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Delta's lost and found process

Discussion in 'Delta Air Lines' started by Cindy de Luise, Aug 24, 2016.

  1. Cindy de Luise

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    I am a victim of the black hole of Delta's lost and found system which they assume no responsibility for and which is outsourced to a third party. My daughter left her laptop under her seat on a Delta flight arriving into JFK on Aug 12. She did not realize this until the morning of Aug 13. My colossal mistake was not sprinting to the JFK Delta baggage claim to try to retrieve it. I stupidly thought that it was too late or that Delta's online lost and found process actually worked. I have since learned that items left on the plane that have been turned in by the cleaning crew can sit for up to a week or more in the airline's baggage claim area before being shipped to Lost and Found Central in Scottboro, Alabama. Delta's website gives me only one option - to complete a online form. That form goes straight to Alabama. I have spent all last week calling the JFK delta baggage claim office to see if by miracle they still had the laptop (assuming it was turned in). If I was able to get through at all (hardly ever),I was told that the item was not there without the person making any attempt to look for it. There seems to be no system of logging items and no recording of what gets sent out to the central lost and found. In short, it is a free for all for whomever finds the items. So far, I have received two automatic emails from Lost and Found Central about how hard they are trying to locate the laptop. I am now calling Scottsboro directly each day to see if the laptop is there. By some miracle I was able to get a hold of the number on a blog. I have written to Delta Comments and Complaints to find out where my laptop may have gone and they have told me I must wait to hear back from Lost and Found assuming that the item was properly turned in and properly shipped out. I have gone on Twitter to @Delta to see if they can help and have received the same useless response.
    I have also learned from reading various blogs on this topic that all items that are not returned to their owners (and there is no incentive for this third party to do so) are sold at a store in Scottboro - probably related to Central Lost and Found.

    I am frustrated beyond description. It's now day 12. I have locked the laptop remotely using my Apple account. Unfortunately the laptop is offline so I cannot get it to signal. I have never felt so helpless in my entire life. I understand that Delta has a large inventory of lost items, but their current system is horrendous. Of course, it was my daughter's fault for leaving the laptop, but how Delta chooses to handle this is a huge customer relations issue. I don't think it's okay for them to have a flimsy, opaque system like this. Can you offer me some advice? Is there anything else I can do?
     
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  2. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Not to be harsh because I understand how upset you are, you can probably kiss it goodbye. It could be anywhere.

    I think a more likely scenario, if it was under the seat, it might have slid somewhere that another passenger was able to see if and take it home. You don't have any proof the cleaning company found it. You might (and probably are) spinning your wheels when no one in the cleaning company even found it.

    If that is the case,you really can't fault Delta. If no one found it and turned it in, how can you blame Delta?
     
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  3. sas80

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    I think what LW is really looking for is someone at Delta who might actually listen to the FACT that she is beyond frustrated at Delta's lack of considerate handling of her lost item situation.

    Dear LW, may I suggest that you compose a bullet organized letter detailing the steps you have taken and the frustration you've encountered at each step. Besides expressing your frustration at each step, keep emotion out of it. It's fine to say to Delta that you feel they are unorganized, but also try to suggest how they could have handled the situation or process better. If you are looking for any sort of compensation, state that clearly and ask for what you want. Start with customer service and, if they do not reply in a satisfactory manner, move up to the first executive. Wait a week and see if you get a satisfactory response. If you dont, move up the ladder.

    I've heard that Delta is one of the more consumer friendly airlines, so they may be happy to speak with you regarding the situation.

    Good luck & keep us informed

    http://forum.elliott.org/threads/read-this-first-delta-air-lines-executive-contacts.161/
     
    #3
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  4. jsn55

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    I believe that both of my colleagues are right, Cindy. The laptop is long gone. But Delta needs to know how they let you down with the process of trying to see if you could possibly get it back. A polite, concise recital of the facts and some input on how your situation could have been handled better might make a difference to future customers. I'm so sorry that you've had to go through this.

    Many years ago I put my laptop in the seat pocket and left it on an Air Canada plane. Just as we were driving out of the airport, I realized what I had done. U-turn, back to SFO, I tore in the door, it was late and half the lights had been extinguished already ... there were 4 or 5 AC people at the counter with no customers. One of them took a look at my face and asked me if I'd left my computer on the plane from Montreal. I promptly burst into tears and they handed it over. Never again in probably 20 years have I put my laptop anywhere but in front of me or back in his carry-bag.
     
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  5. Cindy de Luise

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    Dear Neil, sas80 and jsn55,

    Thank you very much for your thoughtful responses. It is very sobering to accept that the laptop is gone. At any rate, I do appreciate your recommendation that I calmly relay to Delta every frustrating step that I took and offer suggestions for how they may improve their process in the future.

    I will let you how it all works out.
     
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  6. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I agree with my colleagues that you should write to Delta about the unpleasant experience.
     
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  7. kenish

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    Once passengers are off a plane, the cleaning crews service the cabin, then there's a security sweep. Since those employees work for contractors to the airline or airport, found items are usually turned over to the airport's L&F instead of the airline's. Have you checked with JFK's admin offices?

    Of course, a deplaning passenger may have helped themselves, or someone servicing the cabin may have been less than honest. If the laptop was still on the plane for the next flight, a whole new set of people get involved.

    What was the flight number you flew into JFK? We may be able to figure out where the aircraft flew next....and you can contact L&F at that airport.
     
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  8. Cindy de Luise

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    Thank you Kenish.
    According to my daughter the laptop was placed under the seat in front of her so I am hoping that it was visible to the cleaning crew. The flight is Delta 4161 which goes back and forth between JFK and Boston Logan Airport. We deplaned at JFK. I spoke to JFK terminal 4 lost and found last night. Today I will try to get in touch with Logan 's lost and found in case the laptop made another trip to Boston before being discovered. I was under the impression that all items found on flights are turned over to the specific airline for that flight. They spent a period of time in the airline's baggage claim area before being shipped out to the central lost anod found facility- in this case, it's Alabama.
     
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  9. kenish

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    Info for you and others; the L&F for many airlines is outsourced to a company in Scottsboro, Arkansas. They have been around for years purchasing unclaimed bags from the airlines and selling the contents as a sort of thrift store. It's a go-to destination for road trips through the area. https://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/

    What's new is a growing number of airlines ship their L&F to the company after a few days. As you've discovered, the company handles all the L&F inquiries...after a period of time expires (as contracted with the client airline- 14 days for Delta), the company pays the airline pennies on the dollar for the unclaimed property and puts it on sale in the store.

    If the laptop followed this path, you're unfortunately nearing the end of that timeline. Let's hope it's at the *airport* L&F. Even when an item is found, getting it back isn't easy: http://www.30isthenew20.com/travel/airline-lost-and-found/

    The plane your daughter was on was registration N329PQ. But that type of plane makes many short hops during the day, so I can't see the routing before 8/18. Others on here may be able to. In most (but not all) cases the aircraft on that flight goes to BUF next.

    Also, does all correspondence use your daughter's name and contact info with no reference to you? Unless your daughter is a minor, most companies have policies of not responding to third parties.
     
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  10. Cindy de Luise

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    Dear Kenish,

    Thank you for keeping my issue alive. The lost and found facility is in Scottsboro, Alabama (not Arkansas), and by some miracle I was able to get their phone number. I got it from the http://www.30isthenew20.com/travel/airline-lost-and-found/ link you mentioned in your response. I have been calling them daily. The woman I have been speaking to assured me that they will keep the report open for 30 days. My last response from Delta Comments and Complaints stated that they will keep the report open for 60 days!! Is it 14 days, 21 days, one month, 60 days? At any rate, yes, the items go on a chopping block after being unclaimed. The store is conveniently located in Scottsboro.

    I filed a lost and found report with Logan Airport in case the laptop made another trip back to Boston. I filed a lost and found report with Altanta Airport Lost and Found. The reason for doing that is that when I called JFK's Delta Baggage Claim today the woman said the items go to Atlanta! There is no logging process. The items are boxed and sent out.

    I am going to write my letter to Delta now. Thank you all for providing me with a venue to voice my frustrations and for the good advice.

    My daughter is 17. The claims have been made in her name with my email address and telephone number. In each case I am describing the item - a Silver Apple Macbook Pro 13" laptop serial number C02HXFWFDTY3 and a Boston University (BU) Sticker on the front cover.
    Thank you
     
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  11. sas80

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    #11
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  12. Cindy de Luise

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    Hi Sas80,
    After my experience with the laptop, the difficulty in knowing where in the world where it may be, and the incredibly frustrating run around I have been through, I would have a problem going through other people's things. I guess some of this stuff is truly unclaimed. Some of it may just be unclaimed because the owner doesn't know what to do, has given up, or because the stuff gets Scottsboro after the report has been closed. Who knows?
    When I am reunited with the laptop my sense of humor will return. Right now I am too focused on getting it back.
    Regards,
    Cindy
     
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  13. sas80

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    I totally hear you. And I do believe that a fair portion of these items end up in Scottsboro because customers like you went thru a hellish lost and found situation and eventually gave up. there is something to be said and questioned with the airlines making a profit off of other peoples losses. It sets up a situation where it is not in the best interest of the airline to get items back to consumers. it's to the airlines benefit to make the process difficult and frustrating. It's completely a conflict of interest.
     
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  14. Cindy de Luise

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    Thank you, Sas80. You hit the nail right on the head. What is the incentive to reunite customers with their belongings? It is a huge customer relations issue.
     
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  15. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I hope we see a post later saying you found it. Good luck.
     
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  16. kenish

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    The plane that flies DL4161 does not return to BOS. There is not enough turn-around time at JFK for it to fly the one remaining flight of the evening on a Canadair RJ900. In most cases, the plane continues to BUF as previously commented.

    One thing you haven't confirmed- have you contacted JFK airport's L&F at JFK? *Not* Delta's office, the airport's? Although the laptop should have gone to DL, through some twist it may have ended up with PANYNJ : http://www.panynj.gov/police/lost-found.html

    I can relate a bit- I left reading glasses on a plane. AA crew on my connecting flight knocked themselves out to communicate to MIA (my connecting airport) and Cancun (the plane's next stop). No luck, the FA commented to me that any items left on flights to Latin America are good as gone....they are pinched by passengers, service crews, or security personnel. Since then, my drill is a "clean sweep" and "put away" in and around my seat and the seatback pocket when initial descent starts 20-30 minutes before landing.

    Aside- my son is a BU alum....Go Terriers!
     
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  17. Cindy de Luise

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    Dear Kenish -
    Thank you so much for pointing this out. I was not paying attention before.

    I have submitted a lost and found report on the Buffalo Airport website just now.

    I have tried Port Authority lost and found. The website says there is a desk in 269 building. I am given phone number 718 244 4225 which after several layers of automated messages brings me to a number with a full mailbox. Dialing zero for assistance takes me nowhere. I then tried 718 244 4335 and got a police officer who forwarded me back to the non working line. I have now sent an email directly to the PA police Lost and Found about the laptop.

    Thank you for sharing your story. My daughter was at BU for a precollege program for 3 weeks. The sticker that she put on the cover may be the identifying feature that allows the item to be found.

    I am praying.
     
    #17
  18. jsn55

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    Oh, I've been DYING to get there! Probably could spend a week wandering around, looking at all the bargains.
     
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  19. Barry Graham

    Barry Graham Administrator
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    Having used Delta's system, which is the same as Southwest's, I agree that it's an awful system and I have little faith in it. I think someone needs to write to Delta to say that the responses they get give zero confidence in retrieving the item. I'd love to see statistics as to how many items are actually returned these days.
     
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  20. AAGK

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    I posted a reply ro
    I posted a reply to the same issue on another thread. I left my iPhone, etc. I noticed while at the airport- 10 minutes later, ran back, tried everything, no luck.
    My bf works at Apple and I just consulted him.
    He says try the find my Mac feature from another device. It's probably stolen at this point so that won't help but there's a feature where you can report as lost/stolen and lock it so that if that person tries to bring it to an Apple Store or service it/unlock it- every store will be notified and you will be contacted.
    If you paid with an American Express, or another card that has purchase protection, then you are in luck and can file a claim for reimbursement.
    Otherwise, AppleCare won't help. It's not expensive enough to make a homeowner's claim worthwhile, unfortunately- depending on your deductible- and most policies exclude electronics unless you have a rider and again, you probably wouldn't since it is under $5k.
    There is insurance you could've purchased that covers lost items, but AppleCare wouldn't cover this. I'm sorry. I wish I had better news.
    You can track it online but I imagine you have been doing that and after. 2 weeks, that ship has probably sailed.
     
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