Local News

Five On Your Side Helps Bag Reimbursement For Lost Luggage

Posted May 18, 2004

— If you travel enough, it is bound to happen -- you arrive at your destination, but your luggage does not.

According to the Federal Aviation Administration, lost baggage was the No. 2 consumer complaint for the first quarter of the year.

Bob and Scottie Dietz, of Cary, know the problem well.

The couple traveled to Italy in November. The trip was perfectly planned -- right down to the packing.

"I had everything laid out very carefully," Scottie Dietz said.

So much for planning. While the couple made it to Rome, a piece of their luggage did not. It was supposed to arrive the next day, but never did.

"I had packed a change of clothes, so the first day was not too bad," Scottie Dietz said. "The second day, it became a little more of a challenge, and by the third day, when we felt like we would not get it back, it became extremely frustrating."

As they traveled through Italy, Bob Dietz kept calling Delta. The airline offered to reimburse the couple $250 to buy some essentials.

The couple did not get their piece of lost luggage until they arrived at the airport to go home. Delta found it as they boarded the plane.

"I was relieved, but at the same time, it was very aggravating that all of that planning never really came to fruition," Scottie Dietz said.

Delta gave the couple a claim number and promised to send a claim form for their expenses. The form never came. So they wrote a letter and called Delta repeatedly for months.

"I'd call the corporate center, the corporate center would say, 'You need to call baggage.' Baggage would say, 'You need to call our corporate claims people.' I'd get back and forth and back and forth, so one call might have lasted 20 or 30 minutes," Bob Dietz said.

The couple's next call was to Five on Your Side.

A Delta spokeswoman says the airline has no record of Dietz' letter or calls and is not sure how it all happened.

The airline immediately reimbursed $336 for expenses. Delta also gave the couple a $500 travel voucher for their trouble.

Delta says they have no record of Dietz' complaint. Spokeswoman Debbie Stalins says it is possible his complaint got "misrouted" or sent to the wrong department.

As for how much travelers can get for a bag that is never found, the airline can set a limit of $2,500 per passenger. For international flights it is about $640 per bag.

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