Happy New Year!
Wishing you a blessed 2018 full of blessings and good health.
Mine started with many firsts; First time flying KLM, first time checking in two bags and worth mentioning my last flight in 2017 and first flight in 2018. Finally but not the best, my first time to lose my luggage in my entire travel life.
Back to business.
Baggage delay or loss is the most dreaded thing by almost every traveller. This is because when travelling, you only pack what you think you need for your trip and leave all the other not so essential items at home.
It’s even worse when you arrive at your destination, standing at the luggage carousel hoping for a miracle that your bag shows up in the next round.
Baggage delay can happen to anyone. In this article, we will discuss what to do when your luggage is delayed, lost or damaged.
Step 1: Contact Baggage Claim Desk
After noticing my bag was not among the luggage in carousel 10 at Toronto Pearson International Airport and the carousel was now being cleared to handle bags for another flight, I was devastated. I walked to the KLM/AirFrance/Delta Airlines Baggage Desk and the officer quickly confirmed my fear; “Your luggage was left in Amsterdam”, He said.
Step 2: File Your Claim Immediately
I handed over my boarding pass with luggage tags on it and gave a brief description of my suitcase and its contents. I was then given a Property Irregularity Report (PIR) with a personal reference number.
The Reference Number is very important as you will need that for subsequent communication with any Baggage Service Officer.
An important lesson here is never to lose or throw away your boarding pass. Your journey is not over until it’s over.
You also need to give the address of where you will be staying so that the bag may be delivered there. A telephone number which may be used to call you is also required. If you will not be roaming, please give a friend’s telephone or get a local line at your destination.
A copy of the report will be issued.
Step 3: Request For An Overnight Kit
I didn’t know this so I didn’t ask. KLM was obviously not kind enough not to take advantage of the situation.
I later came to realize, thanks to my friends working for airlines, that every airline has the kit ready but only a few will provide them automatically. So now that you know, next time ASK for one.
The kit contains the basic minimums like shampoo, toothpaste, soap, shaving cream, and razor. Sometimes, you will be lucky to find deodorant, aftershave, and a large T-shirt which you can sleep in.
Step 4: Track Your Baggage Online, Wait Patiently
It’s so hard to remain calm and patient in a foreign country without your daily essentials and best outfits. In this situation, however, patience is key.
In my situation, I used to call KLM North American Baggage office daily, sometimes twice a day. The saddest thing is, the good officers had done all they could and even escalated but the Baggage Manager in Amsterdam didn’t take any action.
On day 5, I did not have any patience left so I decided to take my rant on Social Media. After 3 Tweets, I received a reply to my Twitter DM from KLM promising to take quick action. Two hours later I called the North American Baggage service officers and asked to be transferred to Amsterdam Baggage Office. It was confirmed that my baggage was now tagged and on board to Toronto Pearson International Airport, Yaay!
My suitcase was delivered to me on day 7.
Thank you for all of you who helped me in this Twitter campaign.
Step 4: Ask For Compensation Formally
Again, Airlines will not compensate you until you ask. This is the only time in my life I read about laws governing Airlines and how they handle baggage delay or loss when I came across the Montreal Convention 1999.
Different airlines handle baggage delay and compensation differently. They are however bound by the same international laws (International flights only).
The Montreal Convention states that you must claim your rights formally in form of written complaint in order to request a payment for your additional expenses up to EUR 1,250. Put everything in writing. Airlines normally don’t provide their email contacts so fill the forms online and use social media. As long as you can go back and trace your emails and any responses.
Ask the airline for compensation within the framework of the law. Remember if you don’t push, then you don’t get anything. I am yet to receive my compensation and neither KLM is being cooperative about it, but I ain’t giving up. Sorry KLM.
My Overall KLM Flying Experience (Besides the Baggage Delay)
Being the first time, I flew KLM, I find it worth to share my experience.
After years of being spoiled by Middle East Airlines, I decided to try something different.
I didn’t have high expectations with KLM, being a European Airline, but surprisingly the on-board services were amazing. The Flight Attendants were friendly and helpful.
The Airport Security officers at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport were great too. Shout out to the officer who after unpacking my bags (I had slipped my phone in my documents case and forgot about it) helped me pack them back while trying his best sense of humour. You’re awesome!
The Aspire Lounge at Amsterdam Schiphol Airport where I spent 3 hours was basic but good. Friendly and helpful staff.
With enough said, Time to toss it back to you.
Have you experienced baggage delay, loss or damage? Which airline was it? Were you as lucky as I was to finally get your luggage? Share with us in the comments sections below.