Word to the wise: when claiming your luggage from an airline baggage claim carousel, don’t just check the exterior of your bag for damage, but make sure your personal contents are inside. Sometimes, your bag may look right and feel right, but the contents have been switched and thieves are counting on you not to notice until it is too late.
Why You Should Open Your Luggage Before You Leave Baggage Claim
In retrospect, I was far too harsh yesterday on the woman who flew Air France from Paris to Boston, arriving home to find her bag filled with dog food instead of the Christmas gifts she had purchased while in Europe. She bought her ticket with Delta Air Lines and rather than reach out to Air France to demand compensation, she contacted Delta.
Delta ignored her at first, but eventually compensated her 75,000 miles. She wants a full refund for the flight and compensation for the lost gifts. While I still think that is a bit much, it isn’t clear how much the gifts were valued at and dealing with Air France customer service is never fun.
But why did the thieves load the bag with items to give it girth and weight? It seems clear to me this was an Air France handler who stole the items and figured Air France would not even talk to the passenger unless she made an immediate claim in the baggage claim area.
She reaches Air France after she gets home and realizes the problem, but is told, “You left the baggage area and went home so we have no way to confirm that those items were or were not in your bag when transported or what occurred after you left. Claims for missing items must be made immediately at the airport with the baggage department for that reason.”
That’s a hypothetical construct, but why else would the baggage worker re-load the bag? When Air France doesn’t investigate, he doesn’t get caught…
The solution is to open you bag when you claim it to make sure there is not just some content inside, but your belongings.
By the way, you officially have seven days to file a missing baggage report in writing, per the Montreal Convention.
Thieves are becoming bolder and more clever in stealing the contents of your checked baggage. You can better protect yourself by not only checking the exterior of your bag when you pull it off the baggage belt, but checking to make sure the interior contents are all present and accounted for.
image: Air France