Korean Air - Disastrous Service, delayed luggage and not willing to take responsibility

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Dec 15, 2018
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#1
Hi all,
I would really appreciate your advice and help on a matter I've been having with Korean Air.
Two months ago I flew from Israel to Seoul via Rome to speak at a very important conference. The organizers flew me Business Class, TLV to FCO with Alitalia and then FCO to ICN with Korean Air.
As you would expect from these two companies, my luggage was lost somewhere in the middle and I arrived to Seoul 24 hours before my speaking engagement, without my suit or any respectable clothes.
Since the luggage was surely not arriving that evening, I had to go quickly to a shopping mall and get a suit, a shirt, shoes and basic toiletries, all in all, I went for the cheapest I could find. I ended up spending ~$380 for all. Again, this is a very high profile conference.
After coming back, I reached out to Alitalia because from my understanding, they were at fault. It took a few back and forth emails, which took more than two weeks, to hear from them that I should actually reach out to Korean Air because of the 'Montreal Convention'. I reached out to Korean but by that point they just responded (after a week) that it's been more than 21 days, so they won't return my money. I tried reaching out again explaining that I turned to the wrong airline in 21 days, but they didn't care and sent me the same message today (after ~2 weeks of waiting).
I tried sending emails to the list of people on the website, but the emails got blocked.
What do you think I could do? Is there anything I could do or anyone I could talk to? I asked them to escalate the issue through email and laptop, but never heard back. I currently live in the US but I have an Israeli citizenship so if there's no other solution, I was thinking about going there and suing them.

I would appreciate your help,
Fabian
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#3
I sent the luggage directly to Seoul. They knew they messed up because they called me to the counter instead of me going to them.
Yes, I filled a bag claim at the airport. They said they can only give me ~$100 at the airport (which was enough for the toiletries and dress shirt, but not more than that). They also told me to complain to Alitalia afterwards. No one mentioned any BS "Montreal Convention".
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#6
From Israel to Seoul. The flight in Rome was just a connecting flight, I was there for 2 hours.
Both Alitalia and Korean Air are Skymiles members, there was not supposed to be any issue with that
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#8
I'm not sure I understand the question.
When I got to the counter at TLV I told them that the flight to FCO is only a connecting flight and that I need my luggage to get to ICN. They said that there's no problem with that.
I mean, the fact that in Seoul they knew that they messed up means that it is possible and should work in theory.
Again, they called me to baggage services, before I went there to complain that my luggage is missing.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,230
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www.promalvacations.com
#9
Dec 15, 2018
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#10
The flights were booked by the conference organizers, I just told them where I'm flying from and they took care of everything.
There was a travel agency behind it.
What I do know is that I got Delta miles for the Alitalia flight(as much as I would expect from a business flight), but didn't get any from Korean Air so I guess it was handled like an award flight
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,230
14,010
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Without being able to see how your ticket was booked
we can’t tell you if your bags were sent all the way through- if you had separate tickets, the price card is that you have to pick up your bags in Rome and re-check the on the next flight. If you didn’t do that- it isn’t the airlines fault the bag didn’t get there on time.

Do you have a confirmation you post here, blacking our any identifying information.
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#12
I completely disagree.
The booking was done separately, BUT I have a copy of my bag tag, it was supposed to go to ICN.
In addition, on my way back the luggage arrived straight to TLV.

I think this is an unimportant nuance as the Korean Air Baggage Services called me while I was waiting for my luggage to let me know that there was a problem with it. They knew there was a problem and the filled a irregularity report and even gave me $100 in Won, which was obviously not enough for anything.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,230
14,010
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#13
This is the information Korean Air has on their website:

https://www.koreanair.com/mobile/global/en/traveling/baggage-services/lost-damaged-items.html


7) Any liability of KAL for delay, damage or lost baggage is as follows, and depreciation is applied.
a. Any liability of KAL except b. below is limited to 250 French Gold Francs or its equivalent (the United States equivalent is approximately USD 20) per kilogram in the case of checked-in baggage, and 5,000 French Gold Francs or its equivalent (the United States equivalent is approximately USD400) per passenger in case of unchecked-in baggage or other property. In the event of delivery to the passenger of part but not all of his or her checked-in baggage, or in the event of damage of part but not all of such baggage, the liability of KAL with respect to the undelivered or damaged portion shall be reduced proportionately on the basis of weight, notwithstanding the value of any part of the baggage or contents thereof.
b. The liability of KAL is 1,131 SDRs for checked-in and unchecked-in baggage where the Montreal Convention applies to your journey. In case of unchecked- in baggage, including personal items, the carrier is liable if the damage resulted from its fault or that of its servants or agents.

Again, use our company contacts and write to KAL.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
Fabiansc what a mess. It does look like the luggage should have been on the same flight with you but for some reason your bag was not on the FCO to ICN part. 2 hours should be enough to transfer baggage. What a strange routing, I think there is a non stop, but I know that this was out of your hands.

One does file the claim with last carrier -- that is the way the airlines have agreed to handle these things -- which makes sense in terms of filing reports and such -- if one has a US connection from Alaska to Emirates and the baggage does not make it Dubai, how would one deal with Alaska Airlines?

From the Korean Air website:

Delayed baggage claims must be made to Korean Air in writing within 21 days of your receipt of the checked baggage.

In case of baggage delay, Korean Air provides one-time payment of USD 50 to the passengers if the arrival city is not their hometown and do not have any acquaintance (family or friends) to get help so that they may purchase basic necessary goods.


Now you said you spent $380 in all, but were given $100 at the airport -- so you are out $280?

One issue is that you were missing the luggage for 36 hours -- 100 for 36 hours is fairly generous. However 36 hours was already too late as you were just about to speak.

I understand that you did not want to look unprofessional (there is a reason I wear a suit jacket and pack a skirt, shirt and clean underwear in my hand luggage if I have something very important business wise the next day.

I have no familiarity with the legal system in Israel, but I can foresee that that a lawyer for Korean would say that it was not their fault that you filed for reimbursement with the wrong airline and that the 21 day limit for filing for reimbursement is clearly listed on their website.

I think your best chance is appealing to the executives.
 
Likes: jsn55
Dec 15, 2018
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#15
Fabiansc what a mess. It does look like the luggage should have been on the same flight with you but for some reason your bag was not on the FCO to ICN part. 2 hours should be enough to transfer baggage. What a strange routing, I think there is a non stop, but I know that this was out of your hands.

One does file the claim with last carrier -- that is the way the airlines have agreed to handle these things -- which makes sense in terms of filing reports and such -- if one has a US connection from Alaska to Emirates and the baggage does not make it Dubai, how would one deal with Alaska Airlines?

From the Korean Air website:

Delayed baggage claims must be made to Korean Air in writing within 21 days of your receipt of the checked baggage.

In case of baggage delay, Korean Air provides one-time payment of USD 50 to the passengers if the arrival city is not their hometown and do not have any acquaintance (family or friends) to get help so that they may purchase basic necessary goods.

Now you said you spent $380 in all, but were given $100 at the airport -- so you are out $280?

One issue is that you were missing the luggage for 36 hours -- 100 for 36 hours is fairly generous. However 36 hours was already too late as you were just about to speak.

I understand that you did not want to look unprofessional (there is a reason I wear a suit jacket and pack a skirt, shirt and clean underwear in my hand luggage if I have something very important business wise the next day.

I have no familiarity with the legal system in Israel, but I can foresee that that a lawyer for Korean would say that it was not their fault that you filed for reimbursement with the wrong airline and that the 21 day limit for filing for reimbursement is clearly listed on their website.

I think your best chance is appealing to the executives.
This is the information Korean Air has on their website:

https://www.koreanair.com/mobile/global/en/traveling/baggage-services/lost-damaged-items.html


7) Any liability of KAL for delay, damage or lost baggage is as follows, and depreciation is applied.
a. Any liability of KAL except b. below is limited to 250 French Gold Francs or its equivalent (the United States equivalent is approximately USD 20) per kilogram in the case of checked-in baggage, and 5,000 French Gold Francs or its equivalent (the United States equivalent is approximately USD400) per passenger in case of unchecked-in baggage or other property. In the event of delivery to the passenger of part but not all of his or her checked-in baggage, or in the event of damage of part but not all of such baggage, the liability of KAL with respect to the undelivered or damaged portion shall be reduced proportionately on the basis of weight, notwithstanding the value of any part of the baggage or contents thereof.
b. The liability of KAL is 1,131 SDRs for checked-in and unchecked-in baggage where the Montreal Convention applies to your journey. In case of unchecked- in baggage, including personal items, the carrier is liable if the damage resulted from its fault or that of its servants or agents.

Again, use our company contacts and write to KAL.

Thanks both Christina and Neil!
To be completely honest , I've been flying regularly for many years and this was the first time an airline company mishandles my luggage! Weirdly enough, 3 weeks after I had a similar case with EuroWings, also attending a conference in that case I learned my lesson and I sent an email right after coming back from shopping and 14 days after I already had the money in my bank account!!

Regardless, I would love to appeal to the executives. How can I do it? I tried sending emails to everyone on the website, but their email addresses are blocked. Is there any other way to find out how to turn to them?
I found an American VP of Customer Relations on LinkedIn, should I try to cold call him there?

Thanks again,
Fabian
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
15,230
14,010
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#16
I have you a lik in post number 9 telling you how to write. If you sent a letter to all the Executives at once you didn’t follow the instructions in there on how to write.

Did you add an attachment in your letter? If you did that can be why your emails were indeliverable.

Please read the post I linked in #9 and start at Customer Service and write to one at a time leaving a week in between each email. Don’t add any attachments.

If the email addresses are invalid, please report them here:

https://www.elliott.org/add-a-company/
 
Dec 15, 2018
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#17
I have you a lik in post number 9 telling you how to write. If you sent a letter to all the Executives at once you didn’t follow the instructions in there on how to write.

Did you add an attachment in your letter? If you did that can be why your emails were indeliverable.

Please read the post I linked in #9 and start at Customer Service and write to one at a time leaving a week in between each email. Don’t add any attachments.

If the email addresses are invalid, please report them here:

https://www.elliott.org/add-a-company/
Hi Neil,
I sent them one-by-one.
After I saw that the first one didn't work, I tried the second one, then the third and so on.
Also server claim that those emails don't exist, which means the original recipients have probably asked to change their emails. I tried it now once again without the fail and it failed exactly the same.

I reported the emails a few days ago.
 
Jul 15, 2016
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#18
Thanks both Christina and Neil!
To be completely honest , I've been flying regularly for many years and this was the first time an airline company mishandles my luggage! Weirdly enough, 3 weeks after I had a similar case with EuroWings, also attending a conference in that case I learned my lesson and I sent an email right after coming back from shopping and 14 days after I already had the money in my bank account!!

Regardless, I would love to appeal to the executives. How can I do it? I tried sending emails to everyone on the website, but their email addresses are blocked. Is there any other way to find out how to turn to them?
I found an American VP of Customer Relations on LinkedIn, should I try to cold call him there?

Thanks again,
Fabian

Hello, friendly advice since it is happening to you more than once: Pack everything in a carry on! Yes, you can do it, especially travelling in business class where allowance is higher... I travel for business frequently and always take everything with me, including carry on luggage (with business and even gym clothes) plus laptop bag with documents, etc. So next time it happens you dont have to deal with claims, go to shopping, etc.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Dec 15, 2018
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#19
Thanks for the advice though I prefer taking the risk in most cases.
I hate getting around with a huge carry-on or without enough clothes, especially when I travel for a week.
Besides, the solution is that the airlines will become more accountable and own their mistakes. Not being able to trust an airline with your luggage is outrageous.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
I agree with FabianSC — I do not want to haul around the luggage —- and in some airports (FCO is one) and airlines there are restrictions as to the size and weight on the carryon even in business class.

I just carry the immediate next day necessities it the carry on and check the rest.

In general I have had good luck with luggage, the only recent delay was for about 36 hours but that was when I was on the return so I was back home and no need to purchase anything.
 
Likes: fabiansc