Another lost luggage case and another round of the silent treatment from Aer Lingus

Lisa Evans’ story is the next verse of the same old song from Aer Lingus. She was scheduled to fly from Dallas to Dublin by way of Philadelphia. Unfortunately, at the end of the trip, her luggage didn’t show up at the baggage carousel in the Dublin airport. She didn’t receive it for four days – and Aer Lingus is ignoring her claim for reimbursement.

Evans would like to know: How much does Aer Lingus owe her in reimbursement for her missing bag? She wants them to cover her claim for all four days she was separated from her bag. Aer Lingus is willing to reimburse her for only three days.

Her story begins at Dallas-Fort Worth Airport, from which Evans was scheduled to depart on an American Airlines flight to Philadelphia on July 2. Unfortunately, inclement weather led American Airlines to reroute Evans’ flight, which was diverted to Chicago and Heathrow Airport in London before arriving in Dublin.

But when Evans deplaned in Dublin, her bag was still in Chicago. Aer Lingus delivered it to Evans on July 6. Meanwhile, Evans incurred $550 in costs for replacement clothing and other necessities while waiting to be reunited with her bag.

She filed a missing baggage claim with American Airlines. A specialist with American’s Central Baggage Resolution Office responded to Evans’ claim:

Thank you for contacting American Airlines. I am sorry your bag didn’t arrive with you in Dublin.

For the benefit of our customers, airlines have agreed that the customer’s final carrier will process baggage claims regardless of where the bag is checked or where the mishandling occurred. As your final carrier was Aer Lingus, please contact them for further assistance with your claim. I am sorry for any misunderstanding.

Evans then filed a missing baggage claim with Aer Lingus, filling out an interim expense form on its website and sending them copies of her receipts. Aer Lingus then sent her a form email assigning her a case number. But she heard nothing further from Aer Lingus for a month, at which time she emailed Aer Lingus’ customer service to follow up. Aer Lingus sent her another form email, which assigned her another case number.

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When she heard nothing further from Aer Lingus for several weeks, she asked on Twitter what the normal response time is for Aer Lingus to process a missing baggage reimbursement claim, and was told 60 days. Aer Lingus sent her no further updates on her case for yet another month. She made yet another inquiry – but received only a form email with still another case number.

Although Evans might have escalated her complaint using our company contacts for Aer Lingus, she contacted our advocacy team for help.

Although American Airlines denied Evans’ claim and directed her to contact Aer Lingus, it should have accepted responsibility for its failure to place the bag on Evans’ connecting flight in Chicago. American Airlines’ International General Rules provide that

in the event the checked baggage does not arrive on the American Airlines or American Eagle flight designated on the passenger ticket, [American Airlines] will make reasonable efforts to return the baggage to the passenger within 24 hours of flight arrival time for domestic U.S. travel. Passengers should notify an [American Airlines] baggage agent prior to leaving the airport that checked baggage is missing. Once the baggage is located, a local delivery company will return the bag to the local address at [American Airlines’] expense.

Given that Evans didn’t get her bag back for four days after checking it, American didn’t fulfill its obligation under this rule to return it to her within 24 hours of her flight.

According to Aer Lingus’ conditions of carriage,

We shall only be liable for Damage sustained in case of Damage to Checked Baggage where the event that caused the Damage took place on board our aircraft or during any period within which the Checked Baggage was in our charge. … [Our] liability generally in the case of Damage to Checked Baggage shall be limited to 1,131 Special Drawing Rights per passenger…

Evans’ claim of $550 falls within the Special Drawing Rights limit of approximately $1,589. And Aer Lingus’ conditions of carriage are silent on the number of days’ worth of delay-related expenses for which it will provide reimbursement. Aer Lingus should have reimbursed Evans’ claim in full.

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Our advocates reached out to Aer Lingus, but unfortunately, they had no more success than Evans at getting a response to her claim.

It’s not the first time we’ve met with silence from Aer Lingus regarding lost baggage, and sadly, it probably won’t be the last. We reluctantly file her story as a Case Dismissed.

Jennifer Finger

Jennifer is the founder of KeenReader, an Internet-based freelance editing operation, as well as a certified public accountant. She is a senior writer for Elliott.org. Read more of Jennifer's articles here.

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