Baggage compensation...what is enough?

I stumbled across this post at the Elliot.org blog about one woman's Christmas travel fiasco with American Airlines and her baggage. Apparently, not only did her luggage arrive quite late, but it was (purposefully) not mailed to the forwarding address she had left with the airline company when she reported the missing bag. To top it off, she was not compensated the checked baggage fee she demanded when she reported these errors to AA.

Elliot.org took a poll on everyone's reaction to the 'compensation' she received from AA and most readers felt that AA could have handled the situation better (AA refused to refund her bag fee on the grounds that the money was spent to send the bag back to her).  Personally, I feel that if AA is not going to refund a bag fee when they lose a customer's checked bag, they should charge more to at least be sure they can pay to send the bag all the way back to the owner, instead of insisting the owner meet them part way en-route.

 What do you think?
1 Response
  1. Lexa Flasher Says:

    Regardless of any fee charged mis-routed or delayed checked baggage on a common carrier should be mailed to any place the traveler wants or, at the airlines option, held an airport of the traveler's choice of any that the responsible airline serves or any airport on the affected itinerary within 5 days. This would most often be the origination or final destination airport of the itinerary but it leaves room for some flexibility.

    This would provide a reasonable level of minimum service while still allowing the flexibility for different airlines to differentiate their services and provide a range of options for consumers (budget vs. ala carte vs. premium). Lost luggage is a risk of traveling that should not be passed on to all consumers in the form of higher fees. People, especially poorer people, need to travel more so keeping it affordable is important.

    Anything beyond that is a business choice and an agreement between the airline and the customer. Guaranteeing that any lost or delayed luggage will be mailed to any destination using the fastest available shipping method would be a good candidate for an add-on service. This would be very similar to options for shipping packages (guaranteed delivery, faster service, and extra insurance all cost extra).

    It sounds like the consumer here wanted a premium lost baggage insurance where they courier will RISK THEIR LIFE to get their baggage back to them quickly without having to PAY for lost baggage insurance. I can't support that attitude at all. The airline was going to do it, well above and beyond the level of service specified in their agreement with the customer, for free, SAME DAY (on Christmas), but they were in the middle of nowhere and the roads were covered with snow. I don't want to pay to keep whiners like these happy every time I fly.

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