Bags Missing for Over a Month + Terrible Customer Service

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Jul 21, 2021
My friend and I recently had a domestic round trip with American Airlines. We flew from Washington DC to Phoenix, AZ on June 5th and returned to DC from Phoenix on June 12th.

On the June 5th flight from Washington DC we both received free checked bags because I booked with the AA advantage credit card. On our flight back to DC on June 12, I thought the same conditions applied on the bags but they didn't and that was fine. The representative working the customer resolutions desk at PHX, Paul, became pretty angry and hostile when I asked about it. He cussed, got loud, and was very disrespectful. We didn't mind to pay for the bags so I paid, handed both bags to Paul, watched him take them and tag them and put them on the belt. He did not hand me a receipt. Because the representative was being so aggressive, I was so flustered and upset and didn't even think to ask. (That was my mistake and I will NEVER walk away without a bag receipt again.)

Unironically, the bags never showed up in DC. It has now been 39 days with no bag. My bank account shows that I was charged for ONE bag, but the AA workers in DC (Where I immediately filed a claim) told me that my reservation did not show any checked bags associated with it. I'm worried Paul in Phoenix did this maliciously. I filed a customer relations complaint against Paul with no help. I filed a complaint with the BBB with no resolution.

Every American Airlines employee I have talked to has changed the story -- The Phoenix employees said they think Paul mistagged the bags and they were sent somewhere else. AA central baggage employees said they don't think Paul tagged the bags at all.

Things have gotten worse for me. My co-traveler and I were assigned a baggage specialist who never responds to emails and will NOT give straight forward advice or updates. He has continuously said our bags would end up in the warehouse.
He found a match to my co-travelers bag there 3 days ago because he had an item with his name on the inside of the bag. We checked our bags in together. According to the baggage specialist, my co-travelers bag arrived to the warehouse on June 21st -- almost a month ago -- and he just found it 3 days ago. They have no explanation on how it got there or where it came from or where traveled to for a week. The baggage specialist initially said it came with a completely blank bag tag and then today he said it came with no bag tag. ????

My bag is still missing 39 days later. From my understanding on the AA policies, I should receive compensation after 30 days. During this timeframe, I have had spent over $1,500 replacing items that are in my lost bag and have received no compensation. These items include work clothes, toiletries, make-up, workout clothes for a job I do on the side, bras, underwear, etc.

I want compensation. Not only for what is missing in my luggage but for what I have had to purchase in the meantime. My baggage specialist from AA will not tell me that my bags are officially missing. It has been over a month. I just American Airlines to fully compensate me for the items in the bag and for what I have had to purchase during the past 5 weeks. Is this an even an option? Please help.

I filled out a detailed PPQ with every item in the bag and it added up to around $6,000. Please note that bag was overweight when I left DCA.
I have receipts to prove this. I know AA only covers $3,800 for domestic travel but does anyone know if you can get more if you provide proof? Is this even an option? I'm not sure that they will even approve the $3,800 for me so I want to be prepared in case they try to negotiate the amount.
This experience has been so stressful for me. It seems it has been handled unprofessional and possibly even unethical.

If anyone has any advice on how to move forward, I would appreciate it.
Jul 21, 2021
First- they will not give you replacement value if what was in the bag. They will prorate the contents of the bag and give you a pro rated amount based on the age of the items inside the bag.

Did you provide them with a detailed list of what was in the bag?
Yes I did. The list had detailed descriptions, prices, and estimated dates of purchase. I provided receipts for items over $100 and would be able to provide receipts for other items as well.
Jul 21, 2021
For the future, in addition to getting the claim check, sign up for the AA app on your phone, and you can view your bag’s travels on that app. It saved me once when on an overseas trip AA had not loaded our bags.
I had the AA app. The issue is that my bags either weren’t tagged or there was a blank tag placed on the bag. (My baggage specialist has changed the story and told me both scenarios happened so I’m not sure what to believe)
I couldn’t track my bag on the app because of this. I landed in DC and immediately went to the American Airlines counter and they couldn’t even track my bag.

Neil Maley

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Dec 27, 2014
New York
Did you have your own luggage tag on your bag to identify it? Have you filed this form?

  • Submit a Passenger Property Questionnaire within 30 days of filing your first report (if you're seeking compensation)

We have company contacts for AA.

Start creating a paper trail- read this and follow it exact

Let us know if the contacts work. Your claim will be subject to depreciation on the items you claim but they should

Dwayne Coward

Staff Member
Forum Director
Apr 13, 2016
St. Louis
Department of Transportation regulations allow airlines to cap their liability (for domestic flights) at $3800.00 for a lost, damaged, or delayed bag, but the airline is free to pay more.

Unfortunately, most airlines usually will not pay more than the legal requirement unless you purchased excess valuation insurance.

You can use our company contacts provided by Neil to ask for more, but you may have a better chance of writing the executives about your experience in the claim process and possibly asking for additional consideration in the form of a credit towards a future flight. Though this usually will only be a small amount of a couple of hundred dollars.


Mar 14, 2018
Does AA even acknowledge that they received your bag? You were only charged for one checked bag and one checked bag was recovered (your friend's). There are no receipts or records that show a second checked bag. If they don't agree that they received the second bag, it will be hard to collect a claim for it.

Alexander Pahany

Staff Member
Forum Moderator
Jan 6, 2021
Houston, TX
The representative working the customer resolutions desk at PHX, Paul, became pretty angry and hostile when I asked about it. He cussed, got loud, and was very disrespectful.

I don’t follow on this part of your narrative. If you simply asked, “Do I get a free checked bag with my credit card,” most counter agents would just say, “No,” and that would be that. It seems to me that there may be more to this interaction and transaction. That doesn’t excuse the airline from losing your bag, but it may clarify the situation.