Baggage Problems Had any problems with your baggage on Continental Airlines?

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Old Feb 21, 2009, 11:18 PM
great_travel great_travel is offline
Join Date: Feb 2009
Posts: 1
Default delayed flight, lost luggage, and rude service personnel

I had the worst experience with Continental airline baggage service.

Not only they lost my luggage because they put one of my bags on an earlier flight from Newark to Atlanta on Feb 8th, 2008(flight 1155), my flight(CO1210 on the same day) was delayed for two hours, so one of my bags ended up being nowhere to find when I got there, I reported the loss at Atlanta airport when I got there 12:30am in the morning.

No one ever contacted me from Atlanta baggage service office ever since. I called the baggage service center several times. Not only they couldn't locate my luggage, they couldn’t even tell me if the bag was on the earlier flight or not, they didn't update me with any information for the next two weeks. When I called about filing a claim, they told me the maximum claim I can file is very limited because it is considered international travel even though I saw my bags when I was in Newark, NJ. The customer service personnel on the phone sounds impatient and they couldn't provide me a statistics on what is the chance that my bag can be found after two weeks. It has became such an unpleasant experience, for sure I will never use their service again.
Old Feb 22, 2009, 12:19 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 495

In regards to the low liability amount, this is correct. It does not matter if you saw your bags in Newark or not. There are two conventions for international baggage, the Warsaw convention and the Montreal convention. Both govern how much an airline is responsible for when you travel internationally.

Under Warsaw, they are only liable for $9.07 per pound up to a maximum of $640. Under Montreal, the maximum is 1,000 SDR (special drawing rights.) SDR is essntially a universal currency. You can Google the exchange rate, but right now it comes out to $1,475.25. This standard applies to anyone who travels internationaly, on any airline, even if part of you trip was also demestic.
Old Feb 22, 2009, 1:35 AM
jimworcs jimworcs is offline
Join Date: Jan 2008
Location: Shropshire, England
Posts: 3,197

So how do you decide which applies.. Warsaw or Montreal?
Old Feb 22, 2009, 3:55 AM
Butch Cassidy Slept Here Butch Cassidy Slept Here is offline
Join Date: Mar 2008
Location: Nearest Airports: COD, BIL, WRL
Posts: 577
Default Compensation--by way of Small Claims Court

The following deals a lot with the subject of litigating (small claims action) against the airline. To those who are used to reading things on the inside of a matchbook, I’m sorry. However litigation is not a subject that lends itself to six lines, especially when one is dealing with US-based airlines!

ABOUT THAT MISSING BAGGAGE REPORT. YOU DID, DIDN’T YOU? First, I’m assuming you DID file a missing baggage report, at the Continental Baggage Service Office, at your final destination (Atlanta?) If you did NOT, you may, at best, have an uphill battle as far as getting even a dime in compensation.

IS CHUMP CHANGE A COOL THING? OR NOT? The question, at this point, is: Are you willing to drop your pursuit of this matter for something as low as six to seven-hundred dollars? This is the figure Jetliner quoted in the previous post. If “yes,” then it’s simply a matter of waiting-out the claim process, including waiting until the airline, not you, decides your bag is lost. I would think such a decision should not extend more than two months from the date of your original report. If, however, the aforementioned sum is insufficient, then you’ll need to start preparing a (small claims) court case.

THE AIRLINE IS GONNA STICK IT TO YOU WITH THEIR “CONTRACT OF ADHESION!” A word of caution: Depending on the state, or county, where you file, you may lose. If the airline doesn’t show-up in court you’ve obviously won. However, if the airline shows up—and waives their “Contract of Carriage” in the Judge’s face (and yours!)—your case may, depending on where you filed, be in trouble. The terms of the international agreements, which Jetliner referenced, are incorporated into the airline’s international edition of its Contract of Carriage (if a separate Contract is published.) A “Contract of Carriage” is a “contract of adhesion.” That is, a contract which you signed, but was not given an opportunity to negotiate or otherwise have any effect on how its terms apply to you. All courts recognize the legality of contracts of adhesion up to a point. Rental car companies, for example, could not operate if some legal standing was not given to contracts of adhesion. However, when the terms of a contract of adhesion become “unconscionable,” to either party, then that specific contract may be declared illegal. In your case, you would argue that the rate of compensation, as provided for in said “Contract of Carriage,” is so low as to be unconscionable. The problem is the threshold for what is “unconscionable” varies widely from one state to the next, or even one county to the next. Accordingly, in an ideal world, I would rather take Continental Air to court, in Essex County, New Jersey—their Newark hub—than to a court in the State of Georgia. In your case, filing in Harris County, Texas—Continental’s corporate headquarters—would the best shot in your case. The litigants in the ContinentalDenverAirport accident did just that. In your case I shall assume you have obligations to an employer, and don’t have the resources to make three, or more, round-trips to Houston. If you have limited resources, and the courts in the Atlanta area are accessable, I would try filing your claim there. You should file in the county in which HartsfieldAirport is located (DeKalb or Fulton?)

MY EVIDENCE, YOUR HONOR. There is one piece of evidence, among others, you will need and, for this reason, I must backtrack a bit. The evidence is the check, from the airline, to you, for the lost bag. What ever you do, do NOT cash this check, but rather make several copies of it and bring the original to court. The act of cashing/depositing the check will invalidate your claim in court. The check will be evidence of what the airline has decided your claim is worth. As I indicated above, your argument will be that, in terms of compensating you, the amount of this check is so low as to be unconscionable. Another step, prerequisite to filing a law suit, is the “demand letter.” You must notify the airline of your intention to file a law suit if they do not comply with your demand for adequate compensation. The specific dollar amount you are requesting should be stated in said letter. If the claim you filed (hopefully) in the Baggage Service Office has still not resulted in a check, you should, also, mention that in your letter as well.

WORTHLESS “TRINKETS.” Finally, I would think long and hard about taking any “freebies,” from the airline, as “compensation for your inconvenience.” In my opinion, those free flight vouchers aren’t worth the paper they’re printed on. Some airlines won’t let you use a free flight voucher to pay for an on-line booking. And other restrictions are piled-on. Travel agents won’t take them. These vouchers may be regarded, by the airline people on here, as “airline communion wafers.” Perhaps then, to some, I may be due the treatment appropriate for a blasphemer. Like cashing the check, using these vouchers may compromise your case.

The links below include more of my advice on airline small claims litigation.

POST # 3: No receipts for articles in baggage.

POST # 4: General litigation preparation and collection of a judgement. My apologies to the baddy things said about Jetliner. I’ve promised to be nice—although probably never agree.
[B][I][COLOR=navy][FONT=Arial Narrow]We HATE to fly--and it shows![/FONT][/COLOR][COLOR=navy][FONT=Arial Narrow][/FONT][/COLOR][/I][/B]
Old Feb 22, 2009, 4:54 AM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 495

Originally Posted by jimworcs View Post
So how do you decide which applies.. Warsaw or Montreal?
I couldn't find on Continental's website when the cutoff was, but most airlines are on Montreal these days. What they (each airline) did was have a cutoff date, and if your ticket was purchased prior to that date, it fell under Warsaw, after that date, it falls under Montreal. Most of the cutoffs were several years ago, but it still gets listed.
Old Feb 22, 2009, 6:23 PM
countrynewsman countrynewsman is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Location: Killeen, Texas
Posts: 258

Here we go again. Back "in the day", luggage tags had a claim check number, the destination airport codes, and were attached with flimsy elastic string that easily tore off. Now, the bag labels are bar-coded and are much harder to tear off. Why do bags get lost? Totally beyond my understanding.
Old Feb 22, 2009, 10:04 PM
Jetliner Jetliner is offline
Former Airline Employee (NOT OFFICIAL REP)
Join Date: May 2008
Posts: 495

The tags still get caught on bag belts. Also sometimes cold temperatures can cause problems. Some of the coldest cities had to start peeling both side of the tag because otherwise they would just start peeling apart. It also could be a box of tag stock that was sitting around for too long before it got used.

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