Miles from Blighty goes to the mat against Continental over a lost baggage reimbursement claim.
My one experience over lost luggage with United (as an international first class award passenger) where compensation was involved was a bag that didn’t make it onto my Osaka flight, arrived there after I had made my way to Thailand, and three days later shows up in Phuket with United failing to authorize delivery of the bags — so I had my resort in Khao Lak make an airport for pickup.
I had purchased some cheap clothes in town to tide me through, and I sought the expenses for those as well as the cost of the hotel’s airport trip which I had been charged. I wrote United a letter, and had a check in hand for the full amount requested in under two weeks. I’m sure it helped that I was both a first class passenger and United screwed up in failing to authorize delivery of the bag.
Mark, however, had a bit more of a fight on his hand (consistent with my experiences contrasting Continental with United, and likely a sign of things to come with the new United, there’s a reason Continental’s complaint line is known as 1-800-WE-DON’T-CARE).
A helpful lady said that she had received a message that because of ‘weight and balance’ issues my bag had not been loaded. My bag, weighing 17kgs, had been left behind in Houston and would come the next day. It was, she confirmed, the only bag left behind that day.
My problem was that I was leaving on the first flight in the morning back to Houston, and so the agent said she would message Houston, have them hold the bag and I could collect it the next day.Just to be sure I called Continental from Panama City and they confirmed that there was a request in the luggage record. I informed them that I would need to buy some new clothes and the agent on the phone confirmed this would be OK…
…After a further 3 days and several calls to Continental my luggage turned up – that was the 6th day after I checked it in..
He filed a claim for $279.44 but was offered only ~ $75. Not finding any way to appeal, he went to the UK’s equivalent of small claims court. The costs involved are apparently added into judgments under a loser pays system. Continental defaulted, didn’t respond after Mark secured the judgment, and so he “asked that the Court send in the Bailiffs to seize goods to the value outstanding.”
Consumer advocated will cheer, though I’m left wondering whether this might not have been a bit of overkill, and whether this was really the best use of government resources.
Readers, what would you have done?