WOW Air, why are you ignoring my claim?

WOW Air misplaces Zack Kimble’s luggage on a trip to Iceland. When Kimble submits a claim for reimbursement of the replacement items he had to buy, WOW demands documentation that Kimble’s claim isn’t being covered by travel insurance — which he doesn’t have. Can we persuade WOW to forgo the documentation and reimburse Kimble for his luggage delay?

Question: My wife and I flew to Iceland on WOW Air for a camping trip last June, but our luggage didn’t arrive for four days. During that time it was cold and raining, and we had to pay $651 to purchase replacement clothing and toiletries while we were in Iceland. We had travel insurance, but it did not cover delayed luggage. Neither did the credit card we used to pay for the trip.

I filed a request for compensation for these expenses with WOW and sent copies of my receipts to support this claim. WOW asked for proof that I was not reimbursed by my credit card or travel insurance, but I can’t provide this. Although I’ve followed up with WOW for months, including using your executive contact information, the airline has not since responded to my claim.

Can you help me turn up the heat on WOW and get it to reimburse me without asking for additional documentation that my claim is not being otherwise covered by an outside party? — Zack Kimble, Atlanta

Answer: Brrrr! A camping trip in Iceland without warm clothing definitely isn’t my idea of a fun trip. Neither is being ignored after submitting a claim for compensation with the documentation you have.

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Unfortunately, we do see airlines, especially international ones, stonewall lost luggage claims. You suggested, and our advocates agree, that WOW’s request for proof that your claim isn’t being covered by insurance might be such a delaying tactic.

As you noted in your request for our assistance, the Montreal Convention, which covers the liability of air carriers for international flights, indicates that “The carrier is liable for damage occasioned by delay in the carriage by air of passengers, baggage or cargo.”

Article 22 of the Montreal Convention provides for reimbursement of up to 1,000 Special Drawing Rights (about $1,410) for each passenger. Your claim falls within these limits. Moreover, the Montreal Convention contains no language that allows air carriers subject to its provisions to require proof of noncoverage by insurance or third parties.

You also noted that when travel insurance covers delayed or missing luggage, it usually does so after reimbursement by the travel company. So even if your missing luggage was covered, you probably couldn’t have come up with the documentation that WOW demanded.

Because the executive contacts we list for WOW Air didn’t respond to your claim, you asked our advocates for help in getting WOW to respond.

Our advocates reached out to WOW Air on your behalf. WOW offered you $306 as compensation for your delayed luggage. Although this is only a portion of your total claim, you are happy with this resolution.

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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