Checkmate for Czech Airlines?

Jack Broadbent is an Army ROTC Cadet who was lucky enough to be selected for an overseas cultural understanding and language proficiency mission in the Czech Republic this summer.

On June 4, he set out for Prague via Delta Air Lines, with a connection in Amsterdam where he switched to a flight operated by SkyTeam alliance member Czech Airlines. When Broadbent landed in Prague on June 5, he discovered that one of his checked bags was missing.

I know, you’re already groaning — so many of our tales of woe start out with lost luggage.

It gets worse for Broadbent, though. The missing bag was a military-issued duffle filled mainly with military-issued gear that he would need to replace, as well as personal belongings.

Over the next several weeks, Broadbent called Czech Airlines customer support dozens of times, but was told over and over again that his bag had not been found. They best they could do was note the last known location of the bag (Amsterdam) and admit that it had been loaded onto a plane headed for Prague. After that, however, it seems the bag disappeared into thin air (maybe it’s on the island with the rest of the LOST castaways…).

Broadbent then took to the Czech Airlines website to fill out a formal claim form including an itemized list of the contents of the luggage, the value of which amounted to over $1,300.

Although Czech Airlines’ website explicitly states that the limit for compensation of lost baggage is 1,250 euros ($1,400), Broadbent received an email from the airline on August 18 stating that they still had not found his bag, and that he would be provided with a “gesture of goodwill in the amount of 100 Euros for the caused inconveniences.”

Related story:   WOW, why did you lose my daughter's luggage and abandon her at the airport?

100 euros. That’s $110. That’s not even one tenth of what the contents of his bag were worth.

Broadbent went on to discover there was no way to contact the Czech Airlines claim department to follow up — he was repeatedly directed back to the website to fill out a complaint form.

Talk about a Catch-22.

Airlines often go out of their way to honor and recognize military service members. There are special military discount fares, the option for active duty uniformed military to board early, and Delta Air Lines — the airline Broadbent originally ticketed his trip with — offers complimentary checked bags for active duty military. But it seems Czech Airlines was happy to leave him hanging — not to mention on the hook with the military for the contents of his bag.

Well, we agree with Broadbent. That’s just unacceptable.

Luckily for our ROTC Cadet, our research team just added new executive company contacts for Czech Airlines. We’ve got the board member responsible for controlling, corporate relations and product and customer services, the vice-chairman responsible for company operations and the chairman of the board himself.

Cadet, get out there and make us proud! Hunt down the Czech Airlines executives and don’t take no for an answer. And let us know how it goes. If they give you any trouble, we’ll be here to join the fight.

Want to help consumers like Broadbent strike back? Contact our research editor Trent Bonsall. He’ll get you started with our research team so you can join our army of advocates uncovering new executive contacts each and every day.

Heather Dratler

Lover of all things travel and hospitality, both from a personal and professional standpoint. A PR pro by day, I've represented a wide variety of clients in the travel industry since 2008. Sharing my passion for and knowledge of travel makes me happy. Cornell University graduate. Follow me on Twitter @HeatherLori7.

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