Old Sep 5, 2016, 1:51 PM
upstateflier upstateflier is offline
Join Date: Sep 2016
Posts: 1
Angry delay and baggage

On July 16, 2016, I was to take American Airlines 4834 from Baltimore, Maryland to Philadelphia to catch American Airlines flight 798 to Amsterdam at 6:45 pm. Upon arrival at BWI, I was informed that the flight to Philadelphia was canceled (as of 12 am), and that American Airlines had tried to contact me three times, even though they had the correct number. My cell phone showed no missed calls. They did not attempt to contact me via email, and my efforts to check in online had received only a “must check in at airport” message, never a notification that the flight had been canceled.

The American gate agent, however, attempted to be helpful, and booked me on a 6:20 Air Canada flight (7357) to Toronto, to connect to an 8:45 pm flight to Amsterdam (824). While waiting, a thunderstorm blew in and all flights were canceled, and our departure time was moved to 7:10. Soon, other flights resumed. I and the other passengers sat in the area waiting. 7:10 came, flights were departing and arriving, with no update from Air Canada. Finally, the two gate agents arrived, with a new departure time, and in my case, a new arrival in Amsterdam late in the afternoon of the 17th, via London. However, the flight again, had not arrived, and the gate agents confessed that they did not know where it was, when it would be in, and if any of us would make our connecting flights. As people became more upset (many were Canadians making connecting flights to elsewhere in Canada and trying to get home from a US vacation), the agents began to become more nervous. Most of us wanted a simple answer: stay in Baltimore and rebook for tomorrow or go to Toronto? For almost of all us the difference came down to whether or not Air Canada would provide a room in Toronto. I myself had a place to stay in Baltimore, as did many others. The agents recommended going to Toronto, and they assured us that we would have a room.

We arrived in Toronto after midnight, only to be greeted with new tickets, and a surly, rude gate agent who informed us all delays were due to weather and that accommodation would not be provided. We challenged that assertion that the delay was due to weather. She changed the story and said all rooms in Toronto were booked, and that if any one could find one it would be reimbursed. Was this a lie? Various passengers called around to find that hotels in Toronto were indeed all booked. Was the initial claim that the delay was due to weather dishonest? We were given meal vouchers. Why any compensation if the delay was truly due to weather? Why a delay of more than four hours for a 30 min thunderstorm? No answers were provided about anything. Both the flight attendant and pilot on the flight from Baltimore informed us that the delay was not due to weather, but crew issues (not explained). The flight attendant said there were ground crew issues. It is pretty clear that Air Canada used the weather delay as cover for an issue for which they were at fault. This was done to deny us any compensation. That cannot be legal or ethical.

I was booked onto a 8:45 pm flight to Amsterdam, a day late. I lost a day of my vacation spent on the floor of Toronto airport and spent an entire day in an airport. Air Canada staff were continuously rude, dismissive, and all complaints were met with “call customer service” along with sighs, eye-rolling, and snide remarks. I never have in my life encountered gate agents who were so actively rude. If I had been given truthful information in a timely fashion, I would have stayed in Baltimore and slept in a bed and visited with friends then left for Amsterdam.

Mid-day July 17, I went to an agent and pleaded that she track my bag and ensure it was on the flight. She did and assured me that it had indeed transferred. Upon arrival in Amsterdam, my bag did not arrive. Air Canada’s baggage is handled by SwissPort. The Swiss Port agent could not track my back because she informed me that Air Canada is one of the few airlines that does not provided access to their system. She also informed me with a sigh, “I get more complaints about them than any other airline.” She said the bag would be delivered to me in Brussels or Rome. She called the Air Canada airport manager for me, who said, “sorry, these things happen.”

Air Canada robbed me not of one day of my vacation, but three. I was to arrive Sunday, August 17 by 12 pm in Brussels by train, after arriving in Amsterdam. I had plans to have lunch and spend the afternoon with old friends I had not seen in a long time. Because of my delayed arrival, I missed my train, and arrived in Brussels a day late at 5:30 pm. My friends were working then and on Tuesday. Additionally, the next day (Tuesday), not having my luggage left me scrambling to find necessary items, out shopping for underwear, deodorant, clothes, etc., to last me until my bag arrived. I had wasted money on a checked bag on my ticket to Rome with Brussels Airlines. I no longer had a bag to check. The anxiety and frustration lingered long after my initial delay as I waited for my bag and wondered when and if it would show up. The only employee of Air Canada to demonstrate any basic human compassion or understanding was a flight attendant who advised me to fly another airline. In his words, this airline does not care about people.

After arrival in Brussels, 7/18 I received this email from SwissPort:

Dear Mr Delee,

This morning I made a missing file report for you at our desk. I hereby would like to send you an update.

I had one bag leftover at belt 22 from flight AC824, a green upright design plastic bag with handle, with your claimtag label on it.
So now it seems that there is tagswitch with your bag. The green bag has a personal name tag on it saying Maria Jennifer Diaz.

We are now sorting out where your bag is. So far I have not found a match yet.

Will keep you updated.

Best regards,

Fatima Nadi
Swissport Amsterdam Airport

Repeated emails to SwissPort did not receive an update.

On June 22, from Naples (an international call), I called SwissPort for an update on my bag. The agent first tried to claim it was in Amsterdam. When I informed him of the situation, he said, “then it’s lost.” I asked him if anyone is looking for it: i.e., is anyone looking for where Maria Diaz flew and if my bag is there. He promised an update the next day.

I received no update.

June 25, I called SwissPort again. I was told my bag was lost, no longer there responsibility, and that my file had been returned to Air Canada. I then called Air Canada’s baggage help center. It was a call center in India. The agent insisted my bag was Amsterdam. He refused to transfer me to anyone in Canada or to give me another number to call. An attempt to reach Air Canada Customer Service led to a 30-40 min wait on hold, which I could not do on an international call.

That day I left for Ethiopia. In Ethiopia, 7/26, I sent a lengthy email explaining to Air Canada what had happened and my frustration. I have never received a response. Today, 8/12, upon arrival in Brussels from Ethiopia, I mailed my lost baggage claim to Air Canada, since they require a paper, mailed-in form. It is past the 21-day deadline, but while in Europe I was waiting for SwissPort to find my bag, and once in Africa I did not want to mail the form from there.

I find it appalling that American Airlines is able to pawn off a customer onto a foreign airline that treats its passengers with contempt and uses a brief weather delay as an excuse for a much longer delay. Some restitution is in order, and I don’t want a voucher on Air Canada. I will never fly that airline again.

There are several issues here:
1) American Airlines failure to properly contact me
2) Air Canada lying about weather to cover a delay that is their fault
3) Air Canada lost my bag and NEVER LOOKED FOR IT
4) Air Canada deliberately avoids dealing with customer issues by requiring unnecessary paper work, outsourced call centers, and excessively long waits on hold.
customer service, delay, lost baggage

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