Hasn’t your bag made it to destination? A good complaint letter.

Your Stories · September 15, 2008

Below a real letter written by my former colleague Chris to American Airlines. It’s a very good example how to claim a reimbursement for a delayed or lost bag:

  • keep all receipts of items you had to buy;
  • take note of all calls made to the airline;
  • write down all the facts;
  • be firm and polite (no offenses!);
  • do not exaggerate with the items you buy: too many or too expensive ones.

Following this letter, my colleague has been fully reimbursed so an happy ending. We suppose that positive elements were also his frequent flyer status and his flight profile (intercontinental in business class). So likely somebody flying economy and with no significant flight history with the airline could get a partial reimbursement.

Dear American Airlines,

I have been a loyal customer of American Airlines over the years.  While I have been Platinum level in the past, I am currently an AAdvantage Gold member (number removed) due largely to being relocated to Europe two years ago.  I continue to fly your One World partners in Europe as much as I can and fly AA on return trips to the US.

In exchange for this loyalty, I was treated very poorly on a recent flight to the US.  On April 01 I travelled from Prague to London Heathrow on BA 853 and then onto JFK on AA 141.  Unfortunately, the one bag I checked never made it to JFK.  Repeated calls to your 1-800-535-5225 number revealed almost no information as to my bag’s whereabouts.

What’s worse is that your agents first approved only a $50 spending limit to replace lost clothes (April 02, 17:50).  For a business traveller, that amount is ludicrously low.  Fortunately, I was at a business casual meeting for April 02 – 03 and succeeded in almost matching that amount.  (See Kmart receipt for $53.95)   However, for April 04 – 06, I was in business meetings that required a suit.  I was subsequently authorised to spend $100 (April 02, 22:30) and another $100 (April 03, 13:00).  Again, to buy a suit for $250, with shirt and ties is impossible in the NY area.  Please see attached receipt from Nordstrom’s for $1,495.00 and from Macy’s for $156.73 for additional clothing for the remainder of the week.

An American Airlines agent finally called me on April 05 that my bag had been located and it was still at London Heathrow.  As I was returning to London on April 06, you could not have delivered my bag to me before I checked out of the Waldorf Astoria.  I therefore, picked up the bag on my return to LHR.

In exchange for this ordeal, I expect to be reimbursed the full amount of $1,705.68 and not the previously approved $250.00.  I will not charge you for the additional piece of luggage I also had to purchase.

Pending successful resolution of this matter, I fully intend to remain a loyal AA customer, especially after my move back to the US where I will have many more domestic flights.  Many thanks for your attention to this matter.


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