This week the Compensation Clinic deals with delayed luggage that Air France “lost” on a trip from Helsinki to Barcelona in late December.
You can access Air France here.
I had a one-way Helsinki to Barcelona ticket on Air France, and I would continue later that day on Air Europa and Aeromexico to Mexico City via Madrid.
I checked two bags in Helsinki, and only one made it to Barcelona.
You first need to locate the ground handling agent that the airline uses at the arrival city. You always have to claim at the destination with the airline that operates the last leg, regardless of the airline which issued the luggage tag.
In Barcelona, it turned out to be Groundforce. The lady got mad at me because I asked why she didn’t advise passengers that they should go and buy what they need and later claim it from the airline. She shouted that it was not her job.
She managed to mistype the luggage tag number that I later had to fix. Also, there were quite a few issues with the delivery addresses that I could correct on the IATA’s Worldtracer by myself.
I flew to Mexico City in the same clothes I had left Helsinki on the previous day. Unfortunately, there was no update on the Worldtracer of the bag’s whereabouts.
It is often challenging to buy clothes you like in some cities, but I knew I could get everything I needed at the El Palacio de Hierro. So I made a list of items I needed for NYE festivities and took an Uber to Polanco.
While at the store, I received an email from Air France that my bag had arrived in Barcelona and the delivery would be initiated. Well. I was in Mexico City.
There was also a note on the Worldtracer that the courier company AF uses in Mexico City to deliver delayed bags would have initiated their processes.
I was the first couple of nights at the Hilton Reforma and had given them the second hotel, Sheraton Maria Isabel, as the delivery address. So the bag was waiting there when I arrived.
I did the claim process on Air France’s website and attached all the purchase receipts and the Property Irregularity Report (PIR) printout. Then, roughly a week later, I received an email from Air France that they would need copies of the purchase receipts to process the claim (weird).
Then another reply that because the amount was more than a thousand euros, the first indication that they may end up paying the entire claim, I would need to send them a copy of an ID or passport information page.
Two days later, I received an acknowledgment that they had processed the claim, and it was due out for payment two days later. It took a total of 19 days from filing the claim on Air France’s website to have the 1,263.69 euros in my bank account.
We often receive messages from readers whose bags have been delayed asking what they ought to do. I always advise them to buy whatever they need and deal with claiming the expenses back later. It is not worth sweating at your destination over clothes and other items.
I always advise that you absolutely should NEVER check anything you cannot lose.
The process with Air France was surprisingly painless. I was sure they wouldn’t cover all the purchases, but I would have been able to claim up to 800 euros from the travel insurance that comes with the American Express Platinum card in Finland. I actually claimed with them too and told them that they could withdraw it after the payment from Air France came through.
For the past year and a half, when I have not flown as often, I have started to check in a bag or two that I could bring in as carry-on on long-haul widebody flights, but that would be excess for a single-aisle plane.
I need to go through my carry-on(s) to see what I can throw away because I really prefer not having to deal with waiting for a bag and possibly dealing with delayed luggage issues, such as the case here.
Just a reminder that never leave an airport without having Property Irregularity Report (PIR) even when airlines try to get you to do this later. You need this for a claim with the airline and/or your insurer, and having a stamped one is better.