Friday, June 15, 2012

What Should Airlines Pay for Lost Luggage?

Well, I just had a guy complain the other day about how much I complain on this blog...but I'm about to jump right into it again.  Actually, I don't consider this blog a list of complaints.  I'd rather describe it as "recounting moments of irritation everyone can identify with in a humorous way--so they might laugh at them instead of pulling out their hair in repressed fury."

Anyway, a friend of mine just informed me that the airline he flew with just lost his luggage.  This is just one more in a long list of reasons to HATE airlines.

I don't know about you, but I get just ridiculously stressed out every time I have to fly.  I'd rather drive cross country for 50 hours with a carload of screaming kids than jump on an airplane.

First of all, the costs are through the roof these days.  And you can't depend on the frickin' airline to honor the ticket.  The second you show up at the gate, you have to talk with some glass-eyed zombie who is apt to give you another $500 in fees for things like luggage, a soda on the plane, or oxygen during the flight, "Sir, would you prefer to breathe for the duration of your four hour trip to Los Angeles...that's $1000 extra and it's not in the base price of the ticket."

Excuse me folks, but there IS something called a CONTRACT, and by purchasing your ticket both you and the airline are bound to the agreement.  This includes things such as ARRIVING AND DEPARTING ON TIME as well as TAKING CARE OF YOUR LUGGAGE!  If an airline FAILS to do either of these things, they are in BREACH of contract and you (the passenger) deserve COMPENSATION!  But why the hell is it that in practice, airlines can do whatever the hell they want and you just have to sit there and take it?

I mentioned that a friend of mine just lost his luggage.  In any other kind of business situation, he'd be entitled to some pretty major compensation.  After all, it's MORE than lost luggage when you think about it.  Here are the things that must be considered (and compensated for):
  • Hours spent on the phone trying to get luggage back
  • Hours spent waiting for luggage
  • Stress incurred through loss of luggage
  • Consideration of how loss of luggage impacts vactation
  • Compensation for cost of vacation
  • Compensation for lost work time taken to go on vacation

That's just a quick start, but needless to say you aren't going to get any of that.  I'm sure there are people out there who are saying, "wooooah, that's not fair, you can't utterly GOUGE the airline for making a mistake."

OK you COMMUNISTS!  Did you ever think that MAYBE if there were DIRE consequences for lost luggage, the airlines WOULD NEVER LOSE YOUR LUGGAGE?  The reason airlines have less attention to detail than idiots on Facebook with poor grammar is because THEY CAN GET AWAY WITH IT!!!  They basically shrug and say, "oh well" if you complain about your luggage turning up.  If you're lucky, there's a line in the ticket about how you're entitled to $75 per item.

All this is partially due to the fact that every American airline is incompetently run and subsidized by the government.  For this reason, you'll never have an airline say, "we GUARANTEE your luggage will arrive on time, and if it doesn't we'll give you $2000!"  Heck, I'd fly THAT airline, but airlines aren't a free market so it won't happen.

Actually, your only hope is to NEVER fly any US based airline because they all suck.  Capitalism only exists overseas, in the US, they're too afraid to let the super rich ever loose any money (no matter how incompetent they prove themselves to be).

Oh...and you guys were right about that guy not stealing a TV the other day, I just thought more people would click on a more scandalous article title.


  1. Dealing with airlines can, indeed, be infuriating. You are right,Mr Peru, airlines should be accountable for honoring their contractual obligations, and they are. The problem is that if you read all that fine print, the airlines have pretty much absolved themselves from most liabilities against them, such as the inconveniences accrued from lost baggage. But you can win if you're smart enough. Listen to this: A long time ago, I sent a Betamax to Peru. The thing never arrived. The airline[Luftthansa] more or less told me that they were only responsible for about $250 of the $1000 value of the contraption. They tried to justify their claim with some international treaty agreements. I presented my counterargument to invalidate that claim and they more or less told me to screw off. Finally, I had to issue them the following threat. If they didn't pay me the full value of the Betamax, I would publicize the issue in El Comercio that I have family connections with. I told them that they have far more to lose in bad publicity than in paying me what I thought that they owed me. Voila! In three days I had a check in hand covering the full value of my Betamax. Simply don't give up when demanding to be recompensed for your losses, and use whatever argument possible when fighting for your rights.

  2. I've actually gotten results once or twice by dropping the name of various publications I work with...Including "Streets of Lima."

    If you have connections with El Comercio, send them my Choquequirao pics.

  3. Will do, but I'm not sure that they'll be interested. See the comment that I left on your blog a while back on the informative supplement that El Comercio published a couple of years ago specifically dealing with Choquequirao. Based on that, I'm pretty certain that they already have a pretty large photo file of the place. That being said, I'll alert them to your pictures anyway, and I'll also tell them to your blog as well. Good luck!