Sunday, August 30, 2009

"A greyish black samsonite, hard shell, size-guess 28"", I was saying that upteenth times to the operators of the American Airlines' lost luggage department.
This story started on my recent travel from India to USA. I had, till date, heard of many stories for lost luggages and I just thought that I must be lucky. The luck, however, didn't go in my favor. I usually wait anxiously at the conveyor belt and sigh a relief when see my luggage. I was so happy to see it all there at Chicago and all happy that I made one more journey without any lost luggage story. I, however, was so wrong as you must wait to celebrate till you reach the finish line. I now believe in this more than ever.
Next journey was for 25 mins flight from Chicago to Milwaukee and after 3 hour gap from Chicago. So when I reached Milwaukee after this short flight, I was just apalled on not finding my luggage at Milwaukee - one of the bags was missing. I was given a bag locator number and that's my number for next few weeks. I was still hopeful as only one bag was missing and it happens with small flights and so it will come by next flight. Less I was aware of the things coming to me to be so hopeful.
Next 3 days, I kept calling them of knowing the status and they kept telling me that they will find it. Meanwhile they gave me a reimbursable $150/- voucher. After 3 days, I got a call and lady was more excited than me, to tell that she located the bag and delivering to my hotel address. With all expectations and excitation, I went to hotel's front desk in evening. Ha! I never imagined this. They delivered a wrong bag. I was so furious; one, it's not my bag, second, the other person must also be feeling the same agony as me. Anyway, they took this bag and then assured me again to find it. It was almost a week now.
I called then up again after a week. I was in another shock now when came to know that they closed my case by saying that it is delivered. Although they had put a note that wrong bag delivered but still someone closed it. I was so furious on them. They tried to placate me by offering one more $100 voucher. I was so patient till now knowing that mistakes can be made. I did try my best to scold them and give some threat. At this time they escalated the priority (as they told me) and sent out a questionaire to me for putting all the details including things in the luggage with price. The interesting part was that they asked for reciept of anything over $100. I guess it has been expected that one will carry such reciepts. My case wass now with central lost luggage department of the airlines.
These people were nicer; at least they explained it a lot better of what's going to happen now. And I started waiting for the call from the claims department to know what I'm going to get. Meanwhile I purchased things for my $250 voucher and got it reimbursed. They gave me a timeframe of starting a claim after 5 weeks.
Suddenly like a streak of light in dark hole, I got a call just before end of 5 weeks deadline that one bag is located and it looked similar to my bag's description. I hoped for good this time and indeed it was my bag. It was all good and no damage. So after my 5 weeks of travel, I got my bag back with $250/- from airlines. For sure, I didn't suffer much as not too important and necessary things in the bag. One mystery is still there that what was happening to my bag in these 5 weeks for travel from Chicago to Milwaukee but I'm happy enough to not to ask:-).

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