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Help- luggage still not here and its been over 2 days

Help- luggage still not here and its been over 2 days

Jul 25th, 2004, 09:01 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 213
Help- luggage still not here and its been over 2 days

British Airways/Heathrow has misplaced our luggage and bikes. Its been over two days. We have repeatedly called Boston (where we flew into) and now Heathrow directly and no one can give us a straight answer. Boston tells us its Heathrow's responsibility to let them know what is going on with our bags and Heathrow tells us we need to get our info from Boston. Heathrow says they will call once they find anything out, but I do not feel very confident about that. We are freaking out as the bikes are worth a lot of money. Not to mention that they are really irreplaceable as they have been custom put together by my husband. What recourse do we have? Has anyone been in this sitaution before? I am ready to cry. What should we do?
job816 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 09:41 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 57,890
Are you BA or partner FF members? If so, call the FF number and ask them to aim you at somene who can help. Get the person's name, direct phone #, title and make him/her your best friend.

If you haven;t got any FF memberships call customer service and ask for the ombudsman. Go through the same routine as above.

If neither of those works try finding an in-town BA office with live staff and throw yourself on someone's mercy. If you can cry (pitifully - but without making a scene) all the better.

Without a personal contact you will be just circling endlessly.
nytraveler is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 09:47 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 1,171
I don't know what to tell you. The couple of times I have arrived without luggage recently they were able to locate it and assign me a tracking number so I could follow its progress.

The way you are being tossed back and forth -- and you should be talking to BA, not the airport itself -- makes me think it is really lost. And if you didn't have extra insurance you are stuck with what the airline offers you.

Although it is kind of odd that ALL your luggage was misplaced -- that's what gives me some hope for you.

On Monday I would "kick it up a notch" -- you'll have more clout if you fly them frequently, but in any case it's time to talk to someone above the level you are currently contacting.
sfowler is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 09:48 AM
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nytraveler has given you more focused advice. Follow it.
sfowler is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 09:55 AM
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Okay here's the worst part. Not only are we not FF, but we put on BA due to being randomly bumped off Alitalia who had overbooked, which let me tell you was another horror story that we are seeking compensation for. Truly our whole holiday has been overshadowed by the worst travel experience in our lives. I have just put together a nasty letter that I will mail to BA customer relations tomorrow.
job816 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 10:07 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Oh, job, this is heartbreaking! At what point were you bumped -- is there any chance that Alitalia has your luggage?

As sfowler indicated, since ALL your pieces are missing, there's a good possibility that they were misdirected or left behind en masse. What other cities was BA sending flights to when they hastily tagged your stuff? Did you check for the "BOS" label?

Once BA gets your nasty letter, your hope of friendly resolution with them is gone. I'd recommend that you hang onto it until the saga is over.
Anonymous is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 10:15 AM
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 10,021
We have had delays of up to 4 days so don't despair yet. I hope you are at least back home and not in the US on your actual vacation w/o your things!!
socialworker is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 10:31 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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We had a similar experience on our last trip with Air France. Our two bags were lost for our overnight in Paris, but we were assured they would be on our flight home the next day. Got home and only one bag arrived. Two days later we were told that BOTH bags were still in Paris, then within the hour our ONE lost bag arrived our home airport.

If your bags were well marked with your contact info, I'm sure they will show up eventually, even if they are "lost" in the airline's system.
Statia is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 11:22 AM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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My sister has transported her bike by air and generally, being oversized, it has been handled in a separate baggage stream. At our home airport, for example, there is a separate claim area for oversized bags. I don't know what the situation for oversized bags is at LHR - you might try posting on flyertalk.com where there is a community of very knowledgeable frequent flyers.

Agree with the others: keep the issue of compensation on the back burner for now. You want your stuff, and you want answers - these are priorities. Compensation can take weeks if not months, and is better handled after you return home if things don't resolve before then.

On britishairways.com there is a section under customer service for 'mishandled bags'. You need to know your file reference number to track your stuff. If you don't know what this is, get help from a BA staff member forthwith. Given the value of your bikes, it might even be worth a trek out to LHR to try and get some answers in person.

Other than that, go out and buy some clothes and try to salvage your holiday as best as possible. I do wish you luck.
Sue_xx_yy is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 11:27 AM
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Thanks everyone trying to make us feel better. When we got bumped in Geneva, we watched them take off and tag all our luggage for BOS via Heathrow. We even saw our bags get off the plane in Heathrow so we know they got there. However, where they went from there is anyone's guess. You would think they could at least tell us that they have the bags. I cannot even begin to tell you how distressed my husband is. Cycling is his life and without his bike he is at a loss. As for the letter we will hold onto it for another day as there is now a general answering machine message in Boston saying passengers should be reunited with their luggage within 3 days of arrival - so we will give them the benefit of the doubt. Although we will send BA a complaint letter whether we get our luggage or not.

As for getting bumped from Alitalia, it was the weirdest and at the time scariest thing. We went to board and they told us we could not get on. We had even checked-in the night before so why we were randomly chosen is beyond us. We had to wait in the airport for approx 7 hours for the next flight. The folks in Geneva were adamant we would be compensated once we got back to the states and I have sent a letter to the US offices. But who knows.
job816 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 11:33 AM
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Just to avoid some confusion, we live in the states and are back home.
job816 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 12:13 PM
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If you don't start getting a real answer by Monday, escalate and go up the food chain. You probably can find the name of the CEO and though it may sound odd, if you start calling his office or emailing him, I bet you you'll start getting some action. I did that with Hawaiian Air when they had charged twice for the same ticket and within a day of my "threatening" to go up, it was resolved. You may wan to start with the threat and go from there. Also, I find that if you threatened to go to the media, they start moving, no business wants bad publicity.
lyb is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 01:25 PM
Join Date: Aug 2003
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Hi job,
This is why I travel with only carry-on if possible. However, one word of encouragement--years ago Alitalia lost both my husband's and my bags and they were missing for about 10 days. We went to the airline headquarters in Rome to see if they could help. We saw their computers listing all the "lost" bags and it was pages and pages and pages. Our bags never arrived with us in Venice and finally caught up with us in Rome the day before we left to go home--just in time to recheck them. However, they were found. More recently on "lost" luggage we were given a tracking number but no one (and I mean no one) would give us the phone number or name or a contact person (can't remember which airline this was). Anyway we could keep looking online and see that our bag was still missing. It did come shortly. There is hope. Good luck!
mimipam is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 01:40 PM
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Hi job,

You've gotten some good advice here.

I also suggest that you save the nasty letter for later.

You might also try contacting the Ombudsman at Conde Nast Traveler magazine for help.
ira is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 03:45 PM
Join Date: Jul 2004
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Job816-see my answer to your problem on the Airlines board. You need to contact the U.S. Dept. of Transportation, website provided.
Spygirl is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 03:54 PM
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I have experienced this a few times now. The last occasion was St Louis Lambert to London Heathrow via Chicago - O'Hairy! 2 weeks later my bag turned up back here in Sydney without labels and 2 identification tags ripped off and with a 100mm hole punched through the rear of the bag. My first point is that when I got to London I asked for and recieved compensation because I was both inconvenienced and needed to buy some essentials. I received 200GBP which assisted and compensated me for temporary loss and inconvenience. Ask for compensation - it naturally moves the process along. Secondly I learned that the bar code reading process is very sophisticated now and very very few bags go totally astray. In the end I got my bag back because there was identification also inside of the bag. Just keep asking where the code readers suggest the luugage has gone and ring twice a day. As for the hole in the back of my back, my speculation is that somebody in security was very concerned about a dense piece of metal in my bag that I was carrying for business reasons. Possibly when they realised what it was they may have thought that it was better to send the bag on to Brussles without the tags on it so they didnt have to provide explanation of their actions. This was before the new security locks that security has acess to came on the market. I now use the variety I purchased from Brookstone every time.
SydneySteve is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 04:13 PM
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Like others, I suspect Alitalia is at fault.
If you send me your email addy, I'll foward BA's US senior VP for customer service name and addy.
It is seldom productive to deal repeatedly with lower level folks with such complex issues.
mikemo is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 04:25 PM
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Posts: 213
Thanks everyone again for all the helpful info. We are holding off on the letter, but will certainly ask for compensation when all is said and done. And we are beginining to realize that yes Alitalia was at fault in how they tagged our bags. On the tracking system it now has a link saying that two of our bags were originally to be sent a day after we left for the states, so my guess is Alitalia tagged the wrong date. It also says that two (one being the bikes) should have arrived in Boston as 6:20 EST, but we have not heard anything. Although my husband can only think of his bikes, I am thinking that we will be compensated by both BA and Alitalia in the end. Probably wishful thinking but the thought is keeping me sane. Mikemo I appreciate you sending me the addy. My email is [email protected]
job816 is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 04:59 PM
Join Date: Feb 2003
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I didn't see this suggestion made, but I think you should call BA and immediately INSIST upon speaking with a superviser.

I'm with mimipam on this one--I try to carry everything important on the plane after having my baggage almost lost with the only copy of my dissertation in it (this was before computers, needless to say).
artlover is offline  
Jul 25th, 2004, 05:03 PM
Join Date: Mar 2004
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I think we have things under control re: BA - not sure re: Alitalia.
mikemo is offline  

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