DEAR TRAVEL CAREER: Last fall, my wife and I traveled to Eastern Europe for a river cruise. We missed our connection in London due to a flight delay. Our airline diverted us to Paris and Prague, with the last leg on CSA Czech Airlines.
Our luggage did not arrive with us. We immediately filed a claim for lost luggage at Prague airport. When the bags still hadn’t arrived the next day and there was no word on when or if they would, we went to buy clothes and toiletries. The luggage finally arrived late at night.
After the trip, we requested reimbursement of the costs from Czech Airlines, as they were the ones who delayed our luggage. I filed using their online form. I received an immediate canned response stating that they would process our request as soon as possible.
When I heard nothing for three weeks, I followed up, again using their online form. I received the same canned response. After waiting almost three more weeks with no response, I emailed their call center explaining the situation and asking for the status of my claim. (I got the email address from your website.)
An airline representative said the wait times were longer than normal, but promised to call me back as soon as possible. It was four months ago. I would just like Czech Airlines to adjudicate on the claim and decide what, if any, they are going to reimburse.
—Dick Helms, Tucson, Arizona
ANSWER: CSA Czech Airlines should have dealt with your complaint quickly, as promised. High traffic and call volume is one thing, but airlines can’t use that excuse for months. Your complaint fell through the cracks and the airline covered up its incompetence with form letters.
There was nothing unusual in your complaint. You filed it on time, the items you purchased were reasonable, and you provided the airline with all necessary documentation to process the claim.
Usually, when a refund claim fails, it’s because someone bought something the airline wouldn’t cover, or filed the claim too late. I couldn’t see any evidence of any of this. The only place I can find flaws is where you allowed the pharmacy to convert your dollars into crowns. Always let your bank do the conversion; otherwise, you will incur fees and an unfavorable exchange rate.
You did the right thing by calling a manager, and I’m glad you found the CSA Czech Airlines executive contacts that I list on my consumer advocacy site at www.elliott.org /company-contacts/csa-czech-airlines/. You used these contacts at the right time, when it became clear that they would not process your request quickly.
I contacted the airline on your behalf. He “found” your claim and processed a refund of $414 for clothing and toiletries.
Christopher Elliott is the Advocacy Director of Elliott Advocacy, a non-profit organization that helps consumers solve their problems. Elliott’s latest book is “How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler” (National Geographic). Contact him at elliott.org/help or email@example.com.
#airline #lost #luggage #reimburse #expenses
Post expires at 7:54pm on Friday June 24th, 2022