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Old Jul 13, 2016, 8:33 AM
hudanizami hudanizami is offline
Join Date: Jul 2016
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Thumbs down Lost bags and apathetic Qatar airways staff at Chicago travelling via QR557>QR725

File Reference number: ORD386587

This is an open letter regarding the loss of my baggage and the subsequent experience while traveling through Qatar airways from Mumbai to Chicago. I travelled with my parents on 25th May 2016 on flight QR557 reaching Doha from where we travelled via flight QR725 to reach Chicago. Between the three of us, we had six suitcases, all of which were under the required weight. On reaching Chicago, we found out that two of our six suitcases (Tags – 343704 and 343700) were missing and we were told to file a complaint at the Qatar Airways airline counter. The staff at the counter told us that we'd have a definite answer with regards to the status of our bags by 9pm that very night. Three days passed without any call or details of our bags. The Qatar airways helpline number provided was useless as no one answered the phone no matter what time we called.

Around four days after we filed the complaint we received an email saying that a complaint had been lodged. Even then there was no reply when asked about what has happened to our bags. Finally, tired from the lack of response through email and otherwise, we visited the airport (O'Hare) to speak to the staff in person. I'll add that the Qatar airways staff there was only available if there was a flight arriving or departing any time soon. At other times we were told to wait for someone to turn up at the counter, when that would be was anyone's guess. At the airport I asked to meet the manager of Qatar airways and was told that the system was unable to trace our bags, the staff was in fact unable to trace exactly where our bags went missing. I was also told that the case was being handed over to a private tracing company and the process would take at least another three days.
Memorial day weekend followed and another four days passed and again I had to go the airport and speak personally to the staff to find out that the tracing company too had been unable to locate our bags and they were now officially being considered as lost. My last resort now was to file a claim for compensation.

We filed a claim and gave details to the best of our ability about the contents of those bags and their worth. This claim was filed on 5th June. On 14th June I received a mail from the airlines asking me to file a claim. This was after I had left the USA and reached India . I can't help but ask the question: How slow and uncoordinated is your system that despite having filed the claim and submitting it in person to the manager himself, we are asked to repeat the process again.

It is the 13th of July now and we have still not received any compensation at all.

1) My family had visited Chicago to attend a wedding. The lost bags contained wedding clothes (all designer wear), footwear as well as casual clothing for me, my mother and my sister (who came via Emirates airlines the same day).

2) We were forced out of necessity to buy new casual clothes, shoes etc. The wedding in question being an Indian wedding, we had no ethnic wedding clothes to wear and buying new Indian dresses in Chicago was out of question as we needed close to eleven wedding dresses between the three of us and the cost of dresses in Chicago was very high. We had a tough time getting any clothes good enough to attend each event and even had to miss some events because of the lack of proper attire.

3) The worth of all the clothes, shoes, personal items and other necessities in those two bags combined came to over 482,000 Indian rupees.

4) The manager Sandeep at Chicago O’ Hare airport was rude and unhelpful. When we mentioned that we are in USA for a wedding and we needed the clothes in the bag, his response was - "You are visiting USA and crying for clothes?!" He also asked us to go buy dresses from Devon (an area in Chicago that sells really expensive Indian wear) if it was that urgent. When we wanted to know the reason our bags were lost and what exactly went wrong, his response was - "This is normal in Chicago. Even CEOs lose their bags here". He seemed very amused by the entire situation. On top of that he expected us to have the bills and receipts of all our stuff in the bags (which was purchased in India) as if we should have expected our bags to be irrevocably lost. His attitude about the problem conveyed that this was very normal for Chicago and Qatar airways and we were supposed to passively accept it and not complain about it. He was absolutely not interested in our case and seemed not to care at all that the passengers had a problem.

5) When we discovered that we had lost two bags, we thought this was the worst thing to happen to us on the trip. We later realized that it was just the starting of our troubles. In addition to having no clothes, shoes and miscellaneous necessary items, we faced great pains with the Qatar airways staff and the experience is far from over with no information of our claim compensation so far.

The entire trip which was supposed to be a exciting and fun filled vacation turned out to be nightmare. I and my family have been travelling around the globe since 35 years and never before have we encountered such carelessness and apathy by any other airlines. I would ask all travelers, especially those travelling to Chicago, to avoid Qatar airways if they value their baggage and want a trouble free experience. Hearing that Qatar Airways had received the best airline award last year was like having salt rubbed on our wounds. Our last request after this horrible ordeal is that we should be compensated properly and at the earliest.

Huda Nizami
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compensation not received, horrible experience, lost baggage, pathetic customer service, shame on qatar airways

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