Old Nov 25, 2014, 3:12 AM
mprn mprn is offline
Join Date: Nov 2014
Posts: 2
Angry Mandatory Checked Bag Damaged Computer

My Letter of Complaint:
My initial flight was delayed, so I was late arriving in CLT - 22:00 to be precise. My connecting flight was scheduled to depart @ 22:25 (doors close @ 22:15). Having arrived at Gate A-something and departing from Gate E-20 would have been a shopping girl's dream if she had plenty of layover time. However, as it turned out, it was a nightmare for this forty-something out-of-shape ex-smoker. I RAN nearly the entire way! Mind you, I DO NOT run. I have never had any desire to run. I didn't like running when I played softball & basketball in high school. It's hard on the joints. I can & do walk really, really fast, but I don't run. Anyway, after completing my first ever 5K (& doing the Superman through the ladies room right next to E-20) I came trotting up to the desk at the gate to check in, still huffing, puffing & gasping for air. I am the last passenger to board. As I locate my boarding pass, the not-so-friendly gate attendant informs me that I will have to check my carry-on as she gets a baggage claim tag for it. I scanned my pass then told her that my laptop computer was in it. She proceeds to tell me that there is no room left overhead & I (not-so-sweetly) WILL HAVE TO CHECK IT (as she proceeds take it from beside me, tag it & give me the stub, all in one smooth motion). I protested with, "But my laptop is in it" and she tells me that I can get it at the gate as soon as I get to HSV. I mistakenly assumed that it would be handled with care ("It is a carryon, after all") and I reluctantly proceeded down the ramp.
When I got to HSV @ 23:00, I did get my bag at the cargo elevator at my gate, as did several other passengers, then I proceeded to the baggage claim to get my checked bag & go home. When I put it in the back seat of the car, I noticed a small spot on the front of the carryon that looked like it had been sitting against something and vibrating - just a small scrubbed place in the fabric, nothing to cause alarm. I went home, went to bed, then got up the Friday morning and left town again to visit my granddaughter for her birthday. When I got back home on Sunday night, I opened my carry on to get the computer out in preparation for work to be done on Monday, and discover that my laptop has a dent in the lid and a busted monitor screen. The dent corresponds perfectly with the spot that I had noticed in the fabric. I continued to investigate and find that the diaphragm cover on my stethoscope is off and the dent is actually a perfect impression of the edge of the stethoscope diaphragm. Monday I went to HSV and spoke with John, the shift manager for AA, who told me to send in a complaint.
So here it is. I am typically not one to complain. I generally roll with the punches. In fact, I was initially going to just have it fixed & keep going. I have a great computer guy, after all. But when I called & got the estimate on the repair, I had to file a complaint. Now, before you hit the "I am sorry for your loss, but we are not responsible for electronics. Have a nice day & fly US Airlines soon!" button, please consider that I told her twice that my laptop was in the carry on and she never gave me the opportunity to get it out of my luggage. Had I been given the opportunity, I would gladly have carried it on board with me. I have recently started travel nursing & will definitely consider this a valuable lesson, but I do hope that you will consider that I truly am not the one at fault in this case. I can send you a copy of the estimate as well as pictures of the laptop lid & monitor. The lid is aluminum & the monitor is a 17.3" HP Pavillion dv7 4087. I just invested a small fortune in upgrading it. I ask that you please have empathy when making your decision to cover the cost of the repairs to my computer.

Their response: "...you should have reported within four hours... not responsible for electronics... next time take it out of your bag...so sorry for your loss and we will use this as a tool for continuous service improvements."

I appealed: "I had been in airport or airplane for 16 hours...arrived after 11pm...(besides the fact that at 11pm in HSV there is no one at ticket counter & baggage claim desk is for Delta only). If my initial flight had not been delayed, I wouldn't have been last to board & there would have been plenty of room overhead. I would gladly have taken my laptop out if the attendant had given me the opportunity, hadn't taken my bag & had told me they would not be responsible for damages that I had told her TWICE was in the bag. I'm not asking you to be responsible for the luggage, Littman Cardiology II stethoscope and computer. I just want the computer repairs covered."

Their response: I regret your displeasure with our response...unable to alter our resolution or offer reimbursement or compensation due to the agreed upon Terms and Conditions associated with our Contract of Carriage (which can be found online). ...It is always our pleasure to have an opportunity to serve you and hope you will look to US Airways for your future travel needs."

Any ideas? I am just so very frustrated!!! I was thinking about complaining to AA since they are the parent company now, but wonder if I'll just be wasting my time...
Old Nov 25, 2014, 2:22 PM
azstar azstar is offline
Join Date: Sep 2008
Posts: 375

Your most viable option in this case would be small claims court. The airline will, likely, not show up or send a representative and you will win by default.
attendant, checked carry-on, damaged baggage, mandatory check

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