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Baggage Problems
COMPLAINT: Baggage sent to different continent, lost for week of Xmas

 
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Old Dec 30, 2006, 7:36 AM
eafrpo eafrpo is offline
 
Join Date: Dec 2006
Location: Canada
Posts: 1

I’m currently studying in Vancouver, Canada and every year for Christmas I fly to Buenos Aires to spend Christmas and New Year’s with my family. My flight plan consisted of catching AA 814 on December 20, 2006 from Vancouver to Dallas. Then after a 6 hour lay-over catching flight AA 963 from Dallas to São Paulo., and after a two hour lay-over catching AR (Aerolineas Argentinas) flight 1241 from São Paulo to Buenos Aires. My brother who lives in Los Angeles was flying from Los Angeles to Dallas, then Dallas directly to Buenos Aires. So, when I arrived at YVR (Vancouver International Airport) I tried to change my flight so that I would be on the same flight as my brother, but American Airlines wanted to charge me 1,400 dollars, so that was definitely out of the question. So my flight plan remained unchanged.

On this trip I was traveling with a backpack and a medium sized duffle bag with wheels. I checked the duffle bag and kept my backpack (Had my laptop in it) and continued on through Immigration. Unlike most airports, at YVR you enter the United States at the airport, so instead of having to pick-up my luggage at Dallas and re-check it, it goes straight to the final destination. The way my trip was set up, my flight from São Paulo to Buenos Aires was on a different itinerary, so upon arriving in São Paulo, I would have to grab my duffle bag and check-in at the regular check-in counter for AR. Unfortunately, when I arrived in Dallas, all flights were being delayed by an hour, so instead of my flight leaving at 7:35pm it left around 8:40pm. In the end, this made me miss my next flight in São Paulo, so I had a 6 hour lay-over in São Paulo to catch the next flight to Buenos Aires. But, this is not what this post is about.

The big problem with flight AA 963 was the fact that 149 pieces of luggage were sent to Paris, France instead of São Paulo, Brazil (Entirely different hemisphere) and half of the luggage that was meant for Paris, was sent to São Paulo. Of course, all of this I found out while waiting for my duffle bag in São Paulo, and noticed that 3/4th of the passengers on my flight were waiting for their luggage while the same 4 pieces of luggage had gone around 6 times. So, you can imagine the frustration that ensued. A hundred passengers waiting in line to fill out lost baggage forms. My problem was that in 5 hours I was supposed to catch a flight to Buenos Aires, so I had to make sure that my luggage was sent to the correct location. So, once it was my turn, an agent asked my information and I made sure they had my cell phone number, house phone number and exact address in Buenos Aires.

Once that was done, I killed a couple of hours by grabbing some food and walking around the airport, and decided check to see if any updates had occurred. So, I went down to the Lost Baggage counter of American Airlines and inquired about my baggage. Just to get an idea of how serious the problem was, the two agents were still punching in all the claims from my flight into the computer, after 2 hours had gone by since I gave them my information. That’s when I found out about the 149 pieces of luggage that were sent to Paris and vice versa, but they had no new information. I explained that I needed to travel to Buenos Aires, and they assured me that once it arrived in São Paulo, they would send it to Buenos Aires, and then once it arrived in Buenos Aires, they would send it to my house. (I got my duffle bag almost one week later.)

The next day I call São Paulo, and they confirm that my bag had arrived in São Paulo, and that it would be placed on TAM flight 8006, set to arrive in Buenos Aires at 10pm Friday December 22, 2006. I said to myself, “Great, tomorrow I’ll be getting my duffle bag with all my clothes.” Unfortunately we live in an imperfect world. Saturday December 23, 2006 comes along and no news about my duffle bag. I call AA in Buenos Aires, and they tell me that they have not received my luggage. They tell me that it could be that TAM in Buenos Aires has not handed it to them as of yet. So I decide to give TAM a call and, what do you know, my luggage did not arrive on TAM flight 8006. (This is only the beginning) I call back an hour later explaining to them (AA) that I was told that my bag was supposed to arrive this morning and they tell me that it shows in their system that my bag has arrived in Ezeiza (Buenos Aires International Airport). So, I tell myself, no way am I waiting for my duffle bag to be delivered to me, I’m going to pick it up. I call up a cab, then after a 40min cab ride, I tell the cab driver to wait for me (since picking up my bag should take no time at all). But, what do you know, my bag is nowhere to be found and according to the info AA in Ezeiza has, my bag is supposed to arrive on TAM flight 8006 10pm Saturday December 23, 2006. Great, 50 dollar cab ride to find out that my luggage is actually arriving Saturday night and not Friday night. So, why did they tell me that my luggage was in Ezeiza? So, another night with no bag, and I decide to give them a call. (Sunday December 24, 2006) I give AA Baggage Service a call, and they tell me that according to their records my bag arrived YESTERDAY MORNING (Saturday December 23, 2006) I kindly explain that I physically went to the airport and my luggage was not there. At first they didn’t understand, so I explained it to them once again (Quick trip to the airport Saturday afternoon, no luggage). So at this point I’m like, what the heck, where is my bag???? São Paulo says it was put on the TAM flight, yet no luggage in Buenos Aires, clear miscommunication between agents. Later that day I find out that the number Baggage Service for AA in Argentina on weekends is handled by Monterrey, MEXICO, AN ENTIRELY DIFFERENT HEMISPHERE ALLTOGHETHER. So what do they know about my bag if clearly it has been shown that whatever the computer shows can’t be trusted. (Notice how so far I’m making all the calls to AA, giving them updates as to the status of my luggage, the fact that it hasn’t arrived in Buenos Aires. By the way, I still haven’t received a call from AA regarding my luggage at this point, and all my calls were being made in the afternoon, giving AA all morning to contact me) So, its Christmas Eve, nothing is going to get done on Christmas Day Monday December 25, 2006, so I decide to forget about my lost luggage and try to enjoy Christmas with the family. Unfortunately, all my presents that I bought for the family were currently inside my lost luggage, (so much for a Merry Christmas). So come Tuesday December 26, 2006, we decide to bring out the big guns. My father is Platinum for Life, and my mother is Platinum, so we decide to give AA Platinum a call and see what they can do for their faithful (yet frustrated) loyal customers. According to AA, my case is CLOSED seeing as how according to their systems my bag had arrived in Ezeiza the morning of Saturday December 23, 2006 and it said that I was supposed to pick it up, even though I was clearly promised 5 days ago by AA São Paulo that my bag was going to be delivered to my home. So much for Platinum Customer Service.

Seeing as how that made me extremely frustrated, I decided to give it a rest after the call and decided to call AA São Paulo on Wednesday December 27, 2006. (So far, 6 days luggage has been lost. The night of Thursday December 28, 2006 I scheduled to travel to Punta de Leste, Uruguay, so basically, hope is lost if my bag isn’t delivered before I leave). So we give AA São Paulo a call, and they have decided to claim my luggage as being lost (YAY, WOOHOO), and asked me for a fax number so that they could send all the forms that I was required to fill out in order to claim what has been lost. I give them my uncle’s fax number politely thank them for ALL their help and said goodbye to all hope of getting my luggage back. Two hours later, I receive a call from AA Ezeiza saying that my duffle bag had just arrived this morning (Wednesday December 27, 2006) on an Aerolineas Argentinas flight. At first I could not believe, just two hours ago AA São Paulo told me that they considered it lost, and now it magically appears in Buenos Aires? Talk about excellent communication. You can tell that AA is really working together with its various branches across the globe. Luckily since on one of my two (yes two) trips to Ezeiza I re-gave them my address so that they could send my bag to my house when it arrived , they told me that it was being placed on a van and driven to my home. A couple of hours later my duffle bag finally arrived at my house almost a week after it had been lost.

Bottom-line:

-My bag arrived 6 days later
-AA had no idea where my bag was throughout the 6 days
-Basically I was doing AA’s job in following up and tracking my bag
-The first time that AA contacted my was 6 days later to tell me that my duffle bag arrived (When two hours prior to the call, they considered my bag lost)
-Whenever you check baggage with AA you’re gambling whether it will arrive or not
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