Inadequate response to request for lost item

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Mar 4, 2019
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#1
I sent an email last week to Heather Holmes, Customer Care Manager at United Air Lines. I haven't had any response from her to date, not even a form letter. I wonder if you might be able to help.

As I explained in my email to Ms. Holmes, I left my glasses in the pocket of the seat in front of me when I exited the plane at Ft. Lauderdale on Feb. 4th, Flight #UA2066, which arrived at FLL (Ft. Lauderdale) at about 3:30 pm. . They were in a distinctive gold-colored case and were sticking up from the pocket, restrained by the elastic at the top of the pocket. I realized my mistake within 5 minutes of leaving the plane, but by that time, I'd already left the arrival area and couldn't run back to the gate. I found a United representative, who called the plane, and spoke to someone who said they looked for my glasses but didn't find them. I then went downstairs to baggage claim and spoke to another representative in the office there who also called the plane and was given the same information.

This is impossible for me to believe, because the total elapsed time was an absolute maximum of 10 minutes. I was in seat 22E, a window seat, and other people exited after me. The glasses had to be where I left them. If someone had truly gone to that seat and looked in the pocket, they certainly would have found them. As it is, I can only speculate that they were later found by the cleaning crew and thrown out.

I received a few automatic updates stating they were still searching and would continue to search for 30 days, at which time the case would be closed. I've heard nothing since. Today is the 30th day.

I had to buy a replacement pair of glasses as soon as I got home. I'd like United to compensate me for the expense, because if they'd looked where and when I told them, they would have found my glasses and returned them to me within a few minutes of my having left the plane. I can furnish a copy of the receipt, $222.00. The customer service of this company leaves a lot to be desired.

Is there anyway you can help get an answer from these people?

Thank you very. much.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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#2
It’s quite possible that another passenger may have seen them and took them. Or the cleaning crew picked turn up and never turned them in.

United is not under any obligation to repay you for the glasses, they aren’t responsible for items left on the plane. It’s extremely rare for anything to be turned in that’s left on a plane.

We have company contacts on top of our pages and under the airline section you can find contacts for United. You can write to them at time but don’t insist on them paying for the glasses- it’s not their issue.

Did you call the airports lost and found department?
 
Mar 4, 2019
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#4
It’s quite possible that another passenger may have seen them and took them. Or the cleaning crew picked turn up and never turned them in.

United is not under any obligation to repay you for the glasses, they aren’t responsible for items left on the plane. It’s extremely rare for anything to be turned in that’s left on a plane.

We have company contacts on top of our pages and under the airline section you can find contacts for United. You can write to them at time but don’t insist on them paying for the glasses- it’s not their issue.

Did you call the airports lost and found department?
I understand that it's my fault for leaving the glasses. I just think United's staff could have easily found them had they looked immediately. I did first go to your list of contacts; that's how I found Heather Holmes, who has not replied to my very polite email. I didn't contact the airport's lost and found because I left the glasses on the plane itself. They were never in the actual airport. At this point, I suppose I have given up on compensation. An apology for their lack of assistance and then further lack of response would be nice, though.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
It can take several weeks for the processing of lost items -- but as it has been 30 days the chances are getting slimmer and slimmer.

There is also a chance that another passenger took them, thinking they were expensive sun glasses. Or they may just have been thrown out,

UA is not going to compensate you for leaving something on a plane.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,672
15,290
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#6

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
16,672
15,290
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#7
I understand that it's my fault for leaving the glasses. I just think United's staff could have easily found them had they looked immediately. I did first go to your list of contacts; that's how I found Heather Holmes, who has not replied to my very polite email. I didn't contact the airport's lost and found because I left the glasses on the plane itself. They were never in the actual airport. At this point, I suppose I have given up on compensation. An apology for their lack of assistance and then further lack of response would be nice, though.
If the glasses were found by anyone, including the cleaners, they would likely be sent there. It’s also possible they weren’t found by the cleaners and went out on the next flight - possibly turned in if someone found them to the next crew.

Airline personnel don’t really have any time to go back into a plane looking for items left behind. The crew leaves immediately, the cleaners get on and that plane is turned around again.

The only real way that someone realistically could have looked for them was to return back to the gate.

Sorry this happened but I would just chalk it up as a learning experience. I left an IPod in a seat back once never to be seen again. Now I never put anything in the seat back but a magazine.

But I still would call the airports lost and found. If anyone turned them in that’s where they would be.
 
Mar 14, 2018
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#8
I understand that it's my fault for leaving the glasses. I just think United's staff could have easily found them had they looked immediately. I did first go to your list of contacts; that's how I found Heather Holmes, who has not replied to my very polite email. I didn't contact the airport's lost and found because I left the glasses on the plane itself. They were never in the actual airport. At this point, I suppose I have given up on compensation. An apology for their lack of assistance and then further lack of response would be nice, though.
There's a bit of a logical fallacy here. You assume the glasses remained in the seatpocket. Therefore, if United looked immediately, they would be found. Since they weren't found, United must not have looked.

However, United told you not once but twice at the airport that they looked and the glasses were not there.

I'd suggest giving United the benefit of the doubt. Perhaps another passenger found the glasses and turned them in to the airport lost and found. I see no reason not to expand your search.
 
Jan 25, 2016
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#9
This is impossible for me to believe, because the total elapsed time was an absolute maximum of 10 minutes. I was in seat 22E, a window seat, and other people exited after me. The glasses had to be where I left them. If someone had truly gone to that seat and looked in the pocket, they certainly would have found them. As it is, I can only speculate that they were later found by the cleaning crew and thrown out.
I am sorry you lost your glasses, but agree with the others that UA isn't responsible.

Not to nitpick, but the seat you said you were in is a middle (usually a 737 per FlightAware - 22F is a window), so I hope that this is just a typo in your post, and not that you gave them the wrong seat number to search at.
 
Jul 2, 2018
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#10
I am sorry you lost your glasses, but agree with the others that UA isn't responsible.

Not to nitpick, but the seat you said you were in is a middle (usually a 737 per FlightAware - 22F is a window), so I hope that this is just a typo in your post, and not that you gave them the wrong seat number to search at.
The OP has been consistent in that his seat was the window seat.

But I agree with the OP that UA just doesn't check. My husband forgot his book on board and realized it at the gate. He tried to get back on - they told him no. They said they had checked the seat back and it wasn't there. He sweet talks his way back on the plane and - lo and behold! There is his book. Exactly where he said it was.

They don't check. But your glasses are gone. Nothing to be done.
 
Likes: jsn55

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#12
The OP has been consistent in that his seat was the window seat.

But I agree with the OP that UA just doesn't check. My husband forgot his book on board and realized it at the gate. He tried to get back on - they told him no. They said they had checked the seat back and it wasn't there. He sweet talks his way back on the plane and - lo and behold! There is his book. Exactly where he said it was.

They don't check. But your glasses are gone. Nothing to be done.
Sorry that I have to agree with M42. There are probably 8 personal items left on every single plane that flies around the US, every flight. Crew get tired of looking, it's just overwhelming; so often some other passenger picked up the item. So they give you lip service. If the cleaners found them, they will show up in lost&found, I suggest that you pursue that avenue. To intimate that the airline is responsible for your glasses will get you nowhere, a request like this requires appreciation for their time in trying to help you.

FOR OUR OTHER READERS

Never, ever, put anything in the seat pocket in front of you on an airplane. If you are super-disciplined to check every time, you might go years without losing anything. But you will lose something, as I just lost a portfolio of office materials that I put in the seat pocket. First time in probably 500 flights I didn't retrieve it before landing. So don't put anything IMPORTANT in the seat pocket in front of you.
 
Jul 7, 2018
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#13
I left my Kindle on a plane recently in a side pocket on a first class seat. I realized it about an hour later. I filled out the online lost item form and received the same 30 day time line to look for the item. After 30 days it was not found and file was closed. I too couldn't understand how it could not have been found as it was in a bright lime green cover. Now fast forward 2 months later and I get an email that my Kindle was found. So do not lose hope that they still might be found. It will cost you though to have them sent to you. My Kindle was left on the plane in Seattle but it ended up in Houston lost and found.
 

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#14
If you purchased the glasses using a VISA or aother credit card, check to see if you have Purchase Protection.

The conditions of coverage are theft, damage or involuntary and accidental parting of personal property.

Involuntary and accidental parting with property means the unintended separation from an item of personal property in which the item’s location is known but recovery is impractical to complete.

Mysterious disappearance is NOT covered, but accidentally leaving something on a plane most likely would be covered.
Or losing glasses in an ocean, for instance. Medical equipment is not covered but I doubt glasses would be considered equipment.

Used or pre-owned items not covered, so hopefully you didn’t buy the glasses on eBay. LOL.

I found this in the new pamphlet I received today which delineates all of the benefits of my Chase Signature VISA.
 
Apr 23, 2018
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#15
I once did this unintentionally with my wallet on a shoulder strap, which had my passport and all credit/id cards, and discovered it was missing minutes later when I exited the airport. Went back into baggage claim who phoned the gate. They said they'd look but did not ask me my seat number so I figured I was getting lip service. Also filed a police report. Six months later, I receive an envelope from US Air. No note, just my wallet, with all the cards & passport, but no cash. Is it really so inefficient for them to look when asked and actually check? A little customer service in this respect would be the kind thing to do.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jun 11, 2016
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#16
I have made the dumb mistake of leaving things on the plane with, unfortunately, similar results. Once, on United's predecessor, Continental, I left my cell phone and passport and realized it as I passed the Lounge. I went in and the agent called the gate and was told that the plane had been towed out and would be checked (like the OP, I provided the seat number). I never heard again. Similarly, years later, on the sainted Singapore Airlines, I left something on the old SIN-EWR nonstop ( I mention the flight because it wasn't going out again for about five hours) and reported it to the airline before leaving the airport. Never heard a word.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#17
The airlines business has quick plane turn around time (ie cleaners in and out in 15 minutes), no extra staff, gate agents running from one gate to another— there must be hundreds of thousands of items left on planes per airline per year— how can every loss be attended to immediately? To start saying “well it would be good customer service to search the plane...” so people would be okay with a gate agent not showing up on time for the boarding of their flight because they were looking for someone’s lost item on a plane, or a flight attendant doing the same?

People want low prices otherwise Spirit and Ryanair would not exist; Southwest pushed the quick turn around model. Staff costs money. People want cheap, there are just not enough people to immediately attend to everyone’s lost items.

I left a few books on planes in the old days. Now I have a ritual about searching and putting things away. Seat back goes up and I start looking around.
I hate losing things just annoys me but I only get mad at my self.
 

Barry Graham

Administrator
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Director
Jan 7, 2015
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#18
If UA uses the same lost and found system that Delta and Southwest use then I also have no confidence that anyone actually does check. I have used it two or three times and I have never had the items retrieved, items that would have been of no use to anyone else. One day someone is going to take action to prove this system is just a sham unless someone reading this responds and says they actually got something returned to them this way.
 
Likes: VoR61