It is inevitable that a checked bag gets delayed at times. I have had mine delayed numerous times over the years. The longest one that went missing was with Air Canada for 6 weeks. It sat the entire time in Air Canada’s facility in Montreal while I was on a around the world trip.
This time I was going from Vancouver to Bangkok on Korean Air’s first class. The connection in Seoul was somewhat tight around 45 minutes, but thought that they would take care of first class passenger’s bag. My bag was actually within the size limit that I could have taken it to the cabin as well, but it was on the heavy side (way over the usual 7 kilograms limit) and I really didn’t wanted to drag it around. I decided that it was best to check it in. I could also test the Korean’s baggage handling.
Checking Bag in Vancouver
There was some confusion at the check in. The agent wasn’t quite sure that I wanted to check my bag only to Bangkok and not to my final destination that was Yangon. She thought that Yangon was just a domestic destination in Thailand and that I would need to claim my bag for customs purposes in Bangkok. Of course this is not the case. Yangon is in Myanmar and my bag would have gone there had I not asked the agent to short check it to Bangkok for my overnight connection. The agent printed out a new baggage tag with correct information.
BTW it always makes sense to have a look that the baggage tag is correct. I have spotted few mistakes over the years that would have separated me from my bag(s) for a while.
Arrival in Bangkok
Airlines get a list of passengers that have misconnected bagson each of their flights. Good airlines tend to have person with a list with all the passengers names that have their bags delayed standing close to the baggage carousel . This was the case with the Korean Air as well. I was quite surprised that there were at least 10 passengers that had their bags left behind in Incheon or somewhere else in the route.
Property Irregularity Report
This is always the key. You need to get a complete Property Irregularity Report (PIR). It contains information about your bag, routing, temporarily and permanent address information. You can then use the PIR number to do a search on WorldTracer.
Where’s where I made a mistake, but it didn’t have a negative effect this time. I accepted a hand written, although very official looking, form as the PIR for this incident. This form only used my luggage tag number and didn’t include the PIR number at all that I could have used to pull up the information on Korean Air’s website.
I love when airlines put money in my pocket but hate when I gave to “fight” for the compensation due. Korean Air belongs to the first group. My bag was coming on a flight just four hours later than my original 10PM flight. I would have the bag delivered to my hotel by 3AM.
For this inconvenience Korean Air handed me 6000 THB that is around $200. I think that it was a fair compensation for the slight delay and assured that I wouldn’t have negative feelings about inconvenience caused.
Upon arriving to the hotel, I requested the front desk to call the Thai Airways baggage line. Thai is Korean’s ground handling agent in Bangkok and let them know my room number and make sure that their address to the hotel was correct.
The bag had been delivered to the hotel around 3AM and I had it delivered once I woke up. Thai really packs these delayed bags securely and has number of seals that you need to break to get it open.
Bags gets lost (rarely) and delayed (quite often). Good airlines have adequate processes in place to make sure that the process of informed about the delay and adequate compensation doled out, is handled without a fuss.