Case dismissed: She didn’t file her luggage claim on time

If the first word that comes to mind when I say “lost luggage” is Alitalia, then you’ve probably been reading this site for a while.

Then again, maybe the Italian carrier has “misplaced” your checked bags in the past. Maybe your story had a happy ending.

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Lori DiGilio’s, unfortunately, does not — despite my best efforts.

Here’s what should happen when a bags don’t show up, as hers didn’t on a recent flight to Italy. You report the bag as missing, and if it isn’t found, the airline processes a claim and reimburses you. Under the Montreal Convention, you’re required to file your paperwork within 21 days of the flight.

I had a recent story that explains the ins and outs of lost luggage.

DiGilio thought she was following procedure when she filled out a so-called “irregularity” report. But she can’t be sure. Part of the form is in Italian, which she doesn’t speak.

“The resort in Germany where we were vacationing was kind enough to call Alitalia daily to see what the status of our lost luggage was,” she says. “At one point, we were told by the receptionist at our resort, that Alitalia told her we should start making a list of everything we had in the lost luggage. We did.”

DiGilio thought she was doing everything she needed. No one from Alitalia told her she was required to file a formal luggage claim beyond the irregularity report. She was led to believe that her resort was working the situation out with Alitalia, which turned out to not be true.

When she returned to the States, she began calling Alitalia. But it wasn’t easy. She phoned the airline’s “lost luggage” number, which was a maddening maze of prompts that dead-ended with fast-busy signals and voicemails.

“It was exasperating,” she told me. “First, you have to press one for English. Then you have to listen for your city of arrival. Then you listen to a recording that doesn’t make sense. Then they say, ‘Please try again.'”

The point is, she tried to reach Alitalia several times — all within the 21-day window — to file a claim. But she couldn’t reach anyone.

Finally, she emailed the airline. Here’s how it responded:

Please accept our sincere apologies for the inconvenience you incurred regarding your luggage.

Allow us to explain that claim settlements are governed by the provisions found in Article 31 of the Montreal Convention of 1999 on file with the United States Department of Transportation.

These regulations state that in the case of damage, pilferage and/or expenses incurred as a result of the delay of the checked baggage, passengers must file claims in writing within 21 days of the date the delayed luggage is delivered. Failure to submit written notice of the claim within the time frame indicated releases the carrier from liability.

Our records show that we did not receive written notice within 21 days of the delivery. As a result we have no choice but to respectfully deny your request for reimbursement.

Really?

I can understand throwing the book in DiGilio’s face if she’s never told a soul about her lost luggage. But she filed a report and made numerous good-faith efforts to contact the carrier.

I thought Alitalia was being unreasonable and should honor her claim. So I contacted the airline on her behalf.

“If pax was not within the required timeframe (see Montreal Convention 1999) we cannot make exceptions,” my contact replied. “Pax have access to info on our website as well. Thanks.”

“Pax” is airline lingo for “passenger.”

Sigh.

I’m going to have to let this one go, even though I think DiGilio did her best. True, if she’d taken the time to read Alitalia’s website, she would have known about the required forms and might have filed the correct paperwork within 21 days.

At the same time, it’s undeniable that Alitalia has placed several obstacles, including that ridiculous 800-number, in the way of customers who want nothing more than to be reunited with their long-lost luggage.

(Photo: rogi mmi/Flickr Creative Commons)

88 thoughts on “Case dismissed: She didn’t file her luggage claim on time

  1. I think an FAA complaint is in order (assuming the flight originated or terminated in the U.S.)  Alitalia can’t operate a non-working contact number and then turn around and claim she didn’t contact the airline properly in time.

      1. Actually the FAA incredibly receives so few “hard” complaints (i.e. ones involving the Contract of Carriage / laws, like this one) that each one does indeed receive a lot of attention.

        The complaints about customer service, general complaints about delayed baggage, rude personnel, change fees, etc. just get counted and binned.  But this isn’t one of those complaints.

        1. The FAA is SO understaffed I doubt even a video documented complaint of an airline opening a bag and setting fire to the contents would go unresolved.  I am pretty sure they don’t have the time to look into a couple pieces of lost luggage.

  2. Shocked that even 2 people have voted “no”. This is surely unforgiveably bad customer service (especially as the terms of the notice period on which Alitalia is relying would be illegal in many states and countries under consumer protection / onerous contract laws)

      1. I meant “if anyone else did it”. Also, Alitalia has every right to offer more generous terms than those available under Montreal if it wishes – the rep who claimed the company “couldn’t” offer compensation was simply lying.

        1. Yes I hate it when a CSE tells me that can’t do anything.  I always call them out and say, “In fact you could, but you choose not to.”

          1. Especially when they say “we”. It’s quite possibly true that *the rep* has no discretion, but “the corporation”, which is what’s meant by “we”, certainly does.

          2. while i agree that this situation seems a little fishy with Alitalia, i have to take exception to you saying that. yes, i COULD make that exception, but i CHOOSE not to get fired over breaking a rule.

          3. In that case, shouldn’t an honest direct response read, “I don’t have any authority to make exceptions…” instead of “we don’t have any choice but…”  

            There is surely someone in the organization who can exercise discretion without getting fired.  If all such persons in the organization are unreachable to consider a customer’s appeal, then that was a choice in and of itself.  Unless the organization is ashamed of that choice, why not own up to it?

    1. I voted no because the rules are international and clear.  If the OP had spent half the time reading the web site as she did allegedly on the phone, she would have done the right thing.  You just can’t get a record of something on the phone.

      1. Really?  Do you want to point to exactly what the OP did wrong according to any of the baggage policies on Alitalia’s own web site?

        Nevermind the fact that depending on whether you navigate through US or UK English and whether you go through Contact Us or Customer Care, you get one of at least 3 different and contradictory sets of baggage assistance policies.

  3. Actually the 21 days time limit does not apply to LOST luggage. It is for DELAYED luggage.
    After 21 days, the airlines must treat your  luggage as LOST. So logically, you should be able to wait for *at least* (not at most) 21 days to file a LOST claim, correct?

    See applicable section of the Montreal Convention:

    Article 31—Timely Notice of Complaints
    1. Receipt by the person entitled to delivery of checked baggage or cargo without complaint is prima facie evidence that the same has been delivered in good condition and in accordance with the document of carriage or with the record preserved by the other means referred to in paragraph 2 of Article 3 and paragraph 2 of Article 4.
    2. In the case of damage, the person entitled to delivery must complain to the carrier forthwith after the discovery of the damage, and, at the latest, within seven days from the date of receipt in the case of checked baggage and fourteen days from the date of receipt in the case of cargo. In the case of delay, the complaint must be made at the latest within twenty-one days from the date on which the baggage or cargo have been placed at his or her disposal.
    3. Every complaint must be made in writing and given or dispatched within the times aforesaid.
    4. If no complaint is made within the times aforesaid, no action shall lie against the carrier, save in the case of fraud on its part.

    1. In the case of delay, the complaint must be made at the latest within twenty-one days from the date on which the baggage or cargo have been placed at his or her disposal.

      “At the latest within twenty-one days” seems clear enough.

      1. Kindly read what the UK Air Transport User Council says about this.

        http://www.auc.org.uk/default.aspx?catid=306&pagetype=90&pageid=10190

        If at all possible, you should report any mishandled baggage problems to the service desk in the baggage collection hall before you leave the airport. It is not a legal requirement to do so, but it is very difficult to make a claim if you do not.

        Property Irregularity Report

        When you report a baggage problem at the airport, the airline or agent (there will not be separate service desks for every airline) should make out a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) and give you a copy. Your airline will want to see the PIR when making a claim. But it is not a legal requirement to have a PIR and an airline should not simply dismiss your claim without one.

        The PIR does not itself constitute a formal claim. You will need to write to the airline, within certain time limits (see below), enclosing a copy of the PIR.

        Time limits

        The Montreal Convention states that claims should be made to an airline in writing within specified time limits. The time limits are:

        damaged baggage – seven days from the receipt of the bags

        delayed baggage – twenty-one days from delivery

        lost baggage – no time limit specified in the Convention (but we advise making the complaint as soon as possible after the bag has been missing for twenty-one days – see “lost baggage” above – or after the airline has declared the bag lost if sooner).

        So for lost baggage there is NO TIME LIMIT SPECIFIED IN THE CONVENTION.

        1. There is no meaningful distinction between delayed and lost.  The luggage exists in their system somewhere, and may very well end up with the traveler at some day int he future.  There is no measurable way to make a distinction.

          1. Nonsense; the airline will have rules to make that distinction.

            The OP should consider filing a complaint with the EU aviation authorities and quoting the items posted by Tony A. above; a letter from that group may get Alitalia off the “dieci centesimi”.

          2. Considering “delayed” gets you expenses for toiletries at most and “lost” gets you reimbursement for goods, i would certainly say there is a HUGE distinction.

            I would also say that delayed means it may have gotten on a plane somewhere and went to the wrong destination, but is still showing in the system. Lost would be no record at all.

          3. Actually, the airline DOES make a distinction, as delayed luggage is that which you are claiming replacement costs for, while lost baggage is lost in its entirety.  So they do realize that if still “delayed” after 21 days, it is considered lost.

    2. Indeed, Article 31 relates to complaints for delayed baggage, a provision not at issue here. What governs here is Article 17. At paragraph 3, the Convention states that baggage is presumed to be lost if it does not arrive within 21 days of its scheduled arrival. Moreover, this article specifically states that a passenger is then entitled to enforce (i.e., to sue) the carrier for that lost baggage as per the contract of carriage.

      The same is repeated in Alitalia’s Conditions of Carriage at Article 17.2. Pursuant to Article 17.4, Aliatalia may be liable for up to SDR 1,000 (approximately USD 1,600 at current exchange rates). Finally, the Conditions of Carriage place a time limitation for bringing an action against the carrier at 2 years . . . and nowhere is a 21-day limitation mentioned. Article 20.4

      In the absence of an admission from Alitalia that it has lost the baggage, the carrier is unable to “lose” baggage before the expiration of 21 days from the time the baggage should have been delivered to the passengers. Thus, it is logically impossible for a passenger to make a claim for “lost luggage” within 21 days of arrival since the luggage is not considered lost until after 21 days have transpired.

      Based on the facts presented, this appears to be a case where the carrier is simply wrong, and may be giving wrong information to the carrier to cause her to simply go away without having to pay the claim. A more strongly worded letter to the carrier, citing to Article 17.3 of the Convention, and to Article 17.2 of Alitalia’s Conditions of Carriage, should be sent, and a demand for the payment of the U.S. dollar equivalent of SDR 1,000. Should Alitalia fail to respond, then a lawsuite should may be brought against Alitalia. It may be possible to bring the suit in a small claims court if it meets the criteria specified in Article 20.6 of the Conditions of Carriage (in which case the filing fee would likely be something around $15 or so, depending on the court).

      The full text of the Convention may be found here: http://untreaty.un.org/unts/144078_158780/3/5/11624.pdf

      The full text of the Conditions of Carriage may be found here:
      http://www.alitalia.com/US_EN/Images/86-10352Condizioni_Generali_Trasporto_EN.pdf

  4. We’re talking about lost luggage here, not “damaged, pilferage and/or expenses incurred as a result of the delay of the checked baggage” ! Alitalia is trying to hide behind a text that does not cover the case !…

    If not done already, Pax should submit the paperwork NOW and work her case through management once again, with or without your help (but I think you shouldn’t throw the towel on that one) !

  5. Let the buyer beware. This is obviously a company that knows it can get away with this sort of thing by ignoring their customers until the after the customer has missed the legally-required deadline. In the future, always be sure to know your rights and act on them without expecting this company to act for your rights against its own self-interest. Better still, don’t do business with them if you don’t like being treated this way.

  6. Hmmm, it seems that the passenger did file some paperwork here and perhaps had a reasonable belief that she was in compliance with standard procedures for lost luggage. What was this irregularity report?

    Also, the Alitalia letter refers to Montreal Convention rules for damaged luggage. Are they the same for lost luggage?

    Was the luggage ever found?

    I wonder if this case could be pursued in small claims court. It seems pretty clear that the customer’s complaint was originally valid and that Alitalia did not show due diligence towards her. Especially if the Montreal Convention places any duty to inform on the airline then I think a judge might find Alitalia negligent.

    This is another case that shows the importance of creating a paper trail rather than using the telephone.

    1. Yeah I read this and thought, “vintage Italian response.” What Aitalia should and will do are two completely different things. 

    1. A friend is going on a European cruise out of Rome and the cruise line specifically says they do not recommend flying with Alitalia

  7. How does this airline stay in business if they keep losing people’s luggage, much to their delight as they suffer no financial loss when they do?  Too bad they don’t read this column to know the amount of bad will they are buying (or not buying).

      1. Of course they have competition. There are airports—mostly smaller ones—that only have Alitalia flights, but the train also goes to these places. From the larger airports like Marco Polo and Ciampino and Pisa there are dozens of airlines.

        Ignoring your troll on healthcare.

    1. “Too bad they don’t read this column to know the amount of bad will they are buying (or not buying).”

      They don’t care.

  8. @Chris “DiGilio thought she was following procedure when she filled out a so-called “irregularity” report. But she can’t be sure. Part of the form is in Italian, which she doesn’t speak.”

    I don’t think Alitalia should be released from liability.  Why wasn’t this pax given the correct document to file her claim in addition to being given this “so-called irregularity report?”  In any event, this report does provide evidence that she had made it known to the carrier that on arrival at her destination her baggage was missing.  Where is her baggage?
    ——————–
    Sooner or later there is going to have to be a consumer revolt against companies’ use of these maddening “voice mails.”  In many cases, we are made to press at least 12 buttons before getting the infamous, “Your call is important to us….” which is the signal for an interminable wait while we listen to awful music.  These voice mails are intolerable time wasters.  Even giving us an opportunity to leave information for a call-back would be slightly more productive.

    Please bring back the live, courteous and knowledgeable customer service associates.  Companies that use them will have my business anytime.  Also, the companies that are prepared to give their customers the benefit of the doubt in order to satisfy their legitimate issues should be the ones with whom we do business.
     

    1. Perhaps everyone at Alitalia shares a pool of stolen baggage items, of course she got the wrong form (and probably the wrong phone number).

      1. I am glad to see that I am not alone. Look at the hundreds of complaints above, and onmany other sites. Because Alitalia has made me feel very stupid by believing them. Especially with their reassurances that came to nothing. They gave me wrong numbers that did not work. Their phone hangs up on you. The prompt selection does not work, it hangs up. The office you get through to refers you another number that does not work. They broke my suitcase. They gave me a claim number but refused to pay. Alitalia’s real name should be Nightmare airline.

    2. Because the public will keep buying tickets based solely on the price, no matter how bad an experience they have.  So to answer your question – never.

  9. I sincerely hope this is not the last word on this case.  With the good-faith attempts at contact, phone and paper trails, and last but not least the apparent Montreal Convention application, she should have her baggage claim honored PLUS money for time, phone calls and aggravation.

  10. Its not shocking to learn how Alitalia is an export on loosing or misplacing your luggage.  A few years ago when I and my friend flu Alitalia airlines from London to Rome, they misplaced our luggage.  We had to move on to Florence next day and airline insured to deliver our luggage to our hotel where we were to stay for 3 nights.  3 nights passed and all 4 days we spent most of our time in Florence airport, checking all the incoming planes from Rome and all over the place.  The line at the lost and found was unbelievable.  We had to add another extra night in Florence hoping that our luggages will show up.  During this time, instead of enjoying our holiday, we had to find bargain stores to buy some clothing for us to go by… our luggages never showed up… we moved on to our next destanation:  Naples.  Our local italian friend helped us in Naples airport to go thru their lost and found bags in their storage… which was BIG!  A size of a warehouse!  It took us a couple of hours to go thru the storage to locate our 2 piece luggage -note to ourselves:  never buy a black suitcase!  Why was our luggage stored in Naples? we never could understand or get an explanation for…  Unfortunately, the luggage dilema took over our holiday and spoiled it completely!  And I don’t even want to mention how on our way back we got delayed and lost our connection and had to spend 1.5 days in Boston… and finally got home to LA sick and tired.
    And would say:  enough is enough.  Alitalia makes enough business to be responsible for its mistakes!  You should go after them!!!

  11. It took me less than 15 seconds to locate and read the “lost baggage” section
    on the Alitalia website; it has a how-to list, links to forms (in
    English), and the “max 21 days” rule is right there in the main text. Plus, it describes the difference between “delayed baggage” and “lost baggage” claims. Could’ve, would’ve, should’ve.

    1. Excuse me, did you actually read it?  She filled out the irregularity report (on arrival / 0 days) which is exactly what it says:

      If your baggage has been damaged or lost during your trip, you should go to the airport’s Lost & Found Office where you will be asked to fill out a ‘Damaged Property Report’ (DPR) or a ‘Property Irregularity Report’ (PIR).   

      1. 2nd paragraph:

        After five days, if your luggage has still not been returned to you,
        please send the following documentation […]

        1. You’re not reading carefully or you’re being willfully obtuse.  What that line says is that you have to WAIT AT LEAST 5 DAYS before the next step (presumably to give them a chance to find and deliver your luggage before they process a lost luggage claim).

          Where does it mention anywhere a 21 day time limit that applies to lost items that were never delivered to a non-Italian resident?  (And BTW, you get different and contradictory baggage policies on alitalia.com depending on the user locale and navigation path)

          1. I was on the Italian site – after all, Alitalia is Italian. The to-do list says you have to submit the baggage-delayed form within 21 days to get baggage-delayed-money. In order to get baggage-lost-forever-money (after 45 days) you need to show your copy of the baggage-delayed form.

            That’s what it says. Do they follow all EU/Montréal/Italian rules… I dunno, ask Elliott. My point was that I could find all this information in 15 seconds. If DiGilio had done this, she could have made things easier for herself. Now it’s going to be a big battle to get compensation, and that’s usually not a lot of fun.

          2. Again, before you cast stones at the OP for not studying the fine print, please take more than 15 seconds to read it carefully yourself.  Every reference to 21 days is from the date of DELIVERY of the baggage.  Unless her luggage was actually found and delivered (possible, but that’s not how Chris’ article reads) I’m unable to find any deadline in Alitalia’s own (multiple) baggage policies that she missed.

          3. I’m not casting stones at the OP for not reading the fine print – I’m casting stones at her for not reading anything at all. The info is right there, in plain Italian.

          4. How do you know what she read or didn’t read?  What information is provided on the irregularity report?  You still haven’t found anything that applies to her if she never had her luggage delivered.

            BTW I’m sure it’s really easy to get pages of Italian text translated to English in Germany.

  12. I wonder if it would do any good to contact either the US embassy in Italy or the Italian consulate closest to the OP?  Sometimes a bit of diplomatic pressure works wonders.  Also, is this covered under the new EU legislation?  If so, that trumps the Montreal Convention.

    1. The embassy won’t take on a case over lost luggage.  The embassy is a lot less helpful in many situations than you could ever imagine.

      1. EU legislation isn’t local!  It carries greater weight than national legislation and is binding on all EU members.  I’m sure the legislation in question – which Chris has mentioned in the past – builds on the Montreal Convention, but it also adds new rights for passengers and therefore trumps the earlier treaty. And while I wouldn’t hope for much help from US embassies abroad, foreign consulates and embassies in the US do sometimes intercede on behalf of Americans who get into trouble in their country or with companies from their country; it’s relatively easy for them and good publicity for the country.  I’m surprised you don’t know these things – perhaps you live on Planet Fox? Or Planet Tea Party? Not my planet, anyway!

  13. Time for an Italian lesson: the baggage was lost by a bunch of cafoni goffi, her case was handled by burocrati robotichi, and denied by a bunch of vampiri senza pietà.

    It’s enough to make me never, ever fly Alitalia again—I’ve never yet heard one of these so-called “positive” endings to an Alitalia baggage problem.

  14. I went to the Alitalia web page and drilled down to Baggage Assistance.

    There was a small hyperlink (Contact and Assistance) at the bottom of their main page which too me here:

    http://www.alitalia.com/US_EN/contact_assistance/index.aspx

    Once there, I clicked on Baggage Assistance and selected the Delayed, Mishandled and lost baggages link which brought me to this location:http://www.alitalia.com/US_EN/contact_assistance/baggage_assistance/baggage.aspxHere is exactly what I found:DELAYED BAGGAGE
    In case we are not able to deliver your baggage on arrival, please report to the Lost&Found office before leaving the airport where you will receive the necessary assistance. A P.I.R. (Property Irregularity Report) will be issued and you will receive a copy along with a first necessity kit in case you are not resident at the point of arrival. You can check the status of your baggage research in the Baggage tracking section. If your baggage has not been found within 5 days of your arrival, please contact Alitalia’s Customer Relations office  as soon as possible via: Fax:  212 903 3568  
    Email: [email protected]
    Mail: Alitalia Customer Relations Department         51 Madison Avenue, Suite 2000
            New York, NY 10010 
    Please be sure to include a detailed list of the baggage content (downloadable here).  All required fields must be completed.  If your baggage is not found within 45 days, it will be considered lost and you will be entitled to a reimbursement. If you sustained any baggage related expenses , please complete the online form which must be received within 21 days from the date of delivery of your baggage. Please include any useful information along with the following documentation: 
    P.I.R. (Property Irregularity report)Baggage tagTicket receipt and/or boarding passProof of first necessity expenses
    US residents must send all documentation to via one of the following methods:   Fax:  212 903 3568 
      Email: [email protected]
    Mail: Alitalia Customer Relations Department         51 Madison Avenue, Suite 2000
            New York, NY 10010 So, all the details on what to do and by when are there…at least they are now. Just requires a little digging to get there though. I also need to say that I work in IT so, I’m used to scouring web pages for things like this.

    1. Was the OP’s luggage ever found and returned to her?  And if so, did that happen within 21 days?  45 days?  It’s not completely clear from the article.

      If she still doesn’t have her luggage, 21 days from the date of delivery of your baggage doesn’t even apply yet.

      1. Also found it interesting that even on the form to submit for lost baggage, there is no mention of a time table for submission, just 5 links for info. and a reference to the Montreal Convention (no link).  NOTHING on that form suggests there is a ANY legal time table.

      2. I would suspect they have a reclaimer somewhere stating something to the effect of “as accurate as the English/German/Whatever translation might be, the Italian text takes precedence”.

        And, in order of full disclosure; I’m not Italian, I’ve never flown with Alitalia, and I do think airlines should pony up for losing people’s luggage. On the other hand, I also think it’s reasonable there are certain procedures in place to protect the airlines from false claims à la “you lost my suitcase with my Stradivarius, gimme $10m!”.

        In this particular case the luggage-loser did very little to help herself; the info was right there, on the internet – she just didn’t look. And, true to his style, Elliott put a bit of spin on the story: She was misled… really? Or did she just not fully understand what the lady-at-the-counter told her? The forms were in Italian… um, surprise? She flew with an Italian airline to Italy, duh. I mean, how would you respond if someone travelled to the US on a US-based airline and complained about the forms being in English!?

        1. “I mean, how would you respond if someone travelled to the US on a US-based airline and complained about the forms being in English!? ”

          I would remind that person that English, unlike Italian, is the international lingua franca, and as such has special prominence.  That’s why everything gets translated into English

          1. And this is partly why the world hates Americans – demanding that everything is translated into their language because they are too lazy to do the work themselves.

    2. I feel sorry for her because I lived through a very similar nightmare. Alitalia lies about everything. I left out the phone call nightmare in my previous responses. I made 15 (follow up) phone calls (while in Italy) to try to track down my luggage. When I wasnt left on hold, I was hung up on.  When I finally reached a person, they couldnt speak English. I completely understand her frustration. I need to point out that the info you posted from their website is useless: the fax number is non-working. The “status check” does not work. There is no “kit”.  And when you do EVERYTHING they request WHEN they request it, and YOU PROVIDE PROOF that you have done so, THEY STILL LIE about RECEIVING IT, SO ….what is the point?

      1. Most of the replies here give Alitalia the benefit of the doubt and take the OP to task for not following directions.  It is telling that your experience is that Alitalia puts up many roadblocks to making a luggage claim.  It also seems that many pax have had bad experiences with Allitalia’s service.  I have yet to see a reply from someone who had a positive experience in filing a claim with them, only people who are willing to defend Alitalia without personal knowledge of what exactly the OP went through.

  15. Again, we have a lack of specific information.  Just what is, “DiGilio thought she was following procedure when she filled out a so-called “irregularity” report. But she can’t be sure. Part of the form is in Italian, which she doesn’t speak.”

    So first off, she filled out a report, apparently she does not have copy of it.  Why is that?

    Secondly, she relied on a third party to do all the phoning.  So she never talked directly to the airline.    What did she do with the list of articles?  We do not know.

    Third, she never sent them an email of any sorts from Germany. 

    So she really has no record of any contact whatsoever.  Now what was her beef?

    It is her responsibility to report the claim and keep copies of records.  Case dismissed.

    1. So you believe that Alitalia is absolved from all guilt in this case?  I assume so, since you have not listed anything they did wrong, e.g. unfriendly/improssible to navigate phone processes.  Seems the OP made a number of good-faith efforts that are being ignored by Alitalia.  There’s enough blame to go around.

      1. It is not a question of what Alitalia did, but of what the claimant did not do.  This is essentially similar to (but not exactly like) an insurance claim.  Would you handle a car collision this way, letting a rental car agency call your insurance company to report a claim on the phone?  Giving up after a few failed phone calls with no attempt to write a prompt email?  Filing an irregularity report and not having a copy of it?  And not getting the “report” translated since it was in a foreign language?  And on and on…too many balls were dropped over and over by the claimant. 

        The person who has a loss has the responsibility to report it in a verifiable manner.  “Good faith” is simply not good enough unless you have proof.  The bottom line:  was it reported in writing, signed, and a record made of same?  You would do nothing less for a car or home loss.

        1. Home or car loss are generally represent a greater financial loss and thus deserve greater effort.  Additionally, both losses tend to happen in one’s home country where you are familiar with the language, customs, and culture.

  16. I doubt that the Montreal Convention anticipated an airline whose practice is to frustrate and delay a “pax’s” timely claim. Had the MC contemplated that outcome, the rules would have allowed for late claims. I love the part about Alitalia “having no choice.” Italy is a land that always lets rules slide.

  17. Plannning a trip to Italy in the next year – I’ll remember to avoid Alitalia.  I spent a semester in Italy while I was in college and although it is a gorgeous, inviting country, there were enough rules and pull-your-hair-out moments of idiocy that made me want to scream.

    I will never forget my school’s computer lab.  They had a problem with people stealing the roller ball from the computer mice (a few years ago!)  So they glued them all shut.  They then couldn’t be cleaned and skipped all over the place.  They kept all of those old computers in the ACed basement downstairs while keeping all the new, nice computers in a hot room upstairs and let the students smoke in there.  We had a classroom with a projector screen installed in the front.  When we went to turn off the lights, they had some “safety” lights that would never turn off – and you guessed it – they were placed right in front of the screen. 

    There are endless other examples, but it seems to me that along with all the beauty, good food, dolce vita and all comes the red tape.  When Italy is on your itinerary, be prepared for a dose of it.

  18. you say that she filled out this irregularity report. did she turn it in? or did she take it back to the resort with her and start making a list there?  that’s a huge distinction. 
    all of their instructions seem to indicate that both the airline and the “pax”
    get copies of this report. does she still have hers? 
    some questions need to be answered here. 

    otherwise, it seems that the steps are fully laid out on the site and she chose not to follow them (after 5 days, do this; turn this in by 21 days; here’s what happens after 45 days, etc).  but if she never furnished the airline her irregularity report, then i don’t see how she can prove her case. 

    it certainly sucks, though.

  19. Wait a minute.  The regulation Alitalia cited says: “…passengers must file claims in writing within 21 days of the date the delayed luggage is delivered.”  The PAX’s luggage was NOT delivered – in fact, that’s her very complaint.  In looking at the entire regulation (thanks, Tony A), it appears that the 21-day requirement is intended to provide adequate time for a PAX to determine what damage – if any – may have occurred, and still place a time limit after which a claim could not be made.  As the PAX never received her luggage, this regulation is completely inapplicable.  (Yeah, I’m a lawyer, and actually read the language to determine what it means.  Alitalia sure doesn’t.)

    She (or you) should contact Alitalia and tell them that this regulation provides no basis on which to claim that any 21-day limit bars her claim.  And you could also tell them that they look lousy treating her this way (as if they care).

    L Clar

    1. Alitalia will most likely claim the Italian text takes precedence and that “the date the delayed luggage is delivered” should read “the date the luggage was supposed to be delivered”. In Italian they use the term “day of arrival”.

      1. delayed luggage is delivered” should read “the date the luggage was supposed to be delivered”

        So “could’ve, would’ve, should’ve” applies to passengers but (heaven forbid) not to airlines?

        If I started a business and claimed that my native language is Navajo, and that the Navajo version of my legalese always takes precedence over the English version, would you take my side if a customer complained about that?

  20. I believe Lori DiGilio should make copy of her PIR, then make an OFFICIAL COMPLAINT LETTER copied from this website:
    http://www.montrealconvention.org/letter_of_complaint_to_airline_lost_luggage.htm

    and send it by certified mail to Alitalia. If Alitalia refuses to pay her the SDR equivalent in US Dollars, then she should sue Alitalia in small claims court.

    This is truly a David vs Goliath issue. Alitalia is pushing her around because it does not believe she will sue. I say go for it and give Alitalia one big Italian salute. Ciao. Antonio (tony).

  21. That’s so revolting. This is part of the reason I never check bags. It’s expensive and not worth the trouble it takes to fix if something goes wrong. Better to just pack my toilettries in teeny tiny bottles and lug my bag with me.

  22. Always….ALWAYS! file the report for lost luggage at the arrival airport. Do not allow them to turn you away. There is usually an immediate compensation to get you throught the 1st several hours of loss. A good real live ASTA agent could help you through this fiasco.

  23. Alitali gave me wrong adddresses to lodge my my claim. They did give me a claim number but because they would not accept my claim form in Italy I had to wait til I returned to Australia from my vacation. After 6 months they wrote and told me my claim was out of time because they received it 26 days after my date of loss. They did however wish me a good flight next time I flew with Alitalia. They do have a sense of humour even thoughthey don’t care about us mere ants.

  24. Alitalia can give a non working number. They did that to me. They told me to claim in Australia. But they have no office here. The booking agency that caries their name says “we are only a booking agency”. Like Alitalia they did not want to know. Eventually, after 6 months Alitalia told me of the 21 day rule, that they would not pay for my lost and broken luggage, and they then gave me an office number again that was not theirs in Australia. They just treat you like a joke, but they are the only ones laughing. I have been back to Italy, but not with Alitalia.

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