United Airlines - Wedding Bag Lost
I did not expect an airline to provide such atrocious customer service and to have such a disregard for customer property. My wife and I flew back to Canada from our wedding in California. Our flight was re-routed to Seattle due to weather conditions at our home airport. We were scheduled to fly out on our honeymoon that same night, so once we arrived in Seattle we had to scramble to make alternative arrangements. To make matters worse, our luggage didn't arrive. It appeared scanned at Seattle airport, but it was not on the carousel when we got there. The United rep at the baggage desk in Seattle was, to put it mildly, a complete imbecile. He couldn't care less about our situation and kept walking around a little circle of 5 bags around his desk looking at each one carefully, over and over, and telling me "it's not here, but it has to be here because it's scanned." Thanks for going out of your way buddy.
Over the course of the next month, we probably called United over 100 times. Each time we were sent to a call centre in India. The reps there were useless, since their only contribution was to input a search request in the computer that then went to Seattle. You would think that if the same search request came 100 times to the airport, someone there would think to place a call or have the decency to contact the complainant. No one called us.
After about 50 calls, we started to figure out the call centre business and finally get through to someone in the US. Every five calls or so we even had the privilege of convincing the person to get someone from the airport on the line - we couldn't talk to the airport directly, we had to pass messages through the person who took our call who would then put us on hold, speak to the Seattle rep, then relay that rep's message back to us. If it wasn't for the sentimental and valuable stuff we had in our luggage, the whole farce would have been somewhat funny.
Again, no progress. We went back to Seattle one weekend to check. We went to our airport. We wrote letters. United started an investigation but no one called us for 3 months.
Eventually, talking to one very helpful and smart person back at Seattle airport (we had to go back to the actual airport to find this person), it became clear what happened. Since there is no policing the baggage area, the bags came out once the plane landed. Because we were re-rerouted however, we had to sit in the plane for some time while United made arrangements for the passengers. During this time, the luggage was sent to the carousel. It hit the carousel a good 10 minutes before we disembarked. It was therefore clearly stolen. A number of workers at the airport confirmed that theft was rampant there. Basically anyone can walk off the street and take a bag away. We talked to the police and they investigated, but given that more than 2 weeks had gone by, all the surveillance footage had been erased. They said there are multiple thefts there everyday. No luck.
About 10 years ago, apparently, United had a security system in place where a rep checked your bags before you left the claim area. After talking to more United reps, we were told that they made a decision to abandon this security to reduce costs. They basically decided that paying out claims for lost luggage was less costly than maintaining security in the baggage area.
After accusing United of negligence and complaining over an over, we eventually got a measly cheque that covered basically our expenses in doing our own investigating - phone bills, costs of driving to Seattle, etc. The bag was never found. It contained all our wedding things - dress, suit, gifts, other clothing we brought for the occasion, some mementos, probably about $30k worth of stuff. The piece of slime that stole it must have thanked God for his luck.
United is completely negligent and uncaring towards its passengers. It makes no effort to secure the baggage that comes off their planes in known theft zones. It makes no effort to give complaining passengers all the details they need to find their bags, like informing them that they ought to also notify the police. They have established an elaborate Kafkaesque system to make it extremely difficult to speak to customer service reps in the US, at the airports, or who would actually be able to help or give you information. The almighty claims reps, high on themselves, are rude and obnoxious, an aromatic stew of arrogance and stupidity. Their compensation for losing your property due to their own negligence is paltry and a complete insult. They actually, in our case, were obligated under law to pay us more but ignored those laws assuming that we won't start a claim.
Even the worst airlines don't treat customers this badly.
If anyone is up for a massive media campaign to expose this company for their dismal practices and strong-arming of customers I'm in!
Review about: United Airlines Baggage Policy.
Reason of review: Poor customer service.
Monetary Loss: $32000.