This post was written by my mom, who was more than a bit peeved when American Airlines lost her luggage – only to find out that they mishandled it. If you’ve also had a problem with American Airlines, be grateful to know that you’re not alone.
When a person visits another country, they will likely purchase items from that country as souvenirs. As tourists in Jamaica, my girlfriend and I purchased 3 bottles each of Jamaican Rum to bring home (one of which is unavailable for purchase in the States). These were wrapped and packed in a heavy cardboard box with cardboard placed in between the bottles. Before going through customs in Miami, we opened our luggage to make sure the bottles were still intact. They were. My girlfriend’s luggage made it to the Dallas / Ft. Worth airport with all the bottles unscathed.
My luggage was lost between Miami and Dallas, apparently taking another plane ride.
The first time I called to check on the status of my luggage, around 12:30am, I was told it had arrived at Midnight and that I would be called before it was delivered to my son’s house. The implication was that it would be delivered that night. The next morning, I called again to check on it and was told that it would be four to six hours before the truck would deliver anything. When the luggage finally arrived (WITHOUT me receiving a phone call), I found broken bottles of Jamaican Rum which had spilled all over my suitcase and the contents inside. Luckily, I always pack many of my clothes in plastic bags; however, my suitcase and some items didn’t escape the sticky mess.
Since we are understandably required to put any liquids over 3 ounces in checked baggage, this eliminates “hand” carrying and protecting fragile liquid items. However, my girlfriend’s checked luggage made it through with everything intact – bottles and all. This tells me that the EXTRA plane ride, EXTRA baggage handling and the (four to six hour) truck ride took a toll on my bottles and broke them.
When I called the American Airlines customer service line for recompense, I was told that American Airlines wasn’t responsible for broken bottles and alcohol. I asked the representative for her manager’s name and phone number and was given the name – but was told the manager had only a FAX number to reach her!
I didn’t ask American Airlines for an arm or a leg – I only asked for the cost of my Jamaican Rum. This amounts to about $36. I didn’t even ask for anything for my possibly-ruined luggage or the contents! (I’m rethinking that though!). I was told unequivocally “NO” even though my luggage traveled extra miles, received extra handling, and likely a long, bouncy truck ride. I find this type of customer service incomprehensible. I worked in customer service for over 15 years and always tried to work out problems to benefit both the customers and the company. I am very upset with American Airlines’ policy, with the lack of ability to talk directly to a higher authority, with the loss of my luggage (which I truly feel caused the breakage), and with my ruined items.
Would I think twice about flying American Airlines again? You bet – and you might think twice as well.