We at LoyaltyLobby receive many emails every day and readers keep writing us most frequently about issues they have with Air Berlin losing their luggage and remain silent how to reimburse the customer.
Air Berlin has had tremendous issues with it’s customer service in many fields, especially the response time and at times simply ignored certain requests entirely.
Having baggage lost or damaged during a trip is always a hassle and incredibly frustrating even if an airlines follows up properly and does their best to the the affected passenger to get by. Air Berlin isn’t such an airline and doesn’t even come close to being one.
Over the course of just 3 weeks we have received fourteen emails, Tweets and Facebook messages concerning the issue that Air Berlin has lost somebodies baggage and ignores calls for regulation of related damages resulting from necessary purchases while the baggage was missing.
While it’s common that readers write in about such issues such a frequency is unprecedented and begs the question: Has Air Berlin completely given up on customer service and their more than dismal operations?
I think it’s a good idea to outline the procedure for regulation once again as this is the most common question of those affected.
Generally speaking you are entitled to compensation in the form of having expenses reimburses that she made in order to replace necessary items during the trip.
Reimbursement requires receipts and not everything will be reimbursed at 100%. For example underwear and light items such as shirts as well as cosmetics purchased at a reasonable price and quantity will usually be reimbursed in full while certain items such as shoes, coats and suits are being compensated at a 50% rate due to future use factor. You can however offer to surrender these items to the airline and request a full 100% refund if you please to do so.
There is no flat compensation for missing baggage which means unless you have proof of expenses there won’t be any compensation from Air Berlin and most other airlines.
If you have already contacted Air Berlin and they didn’t reply your next step is to contact the Schlichtungsstelle (ombudsman) in Germany which mediates cases between passengers and the airline. Their website address is https://soep-online.de/ihre-beschwerde.html
You can also complain to the regular in your country of residence or where the flight departed/arrived. US residents for example can use the US Department of Transportation which however doesn’t have any enforcement power other than fining the airline.
Any kind of response from Air Berlin has traditionally been slow and can take up to several months but that doesn’t mean the passenger has to accept that. If the airline has not responded to email, fax or letter mail over a time span of 4-6 weeks I’d consider involving the ombudsman or an attorney to request reimbursement.
Also check if any of your credit cards such as American Express Gold and Platinum contains special insurance that would cover you under such circumstances.
Air Berlin always had terrible customer service, something which the former CEO already acknowledged in 2015 (see our article here). Obviously the promises were once again hot air and if things changed at all then for the worse.
In both media and reader comments I haven’t seen a single positive development in recent times that would show the strikken German carrier is on an improvement course. Ignoring their customers is a specialty of Air Berlin, a company whose worldwide loyalty program Topbonus doesn’t have English speaking agents available to process requests and partner award bookings that make it mandatory to call in (see our article from a few months ago).
Whenever we contacted the press department of Air Berlin we received assurances that turned out to be lies or in the very least completely useless. We therefore stopped reaching out to Air Berlin for comments entirely. There is no way I’d voluntarily check in baggage with Air Berlin under any circumstances, especially if I don’t carry extra insurance.