I flew with JetBlue last month. Some small items were missing from my luggage when I arrived at my destination. I am trying to figure out how far I want to go with this to try to 1) get reimbursed for lost/stolen items and 2) get them to make their legal documents reflect their actual policies. I'd like some advice from people who have dealt with airlines and their luggage policies to help me strategize.
When I arrived in Puerto Rico from Burlington Vermont, three things were missing from my luggage. They were all together in one pocket that had a few other things still in it. The missing items were
1. laptop dongle cable to connect my laptop to a LCD projector (annoyingly spendy on a mac)
2. longish USB cable for my camera
3. battery charger for my camera
Total cost for this stuff is about $75-100. No sentimental value. Annoyance value not having this stuff on my work vacation. I filed a claim. Jet Blue denied it saying they don't cover "electronics" according to their Contract of Carriage
. My assertion is that the cables and charger aren't electronics as specified in their contract or as that word is commonly understood. Everything else in the section (page 16, section F) they don't cover is something valuable or expensive [rare books, laptops, cameras, jewelry] and there is no "and other stuff like this sort of stuff" language like "computer equipment" for example. When I spoke to them on the phone they said basically "there are a lot of things that aren't in the contract that we don't cover." I said that if that was true, they had to do a better job of writing their legal documents.
In any case, I sent them a written letter saying that they had until July 1 to either reimburse me for my stuff or we could talk about the contract of carriage in small claims court. I got an email from them a few days ago basically saying that while they weren't responsible for reimbursing me for the lost items, they would send me a $150 travel voucher because I had a bad customer experience. While I appreciate that, I still think lots of people are going to be screwed out of their phone chargers and the like because of Jet Blue's poorly written document and loose policies. Also using the voucher means I'd have to fly JetBlue again, which I probably would anyhow, but it still bugs me as a gesture from them.
I have a lawyer -- a friend who is a lawyer -- and she says this one is really up to me. So I was wondering if anyone has taken an airline to small claims court and won, or had any experience arguing with airlines over lost luggage items in any way that they found particularly effective or successful? Is spending $50 on a small claims filing to get back $100 over a principle a really dumb way to spend a few hours this summer? Despite my somewhat aggrieved tone, I could pretty much drop this if it seemed like the right thing to do, I'm just not sure yet what the right thing to do is. Since Jet Blue has been rewriting a lot of their documents after the tarmac incident it seems like a well-timed set of letters might actually do some long term good, but I may just be being ridiculous. Advice welcome, thanks.