Airline lost my luggage, won’t reimburse expenses

DEAR TRAVEL TROUBLESHOOTER: Last fall, my wife and I traveled to eastern Europe for a river cruise. We missed our connection in London because of a flight delay. Our airline rerouted us to Paris and Prague, with the last leg on CSA Czech Airlines.

Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter...
Christopher Elliott, the Travel Troubleshooter

Our luggage did not arrive with us. We immediately filed a lost luggage claim at the Prague airport. When the luggage still did not come the next day, and there was no word on when or if it would, we went shopping for clothes and toiletries. The luggage finally arrived late that same night.

After the trip, we filed for reimbursement with Czech Airlines, since they were the ones that delayed our luggage. I filed by using their online form. I received an immediate canned response that they would process our claim as soon as possible.

When I heard nothing further for three weeks, I followed up, again using their online form. I received the same canned response. After waiting almost three more weeks with no answer, I sent an email to their call center explaining the situation and asking about the status of my claim. (I got the email address from your website.)

An airline representative said wait times were longer than normal but promised to get back to me as soon as possible. That was four months ago. I would simply like Czech Airlines to adjudicate the claim and decide what, if anything, they are going to reimburse.

—Dick Helms, Tucson, Arizona

ANSWER: CSA Czech Airlines should have promptly processed your claim, as promised. High traffic and call volume is one thing, but the airlines can’t use that excuse for months. Your claim just fell between the cracks, and the airline covered its incompetence with form letters.

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