Alitalia promised to cover my lost luggage, but the check never arrived

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By Christopher Elliott

After John Nealon’s lost luggage experience on Alitalia, his airline sends him shopping. Why won’t it cover the bill?

Question

My girlfriend and I flew from Minneapolis to Naples, Italy, on Delta Air Lines and Alitalia recently. We missed our connection in Paris. Alitalia put us on the next flight to Naples, and confirmed that our bags would be placed on that flight.

Unfortunately, our bags didn’t make it that day. When we arrived in Naples, Alitalia confirmed that the bags were still in Paris and would be sent the following day. We did not receive our bags for three more days.

An Alitalia employee at the Naples airport told us to purchase the clothes that we needed for our vacation and that the airline would reimburse us. As we were vacationing in the Amalfi Coast, we informed them that the replacement clothes would not be inexpensive.

When we arrived back in Minneapolis, we submitted our claims for reimbursement through the Alitalia website. Alitalia responded very quickly and graciously agreed to pay the amount we submitted, $1,042, in the form of two checks of $521 — one to my girlfriend and one to me. As of this date, only one of the checks was received (by my girlfriend). I still have not received mine.

I have tried to follow up with Alitalia, but I have not received one email response from the airline. Can you help? — John Nealon, Minneapolis, Minn.

Answer

Alitalia (now ITA Airways) should have paid both checks, as promised. Airlines typically compensate passengers when their luggage is lost by paying for new clothes and toiletries, and Alitalia had agreed in writing to do so. This should have been an open-and-shut case; instead, the airline just left you hanging with half the promised compensation.

Alitalia’s didn’t follow its published policy. You should have filled out a lost-luggage report and, if you were not a resident of the city in which your bags went missing, received some “basic necessities,” including toiletries.

Seven Corners has helped customers all over the world with travel difficulties, big and small. As one of the few remaining privately owned travel insurance companies, Seven Corners provides insurance plans and 24/7 travel assistance services to more than a million people each year. Because we’re privately held, we can focus on the customer without the constraints that larger companies have. Visit Seven Corners to learn more.

Instead, the Alitalia representative sent you shopping. That may have been a misunderstanding on the part of the employee. (Related: This Alitalia problem is solvable, but where’s her happy ending?)

Even so, the airline agreed to cover the costs of your clothing for your Amalfi Coast vacation. And if it said it would, then it should have. You could have appealed your case to one of the supervisors at Alitalia. I list their names, numbers and email addresses on my consumer-advocacy site.

The paper trail of correspondence between you and Alitalia is frustrating. It shows the airline promising two checks within five business days. When you ask about the second check, it revises its promise to one check in total. Perhaps something got lost in translation?

Can this lost luggage be recovered?

We received many complaints about Alitalia, including this recent problem involving lost luggage.

You reached out to me through my consumer advocacy site. I contacted Alitalia on your behalf. The airline apologized and cut you a second check.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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