Qantas won't help us after delaying our baggage 6 of our 8 vacation days to Sydney.

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Aug 23, 2019
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#1
We planned our family trip almost one year in advance, booking ORD > SYD for date 7/31/19 - 8/10/19 via Qantas for myself, my husband, 2 kids, and both sets of in-laws. We had a connecting flight in SFO on 7/31/19 after leaving ORD, but it was delayed and we ended up missing our connecting flight. Landing in SFO around 1:30am, we were given no hotel vouchers, no help, and told our 7 checked bags would be held until we check in for our flight later that day with Qantas and we would need to have Qantas retag them. Rebooked to leave SFO > SYD on 8/1/19 evening, upon check-in later that afternoon we asked the Qantas agents as many ways possible if our bags would get on our flight, but we were told the agent that pulls bags out of the cage was not at work at that time, it would take hours to bring our bags up to us to see then get tagged, and we could miss our flight if we wait. The agents assured us the 7 checked bags would get on flight, and to ask boarding agents to track our bags before boarding. We got to the gate, the same agent from check-in was one of the boarding agents, so I did as she told me earlier and asked her to check our luggage tags. She checked and said all 7 checked bags were on the aircraft. I asked her this multiple times. We landed on 8/3/19 in SYD and turned out of 7 checked bags were not on the flight. We were lied to. We filed the missing luggage the at airport. From 8/3/19 onward I called the Qantas number given for finding our bags multiple times a day and no one knew where our bags were. On 8/5/19 I went to Twitter and asked AA (our ORD > SFO leg was Qantas operated by AA) and Qantas about our missing bags and in 5 hours AA confirmed they were in SFO. I alerted Qantas via Twitter and phone of what I found out from AA and yet it took 3 days to get us our bags.
Those 3 days were filled with me calling and using Twitter to try to get any update if our bags were getting to us before we had to leave on 8/10/19. On 8/8/19 we received the last of the 7 bags by 9pm.
We got 1 full day with our luggage before we had to leave Sydney on 8/10/19. We wasted our whole vacation tracking down our missing bags. I kept telling them from the start that medicine and insulin were in the bags, but no urgency to help us.
Would you be able to help us as we incurred many expenses due to the mess Qantas created and they think 60AUD per person for 3 days max is enough to cover what we incurred. Plus a whole vacation wasted due to all of this. Much more details to share regarding what we went through to simply get our bags back. Please let me know if additional information is needed. Thanks.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#4
I have some information and some questions . . .

According to GoodRx, "Once opened, insulin is only good for about a month." So, if the insulin in the bags was unopened, you should have been okay without refrigeration for your trip.

According to Quantas' Contract of Carriage, in paragraph 7.4 Restrictions on Checked Baggage it states that "You must not include in your Checked Baggage:"
  • fragile, delicate or perishable items
  • computers
  • items with a special value, such as money, jewellery, precious metals, silverware, negotiable papers, share certificates, securities or other valuable documents
  • cameras
  • personal electronic equipment including compact discs
I think insulin could reasonably considered "perishable", and if you had any other items on this list, this policy is their way of denying responsibility for loss or damage.

My questions are:
  • Was $40 USD per person/per day insufficient to purchase clothing and toiletries?
  • No one was able to get out and enjoy Sydney the whole time due to the missing luggage (clarification)?
Although your stay was clearly impacted, any request for additional compensation must, I think, reflect reasonable loss that falls within their Contract of Carriage. Just my thoughts . . .
 
Jul 30, 2018
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#5
What a dreadful experience! A few thoughts:

1. No medicine should ever be packed in checked luggage. There's always the likelihood that your baggage will be lost along the way and as you have learned the hard way, it can take several days for you to recover it. Transport it in your carry on bag! Additionally, the baggage area on an aircraft is not climate controlled and the exposure to extreme temperature could damage the medicine. Lost baggage isn't the only way you can find yourself separated from your luggage: flight disruptions and cancellations could mean you won't see it for an extended period of time. I always pack in my hand carry luggage a complete change of clothing and all necessary toiletries, as well as nonperishiable snacks.

2. The airline will reimburse you for reasonable expenses you incurred purchasing items to tie you over until the baggage is found. Have you submitted your receipts for reimbursement? Additionally, if you have purchased any travel insurance covering this trip you may have benefits to cover baggage delay expenses.

3. Unfortunately, the airline will not reimburse you for the time you spent tracking down your lost luggage. However, I encourage you to write to the company contacts and ask for a goodwill gesture of air miles or credits toward a future flight. In your email, state only the facts in bullet point form, leaving out any emotion. Bear in mind that the person reading your email did not cause your problem, yet is in position to help you.

4. This forum provides you with the tools so you can advocate for yourself and solve your consumer problem.
 
Aug 23, 2019
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#6
Thank you everyone who has written back after my post.
Firstly, it was my mother-in-law who left her insulin in her checked bag and upon learning she did this, she told me it was because last time for a different trip, she flew airport security have her a hard time about keeping her insulin needles in her checked bag. To avoid that, this time she kept everything in her checked bag. I know such medicine shouldn't be kept in checked bag, but depending on who you get during the security process, we have gotten different responses regarding keeping her medicine in her carryon bag.
Another question above asked if no one was able to get out and enjoy Sydney due to the baggage being missing. While yes we did go out to see Sydney, we spent much of our time trying to get to the stores for what was needed, taking time away from sightseeing/etc. Plus each time I'd called Qantas to inquire about our bags, I'd be on hold almost 30-60 minutes, then the agent would have no information, then they'd ask me to call back a few hours later so in one given day I'd be on the phone morning, afternoon, and evening trying to find our bags. So overall yes we tried to enjoy it, but it was not how we planned for our time till be spent out there and did ruin our vacation.
$40 per person for 3 days was not enough to get what we needed for what ended up being the entire trip as we basically had 1 full day of our vacation with luggage then left the following morning. I even had to buy luggage to get what we had to purchase due till this dilemma just to get it home and that itself was $107. As advised, where should I find the information of the company contacts whom I should email? I'm not sure which bullet points I should include in my letter and what I shouldn't. I will keep it without emotion as advised.
Thank you for the help.
 
Aug 23, 2019
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#7
And to clarify about ther insulin- I only found out my mother-in-law left it in her checked bag once we landed in Sydney and learned the bag was missing.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#8
About the insulin and TSA, they are quite clear about the policy:


Among other things, they say: "You can travel with your medication in both carry-on and checked baggage. It’s highly recommended you place these items in your carry-on in the event that you need immediate access."

So, in theory, the TSA (at least) should not question the insulin, although I could see a question about the needles.

The contacts for Quantas are here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/qantas-airways-limited/


Steps to follow when composing your appeal . . .

Keep it brief. Excessive detail will likely be ignored
Keep it civil. Insults, personal attacks, and threats will only alienate them
Be patient. Start at the lowest contact level, and wait one (1) week before moving up to the next contact
 
Apr 10, 2017
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#9
I am so sorry about your ordeal. A hazard of keeping insulin in checked luggage is it could freeze at cruising altitude. I hope your mother-in-law was able to be seen by a physician quickly in Sydney since insulin isn't something one can simply do without.

I see what VoR61 posted regarding insulin and TSA. I do wonder what they say about the needles. The insulin is useless without them.
 
Likes: Jphil12
Jan 6, 2015
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#10
I am so sorry about your ordeal. A hazard of keeping insulin in checked luggage is it could freeze at cruising altitude. I hope your mother-in-law was able to be seen by a physician quickly in Sydney since insulin isn't something one can simply do without.

I see what VoR61 posted regarding insulin and TSA. I do wonder what they say about the needles. The insulin is useless without them.
I assume that needles are easily purchased, but not so, of course, with insulin . . .
 

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#13
Especially insulin, which requires refrigeration. Even if the trip had operated right on schedule and the bags all made it on time you run the risk of ruining the insulin.
Insulin does not require refrigeration. See below. However, as others have posted, insulin (and ALL other medications) should never be in checked luggage.

Storing Insulin

General Rules
  • To ensure that your insulin remains effective, stable and undamaged you should discard your ‘in use’ insulin after 28days, whether in a vial or cartridge.
  • Insulin that is not in use should be stored in the refrigerator. If refrigeration is not possible, it can be kept at room temperature [15-25 degrees C] for 28 days.
  • The in use vial may be kept at room temperature [15-25 degrees C] for 28 days.
  • In use cartridges should be kept at room temperature and SHOULD NOT be kept in the refrigerator.
  • Insulin has a ‘use by’ date as well as an expiry date.
 
Likes: Nixie32707

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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Maui Hawaii
#14
I assume that needles are easily purchased, but not so, of course, with insulin . . .
Syringes and needles can easily be purchased anywhere.

However, with a prescription and MD note, TSA should not question the presence of syringes and needles in carry-on luggage. If this were to happen, a request for a TSA supervisor should resolve the issue.

Patients with diabetes may need to use insulin in flight, esp with long-haul transoceanic flights.
 
Last edited:

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#15
And to clarify about ther insulin- I only found out my mother-in-law left it in her checked bag once we landed in Sydney and learned the bag was missing.
You might wish to get your mother-in-law an insulin travel kit that holds all of the needed supplies. These are readily available at pharmacies, on Amazon, etc. There is room to store insulin and syringes, a glucose meter, and a place to keep prescriptions and a doctors note. TSA should have no problem with this.
 
Jun 24, 2019
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#17
We were on AA/Qantas multiple times in May. Our baggage was delayed once, which Qantas admitted was their fault. My wife's Tumi bag was damaged. While it took a bunch of e-mails and calls, Qantas paid (they are insistent on wire transfers) for both. The damaged bag probably took 3 months from the first report to payment, including multiple calls about their difficulty in wiring funds to our bank, B of A.
 
Aug 23, 2019
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#18
Hi all, I'll try to answer the best I can per the replies I've gotten above.

Thank you for the Qantas contacts, I will follow your advice and send letters accordingly.

As for insulin- yes, without the needles its useless to the patient. Such needles are not easily purchased, per her insurance it has to be purchased through the pharmacy that has her insulin prescription. Therefore when TSA has agents that change what they tell her each time she travels, it's not easy for her (a senior) to understand clearly what is allowed and what is not. Yes I know she shouldn't have put it in her checked bag, but putting the insulin in her carryon bag and needles in her checked bag would defeat her having it when needed. I don't know what she planned to do in the scenario we ended up in, but she took an oral diabetic medication she had to manage her condition but it is was a last resort she had to deal with and made her time without her proper insulin very difficult for her. Again, I don't think anyone would ever think we'd go almost the whole vacation without our bags. I understand in hindsight we see that such a scenario can rise, but going into this trip, none of us would of assumed this. I will look into the kit mentioned and remind her of the advice given here when traveling in the future.
SoCalTraveler- did you write the company contacts in your situation which ended in Qantas being helpful?

Thanks.
 
Jun 13, 2019
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#19
Insulin does not require refrigeration. See below. However, as others have posted, insulin (and ALL other medications) should never be in checked luggage.

Storing Insulin

General Rules
  • To ensure that your insulin remains effective, stable and undamaged you should discard your ‘in use’ insulin after 28days, whether in a vial or cartridge.
  • Insulin that is not in use should be stored in the refrigerator. If refrigeration is not possible, it can be kept at room temperature [15-25 degrees C] for 28 days.
  • The in use vial may be kept at room temperature [15-25 degrees C] for 28 days.
  • In use cartridges should be kept at room temperature and SHOULD NOT be kept in the refrigerator.
  • Insulin has a ‘use by’ date as well as an expiry

    Several family members are insulin dependent diabetics. One of them is on a particular insulin that must be refrigerated at all times. We are reminded of that by both doctor and pharmacy when we refill it monthly. The others do not have that warning, but this one does.
 
Aug 23, 2019
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#20
Thanks for the info on insulin. It will be used when packing for future travels. It is something I will include in my letter, but another issue with our dilemma was that there was no urgency, no help takes how much I inquired, it took AA to respond to me within 5 hrs to find our bags but Qantas could not get us any answers. Even after that it took 3 days to get us our bags with no updated info even after AA leadership team said they no longer have our bags. Qantas would not even say they had them. Even on 8/7 night at 10pm SFO time I was asking them if they put it on board when the flight leaves there at 10:25pm, but they kept saying they did not know. Then 8/8 it arrived on the 6am flight.

Hopefully I can just summarize the important points with our dilemma in my letter and not be too wordy.

Thanks.