WOW Air - no reimbursement for undelivered luggage

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Feb 27, 2019
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#1
Despite our many requests, phone calls and emails, Wow Air never returned our luggage. They delivered it 17 days after our arrival to our daughter’s house where we were staying, but by the time it was delivered we had started our return journey back home, 7000 kms away. Wow Air said they would not forward it from the United States to France, where we lived. All their email responses to us indicated that they felt they had done their job by delivering it, but so late that we were already gone home without our luggage, and only offered to compensate us for about $400. They claimed that they were operating under the Montreal Convention. It turns out the Montreal Convention says a luggage is considered lost if not delivered within 21 days and the maximum amount that can be claimed is $1,700. So that is what we asked for since 5 months later, we still didn’t have it despite being in constant communication with them. They refused, claiming that the luggage was delivered (not to us!). We are hoping to find a way to get properly compensated and hoping that Elliot Advocacy will be more successful than we have been in resolving this matter.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#2
WOW is teetering on bankruptcy so there may be a cash flow problem.

With an low cost carrier there are fewer staff members to attend to problems— why do you think the prices are low? There is less support staff.

Did you inform WOW that the luggage would need to be rerouted to a different address? The luggage was not lost, or declared lost. Did WOW offer to pay expenses? Do you have receipts to send them for expenses?

WOW is trying to get more funding - the deadline is the end of March, so it is bad.
 
Jul 13, 2016
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#3
I am not sure you will be able to get the airline to re-route it. Did you communicate with WOW before you left your daughter's home, saying that the bags, if found, needed to go to France instead? If you told them you were flying back home, and they still delivered to the USA address, you could have a better case for WOW paying to send your luggage to you.
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 27, 2019
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#4
Yes, we did inform WOW of the date we were leaving, and that we needed to have our luggage before that date. We called again the day before we left. They told us that they would not forward our luggage to France. The luggage was missing for seventeen days, before they delivered it, too late. WOW offers to pay expenses, but only for those 17 days. They say they have delivered the suitcase to “someone” on “our behalf”, and feel they have done their part. They have all the receipts. They don’t want to pay for anything after that date. They later pretended they were trying to forward our suitace, but, true to what they had said several months before, they never forwarded it. So our luggage has been missing for five months altogether, until my daughter brought it herself to us.
 

Neil Maley

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#5
So you do have the luggage now?

This is the problem booking these discount airlines- and to boot this one is in severe financial trouble. I do t know you will get any satisfaction.

This is what the Montreal Convention says about delayed luggage:

Delayed Luggage

Should your luggage be delayed, the airline must replace the essential items such as toiletries or refund you their cost if you need to replace them yourself. They must also provide information as to their location in real-time.

If they found the luggage after 21 days, you would have been entitled to compensation but what you says is they found it after 17 days- they just refused to return it to your home. And that’s where I’m not quite sure there is any compensation that would be due except if you had to purchase clothing and essentials to wear while you were at your daughters. You are caught in a gray area because Wow delivered the luggage to the place you were supposed to have it in less then the 21 days you could have filed for drawing rights. Except you were already home.

Right now you are asking for a goodwill gesture for the terrible inconvenience of not having the luggage for five months. You might have had a better chance of compensation if your daughter had shipped the luggage back to you- turn you would have had a receipt with an actual expense to go after them for.

This is certainly an odd case I hope our writers will take another look at after you follow our thread on how to write all the way up the executive chain.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#6
Did your daughter have to pay extra luggage fees to bring your luggage to you?

Not a surprise that WOW messed up with the delivery. Not sure why they would not deliver the bags to France -- other than it just taking more work.

WOW is a mess right now. They have had to give up planes, had to pay financial penalties for early lease termination -- and have been late making the payroll (all this according to the news in Iceland). There are negotiations for an investment/loan from a private equity company and the deadline is the end of March. It is widely speculated that without this cash WOW will file for bankruptcy.

How much did you spend buying things?

I am concerned that WOW will not get the investment and then go bankrupt -- leaving nothing.
 
Feb 27, 2019
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#7
Sorry this is very long, but it is necessary for anyone who wants to fully understand the situation.

Wow made a mistake and they just don’t assume because of points of view that seem neither reasonable, nor fair, nor completely honest, and with no moral value. Low cost company is not an excuse. We often travel with low-cost companies. We always have had good service and we thanked them for that. They even have always been on time. We don’t complain here about the two consecutive delays on the first part of our flight with WOW, or about a third delay on the second part. We are really only asking for what is fair and honest.

We never received information on the location of our luggage in real-time, even though we called WOW every other day for the whole time we were at my daughter’s. We finally received word that our baggage had been tendered at FedEx location in Los Angeles (our port of arrival in the US) on January 3rd, and was then in transit to my daughter’s place in another State, where it arrived after we were gone. WOW has known all the time, from the first day, that we were leaving my daughter’s place January 5. Where was our suitcase, between December 19, 2017 and January 5, 2018 (seventeen days), and what did WOW do to have it arrive at destination on time (=while we were still there)?

They always “apologize for the delay of [our] baggage and the inconvenience it may have caused [us]”, but don’t take action to repair their mistake.
We have received all kinds of excuses, even false accusations:

February 23, 2018 (over two months later): “Given the information we have, we have concluded that either you did indeed receive your bag on January 5th or you willingly let FedEx leave your bag at a location you were no longer in. Therefore we will not be able to accept your claim.”!!! Both accusations were false, of course. We provided proofs and received the next email: “Thank you for all the information that really clarified a few things … we will now look into our delivery process with them [FedEx].” (February 26).

March 9, 2018 (almost three months later): “We are currently working on getting your baggage back to you. In the meantime we can process your delayed baggage claim …: 447,26 EUR (18 days x 25 USD + 51,99 x 2 = 553,98 USD).” Note in passing that the 51,99 X 2 for the registered luggage that was never delivered to us, are EUR and not USD …
Later that same day, March 9: “The request to pick up your bag and send it to you was sent on February 27th. Have you received your baggage?” Well, no, and no one ever heard about the baggage going to be picked up, at that time or later. All this appears to have been only a diversion.

April 3, 2018 (three and a half month later, still without our baggage): “We are offering you compensation for the 18 days you were travelling without your bag and had to replace your essential items, after those 18 days you were back home where we trust you have access to things you need while waiting for your baggage, and access to a washing machine to clean the clothes you were wearing on your way home.!!!
For one thing, we were not back home after January 5, 2018. We made a stop in Los Angeles, where they equally didn’t forward our luggage, even though we asked them for it. They perfectly knew we were there, since we called them, and our return was on the same WOW ticket : Paris, France - Los Angeles Tuesday, December 19, 2017 and Los Angeles Wednesday, January 10, 2018 - Paris Thursday, January 11, 2018 : 23 days “travelling without our bag”.
Besides that, we had belongings in our suitcase that we wear on special occasions, of which we don't have an extra one, and we have been deprived of those for five full months ….

But this, they refuse to see : The last agent who interfered for the first time on this case (November 2, 2018), said: “Our liability for your baggage starts after you check your baggage in with us and ends as soon as it is delivered to you or someone on your behalf, as in your case your daughter receives the baggage.” Yes, she did receive it, but again, she lives 7 000 kms away from us, across the ocean ….

If WOW refused to transfer the luggage, back to Los Angeles, or directly to France, chances are that, true, because it is more work for them, but mostly because FedEX charges 537,46 USD for a 20 kgs suitcase "Economy", 671,05 USD "Priority", and 721,34 USD "First". They never repatriated our suitcase to France. Someone (my daughter) did the job on their behalf. What about paying her for the work and the transit fare that behooved them?

Whether WOW considers the luggage has been “lost” during those five months we have been deprived of our belongings, then the maximum compensation spoken of in the Montreal Convention applies : 1 700 USD, or the luggage has been delayed for five months : 150 days X 25 $ = 3750 $ + fees for registered luggage never delivered + shipping of our suitcase to deliver it to us, and not to “someone on our behalf”, all this amounts to about 4 500 USD … Either way we look at it, we feel the maximum compensation spoken of in the Montreal Convention is a minimum in this case. They have insurance for that.

All this has been a nightmare that has impacted us and our family financially, but also physically and morally. At this point, yes, we have our luggage, but not returned by WOW Air. My daughter did the job. They have the receipts for what we bought. What about what we have borrowed? The impact goes far beyond: False accusations, stress, loss of sleep, loss of time spent in writing emails, etc. We have had twenty different claim numbers on this case, only because different WOW agents interfered, and we had to repeat the same things over ....
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#8
I can certainly understand your frustration. But again- they are on the verge of bankruptcy and I don’t think they care one way or another about their service.

It’s really important to check out low cost airlines before you book because so many of them, particularly in Europe, are in dire financial straights.

Have you filed a complaint with the DOT? If you haven’t you should report the violation of the Montreal Convention:

https://airconsumer.dot.gov/escomplaint/ConsumerForm.cfm

Let us know if that works.
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 27, 2019
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#9
Thank you for the advice, We did not know about that, we'll try it and will let you know.

By the way, I forgot to mention that the last agent on this case (November 2, 2018, above) ended her email with : "We are currently offering to compensate for 50% of the expenses while the baggage was not in the hands of you or your daughter: 391,27 EUR." Even less than what they started with ....
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
WOW was absolutely inept in the handling of your luggage and the way you were treated.

But when I make comments on the low cost airline business structure, it is looking at the business from an economic point of view. They have the minimal staffing and tend to pay less. Why would a competent person want to work for less and with a more unstable company -- why work for WOW vs Icelandair? Now add in that this is a low cost airline that is in financial distress --- first Icelandair was looking into a merger -- and they said no in November -- which leads me to believe that they saw that WOW was in bad state -- now there is a private equity company that may invest but the deadline is the end of the month.

Why are they offering less now? They are running out of money, that is why. And the employees have had late paychecks so it is a bad situation there.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#11
I am very glad you got your luggage back ... at least that's some consolation. Low-cost travel providers are fine for lots of people. They have little customer service, that's where they save money. If a normal airline has 8 baggage handlers for an airplane, WOW may have 5. So LOTS of bags are mishandled. When you see the big picture, not just the low fare, it's easy to see why so many people are harmed by these airlines. Budget travelers who don't check luggage and don't care when they arrive are about the only people who should be booking these kinds of travel providers. If they weren't nearly insolvent, I would advise that you persist in asking WOW for the full amount they owe you. But unless they're bought out by a stronger company, they will continue to ignore your requests. It's not fair, but it's reality. Your post will serve to alert other readers about the problems booking a budget airline, so we thank you for posting. I wish we could be more positive and help you.
 
Likes: VoR61
Feb 27, 2019
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#12
The reason they are offering less now does not seem linked to the fact they are running out of money. What the lady says makes rather think of a crisis of authority, trying to prove something, either to the agent she took the place of, creating a new case, about the twentieth, or to us, or to both, to show how she knows better and can quiet down or silence unsatisfied guests. The lady writes:

Our liability for your baggage starts after you check your baggage in with us and ends as soon as it is delivered to you or someone on your behalf, as in your case your daughter receives the baggage. “
“… we are compensating you for essential items purchased while your bag was not delivered. “
“We have offered you in addition to compensating for essential items while you were without your bag ...”.


There is a contradiction there: we were without our bag for five full months. They refuse to acknowledge the difference between the two assertions. Delivering the bag to “someone on our behalf” may make them feel good, and consider they have done their part, but it didn’t help us a bit during the five months we were without our bag, deprived of our belongings.

The lady continues: “we cannot see why you were not able to pick up your bag with your daughter at the same time.” ??? What does that mean ??? Either she did not read the exchanges of mails, or she did not understand them. All the other agents who intervened on this case understood we were not there to pick up our bag which arrived too late (after we were gone), or at the wrong place (since we were elsewhere, at the time the suitcase was delivered), whichever way we look at it.

The lady concludes: “You declined our earlier offer. Our new offer is:
We are currently offering to compensate for 50% of the expenses while the baggage was not in the hands of you or your daughter: 391, 27 EUR.
That means nothing for the repatriation of our suitcase to France. Is that to make us regret not accepting their “earlier offer”?
 
Feb 27, 2019
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#13
Incidentally, because they had mentioned they needed … our “booking number and our luggage claim number”, to refund the amount they offered “to the MasterCard used at the time of our booking”, we told them on June 21, 2018: “To do this, however, we need to know what luggage claim number to include”, since the claim numbers “changed with time, for lack of follow-up by the same person from the beginning. Please confirm the right claim number to include.”
They never answered our questions. Because they didn’t know themselves which claim number to choose among the twenty claims that were generated by their system?

All their false excuses not to assume their mistake appear to be due more to a lack of respect of others and of integrity, rather than a problem of lack of money. You can have no money and still be honest and keep your moral values, when you have any. Insurance is there to compensate the lack of money, WOW pays for it.
 
Jan 6, 2015
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#14
My understanding after reading through your posts several times:
  • You were without your luggage for 17 days
  • You quote the Montreal Convention's "lost luggage" provision as occurring at 21 days
  • Your daughter has possession of the luggage
  • WOW Air now offers 50% of their original offer
  • You are in France and still without the luggage
If correct my thoughts are:
  • You can find an executive to contact here: www.elliott.org/company-contacts/wow-air
  • I would tell the executive "dispassionately" that you will accept the original offer ($400) if they will pay to ship the bags to France
As others have said, they are going through bankruptcy, which affects all their operations. While you would like more, I would ask (as I would for myself) "how much stress is this worth". Given all the variables here, I'd be happy to get my luggage and $400.

Something to consider . . .
 
Likes: ADM

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#15
You still have the option of filing a complaint about violations of the Montreal convention. They should be offering you what you would receive for a violation of that. Look and see what you would receive and if they are offering more consider taking it. If less you can file but it looks like they are punishing you for not jumping on your first offer.
 
Feb 27, 2019
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#16
My understanding after reading through your posts several times:
  • You were without your luggage for 17 days
  • You quote the Montreal Convention's "lost luggage" provision as occurring at 21 days
  • Your daughter has possession of the luggage
  • WOW Air now offers 50% of their original offer
  • You are in France and still without the luggage
If correct my thoughts are:
  • You can find an executive to contact here: www.elliott.org/company-contacts/wow-air
  • I would tell the executive "dispassionately" that you will accept the original offer ($400) if they will pay to ship the bags to France
As others have said, they are going through bankruptcy, which affects all their operations. While you would like more, I would ask (as I would for myself) "how much stress is this worth". Given all the variables here, I'd be happy to get my luggage and $400.

Something to consider . . .
Something to consider . . .
Thank you for the advice. I am sorry if I did not make myself clear enough.
- We were without our luggage for five full months.
- WOW did have FedEx deliver the suitcase to my daughter, after eighteen days, but that was after we had left her home to return to our own home.
- My daughter did bring the suitcase to us after five months. She did her best since she has her own job and family, and cannot do the work for WOW, who did not want to do it.
- We now have our suitcase thanks to my daughter. WOW doesn’t care whether we have it or not. They feel good about having delivered the suitcase to “someone on our behalf”, even though that was 7 000 kms away from where we live, across the ocean. And obviously, this is not their problem.
 
Feb 27, 2019
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#17
You still have the option of filing a complaint about violations of the Montreal convention. They should be offering you what you would receive for a violation of that. Look and see what you would receive and if they are offering more consider taking it. If less you can file but it looks like they are punishing you for not jumping on your first offer.
Yes, thank you very much for the advice, we are going to do that very soon and will let you know the result.
 
Likes: VoR61
Jan 6, 2015
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#18
When I read the text of the M.C., they refer multiple times to "delivery at destination". Did you fly back to France with WOW Air? If not, then your daughter's residence would meet that definition in my opinion. And, as Christina has stated, they are already not meeting their "obligations", so I fear that the longer you wait, the less you may receive.

Thank you for the clarification. I did miss that you have the luggage.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
Coccinelle I would urge you to act quickly.

As I said there is no doubt that WOW has treated you terribly. WOW should have sent the luggage to you in France but that would cost money — one of the reasons WOW has problems is rising fuel costs — and sending luggage adds to weight which adds to cost.

WOW is in negotiations with an investment firm for a loan in return for equity— yes a loan.

People were fired, planes returned, the plane lease companies have early termination fees, contracts with landing airports cancelled and airports want the subsidies back—oh they may be technically in default to bond holders over disclosure— WOW is running out of money.

I do not know what the chances are of them getting the loan but if not then likely official bankruptcy.
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#20
Also VoR61 brings up a good point. Did you fly back to France on WOW? Did you have any prepaid luggage fees to be reimbursed or did you have to buy necessities and that took the prepaid luggage allowance?

My concern is that WOW will declare formal bankruptcy.
 
Likes: VoR61