Some lost-and-found cases have happy endings. Some don’t. Chris Carlisle’s falls into the latter category, despite his best efforts, his airline’s — and ours.
His daughter, Olivia, flew to Spain this fall to start her junior year abroad.
“She left her brand new MacBook laptop on the last flight from Madrid to Santander and did not realize it was gone until the next day,” he explains.
When Olivia returned the next day to the airport, an Iberia representative had good news and bad news.
The good news? They’d found her laptop.
The bad news? Olivia would have to bring a claim with Iberia through Iberia’s online system.
“I helped Olivia process a lost and found claim through the Iberia website four to five times. But Olivia kept getting a form email back that indicated her claim was rejected. The system did seem to verify, however, that Iberia did in fact recover a laptop on the same flight,” he says.
Carlisle called Iberia’s reservation line and reached someone who told him that “no one would speak to me about this,” and suggested he file a formal online complaint. He did, including a copy of the receipt for the laptop and copies of the lost-and-found complaints he had submitted,.
Iberia sent his daugher more emails, asking her to submit even more forms. Finally, the airline responded, saying it erred — turns out her laptop hadn’t been found on the flight.
“The customer service experience was comically bad,” he says. “And to treat a 16-year-old visiting their country this way and giving her no help really reflects poorly on Iberia in so many ways.”
Carlisle wanted to know if we could find his daughter’s $1,500 laptop. Our advocates were willing to try. So we contacted Iberia.
Here’s what it had to say:
They have checked the information on the Madrid – Santander flight on which Olivia Carlisle flew. No laptop was found on board.
After asking why the system said that a PC was found, I have explained that what the system informs about is that a PC was found on board of one of the 135 Iberia Group aircraft (we operate 600 flights). That PC doesn’t match Olivia’s PC description that is why the claim was rejected.
The same aircraft can operate different routes, including flight to other countries in Europe and even Morocco, on the same day. If we receive a MacBook PC from other station found on board of an aircraft on the date close to that day, it will be checked, if the description matches our customer’s claim. If this would be the case, we would contact the customer to return the PC.
Ah, OK. So a PC was found on one of Iberia’s 600 flights, but just not Olivia’s.
That’s interesting. It suggests the lost-and-found system at Iberia is not that sophisticated. It gave Carlisle and his daughter false hope that their laptop had been recovered. That’s a shame.
This case is unresolvable. Iberia can no more conjure up a laptop than we can. But someone has her PC and if she has tracking enabled, it should show up as soon as it finds a wireless signal. I’m inclined to believe someone took the laptop and doesn’t want to return it.