Celebrity Journalist Megyn Kelly Goes On 18 Minute Rant Over Lost Luggage

When Chris Cuomo was bounced from CNN for journalistic improprieties he wanted ‘Megyn Kelly money’ on the way out. Reportedly he demanded $60 million as a separation payment. Megyn Kelly, of course walked away with $69 million when NBC bought out her contract. Now she has a podcast.

Kelly left Fox News, where she built her brand, after no longer really being at home there in the Donald Trump era with Trump going after her during the Republican primaries over her questions about his misogyny. In her words “she became the story.”

She’s wealthy. She’s famous. But the great equalizer in life – the place where there’s no inequality – is dealing with a European airline. Over lost luggage. At New York JFK.

The prominent host told her Air France baggage nightmare in full in a hilariously detailed 18 minute segment of her online show. Just beware that around 13 minutes and 45 seconds in she drops the F-bomb – something the airlines drive all of us to do from time to time.

After her family’s Air France trip to Venice with her family she waited for checked bags at JFK airport but none of them arrived. She put in a missing bag claim and was advised all of the bags were on the next Air France flight 3 hours later, and they’d all be delivered that day. No bags followed, so she followed up.

The baggage office was outsourced. Nobody answered the phone. She left messages. Apparently after somewhere between 83 and 100 calls someone picked up and told her that they had no information on the bags and to deal with Air France directly – but she couldn’t find a path to do so other than the website. She took to twitter.

Air France responded, as many companies do, asking her to DM her issues for them to help. The truth is that most companies aren’t actually going to be helpful via direct message, they just want to take the complaints out of public view. That seemed to be the case here. She detailed her travails with Air France bots and useless customer service.

The airline even stated that they could not respond in in acceptable period of time (not even that they ‘might not’).

Little by little the bags dragged in and were delivered. But they were still missing a bag and Air France showed all the bags had been sent. She then got caught in the infinite regress of the virtual assistant – she’d provide the requested information on the missing bag, they’d start over introducing themselves. At the end of 3 weeks she’d never managed to speak to a live Air France agent who could advise on baggage issues.

I’m not sure her aspersions over Air France KLM CEO Ben Smith’s salary hit their mark (she was paid far more than he was to not work) nor her complaints about checked bag fees (she almost certainly did not fly economy).

However a celebrity journalist with 2.6 million followers on twitter, nearly half a million YouTube subscribers, and the reach of SiriusXM couldn’t get her airline’s attention through social media. What chance do the rest of us have?

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community InsideFlyer.com, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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Comments

  1. Seriously — someone out there came up with the idea of “Hey, if we give our useless bot a nice-sounding human name, people will feel better about talking to a useless bot”?

  2. She is smoking hot for 51. 50 is the new 30. Talk about a cougar.

  3. Checked bag fees aren’t avoided by all people in business class. Oversize, overweight, or additional luggage over the free baggage allowance can mean checked bag fees are due and duly paid.

  4. She should look t the bright side… it’s not as bad as the disastrous mess in London, where as we all know, there are tens pot thousands of bags that need to be sorted out.

  5. Karen Kelly should really learn about Airtags. Or even better, rent a jet with a little of the cash NBC paid her to just go away.

  6. @Donald — I’m sure she is devastated by your scathing indictment of her. Loser moron.

    @Thing 1 — Yes, and it works due to the low intellect of much of society. See our friend Donald right above you, who took Gary Leff’s bait, posited some vacuous quip about the arrogance of a public figure he has never met, and laid bare his room temperature intelligence quotient. The very existence of communications and public relations firms is dependent on the abject stupidity of their clients’ audiences. Smart people see right through the spin.

    @Michael Gold — Yet, here you are in the comments section. I’d pay to watch a battle between you and Donald. Lowest IQ gets a free flight on Air France but you have to check yourself as luggage.

    @GUWonder — Good point.

    Anybody white collar (don’t even have to be of Ms. Kelly’s stature) should not be complaining about checked luggage, ever. Lost luggage is a pretty routine occurrence on airlines. Complaining about it is tired and it’s punching down because luggage handlers are blue collar workers doing hard physical labor. Nobody is willfully losing your bag.

    Travel insurance is for situations exactly like this. And if you really care about something you need to carry it on. This is common knowledge and complaining about a lost checked bag makes one look very naive.

  7. @ Gary — So she lost her bags on her return. Big deal. On the way out, it would be way worse.

  8. She’s worth at least $69 million and she doesn’t fly private?
    I’ve never understood the cheapness of some people.
    Why expose yourself to the current horrors of flying commercial (especially in Europe) right now when you can easily afford to avoid it?

  9. @Gene – I’m not sure. On the way back, you have gifts, souvenirs, mementos. Either one is bad.

    @Olaf – thank you. Good points, all of them.

  10. Can someone help with how bags are getting lost with today’s technology? I get it in the 80’s and even the 90’s…but now everything is scanned into the system. Seems like – and I’m being very basic here – if you’ve scanned in 20 bags and only 19 are on the plane…shouldn’t it be obvious that one’s missing somewhere?

    I mean…damn…even the app tells us our bag is on the plane. No one EVER had that kind of assurance going on in 1986!

  11. @Gary – I’m sure you’ve noticed, but some people here only post to b-i-t-c-h or badmouth others.
    I wonder would would someone like Donald, or Michael Gold, bother to post? If you’ve got nothing to add to the discussion, please don’t post.

  12. @Christian – I used AirTags. It’s a rip-off and a scam. Charged me $25 for nothing. And no recourse.

  13. I wonder how Delta would have handled it had she flown The Delta nonstop JFK-VCE instead of AF thru CDG

  14. I’m betting she went shopping in Europe and is concerned that the exact things she bought can’t be easily replaced if she doesn’t get them back and in one piece.

  15. @Jorge – Maybe she values leaving more to her kids or others in the long run than paying 5x commercial airfare for private across an ocean.

    Jet would be around $100k roundtrip vs $15-$20k for their tickets (unless they used miles too). Just because you can afford doesn’t mean you will or should.

  16. JorgeGeorge Paez,

    Indeed she probably could have.

    But a lot of the people who fly private jets at times don’t fly private always. Even billionaires — and she’s almost certainly not even close to that level — aren’t always sticking to private flights. And for people with a non-inherited net worth in the sub-$300 million range, there often are enough major expenses in life and liquidity limitations that spending money to fly privately just doesn’t fly as much privately as some may presume. Some very wealthy people have value for money that doesn’t have them splurging like Gulf royals and other kleptocratic authoritarians.

  17. @Olaf don’t be an ass. You are a rude nasty person. I hope you are proud of yourself.

  18. I usually don’t check in luggage even when returning from Europe. On the other hand, I don’t have $60M.

    If you don’t check in luggage, you might arrive at home while those with luggage are still in or near the airport.

  19. @ GUWonder — “Sub-$300 million,” seriously? Yes, they should scrimp every penny so they can die with every miserable penny in the bank. Rolleyes…

  20. The problem of not getting a Live agent is very real. It is also extremely annoying! I’m a Million Miler with UA, but their ridiculous flight schedule to EWR meant that I couldn’t get to NAS unless I arrived extremely late, wasting an entire day, or fly into EWR the night before & pay for a hotel so I could catch an early AM flight.

    As DTW is one of Delta’s hubs, I decided to check out Delta. They had no direct flights but could get me there through ATL and meet up with my BFF for the flight into NAS. I’m not used to Delta’s website and needed to speak to a rep. The recording told me that it was a 90 minute wait to speak to a Rep and I should try their virtual assistant.

    What a joy THAT turned out to be! I had tried to handle the situation online because the computer insisted it was a problem I could solve online. Not so, said the nameless, faceless person I was messaging with. I had to describe the situation twice, and waited a long time for the messenger to get back to me. All in all I spent 76 minutes typing with the “Assistant, who could have solved the problem much quicker and to everyone’s satisfaction if he/she had been on the phone with me.

    If that had been my luggage lost and no real person to speak to, I would’ve been infuriated. As it was, when I called regarding MY problem it was after 3 nights of “Delta is experiencing high call volumes. Your estimated wait to speak with a representative is BEEP hours.”

    Maybe some reservation problems are simple enough for a short message. But if it is taking longer than 15 minutes- we need real human contact. Whatever this lady said about her family’s missing luggage, she deserved to say. Not having a human being to follow up with is ridiculous! Having to deal with messaging, both live and robot, is inexcusable. I hope the family got their luggage back with a nice gift for time wasted.

  21. If these companies thought about it they’d realize the smartest thing they could do was get rid of the automated assistants and pull in as many warm bodies as it took to do nothing but respond in chat. Why? Because then they could sort out issue that need immediate attention like your 3 year old is on a different flight from you from lost bags.

    They’d get the former group to people who can help, apologize to the latter, open a case file so there is a single depository for information and ask the customer to please try and be understanding.

    Funny thing is when you ask most people are happy to oblige and it would drastically reduces the number of calls, freeing up resources to solve the problems at hand.

    The

  22. Well, see, if you do a social media post asking for help but are sarcastic … your request is ignored. Perhaps she’s never been to France, where good manners are a requirement for life. I’m glad I’m not a celebrity journalist who is so important that she thinks anyone at Air France cares about her luggage. You fly on planes, your luggage may go astray. You are thankful that it’s on your return home and not at the beginning of your trip with all those carefully-coordinated ensembles unavailable during your travels. You file a claim with Air France. You wait a week and most of your bags will probably appear, maybe even at your house/office. You are smart enough to know that calling AirFrance 85 times has only one result: you get frustrated. Do you really think that AF baggage people give a rip about your bags? But the most important thing you know is that when you pack a checked bag, you assume that you’ll never see that stuff again. That solves the whole problem, see? Your stuff will eventually be returned, but you won’t care.

    Of course, she’ll have to come up with something actually relevant for her ‘podcast’, won’t she? The mind boggles at the fascinating garbage this woman must produce for her ‘fans’ if she can go on for 18 minutes about something so unimportant.

  23. And if they were smart they’d have the CEO and every top and middle managers pulling some two hour shifts, use their first names and let their employees how everybody is pitching in and not just dumping the problem on agents, handlers etc. They’ll leak it to the press and it will be a PR coup.

    I’d remember it the next time it was time to book a flight.

  24. @Gennady – I’m on my first trip with them now and they’ve worked like a charm so far. What seems to be the problem?

  25. You are missing the point. She’s saying that airlines need to have put you in touch with a real person or have some other rational system of communicating with customers. If AF had a portal where a passenger could check the status of their lost bags that would have made a world of difference.

    UPS and Fedex have the same issues of stuff getting lost but they have systems to handle it. As she says it wasn’t urgent that they find the bags. She just wanted to know that someone is working on it and that they haven’t been forgotten. Instead they waste her time and theirs because they don’t make this a priority.

    The airline that does this right is going to have a strategic advantage the next time systems melt down. People can be very understanding when they think your organization is trying hard and unforgiving when they feel they are being taken advantage of.

    Everybody in management at these airlines and airports should be pulling 12-14 days and none of them should be taking weekends off. That’s what good leaders do to prove to customers they value your business and employees they appreciate their hard work on customers behalf.

  26. I’m not a fan of Megyn Kelly’s, but I couldn’t stop laughing. I’ve had luggage lost, and, in 2011, in Spain, it took 3 days to get it back. It’s very upsetting, but her experience sounds much worse.

  27. Putting the personality aspect of this story to the side, this exact scenario could have happened to any one of us and the problem — as has been mentioned — is that customer service of all airlines has died. In fact, it is fair to say at all major hotel chains . . . and credit card companies . . . etc., etc. It is simply the way companies have become.

    But, when you come across a good customer service experience — given the contrast — it really stands out. And, it ought to be recognized.

    By the way, Joey is right: she should never have connected in Paris.

  28. I’ve travelled extensively for a long time and had my first lost bag experience last month. It still doesn’t make me drag on huge amounts of luggage that I could easily check. 99% of the time now on international flights your bags arrive before you even get through customs. Airport experience (especially with kids) is far easier without massive carry ons. Finding a space in the lounge easier too.

    Noting that my fourth bag is still “missing” after 4 weeks and the other 3 were found by me by walking around the lots behind Firenze airport

  29. Right on with the comment that customer service culture is very much dying in the travel space and even more broadly in the economy. Unfortunately, such declines in service levels are hard to reverse.

    Gene,

    I said that based on what I’ve seen some people in that net worth range do and not do. Lifestyle inflation costs a lot, and that can mean trade-offs for people who are extremely wealthy but far short of being liquid billionaires and are not really sure when their income will drop faster than their expenses rise. Also, between inheritance taxes and perhaps being generous with family and friends and who knows what else, they may not be taking as much money to the grave as may first appear to be the case.

  30. I’m surprised she went to Europe (and could find it on a map). People like her seem to struggle with anything not American.

  31. @Reno Jones nonsense, you need to know the tricks to get good customer service. I had an issue with Amex Travel (run by Expedia) and the Amex customer service rep was excellent. Got the issue resolved in no time.

  32. @ GUWonder — You might want to mingle with the commoners more often. Even if you pay 90% inheritance taxes (hopefully) and give away 90% of the remainder (hopefully), that still leaves $3 million, which is a large sum of money to >99.9% of people.

  33. No one should pay inheritance taxes – that’s what financial planners are for. They are easily avoided.

    She is Megyn Kelly, not Meghan Markle – she flies commercial so she won’t have to virtual signal about global warming because she flies private. Also, from what I can tell, she’s trying to raise her kids as upper middle class, not celebrity class. Just because she’s got money, which she got because she’s better at her job than anyone here and the other side was willing to pay it, it doesn’t mean she needs to light her barbeque grill with hundos.

    Some people remind me of the old saying, (old because a million isn’t that much anymore) there’s a difference between wanting to earn a million dollars and wanting to spend a million dollars.

  34. She certainly has enough money to rent a private jet (eg wheels up, etc). Is she clueless about the state of airline cancellations/delays and lost baggage. Oh, I forgot that is only for the little people to worry about.
    We are going to JoBerg in 5 weeks for a month via a connection from CLT-ATL. Besides our regular luggage we are bringing carryons and our packing cubes will be split between my husband and my clothes in case one of our bags doesn’t make it. Good times!

  35. Seems to me that the real issue is the miserable customer service “provided” by Air France, not the individual.

  36. @Christian – I filed a claim with Airtags about delayed AA flight(s) from Latin America home. It was a disaster, they cancelled the original flight, changed our itinerary, were late departing (from GUY), late arriving to MIA, missed connection, had to overnight, etc. For all this, Airtags got me like 5,000 AAdvantage miles, and charged $25. There’s no way 5K miles are worth anywhere near $25.

  37. @SC – “Is she clueless about the state of airline cancellations/delays and lost baggage”. You don’t allow this was booked months and months ago? Or did you know last summer what a mess air travel would be in the summer of 2022?

  38. @thurstontravel said “People like her seem to struggle with anything not American”
    Another useless, mean and totally baseless comment. Do you know Megyn Kelly? Or is it just pure envy speaking?

  39. This is NOT about the lost luggage – that is (and Megyn clearly states so several times) an annoyance and nothing more. This is an indictment against an incredibly poorly designed customer service system that runs you around in circles in the hopes (probably) that you just give up.

    Having traveled through CDG many times, and having had my luggage lost in the bowels of that airport TWICE on one trip (outbound AND return) I am very familiar with AF’s non-functional customer service.

    AI and online self-help in the name of convenience should only be offered if it actually does offer convenience and support. In AF’s case, it does the exact opposite, and that is being called out. I for one am happy Mrs. Kelly is using her megaphone, for what it is worth, to good use. I would recommend the AF senior leadership that are responsible for UX/CX make this video mandatory viewing.

  40. I don’t think it takes a big leap of faith to come to the realization that some of the criticisms of this TV personality was due to her alienation from Trump and his Fox orbit base.

    Gene,

    I mingle with lots of different kind of people. I also am a very heavy user of mass public transit on the ground, even more typically using it to get myself to and from airports where it is not too inconvenient. But I’m just explaining what I see from some people who happen to be very wealthy. The working wealthy are indeed likely to end up dying with way more wealth than average; but such people also have an interest in seeing their own family and friends be able to be as comfortable as possible after their own death. And wealthy or not, what’s the point of wasting money on something that pollutes more than on something that pollutes less?

  41. I just dealt with AF on the phone, about a non-baggage matter. One agent heard what kind of complicated thing I was asking about, quickly said she would transfer me and voila the call got dropped on her end.

    Called again but instead asked to talk about a loyalty program matter. Got a very thorough and patient agent. Night and day difference at the same company.

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