had better training.
Finally, I was told that my luggage would arrive the next day (1/06/04). I have no issues with it arriving a day later on the 7th. However, I received a phone call at 1 AM Pacific Time, the morning of the 7th. The person on the other end asked if I would be available for the luggage to be delivered. I don't know if this is standard procedure, but I have never heard of such a scenario where a company calls at 1 AM. I realize some people might want their luggage returned as soon as possible, however, a phone call at 1 AM was very unprofessional. I was told that I could leave a note at the door so that I would not be woken up again when the luggage arrived. I left a note as the caller instructed and went to sleep thinking that my bag would be at my doorstep in the morning. As you might have already guessed, there was no bag at the door in the morning. The bag was delivered between 10 AM and 3 PM on the 7th. Once again, I have no issues with my luggage being delivered on the 7th. The problem is with the call at 1 AM, when the bag was delivered at least nine hours after that. The same call could had been made at a much better time.
I did not receive the type of service from American Airlines that a reasonable person would expect. The next time I fly, I will definitely think twice about using American Airlines. I will forward a copy of this email to the better business bureau, and I will also post a copy of it online, so that the next time someone does an online search for American Airlines, they will find this letter and think twice about using your airline.
American Airlines responded with a form e-mail and basically told me
to stop whining! It was very un-American of them!