Troubles with Travel

 

0ab037a46268835caf6cd2bab33d9a1d**This situation has been remedied, resolution at bottom**

I have been an airline traveler for quite some time.  I took my very first airplane when I was nine, and traveled from Washington to Texas.  Since that time, I have taken a minimum average of four flights a year.

After moving to China, that number doubled.  I take about ten flights a year, including domestic and international travel.  My most recent international trip was from Shanghai to the United States, including various cities.  This was by far the worst experience with an airline that I have ever had, at least up until now.

As with most airlines, the worst part is usually that a flight was delayed.  In this event, there were six flights total and every single one was at least thirty minutes, some ranging to over four hours, delayed.  Usually, I would just toss this up the hardship and convenience of air travel.  I was willing to overlook it, no one dies, and my plane didn’t fall off the face of the earth, so how bad was it really?  Then, they lost my bag.

I stood in the airport watching the luggage belt go around and around, my heart beginning to pound as my $800 of American merchandise (more precious than gold in China) still did not appear. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, forty-five minutes, still no bag.  I took a hard swallow and walked to the baggage counter and explained that my suitcase had disappeared.  I got a confused look, as I fought with the language barrier, and finally filled out a form that explained what my bag looked like, flight number, name, age, blood type, first born social security number, purchase price, name of first kiss, etc.  I was told, that what happened, at least more than likely, the bag just didn’t make my connecting flight, and I should have it the next night.

The next morning, I called to see if it had been found.  They said they still didn’t know where it was, but it is unlikely for them to ever completely lose a bag.  We continued this dance for the next four days. On the fifth day, I called and said I needed my bag, and they said that they found it, it the wrong terminal and would deliver it to me that night.  That didn’t happen.  The next morning I tried to call three different times, and finally had to have a Chinese colleague call in order to get the information straight.  They delivered it to my work that afternoon. However, when the bag was returned to me, it was a mess.  The hand painted owl on the front cover looked like it had been shot and run over like road kill and the zipper that made the luggage worthwhile was completely ripped off. The bag was held together by a piece of tape that was quickly on its way out.  Almost immediately, I took pictures and sent a complaint to the airline. I repeated all of the information, sent the pictures, and gave response information. Then I waited.

Fifteen days later, I received a response email.  It told me that they were sorry my suitcase was ruined, but in order for them to help me, I needed to take the damaged bag to the airport and file a claim.  When I went to the airports, I was told that they could not help me because the claim needed to be filed within seven days of my arrival back into China, and at this point, they cannot prove that I didn’t do the damage myself, because I took too long to respond.

I explained that it took them five days to return the bag to me, and fifteen days to tell me what the next step was in my situation.  The woman looked at me, shook her head and said she was sorry but there was nothing that they could do to help me.  I am just out a suitcase.   It was only my first trip with this airline, but if I can help it, it will be my last.

**After a second email, I received a gift certificate for $150 from the airline company**Troubles with Travel

**This situation has been remedied, resolution at bottom**

I have been an airline traveler for quite some time.  I took my very first airplane when I was nine, and traveled from Washington to Texas.  Since that time, I have taken a minimum average of four flights a year.

After moving to China, that number doubled.  I take about ten flights a year, including domestic and international travel.  My most recent international trip was from Shanghai to the United States, including various cities.  This was by far the worst experience with an airline that I have ever had, at least up until now.

As with most airlines, the worst part is usually that a flight was delayed.  In this event, there were six flights total and every single one was at least thirty minutes, some ranging to over four hours, delayed.  Usually, I would just toss this up the hardship and convenience of air travel.  I was willing to overlook it, no one dies, and my plane didn’t fall off the face of the earth, so how bad was it really?  Then, they lost my bag.

I stood in the airport watching the luggage belt go around and around, my heart beginning to pound as my $800 of American merchandise (more precious than gold in China) still did not appear. Ten minutes, twenty minutes, forty-five minutes, still no bag.  I took a hard swallow and walked to the baggage counter and explained that my suitcase had disappeared.  I got a confused look, as I fought with the language barrier, and finally filled out a form that explained what my bag looked like, flight number, name, age, blood type, first born social security number, purchase price, name of first kiss, etc.  I was told, that what happened, at least more than likely, the bag just didn’t make my connecting flight, and I should have it the next night.

The next morning, I called to see if it had been found.  They said they still didn’t know where it was, but it is unlikely for them to ever completely lose a bag.  We continued this dance for the next four days. On the fifth day, I called and said I needed my bag, and they said that they found it, it the wrong terminal and would deliver it to me that night.  That didn’t happen.  The next morning I tried to call three different times, and finally had to have a Chinese colleague call in order to get the information straight.  They delivered it to my work that afternoon. However, when the bag was returned to me, it was a mess.  The hand painted owl on the front cover looked like it had been shot and run over like road kill and the zipper that made the luggage worthwhile was completely ripped off. The bag was held together by a piece of tape that was quickly on its way out.  Almost immediately, I took pictures and sent a complaint to the airline. I repeated all of the information, sent the pictures, and gave response information. Then I waited.

Fifteen days later, I received a response email.  It told me that they were sorry my suitcase was ruined, but in order for them to help me, I needed to take the damaged bag to the airport and file a claim.  When I went to the airports, I was told that they could not help me because the claim needed to be filed within seven days of my arrival back into China, and at this point, they cannot prove that I didn’t do the damage myself, because I took too long to respond.

I explained that it took them five days to return the bag to me, and fifteen days to tell me what the next step was in my situation.  The woman looked at me, shook her head and said she was sorry but there was nothing that they could do to help me.  I am just out a suitcase.   It was only my first trip with this airline, but if I can help it, it will be my last.

**After a second email, I received a gift certificate for $150 from the airline company**

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