What to do if an airline loses your bags.
En route from Casablanca in Morocco to Rome on an Alitalia flight in May, my partner’s checked bag didn’t make it off the carousel. Mine did, and we’d checked in together. We reported the missing bag at the baggage claims office at Fiumicino airport, were issued with a Property Irregularity Report, notified them of the hotels where we’d be staying for the next two weeks – and then the fun began.
The next morning we flew out to Bucharest. Luckily she had some clothes and toiletries packed in her carry-ons, but not for the cold places in northern Romania we’d be visiting. Which meant half that day spent in malls in Bucharest shopping for walking boots, pants, jumper and a padded jacket.
Six days after we reported it Alitalia finally located the bag – it hadn’t been loaded onto the plane in Casablanca – and they sent it on to the airport in Bucharest. That’s where it stayed. Despite the fact that in such cases the airline is supposed to courier it direct to you, they sent it to the care of Tarom, Romania’s national airline, with no forwarding instruction.
We followed it up with daily calls to Alitalia which were stonewalled at every turn. Alitalia made zero attempt to have the bag delivered to us so finally, 10 days after the bag was lost, we drove to the airport in Bucharest and picked up the suitcase ourselves.
Back home, we wrote to Alitalia claiming compensation for an amount of $627.47 to cover the cost of clothing and toiletries purchased in Romania. Every item in the claim was supported with copies of invoices and credit card statements.
Alitalia’s customer relations office responded with a process known as deny and delay. Despite hand-wringing regrets for the inconvenience caused, they denied receiving the claim, they stalled at every turn and demanded fresh copies of the receipts when they said they couldn’t open the files either in the jpg or pdf format we’d sent them.