If you’ve lost your baggage with American Airlines, I feel sorry for you.
And I feel the pain and terrible experience you’re about to endure.
Because I just went through an 2-month process after American Airlines lost a carry-on bag that was already inside the main cabin and was stowed away by a crew member inside another part of the plane.
*First lesson: don’t let a crew member take your belongings unless you have visual confirmation of where he/she has put your belongings.
Not only did they never find my bag, they still owe me $1,300 after mis-informing about reimbursement guidelines.
Here’s what happened:
May 29, 2017 boarding – I board an international flight (AA 113) from BCN to MIA and since there is no room in the overhead bin, a crew member takes my bag and tells me she will stow it on the other side of the aisle towards the front and I can pick it up when we land.
May 29, 2017 landed – Bag is no where to be found. Cabin Crew does a quick search and mentions that it was probably accidentally checked and I should go to the carousels.
May 29, rest of day – Doesn’t show up in carousels, 3 hours later bag is no where to be found. File claim with AA Baggage Claim who told me I have $500 limit to purchase anything needed for my next-day meeting.
10 hour flight, 3 hours in airport searching for bag, and now… straight to shopping mall before stores close in 1 hour. F*ck me.
AA assures me that the bag will very likely be found in next 24 hours.
American Airlines Baggage Claim Refunds
Before I made any purchases, I called to verify if there were any limitations or maximum allowable expenditure.
It struck me as odd that the reps did not provide any kind of hard limit and this made me nervous. The belongings in my carry-on were expensive because it was everything I needed for the week for business travel.
Here is what American Airlines told me:
1. That I would have a $500 limit to purchase what I needed during my stay in Miami to cover immediate needs for next-day meetings. If after 24 hours the bag was not located, there would be an additional limit for whatever I needed for the rest of my trip.
2. The next day I spoke with American baggage claims and they mentioned the bag was not found. I specifically asked about expenditure limits and they mentioned there were no hard limits as long as reasonable and replace the contents of the bag.
3. After 24 hours, I called American baggage claims once I landed in Tampa who mentioned the bag was not found. I again specifically asked about expenditure limits and they mentioned there is no hard limit.
I made purchases based on conversations with American Airlines representatives who assured there was no specific guidelines or limits regarding reimbursement for personal belongings of lost luggage.
There is a limit and I learned this 8 weeks after the fact when I was politely informed by an AA Central Baggage Specialist that the “Montreal Convention governs the international carriage of persons” and, surprise!, there is a maximum allowable limit.
*Second lesson: if an AA tells you there is no hard limit do not believe it. Press to find out the details about the maximum allowable liability.
Final Resolution of AA Baggage
I spent $2,600 to frantically replace belongings needed in the middle of a business trip when AA lost my carry-on on (inside the airplane) May 29, 2017.
After 8 weeks went by with various reps who required various paperwork to be filled out, American Airlines mentions the maximum liability is $1,360.11 on July 28, 2017.
Not only did I lose a bag, but now I’m $1,300 in the hole with a partial reimbursement after waiting 2 months.
*Final lesson: Do not fly with American Airlines. There are plenty of better options who can solve problems more professionally and efficiently.