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Baggage Bungling at PHL

Discussion in 'American Airlines' started by AA Platinum, Nov 15, 2017.

  1. AA Platinum

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    Flew from DCA-AMS via PHL on November 1st. AA5171 arrived in PHL about 8:04PM and my small checked bag was offloaded at 8:07PM. My connecting flight AA204 departed PHL at 10:00PM but WITHOUT MY BAG!. The weather was mild and the airport was calm on that midweek, evening, yet AA couldn't transfer my bag in NEARLY TWO HOURS. In fact, they made no effort to expedite the bag via other carriers but routinely loaded it on AA204 the next day after I flagged their oversight to them. I wrote to Mr. Sean Bentel and got a standard form letter type apology and $125 credit voucher almost immediately, but no explanation as to why my priority-tagged bag was "forgotten" at PHL nor any positive steps AA is taking to ensure this won't happen again. As a Platinum member who has experienced three baggage snafus at PHL in recent years, I believe more needs to be done then just sending out evouchers so customers can repeat their miserable experience. An airline that cannot transfer a simple bag with tags intact in two hours is not worthy of my business.
     
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  2. johnbaker

    johnbaker Moderator
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    @AA Platinum I hate to tell you this but it happens on all the carriers. I have status with both UA & DL. I've had bags left behind since they are the last to be loaded. I've had bags not connect.
    As a FF, I assume you realize to always travel with a change of clothes in your carry-on just for this reason.
     
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  3. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Bags get mishandled. About the only fool-proof way to avoid this is to always fly in first class. And we've had posts here about lost bags in first too. If you received your bag the next day, I fail to see the problem. Nobody is going to "explain the issue" to you, nobody has any idea why your bag didn't accompany you. I think the voucher is a nice gesture of concern on AA's part. There are millions of passengers, millions of bags, hundreds of flights ... I've always been impressed that my bag arrives when I do.
     
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  4. rbrunson

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    The "issue" is that human beings are involved in the process and I'm pretty sure all of us are prone to making a mistake now and then.

    As far as handing your bag off to another carrier, AA is the only carrier out of PHL with non-stop service to AMS, so even if the airlines ever did this, it wouldn't be a viable option for this case
     
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  5. ADM

    ADM

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    I can vouch for first class tickets not guaranteeing you get your bags on time. On a trip a few years ago both checked suitcases were lost on a trip to France. We had purchased roundtrip business/first class seats. We didn't get one bag back for 3 days and the other took 2 1/2 weeks. It was quite ironic to see the "Priority" tags still attached to both of them. We would have been thrilled only to wait 1 day for our luggage.
     
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  6. Christina H

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    I had the same issue at IAD several times- coming in on domestic small plane (i.e. regional jet) and connecting to an international flight. It was maddening.
     
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  7. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    The facts are- stuff happens. As my colleagues have said- this can happen anywhere.

    Since you seem to have issues at PHL- in the future, avoid that airport as a connection. You can easily change at another airport - EWR, JKF, LGA, BOS. Or book longer connections. Your connection was a little less then 2 hours- I try to always leave 3 hours in between and so far- knock wood- have never had a lost or delayed bag.
     
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  8. ADM

    ADM

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    Stuff definitely happens no matter what. We also had a 3 hour layover in ATL with no delays and the bags still didn't make it--for 3 days and 2 1/2 weeks.
     
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  9. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    You have such a good attitude, ADM! But I wouldn't have said that during the time that bag was missing so long, would I? I'll bet you were livid.

    I've told this story before, but it's worth repeating ... SFO-EWR-AMS-Roma on Continental. Late getting out of EWR, they sent a cart to pick us up in AMS, we made the Alitalia flight, the bags didn't. Dan's got delivered the next day. Mine took three days ... because ... all the tags had been torn off. Some kind soul at the airport opened my bag, saw my itinerary right on top and sent the bag to my hotel. It was nerve-wracking as I am really difficult to fit and can't just trot out and buy some clothes ... and Alitalia was very uncommunicative with my hotel people who were trying to help.

    It wasn't that big a problem, as we pack an outfit in each other's bag and I have a full change of clothes and shoes in my carryon. Even tho I pack nothing that's not washable, I'd hate to have spent two weeks in Italy with 3 different sets of clothing.
     
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  10. George M

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    One important thing to remember is that after the bags disappear behind the wall, the airline may not have any contact with them until they magically appear at their airplanes. The baggage handlers are most often employees of the airport, or airport authority, or whatever agency is responsible for the airport itself. Certainly the airline bears the ultimate responsibility for baggage handling but many times the mistakes are out of their control - - and then the airline has to scramble around to make things right.
     
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  11. AA Platinum

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    You guys are way too soft on AA. First of all my layover at PHL was supposed to be over 3 hours but the AA Eagle flight from DCA was 90 minutes late. Notwithstanding, I thought one hour and 53 minutes was enough time to transfer a priority tagged bag from one airplane to another. It took me less than 15 minutes to transfer myself, including a bus ride. And when I asked a flight attendant why the baggage tracker on the AA app showed the bag offloaded at PHL but not onloaded onto my flight to AMS, he said they probably just didn't scan it! Come on now, AA giving out self-serving vouchers to encourage me to spend more money with AA is not the right answer.
     
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  12. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    AA is the most complained about company we have here. We aren't soft on AA, we know how many complaints we get here about them

    You didn't tell you that your original connection was more than 3 hours and that it was 90 minutes late- that does make difference in the story. But then the timing is off - you your original connection 3 hours and there was a little less than 2 hours when you actually arrived, that would show the flight was 2 hours late, correct? Otherwise you would have arrived later than 8:04 for a 10 PM flight.

    Of course these companies are giving you vouchers - they want you to encourage you to use them again. Otherwise the only thing they really would owe you are any fees you paid for your bags.

    The only thing we can add is for yout o go over Sean Bentels head and tell them what you want over and above the vouchers they gave you. They aren't going to give you a free flight. Go to the next executive we show and tell him what would be agreeable. I don't think you will get more - that is a decent credit for a bag missing less than 24 hours.

    But I agree with you when you say they aren't worthy of your business- so don't give it to them. But it is the baggage handlers that are the problem. If you've had three instances at PHL - stop flying through PHL. There are plenty of other airports you can connect to.
     
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  13. AA Platinum

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    OK, Neil, since you asked... AA5171 was due to arrive at PHL at 6:44PM. AA204 was due to depart for AMS at 10PM. We were, in fact, 80 minutes late, arriving at 8:04PM. But that still left NEARLY TWO HOURS for AA to transfer my bag on a slow midweek evening at PHL. And note the AA204 "normally" leaves at 9PM but the Europeans turn back their clocks the last Sunday of October whereas we do that the first Sunday of November, hence the special 10PM departure time the first week of November. Unfortunately the extra hour AA had to transfer my bag wasn't enough - they needed an extra day! And, by the way, there are no other AA flights to AMS except from PHL - no CLT, no JFK, etc.

    But the bottom line is American believes that instead of conducting a detailed investigation and taking remedial action, it's more profitable to offer apologies, vouchers and just move on. After three baggage incidents at this old US Airways hub, I can safely say American need not worry about losing its top spot on your list of companies receiving the most complaints.

    And as for Sean Bentel, it seems his email is forwarded automatically to customer service for the standard form letter reply.

    Thanks.
     
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  14. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    AA, you are absolutely correct- they had plenty of time to get that bag to you. I am not making excuses for AA- you did everything right, including a connection that gave more then enough time even with a delay, to get that bag to you. (And this is one reason we advise people to be careful about their connection times - yours was one I would book and it still wasn't enough time for these airport workers to process the bags properly)

    If you've had to purchase items to get you through getting your bag, you can put in a claim for reimbursement with receipts, but there are still limits of what the airline is required to pay. The only difference is if it's an international flight- then the Montreal Convention might be applicable.


    The fact remains they didn't and there is really not much more the airline can do except throw money at you for baggage delays. These people that handle the bags don't work for the airline, they work for the airport. But the best way for you to protest is with your pocketbook. And avoid flying through that airport.

    It's a shame that the airports themselves aren't fined when these things happen. But you can also file a complaint with the DOT so they have it on file about the airport.

    What else would you like AA to do for you? If you have a solution, go to the executive above Bentley and ask for what you would like. Sometimes going higher will trigger a better response.

    Here are our passenger rights per the DOT- read 'me and weep- we don't have many:


    https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/fly-rights
     
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  15. AA Platinum

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  16. AA Platinum

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    In my humble opinion, AA should "throw money" at technology, not at the victims of lost or delayed bags. If I'm not mistaken, the bag tag numbers are linked to the PNRs. In fact, I've been on many a flight where a bag belonging to a passenger who did not board had to be removed before takeoff. That should work the opposite way too, but apparently it does not. If I board a flight and my checked bag on the same PNR was not scanned, no one seems concerned (except me). Matching the boarded passengers' manifest to the scanned baggage manifest would be far superior than relying on the honor system I've experienced at PHL and probably elsewhere. It's not rocket science, but it may cost a few dollars more to implement than evouchers and apologies.
     
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  17. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I agree but that is beyond what we can assist you with here. You can use our company contacts to write to the Executives at AA with that suggestion. I am not sure what else we can help you with besides possibly asking for more compensation from AA.

    As an FYI Delta has tracking in bags you can follow on your smart phone. And if it takes longer then I believe 20 minutes or a half hour to receive your bags you can apply for a credit. And if your bags are delayed more than
    12 hours, you can apply to have bag fees refunded.

    Protest with your pocketbook. There are better airlines out there with better technology.
     
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  18. brownbeer

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    AA has the same bag track feature. It's on the AA app. I'm not sure how you achieved platinum status on AA, but it means that you've probably flown quote a few miles with them. I'm up to 3 million on AA, and have had my bag go missing once... in 1994. It sounds like bad luck to me. Regarding your investment reference, how do you know that AA is not investing? Perhaps you should ask their operations group what upgrades they've been making at PHL. It might make you feel better. I for one thank my lucky stars that AA is now the dominant carrier at PHL. USAir was brutal.
     
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