American Airlines Can Suck It

May 3, 2010 - 2:12 pm 48 Comments

American Airlines lost my bag (and Doug’s) on our flight down to Rio de Janeiro. At the airport in Rio, a baggage service representative told me I had a US$25 credit to buy toiletries and that it would be immediately refunded upon my return to DC.

We waited four days for our bags. I bought some toiletries to tide me over, and I also bought and a swimsuit and tank top, thinking American Airlines might extend themselves a bit and reimburse me for that, too. Finally, after a lot of time on the phone talking to American Airlines people and airport people, we got our bags.

When we returned to DC, I went to the American Airlines service desk. Instead of reimbursing me on the spot as the representative in Rio had promised, the disinterested lady behind the desk gave me an information card explaining what paperwork I had to mail into the AA corporate office to get the reimbursement.

Admittedly, I got tied up with a lot of things after getting home and put this on my to-do list. It took a while to get everything together, and a freak snowstorm meant that I had to wait an additional week before I could mail it. Finally, on February 15, 2010, I sent copies of my receipts and this letter to American Airlines:

American Airlines
Interim Expense Reimbursement
PO Box 619613 MD1322/HDQ
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9613

February 15, 2010

To whom it may concern,

On a trip to Rio de Janeiro in December 2009, American Airlines lost my bag for a total of 4 days.

After landing, I was told by the representative at the airport in Rio that it was “not in the computer,” but I was given a file locator number and told that they’d track it down and call me with more information when the bag turned up. He told me that I would have a US$25 credit for purchasing toiletries and essentials, to be refunded to me when I returned home on January 17, 2010.

We waited for a couple of days but heard nothing. At our expense, we called AA’s international baggage service number in the United States, but communication with the airline on this matter was ineffective. Nobody in your call center would pinpoint where the bag was or who was going to be delivering it or when. Each time they said it was one the way, it wouldn’t arrive, and we’d have to call the airline again for an update.

Since AA could not provide reliable information about when my bag was supposed to be arriving, and since no airline should expect any traveler to wear the same clothes for 4 days, especially when those clothes are jeans and a thick shirt in the oppressive humidity of Rio in the summer, I went to a local store and found myself a reasonably priced t-shirt and shorts.

In addition to the toiletries and essentials, I hope American Airlines is able to cover the costs for these basic articles of clothing as well. Receipts for both, as well as a copy of my file locator, are enclosed.

I apologize for not getting this letter out to you sooner, but the freakish snowstorms in the DC area have left me unable to leave my house for a week and without mail service.

Thank you,

Jeff Nyveen

I received this response from American Airlines on May 1, 2010. Apparently, it takes him two weeks to walk to the mailbox.

April 14, 2010

Dear Mr. Nyveen,

Thank you for your letter regarding expenses you incurred on your trip with American Airlines. Unfortunately, due to the unusual length of delay in requesting reimbursement from American Airlines, we are unable to consider your claim for your interim expenses. Our tariff specifically states that all claims for delay, loss and damage must be submitted within 45 days of travel.

For additional information regarding this policy, please visit us at AA.com.

Sincerely,

Mr. J. Blake
CENTRAL BAGGAGE SERVICES

I can’t just shrug my shoulders and forget about it the way most other people probably would. I am a man of principle. Not only is Mr. J. Blake is wrong about the timeframe, but American Airlines is being shitty about the situation as a whole.

Here’s the reply I sent off today:

Mr. J. Blake
American Airlines
Interim Expense Reimbursement
PO Box 619613 MD1322/HDQ
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9613

May 3, 2010

Dear Mr. Blake,

I received your reply to my lost baggage interim expense claim on May 1, 2010. I am not satisfied with the response.

If you are suggesting that my request needed to be mailed to you within 45 days of the commencement of my travel, then you have me, as I mailed my letter 51 days after my initial departure date. But your “tariff” does not specify this. In any case, if you think customers without baggage should find extra time to draft a letter, find a printer, use copy machines, and buy foreign postage to address mistakes made by American Airlines while on vacation, then you are asking too much.

I did, however, return home on January 17, 2010. I understand that it took a while for me to send my letter, but I remind you of the freak, record-breaking snowstorm that disrupted postal service and prevented me from leaving my house for a week. This same storm grounded American Airlines planes in Washington, DC for several days, so I would have thought you’d heard about it.

I dropped my letter to you in the mail on February 15, 2010, which works out to a period of 29 days after my travel was completed, well under the 45-day limitation you are quoting. If the American Airlines mail distribution network took another two weeks to deliver my letter to your hands, that is not my problem.

Let’s be fair. I received your response on May 1, 2010. That’s 75 days later, an unreasonable delay in my mind. If you cannot honor my request for reimbursement because of the “unusual length of delay,” I find your response unacceptable for the same reason.

What about the “unusual length of delay” of my baggage in Rio de Janeiro? What about the representative in Rio de Janeiro Airport who said that American Airlines would reimburse my US$25 at the airport when I landed in DC? What about the resulting 4 days of inconvenience waiting for my baggage? What about the many incompetent American Airlines baggage representatives I spent hours with on the phone, at my expense? What about my calls to the airport in Rio de Janeiro to sort out the issue myself when American Airlines proved unable to locate my baggage?

Those are the real issues here. Does a supposed “unusual length of delay” in receiving my letter absolve American Airlines of all responsibility in this matter?

American Airlines’ obvious disregard for customer satisfaction will be a factor when purchasing my next flight. Given that other airlines price most of your routes competitively, I will be sure to consider them first. Your ridiculous excuse to save $25 on reimbursement fees comes at the potential cost of all my future travel. Silly, I think, given the current state of the airline industry.

With this letter, I enclose a copy of my original letter as well as a copy of your response, a useless waste of paper but necessary to ensure a continuous dialogue since American Airlines chooses not to communicate via e-mail with its customers on these matters. Realize that reducing paperwork would not only be environmentally friendly but would also save the airline money on materials and postage and surely reduce the “unusual length of delay” caused by snowstorms and inefficient mail distribution networks.

In addition, I am sending a copy of all paperwork to American Airlines Customer Relations. I also plan to post my letter and your response on my web site so that people around the world can read about how American Airlines uses silly excuses about postmark dates to avoid admitting mistakes and being fair to customers.

Sincerely,

Mr. J. Nyveen

And my letter to American Airlines Customer Relations:

American Airlines Customer Relations
P.O. Box 619612 MD 2400
DFW Airport, TX 75261-9612

May 3, 2010

To whom it may concern,

I am writing to express my dissatisfaction with the way American Airlines has handled my lost baggage interim expense reimbursement claim.

On a recent trip to Rio de Janeiro, American Airlines lost my baggage for 4 days. Upon my return, I submitted a claim for US$25.

Today, I received a response from American Airlines, stating that my claim could not be honored since there was an “unusual length of delay” in submitting my request.

Enclosed is my communication with a Mr. J. Blake, the American Airlines representative who has handled my issue. I would appreciate a review of these materials as well as the interim expense reimbursement I feel is still owed to me for a mistake made by American Airlines.

Sincerely,

Jeff Nyveen

    48 Responses to “American Airlines Can Suck It”

  1. Laura Says:

    Awesome! You are a great writer! maybe we can get Peter Greenberg’s advice – he will be in the office on Tuesday doing a live chat.

    – LB

  2. Don Says:

    Splendid.

    The right message with the right amount of accurate detail. American seems to have this habit of trying to screw the traveler. It is certainly, by again allowing spokespeople to “voice” company policy without basis in fact, doing it again. This is the third instance that I know about and they also don’t even kiss the customer while doing it to them!

  3. Penny Says:

    Hello Jeff. I am also “still” struggling with my interim expense reimbursement. They lost my luggage fom 02/27/2010 until 03/03/2010 on our flight to San Juan, PR to take a 7-day Carnival Cruise. I was approved by the Baggage Claim supervisor/manager to “…spend $400 or $500…or even more until we can get your luggage to you”. I was told this on Monday, May 1st as a response after my 3rd day without luggage while in St. Thomas, VI. At that time, AA could not get my luggage to me on Monday, May 1st or Tuesday, May 2nd while we were in Dominica. My luggage arrived on Wednesday, May 3rd after the cruise ship personnel raced to the Barbados airport to retrieve it.

    I was sent a check on Monday, May 3, 2010 for $200. Where is my other money? They owe me $388. I sent information online to Customer Relations via the AA.conm web site. I stated that I called 1-800-866-4010 to talk to someone about this error. The gentleman told me that he was sorry about the error and that I should fax information to 1-972-425-0714 to request a check for the additional amount. I did NOT hear from the Interim Expense Department, so I again called them and received NO HELP. First of all, NO ONE could even tell me if my fax was received. Secondly, there is NO management there to speak to. Thirdly, there is NO direct number to the Interim Expense Department. Lastly, EACH and EVERY time I call to see if (at least) my fax was received, NO ONE can tell me. I told them what I want…I would like AA to stand behind their word! They promised me a FULL reimbursement and I would like one!

    I just cannot believe that an airline can be so rude as to not care one bit about it’s customers! Furthermore, the don’t stand behind their word nor will anyone speak in person to you. UGH. It is horrible!

  4. Jeff Says:

    Penny, how refreshing to hear that I am not the only one taking it up the pooper with AA. Only it sounds like you’re getting it worse than I did.

    AA doesn’t use e-mail or have an online tracking system for these kinds of customer service issues. By making people that they’ve already inconvenienced write letters and and send faxes to who knows where, there is no verified chain of communication that we can hold them accountable to. It’s obvious to me that they don’t really care about resolving these issues.

    Glad people are starting to see this page. I want to get this out there.

  5. Jeff Says:

    Just found this page on the AA site, where you can enter a File Locator, and it’s supposed to tell you your bag status:

    http://www.aa.com/travelInformation/bagFinderAccess.do

    Although it seems to be mostly useless:

    http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/american-aadvantage/699588-aa-baggage-tracer.html

    It didn’t return any info for me.

    Also found this list of how AA has compensated passengers for lost baggage and other mishaps in the past:

    http://www.flyerguide.com/wiki/index.php/Compensation_%28AA%29

  6. Penny Says:

    Hey there, Jeff! Thanks for the site links…I have tried all of those. You are right, they really don’t reply at all. 🙁 I went to the web site – http://airconsumer.ost.dot.gov/CP_AirlineService.htm to post a complaint and see how things go from there.

    What really gets-my-goat and clearly disappoints me is that they have poor customer service, a lack of care to their customers, and a lack of fulfilling what they said they would do. I, myself, am in customer service and if I acted the way that AA treats their customers, I wouldn’t have a job…but somehow AA wnats their CSRs to be this way. Truly amazing!

  7. JILL Says:

    AA lost all of our luggage on 29/3/10 – we were going on a cruise for 11 nights then returning to the uk – we never received our luggage until 12/4/10 – 3 days after we arrived home – we were promised up to $700.00 and we filed the expense claim as soon as we got home by mail as they stated they wouldn’t accept a fax – as to this day we have still heard nothing……… we can’t find a phone number to call them on so are thereofre at the moment hoping we will get a cheque soon…….

  8. Jeff Says:

    Jill, that sucks. It’s too bad we can’t hold them accountable for this kind of crap. All we can do is share our horror stories with the world and try to spare others.

  9. Sarah Says:

    I’m having the same issues…I was on vacation for 8 days and never received my luggage! They found it on day 3 and shipped it to the wrong state! I was told I’d get $300 reimbursement for what I had to spend, but I’m pretty skeptical. I just sent out my stuff today!

  10. Kathleen Says:

    So…I am dealing with the same BS from American. In March, after losing all of our luggage in Sao Paolo, we got 3/4 of it back, two days later in Iguassu Falls (a major accomplishment) and finally got the last bag back in Buenos Aires, five days later. AA promised us a reimbursement of $200. On April 20, I sent a letter to the AA Interim Expense Reimbursement Dept with the appropriate information included. I never heard anything from them, so I called this morning. I was told that they had never received anything (natch). After considerable pushing on my part, I was given a fax number to resend the information (972-425-0714). In the fax, I gave explicit instructions for them to call me to confirm receipt. Nothing. I tried to call them back to confirm receipt (800-866-4010), and am told by a recording, that all agents are busy…to try back later.

    Perhaps their M.O. is to make the process so onerous that the majority gives up.

    If anyone has success, please let us know the secret.

  11. Jeff Says:

    You’ve got it exactly right, Kathleen. They obviously don’t give a crap about resolving customer issues. AA deals with “problems” by making it impossibly frustrating for customers to address them.

    Since it’s usually a difference of $10 or $20 either way, I have been booking all of my flights with other airlines since my incident. I recommend that others who are just as frustrated as me do the same. Maybe AA will start to “care” a little bit more if/when they realize how their crap customer service is affecting their business.

  12. Jeff Says:

    Just got an e-mail reply from AA Customer Relations (ironically, from an “AmericanAirlines.wecaare001@aa.com” address):

    June 16, 2010

    Dear Mr. Nyveen:

    We’re sorry for the problem with your baggage. We realize that such an experience can be disappointing and very frustrating.

    I’m sorry you didn’t receive your baggage as expected. We know how frustrating it is for our customers to be without their belongings, and we continually look for ways to improve and refine our baggage handling procedures to minimize such experiences. While our records indicate that we located your baggage, we know that being without your belongings was an inconvenience.

    Since you indicated that you are dissatisfied with the response you received, I’ve sent your letter to our Manager of Central Baggage Service for an additional review. She has the ultimate responsibility to conclude matters of this kind.

    Mr. Nyveen, once the review is completed, she, or a member of the staff will contact you. In the meantime, we appreciate your continued patience.

    Sincerely,

    (name hidden)
    Customer Relations
    American Airlines

  13. Amy Says:

    To add to the noise, I just returned from my honeymoon in Mexico. They lost my bag (thankfully for less then 48 hours) and I had to do a lot of crying and begging on the phone with the nice lady who didn’t speak a lot of english to get a $200 credit, but we also were told we would be reimbursed the the airport if we showed receipts. Low and behold when we got there, the guy working handed us a small piece of paper with an address….to send the receipts to. There was no phone number or email address, who does that? And did AA ever think that we might actually NEED that $200 cash we had to spend on shaving cream and bathing suits, like ON our trip, and not 2 months later? I’m gonna make copies of everything, then take pictures of me mailing it off.

  14. Jeff Says:

    Keep it up, AA.

    Airline sued for $5 million over bag fee

  15. Jeff Says:

    How am I not surprised?

    Seven dogs dead after American Airlines flight

  16. sharon Says:

    I’m getting really depressed. I am also waiting for my check. I was told it would take 10 weeks. Can you believe it?!! I asked for my $25.00 baggage fee back and they told me I was not entitled to it since my luggage was only temporarily lost not permanently. haha. Bad experience !

  17. Jeff Says:

    I really don’t believe it. But maybe I should.

    Out of necessity, I just took my first AA flight since this incident, and they lost my bag again. When I went to the customer service office at the airport, the lady looked in the computer and told me proudly that my bag would be on flight #1268.

    OK, what does that mean? I asked her for an explanation, and she told me that it would be on the next flight here. She looked surprised when I asked her to have AA deliver the bag to my home.

    Later that evening, I had to coach the delivery guy on how to use his GPS over the phone. Eventually, I got my bag.

  18. Michael Wolf Says:

    Jeff,

    I think you have been lucky My daughter was on American last December and American mistaged her bag which had her Christmas Presents in it. They delivered it to the person who’s tag they put on the bag.
    They then recovered the bag and delivered it to the wrong person’s hotel a second time. After that they never could find the bag again. Once they deceided they had lost the bag for good they would nolonger talk to you.
    They sent 30 cents on the dollar for the bag and its contents.

    They have been asked by mail twice how they came up with the numbers but have still not provided the information.

    They have lelt us no choice but to take them to court.

    So I agree American Airlines Sucks and our family will not use them in the future.

  19. Keith Says:

    Interesting information about customer service for american airlines. This has nothing to do with bags but, I found it interesting nonetheless. You can no longer standby on an earlier flight for american airlines, unless you’re a premier customer or willing to pay for it. This is a change as of february 1st. When I called american airlines to ask why this service wasn’t available anymore they told me that the bean counters figured this was a better way to do it. I asked so making money is more important than customer service. The response from american airlines was yes. She admitted that they were looking at everything from a money standpoint and customer service was no longer that important. I am done with american airlines. Pay more less service rude people. That’s the american airlines way

  20. Scott Says:

    My 17 year old daughter missed a connection in DFW due to weather delays in San Fran. However, she wouldn’t have missed the connection had this connecting flight not left EARLY. Yes, you heard me, left the gate 6 minutes early, my daughter was there 2 minutes prior to departure. That being the last flight of the day, she was forced to spent the night in DFW, as she could not get a hotel room because she is a minor. Also, they refused to provide any food voucher because “sorry, everything is closed for the evening”, How about breakfast, huh? Please, Boycott American Airlines.

  21. Misti Says:

    Hey Jeff! Has anything changed on your reinbursement? Have you found a way to contact AA other than snail mail?

  22. Jeff Says:

    I’ve been waiting to hear back from them for nine months now. Obviously, AA’s Manager of Central Baggage Service doesn’t give a crap about my problem.

  23. Libby Lloyd Says:

    Great document building here. Can it be sent to the CEO? Does he/she care?
    My bag was lost at JFK for 6 days around New Years until we took the expensive taxi ride there and back to look ourselves before it all got auctioned off (day 7 we were told!). Low and behold, for all those 6 days it had been about 3 yards from the AA person whose job it is to look for it and the security guy she was chatting to (silly us expecting them to look for a well labeled bag). Now of course I face the long hall to get the $450 they promised in my daily desperate phone calls. No reply from my January 20th claim. Am spreading the word: avoid AA.

  24. Jeff Says:

    Thanks for your story.

    I think it’s pretty obvious that they don’t care.

  25. Chris Says:

    Changed flight time for son and daughter-in-law. Claim they notified by email. No record of notification, and two different stories from check-in and awards personnel about what happened with reservation made months in advance.
    Calmly discussed with guys at check-in. Was told they were too busy to help me. Took photos of them standing around (this is in Northwest Arkansas on a Sunday evening). Younger guy had airport cop tell me I could not take any more photos of them and they tried to get TSA to say something but they refrained. Suing the airline and the two guys.
    Irony is that they had large signs about their sponsorship of Komen (the cancer people) and yet knowingly and intentionally were stressing my wife who has been fighting cancer for over a decade.
    Also, the “too busy” boys told a lady with a ripped suitcase that she should not bother them with filing complaint since they would have to keep her bag until Christmas.
    This is not first problem with AA, but once I use the last free ticket it will be our last use of these clowns.

  26. Brent Says:

    Same song, different verse.

    My wife traveled with AA back in Feb. 2011 and they lost her bag for over two days. She was going on a cruise and had to shell out $230 for replacement items and clothes before leaving San Juan.

    I was stunned to learn that the Interim Reimbursement Department has no published phone or email. “Please mail in all original documents and go away.”

    We are still waiting for a check, and it seems futile to pursue this further. (but I may try customer service)

    Anyway, we won’t fly AA again, and I will bad-mouth them to everyone who will listen.

    It is obvious they just don’t want to pay for their mistakes, so they make it as hard a possible to process and track a claim.

  27. James Says:

    SO IT GOES, Kurt Vonnegut

    American airlines
    Tdpies claim check
    Ticket receipt
    Interim expense reimbursement
    PO Box 619613md 1322-hdq
    Dallas Fort Worth Airport, Texas
    75261-9613

    Dear Sir/Madam:
    I write about my trip on American Airlines: record locator KKNVJW: Flight AA
    3460, Departing April 5 2011 from Birmingham at 12:25 to Miami.

    My bag was not sent with me to Miami.
    My bag was sent to Texas.

    I was told in over a dozen conversations with American while in Miami that my bag was about to be sent to my hotel; or that it had already been sent to my hotel; or, that my bag was still in Texas.

    The last time I had a conversation with American on the evening of April 7th. I was told on phone that my bag was in
    Texas. This was not true. My bag was then in Miami at the home of a private party who had been trying to call me and agreed to send my bag to me at my hotel via taxi in the morning.
    My bag had medical supplies. My bag had other materials related to my recent surgery. My bag also had professional clothes. My bag was well tagged with my own name, cell, and home address. If a private person could find me, you would think American Airlines might have made the same effort at some point.

    American well understood the urgency of uniting me with my bag. In over twelve
    conversations regarding my bag over two days, American Airlines told me and the staff of the Hotel everything but the truth. American never followed up.

    On the flight to Miami on the 5th—a flight not full and grounded for two hours on the tarmac—I asked the flight attendant for a bag of ice to put on my surgical wound. The flight attendant told me he would have to see if there was enough
    ice for the other passengers and their drinks. In the end, I managed to get a cup-full of ice. It was clear from the attendant that was all I that was coming for the four hours in the plane.

    I AM SENDING THIS NARRATIVE TO A PUBLIC SITE BECAUSE AB OBVIOUS TRAIN OF MALFEASANCE APPEARS ENDEMIC TO AMERICAN AIRLINES.

  28. Luks Says:

    Hello All,
    They Did it again.
    They lost my bag in DFW airport for 4 days. A representative told me you can have $150 reimburse for your needed stuff but when i sent them receipt i received a check for $18 and when i inquired about this it seems i need to write a letter to explain why i need that reimbursement…. AA really gone worse… never flying again on this.

  29. Jeff Says:

    Ha.

    http://money.cnn.com/2011/11/29/news/companies/american_airlines_bankruptcy/index.htm?hpt=hp_t1

    One of the things that happens when you have crappy customer service.

  30. Pauline Says:

    Hello Jeff
    AA lost my bag from London to Grand |Cayman. Waited 3 days for delivery. Wrote a letter and handed it to an agent in Grand Cayman. Customer Services in general from Miami sucked – couldn’t careless attitude and provided a whole range of excuses. Finally, after 2 hours of absolute bullshit they gave me a measely toiletry bag and was told to use my own funds to but clothes. Arriving late at night in Grand Cayman, holiday weekend and yes all shops were closed. Did AA care …….you guessed it NO! Sent the letter only to recieve a reply ( I suppose I should feel good in that I got a response) stating as I had not supplied original receipts they could not reimburse me. No contact details, no name at the bottom of the letter what more can I say. Lesson learnt? – would strongly advise that travellers avoid this company sloppy service on board as well as from the ground. They seem to have this reputatuin but do not seem to care AVOID THEM AT ALL COSTS.

  31. Abby Elpers Says:

    On October 20, 2012 my husband and I flew to Las Vegas (via American Airlines) to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary. Ours bags did land in Las Vegas with us so we immediately filed a delayed baggage report with the AA baggage agent. The agent was able to track my husband’s bag which arrived the very next day. My bag was not traceable and is STILL MISSING. I spent the entire 4 days on vacation without my belongings, hours on the phone arguing with AA agents about the fact that I needed to purchase clothing, toiletries, etc. and a total of 7 hours of shopping for clothes, shoes, underwear, hair products, etc. on my VACATION. As soon as I arrived home, I completed the interim expense report and submitted. It has been 25 days… My bags are still missing and I have heard nothing from American Airlines. WORST CUSTOMER SERVICE EVER.

  32. Matthew Says:

    Same old story. I flew from LAX to SLC and American lost my bag for three days. It took three days and literally dozens of phone calls before I got my bags.

    I was authorized by American Airlines to buy three days worth of clothing and a stroller (up to $100 only, though — are there strollers that cheap?). After buying clothes, I called and confirmed the amounts and items that I had purchased were approved, right down to the penny.

    When my bags arrived, the stroller was irreparably damaged, my bags had been opened, and items were missing.

    American Airlines told me to send in the receipts immediately and I did. So far, it’s been a month and a half, no response. I just sent another letter today, and filled out the Department of Transportation online form linked above.

    As to damaged and lost/stolen items — at first I was told that I had to fill out their form at the airport when I arrived. The form is not available online and cannot be sent to me. I was dumbfounded. My bags were delayed!! How would I know what was lost, stolen or damaged when I hadn’t received them. And I couldn’t just drive a couple of hours back to the airport to pick up the form. So I just gave them legal notice over the phone and followed it up with a letter.

    All told, I’m out well over a thousand dollars in damaged, lost and unreimbursed (but pre-authorized) items. And that’s not to mention the medication, stroller and other items I didn’t claim but simply did without for three and a half days.

    Oh — and this was all after my flight to LAX from overseas booked through American Airlines was diverted for an emergency landing — lost cabin pressure, masks dropped, etc. I was stranded in Anchorage for a whole day, missed everything I had to do in LA, American Airlines made no effort to rebook me, put me in a flea-ridden hotel and generally treated me like crap.

    Horrible experience. No wonder they’re bankrupt. Of course, if they’re bankrupt, no wonder no one is getting reimbursed here.

  33. Pear Says:

    My parents visited me from another country. DFW is their port of entry so after immigration they headed to get their luggage for customs declaration. All four luggages were not there! Parents informed AA and they were just being told that they will get their luggages at their port of destination (Albuquerque).

    My place is 2 hrs away from Abq. The luggage assistant informed us that it might be in the later flight at 10PM or 11:30PM. We stayed until 12mn and all 4 luggages are still not there!!!!!

    Now I called up asking for an interim payment and they said they will set up an account at $200/person.

    My question, would they really reimburse?

  34. Jeff Says:

    Just found this, which might be helpful guidance for future bag-losers.

    http://gizmodo.com/how-to-get-your-luggage-back-when-the-airline-loses-it-513255690

  35. Adel Says:

    Updating the same sad story!
    I had a flight from London to Raleigh-DUrham airport last June 17 along with my wife and three children. Our all three bags didn’t show up at arrival. After several calls and stress we received one of the them the day after and the other two after three days of arrival. All the bags were opened and of course without our permission. AA representative told us on phone that we can claim for $350 total. I sent them the required documents 5 weeks ago and I received no reply yet!
    It’s my first time to travel with AA, and I am not satisfied at all….

  36. ALEX Says:

    This is the letter I sent AA. I will post here if i get reimbursed. I have deleted personal info.

    Alexander Talavera Karslake

    To whom it may correspond:

    On August 1st 2013, I arrived to Mexico city on American Airlines flight number 481, arriving at about
    9.30 PM, with a delay of about one hour. I went to the baggage claim bands, just to receive the terrible news
    that my baggage had not arrived. I asked a representative what I could do, as I had two pieces of baggage and
    none of them had arrived. He told me to write down the address where I would stay so you could send me my baggage.
    The day after, I called and asked for information, and I was told one of my bags had arrived, which had some
    metal pieces in it; no clothes, or any other personal use item. So I went to the airport, looked at my bag just
    to see it pretty much unusable, with holes everywhere and nasty scratches. My metal pieces were pretty damaged
    almost to the point of unusable, with a value of around 300 british pounds. However, that was not the problem.
    My other bag had not arrived and no one had any useful information for me. I spoke to one of your representatives
    and she gave me the card with the Interim Expense Reimbursement address. She didn´t tell me, however, that I had to
    call again (more of my time wasted) to authorize my spending, she just told me to keep my receipts and send them later,
    which is what I did. After countless calls to your baggage representatives, with no information whatsoever, one of them
    finally told me she had to authorize my spending, on August 3rd. So I said if she could do something to authorize
    the 100 dollars I had spent the day before. Again, no help. So I continued calling and calling, and I was authorized
    $100 on august 3rd, $200 on august 4th, and $130 on august 5th. The system didn´t record another $100 for
    August 2nd, and how was I supposed to know this? I spoke to countless representatives, including a supervisor named
    Luz Cantú. Finally, on August 6th, I was called and told that my bag would arrive between 11AM, and 12PM that day.
    Unfortunately, I didn´t get my bag until about 8 PM that day. I had called at about 1PM, and a representative told
    me I was not authorized any more spending because my bag was arriving that day. Yes, that day, but at 8PM! I`m
    a designer and my personal image is one of the most important aspects within my career, and this delay really was a huge
    pain, and in the end I lost much more than just the receipts I will annex in this letter. So my TOTAL spending
    in clothes and other important immediate use items came to 6861.3 MXN, which comes to aproximately 542.66 US Dollars.
    That is, not counting the 15+ calls I had to make to baggage representatives costing me hundreds of dollars in time,
    the spending in transport to the airport to get my first bag (I didn´t want it to get more ruined than it already was),
    parking spending (No receipt on this), and my perfumes, other important clothes, suit, and the list goes on. I understand
    you have hundreds of bags coming in every hour, and it is hard to have absolute control of everything, but the costumers
    should at least get the reimbursement that day, instead of having to send a letter to the USA, which costs more time and trouble.
    I would like my payment via check, my full name is ALEXANDER TALAVERA KARSLAKE, To the address:

    Distrito Federal, Mexico
    Alexander Talavera Karslake

    I will annex a copy of my passport to this letter as well. Thank you for your understanding.

    Yours Truly,

    Alexander Talavera Karslake

  37. Britt Says:

    I too have gone through the same thing. A lost bag and then when it finally showed up 2.5 weeks later the entire suitcase was torn and you could not unzip it. I wrote a letter (on time I might add) and sent the actual hard copies of the receipts and they sent a letter back stating that I did not send the hard copy receipts (UNTRUE) and the were “sorry for the disruption of my plans” however, they could not reimburse me.

    Then on a later flight I carried my bag on, only to have it taken and told that there was not room. It was a small bag that fit the regulations. This bag was again lost and not returned to me until 1 week later. Again no reimbursement.

    NOT a happy camper.
    -Britt

  38. Ken Toomey Says:

    After a 2 week cruise disembarking at Fort Lauderdale my wide, daughter and myself caught an American Airlines flight from Miami to Las Vegas. My wife and daughter’s bags showed up fine, mine didn’t. The AA lost baggage office could/would only register my lost bag and gave us a number to ring to check if it had been located and when it would be delivered. Many calls to this number only got a message saying I was held in a queue and would be answered in approximately 2 hours! Eventually persistence paid off and we did get to speak to someone after a 45 minute hold. However neither the original agent we spoke to nor the supervisor we later insisted on talking too could tell us anything new or offer any help – only that AA would not consider my bag officially lost (rather than delayed) until after a full 5 days….by which time I would have left Las Vegas for Sant Lucia and the final leg of our holiday. We asked them to call us as we had found it virtually imposible to get through to their number …..besides, calling me seemed the very least they could do having lost my bag….but was told very firmly that they would not do this as I had a non-U.S. cellphone number and company policy did not allow it. I said that AA were quite happy to take the money from non-US citizens so as the company had lost my bag with all the horrible inconvenience and stress this caused, surely they had a moral obligsation – leaving aside the questions of basic courtesy and customer service – to ring me if there was news…but no, policy is policy.

    I would add that between the notification of my lost bag to the AA office the evening we arrived at the airport and eventually speaking to someone on the phone number given (a full 48 hours later), in desperation we took a 60 Dollar round trip back to the airport to see the AA lost baggage staff there. While reasonably sympathetic they could tell us nothing else or offer any help – only to keep ringing the phone number they had already given us.

    I had to spend a full day of the 4.5 days we were supposed to spend with the rest of our children and their partners, all whom had flown from Europe so we could all spend time together, in shopping for essential clothing and toiletries for the remainder of our time in Vegas and the following 9 days in Sant Lucia.

    My bag never turned up at any point during the following 15 days of our holiday, and I had written off ever seing it and it’s contents again. Then completely out of the blue, we had a call on Thursday afternoon,24th January – 4 days after our return to Spain where we live – from “Beatrice”, a baggage agent at Mexico City international Airport, saying they had a bag with a personal ID tag on it with my name and phone number on it! To be fair, they got my bag back to Spain within 24 hours, as the flight times connected perfectly. To my suprise and joy the bag was in perfect condition as was all it’s contents.

    And that is the only positive thing in this whole sorry saga. I can honestly say that American Airline’s response to THEIR negligent loss of my case is truely the worst customer-service example I have ever experienced. I have sent AA the requested letter and all the original receipts of the clothing, tolietries and other essential sundries I needed for the last two weeks of our holiday in two very different holiday environments, at a cost of over 1,300 Dollars (and that was buying virtually everything at discount outlet malls). So far, I have not even had the courtesy of an acknowledgement from them. How does this company survive with an attitude to it’s customers like this?

  39. ALAN Says:

    AA Sucks, all 7 Bagsdidnt make it on the flight with me…Only a 45 minute flight and bags delayed two days.. Never use that Airlines again. a legit POS….

  40. Chris Says:

    AA delayed 3 of my bags, I got 2 back, but the 3rd sadly would not be joining us aboard our cruise. This bag contained all of my wife’s clothes, makeup everything including Christmas presents , oh forgot to say it was a family Christmas cruise that cost me £8500 .AA delivered the bag 3 days later to the hotel that I had left to join my ship .AA then promised to get my bag to the ship everyday a different agent promising they would get my bag to the ship. Well AA didn’t succeed in their promises in fact I located my bag on the day I flew back to the UK, it was still at the hotel I paid $100 for a taxi to bring it to the airport. AA have had all my original receipts and letter of complaint plus a request for compensation under the Montreal act. Having read the posts on this site I await with bated breath.

  41. Bo Says:

    AA canceled my flight at the very last moment, ruined a one-day trip that I had meticulously planned months ahead of time, AA refused to rebook me even on sister carriers or non-direct routes, and then AA refused to offer any refund or credit back and then had the audacity to proceed to continue to charge me extra money for the nonexistent premium aisles seats that never materialized on the plane that was never sent and never showed up, for a flight that was canceled but not rescheduled.

    No one from AA called me to rebook flights. I received a terse last minute email stating that the flight AA2449 was canceled, and that if I had questions to call their 800 number. The number ended up being an automated answering machine that said agents were too busy, and instead of putting in on hold or in a queue it would force-ably hang up and disconnect on me each time I called. So I had no choice but to wait in line at their customer service in hopes of speaking with someone in person.

    The funny thing is later we found out that they actually never even sent the plane. Since the flight from DFW to SEA is about four or five hours, AA must have known way ahead of time that there was no way AA2449 from DFW to SEA would be able to make it. Since it was AA who never even dispatched the plane in the first place, yet they still sent me fraudulent “on time” notices all the way up to almost the last minute prior to boarding, directly depriving me of the reasonable opportunity to seek other travel options and arrangements, perhaps even last minute books with other airlines.

    Dallas being one of AA’s major hubs, I was surprised to find out that they only had one customer service center at Terminal D and it was only at Gate 24. At the time it was manned by one only AA rep and then later on increased to a measly grand total of two AA customer service agents. The line was literally hundreds of people long and I stood for two hours before speaking with anyone from AA.

    Finally when it was my turn, I encountered a rude customer service agent (Connie) who stated that she didn’t want to deal with me and called for a manager. When the “manager” finally arrived he wouldn’t tell me his first name (badge only said Mr. MUNN) and stated that I had purchased a standard fare which was a non-refundable ticket. He admitted that there was no flights they could put me on that night. I told him if they couldn’t get me out there would be no point in my still going and that I wanted a refund. He then proceeded to shove me a piece of paper with another 800 number for me to call once I got home.

    I was effectively turned away without being helped, without being rebooked, and without given any credit or refund. As irony would have it, on my way out of the airport, at around Gate D18, I saw what appeared to be an AA representative at one of the gates /counters that didn’t have a long line. Having been tired and exhausted, I still wanted to ask one last time and perhaps give it one more attempt. When approaching the counter, I realized the AA personnel was repeatedly pointing to what appears to be his watch, but he was wearing one of those over-sized jackets and it would have covered any watch that he would have worn. It seemed like he was pointing to the time, but I was tired and confused and so approached closer to ask him if he could help me out. It was then that he remarked that he was a pilot, and before I could even apologize for misidentification he retorted: “you don’t see the stripes?” while angrily pointing at his long sleeve.

    When I finally got home and called the 800 number that the AA “manager” Munn had given to me on a piece of paper, I found that it was an invalid number! Go figure. I then called Orbitz (I originally booked the AA flight on Orbitz online) and spoke with an Orbitz rep who tried to contact AA on my behalf to give me a refund, only to find out from the Orbitz rep. that AA was going to put Orbitz on an hour hold so he told me sorry but he wasn’t able to be on hold for AA for one hour. I also went online to AA website to file a complaint and to request customer service via an online form but never heard back.

    To add insult to injury, I woke up the next morning to find out that not only did not give me any credit or refund, they proceeded to charge my bank card for an additional extra charge of $50 (beyond the base ticket fare that I already paid for) for nonexistent “premium” aisles seats that never materialized on the plane that was never sent and never showed up, for a flight that was canceled but not rescheduled.

    AA is nothing more but an evil monopolistic airline that has long since lost its way. The customer is nothing but a number to them, you are only of value to them if they can exploit you at your own expense. Definitely “too big to care”. My advice, never fly AA. I learned my lesson the hard way, for anything important if I ever book on AA again it would be my own fault. Learn from my lesson.

  42. Gnana Says:

    Yours is by far the best AA baggage bitchin’ page on the internet!! Your 2010 communication has seen continuous responses and not for nothing. To date, AA’s been upholding the tradition of treating customers grievances with utmost negligence and utter disrespect. In my case though, it was really a problem of Qatar airlines. But IATA regulations state that the carrier of the last leg of the flight is responsible for baggage issues and hence my fight with AA. This is 2015 and still no email or electronic medium where the expenses could be claimed!!

  43. Steve Says:

    Lost luggage heading internationally, bags arrived 5 days later with various responses each day calling the airline. Had the check-in tags, got the Record Locator Code from the airport lost bag office. When it arrived, the top of one piece of luggage, an eight-layer aluminum extendible grapple, was ripped in half (!) with the top grapple part gone. After the usual 30 minutes on long-distance phone and after explaining that I can’t show to the lost luggage office at the airport because the bags were 5 days late and I am 72 km away, finally reached a nice lady who gave me a fax number for their (now notorious) Baggage Claims Services – AA CBS and asked me to fax a picture of the damage with explanation. Prepared the pictures and paperwork with data next day and tried to fax – bad number. No way on the websites to confirm or find another number. Now facing another 30 mins to try to get a new fax number. To be continued.

  44. Steve Says:

    That is Central Baggage Claims – CBS. Still on hold.

  45. Steve Says:

    Got through – got a new fax number – ANOTHER bad fax number! Gal says today is transition day at 6 am AA Baggage Services goes off phone contact and US Airways’ takes over. No idea of the new number! This is almost funny if it weren’t so pitiful.

  46. Kelly Says:

    OMG! I’m not alone! Found this website and realize this is an epidemic with AA. Went on a 8 day Carnival Cruise to the Carribean and AA lost my entire families luggage! AA Customer Service in Miami didnt give a rats ass about it and told us that they would locate it and get it on the cruise ship by the time the ship left at 4pm that date. HAHAHA! The customer service on our cruise ship got involved and harrassed AA enough to find our luggage was still in Seattle! It was flown to Miami, then to St Maartens, where the Carnival people got it from the airport to us after 4 days of being with nothing. After numerous calls from the ship to AA, I was told they would reimburse us for items to get us by. They wanted to give us $100 for a family of 4, for clothes, toiletries, etc! I asked the AA rep if she had ever had to purchase anything on a cruise ship? A friggin t-shirt is $50.00. After much “negotiating”, the rep agreed to give us $200 per person. Of course after we got home and I send all the docs that they requested, we are still waiting. Numerous emails and calls to te 800 number has been fruitless. We will NEVER EVER fly on AA again! Oh and BTW, they lost our luggage on the way home too!! Un frigging believable! Atleast we were at home where we could have clean underwear! Lost luggage TWICE on one vacation! WTF!

  47. Bec Says:

    My experience with AA is very lengthy and annoying. I found this website when I was on hold for the millionth time…and as much as it sucks hard that we’ve all been through this, it was good to know I wasn’t alone.

    I posted on here primarily to share with you a direct number for Central baggage that I came across 4 months in to dealing with my bullshit… Its 1800 866 4010. This is the number you need if you actually want to speak to someone who knows what the hell you’re talking about. (The email address you need is centralbaggage@aa.com.au).
    I finally got to this after calling 6 different numbers and being on hold for more than half an hour each time.
    You are welcome. 😀

    My story, if you’re interested, is that I was on a 2 month trip of the USA.
    Just over a week in to it I ended up in hospital in Virginia for a week, and flew from there (Newport News Airport) to New Orleans. My bag didn’t make the trip, and I didn’t see it again until 4 months later, when I was back in Australia and was certain I’d never see it again.
    Turns out, it had been sitting in a warehouse in Dallas that entire time.

    It wasn’t until I’d submitted the online form, along with MANY receipts and a strongly worded email that they bothered looking for it, and eventually located it and sent it back.

    To their credit, they have now paid around USD$2,500 back to me for my delayed baggage expenses… but it was a very, long frustrating process.

    All I can say to all of you going through this, is don’t give up, keep fighting.
    Best of luck 😀

  48. Jeremy Hoffmann Says:

    Invaluable discussion – For my two cents , if your company needs to fill out a Air Canada Interim Expenses Claim Form , my colleagues found a fillable document here http://goo.gl/DRtJQU

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