I had a lovely post about my recent trip to post today and I have to put that off until another day. Instead, I’m sharing an experience in hope that others will speak up and get what is due to them from these irresponsible companies.
Yesterday I took three flights to get home. We left Barbados at 730a (GMT -4hrs) and arrived in Seattle at 9pm (GMT-8hrs) – one full day of travelling. We always use American Airlines because it is the only airline that we can use right through to Barbados from Seattle. I always felt like AA was never consistent with their customer service. For the last flight, I went to switch our seats to be together as we were separated by one seat. The agent told me it’s a full flight and he could put me next to my husband and notify the person in that seat of the change. Just before boarding I was called up again, and to my surprised we were bumped up to first class. Now, this was a huge surprise and I was just elated that for the last flight we could be a little more comfortable and have a nice meal. The previous flights went smoothly, without any hiccups and overall we just thought this was a nice trip back.
Until we got our luggage.
When we arrived in Miami (our first stop) after going through immigration, we had to re-check our luggage. When I picked it up, my luggage was fine, so between Miami and Dallas, this had to happen. That dent is the size of my fist, and it has a crack. This piece isn’t even a year old yet and neither my husband nor myself are able to push it out. It’s a hard material and would need to be hammered out if anything. What upset me the most, is that when I pointed it out to the agent at Baggage Claim, she pointed to a sign and said this would be counted as wear and tear and they are not responsible for any dents or cuts or cracks. If this was an old piece of luggage, I wouldn’t have been as pissed. I travel a lot but domestically and use a carry-on. This piece went to Barbados and back twice. We spent money on luggage to ensure that we wouldn’t be buying new pieces constantly because we are aware of the bad treatment luggage gets. But to look at me and say this would be classified as wear and tear? I blew the roof and I had a little twitter rant. Please excuse the language but remember I was pissed.
Of course I mentioned American Airlines, and they responded with the following:
It was basically a link highlighting their conditions for accepting liability. Fine print really, and that just sent me over the roof even more. A link? Really? The second link telling me to share my experience with customer service was even more interesting. There is no number to call. You have to submit a written letter. I guess this was a blessing in disguise for whoever was going to be on the other side of the shit storm I was about to bring. I had a shower and wrote the following email to them:
I am very disappointed and upset with the service I received today while travelling on your airline. I picked up my luggage after flying for over 12 hours on three different flights, only to have damaged luggage (a dent the size of my fist plus a crack in the hard material) that the agent says you are not liable for. That piece is less than a year old and was first and last used for our trip to Barbados for Christmas 2011. As customers, we spend money on luggage to ensure the protection of our belongings and then to see them treated like this is just unacceptable. I was on the verge of praising your company again because I always felt like I received shitty service for this to happen now. I was hoping to attach a picture but there is no option for that and I am not spending money on a stamp to mail you a letter because right now I feel like you do not deserve a cent more from me. You can check with your Twitter correspondent as I posted it there. We just purchased our tickets to go back to Barbados for Christmas and I honestly feel like it was a huge mistake. I am from Barbados and unfortunately you are the only consistent airline that flies there. You make me not want to fly home, but I have family I want to see. I expect some sort of compensation for this. It was a new piece!
To add insult to injury, when I opened up my luggage TSA made a mess of my stuff. I bring back a seasoning in a jar that is commonly used back home. It has a bit of liquid in it from the onions etc but is mainly finely chopped ingredients. The last time I brought some back, I sealed the bags and left a note asking TSA to reseal properly and they did. This time I did the same hoping that I would get the same result but unfortunately I didn’t. The one bottle they opened (they were in packs of three) they closed back but didn’t put it back in the bag and the liquid spilled on my husband’s clothes. Imagine, I was livid from the dent in my suitcase but to open up my husband’s when we got home and see that, I totally blew the roof. I had 4 3-packs of the seasoning and they took every single one out of the bags and just left them out. I am very thankful none of them broke as I had the clothing protecting it. I also sent them an email. I was really on a roll last night. But this morning, as I was emptying my dented suitcase I also found that they had ripped one of the tabs used to snap the detachable pouch on. I really didn’t know what to think anymore.
I find it ridiculous that we pay lots of money to travel now, we don’t get any food, and what we have to pay for has the potential to put us in the hospital from being sick from it. Then we have to deal with people tossing our luggage around like garbage and our stuff is damaged and we are left to foot the bill for their irresponsibility. Then when we actually try to do something about it, we’re given a run around that just makes you want to leave everything after a while. I intend to follow through and at least know I was heard and have them held accountable for this at some level. I don’t remember the last time I was this angry. I was coughing and my heart was racing and no matter what my husband did, he couldn’t calm me down. So I headed to church this morning to ask for peace and guidance in dealing with this situation and forgiveness for losing my cool the way I did. It’s the least I could do for now.
I’ll post the good post tomorrow to bring the blog back to it’s happy state. Thanks for reading and please feel free to share your thoughts below!