Help Me Out Of Lost Luggage Limbo
January 7, 2010 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Air Canada WTF? On Tuesday I took a trip from Laguardia Airport to Pearson Toronto to CDG, Paris on Air Canada. From Toronto to Paris, they lost one of my bags, which wouldn't be terrible except said bas contained 1) My only change of clothes for the next 2 weeks 2) My BFs extra heart medication and 3) I'm leaving for Prague in 4 days and there is still no news. Is there anyone I can call or talk to see that I actually get my stuff before I leave France? Kakfaesque detail follows.


1 - informed the right people at CDG when the case didn't arrive, got a case number and a packet and all that. They said it would be at the hotel tomorrow.
2- Next day, nothing, called Air Canada in France - they said it would be there by the afternoon - on the plane from Toronto RIGHT NOW. Fine. Afternoon comes and goes, nothing. Call Expedia and inform them about it - they try to deal with Air Canada and but shot down, AC will only talk to the bag owner.
3-Next day, call, give case number, the whole thing - agent claims ignorance of the previous agents assumptions, says it should be there by the afternoon. It is not. Call again, mention the heart medication my BF is *running out of* and the fact that we'll be moving soon. Again give the phone number and the hotel name etc. Said our case was moved up to urget - It'll be there! by! Morning!
4-Not there! Angry call now, words like "legal action" are being thrown around, agent says she knows nothing about a case being marked "urgent" and this is the first they've heard of it, but the package is here in Paris and should be at the hotel by 6pm.

It's now 11 - no package. Called made at 6 got hung up on.

I need to know, short of showing up at the offices, if there is someone higher up I can call or talk to to get this straightened out? I'm stressed out - we're leaving soon and every day has been spent preoccupied about the case, My BF is trying to get emergency prescriptions filled (so far so good, but like, his 500$ suit was in there -that he got pressed so he could take me out on the town in Paris and now were wearing the same clothes for 3 days in a row), and my vacation is more or less ruined and I pretty much never want to leave the house ever again. Can anyone help me or point me in the right direction?
posted by The Whelk to Travel & Transportation (21 answers total)
When you put your tracking # into the AC system, does it say "Received at airport — Delivery process initiated"? That would probably be the most reliable way to see if the agents are right and your bag actually IS in Paris. When AC loses my bags (so, so often) and I finally see this status, I've always received my bag within hours. (I'm afraid you are also caught up in the US security nightmare.)
posted by meerkatty at 2:19 PM on January 7, 2010

Data point -- lost bag on YYZ-BOS promised by Air Canada the day after the flight arrived 2 days later than promised. Also, a couple of years ago it was possible to file a claim to compensate you for the cost of items you had to purchase because they were in the lost luggage (proof of purchase required).
posted by Behemoth at 2:25 PM on January 7, 2010

This website has executive contact info (scroll to "Primary Contact"). What has worked for me in the past for a different company is sending an account of the ordeal to with it CC'd to the executives. Did this after weeks of the run-around from another big company and received a call from the director of customer service within 2 hours. Also, keep your receipts for anything you need to buy/replace while without the luggage; airlines sometimes reimburse these expenses.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:34 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Another note: if you haven't already, make sure you're logging any future contact with the company (date, time, person you spoke to and their employee #, what was discussed) - it creates accountability.
posted by melissasaurus at 2:36 PM on January 7, 2010

Get the call center or someone from AC at the airport to authorize interim expenses so you can at least go buy yourself a change of clothes and claim them back. Check here for more info
posted by IanMorr at 2:37 PM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: Okay, checked out meerkatty's link, says DELIVERY PROCESS INITIATED - clicking through points to a delivery report created by CDG, says it was picked up today (the 7th) but obviously not delivered - and the address given to deliver too is mostly right aside from a small misspelling of the street name the hotel and postal code are correct. How worried should I be? Again, I wouldn't normally be freaking out so much, but medication is involved and it's making everyone really, really angry and nervous. (and yes, we had 3-or so many days worth of meds in the carry-on, but didn't expect a bag to go missing and stay that way for days on end. I never had a bag go errant for more than 12 hours, so didn't think of that and subjectquent freaking out)

There is also the being stinky and in my plane-clothes when having to go to fancy work events part of it too - cause it doesn't occur to me to buy new clothes even though my goal here was to new clothes ...cause I had the clothes in the bag TAILORED and PRESSED and GODDAMNIT I'M GONNA WEAR THEM BEFORE I BUY ANYTHING NEW. Because I am a crazy person.
posted by The Whelk at 2:50 PM on January 7, 2010

Can anyone help me or point me in the right direction?

Tangential pointing: always assume that your baggage will take a vacation without you. I've learned to carry some essentials with me every time I fly, and to expect my luggage to arrive somewhat late.

You have my sympathy. Try to enjoy some of Paris while you're there! There are worse places to be.
posted by anadem at 2:56 PM on January 7, 2010

If it's a well known hotel they'll find it, but it might be worth checking with reception on who normally delivers these things and what time they normally show up.
posted by IanMorr at 2:58 PM on January 7, 2010

Can you call them again, make sure they correct the name of the street, even though it shouldn't be a problem, and see if you can get a number for the courier service that will be dropping it off so that you can call them yourself, correct the street name with them yourself, and ask that it be delivered ASAP because it contains important medication?

This is also a lesson for the future - bring expensive suits onto the aircraft in a suit bag, bring enough medication in your carry-on that if the bag is totally lost you can make it back home and get a new prescription filled, and bring a change of clothes in said carry-on (or have they banned all carry-on luggage now?). Good luck.
posted by Dasein at 2:59 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

Did you pay for your ticket with a credit card? Some credit card companies will reimburse you for clothing, grooming items, etc. you replace after lost or delayed luggage. They did this for me years ago in Paris when my bags were lost for 48 hours.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 3:14 PM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: Can you call them again, make sure they correct the name of the street, even though it shouldn't be a problem

Last two times I called they dropped the call, but I'll try again when they're open to get the name of the courier service.

It's all good advice, suit bags and the like, but TSA regulations don't allow more than three days of certain medications, espically anything which can be explosive and we just didn't anticipate this kind of thing - I thought it was a reasonable precaution. Apparently not. Reasonable precautions are getting absurd.

And there is the additional ripple of -I'm staying in Europe for a month, my BF was just here for the first 10 days on his much needed vacation, so we took a lot of luggage but only HIS got lost, so his precious few vacation days have been so far spent in smelly ill-tempered panic.

posted by The Whelk at 3:23 PM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: Also, because we were so overloaded, he packed the power transformers in his bag, which is gone, which sucks cause he's an semi-pro photographer presented with Paris! in! the! snow! and his camera will be flat by tomorrow and BHV had no transformers and any advice? Darty?
posted by The Whelk at 3:29 PM on January 7, 2010

Could you get the BF's prescription filled in France if his doc from the States faxed it over?
posted by mdonley at 3:35 PM on January 7, 2010

What's BHV? It's usually easy to buy a new adapter/converter (you probably only need an adapter) at a drug store if he still has the charger with him (no transformers involved here). If the charger itself is gone, then I don't know what to do, apart from check at a camera store.

My advice is that if your boyfriend can get his medication refilled, stop freaking out so much. You're ruining your own vacation over a bag. I have a lot of sympathy for you and yes, it sucks, but it will get back to you eventually. If you have to, you can call them and tell them where you're going next and they'll deliver it there. I'd rather be in Paris and have to put on extra deodorant than where I am with a change of clothes. I know this is frustrating, but letting it ruin your vacation is a wasteful overreaction. Smile! Go get some hot chocolate at the Deux Magots or Cafe Angelique. Look at beautiful art. Have lots of sex. Just enjoy Paris.
posted by Dasein at 3:40 PM on January 7, 2010 [3 favorites]

This exact thing happened to someone who just visited us here in Paris over the holidays. One important thing to note is that whenever you talk to someone, be sure that it is the correct agency -- it turned out that although she flew Delta, it was a code-share with an Air France flight so we had to call Air France. If you have skype you should be able to call an 800 number in the US for free. Her bag was delayed for five days, and each day I called I got a different story, which often differed from what the website said. My impression was that although the online tracking system is supposed to be awesome and whatnot, it turned out to be more whatnot than awesome -- in fact the day after the bag was finally delivered it told us that it was still in Atlanta. When in fact we knew it was in Paris. We knew this because it was in our living room. Also you should be able to change the delivery address by calling if it is incorrect, but if the zip is right and the hotel name is on the address, then it's likely that it will get to you.

You should definitely find out what the compensation is for each day your stuff is delayed. For Air France/Delta it was $25/person/day up to five days. This is not a huge amount in Paris but for our friend it meant socks and underwear and a nice shirt. Also you're lucky because this weekend should be the beginning of crazy sales in Paris. Keep receipts for whatever you buy. Also some credit cards offer this kind of coverage as well, as long as you have documentation that your bag was delayed and you bought the ticket on the card.

Are you sure that you need a transformer for your camera? Or are you just talking about the cables and plug adaptors? Whatever you need we likely have it and would be happy to loan so your boyfriend can charge up his camera. Paris is particularly photogenic these days. Hell we can even loan you some ties and jackets if you're planning on being fancy (well, if you're planning to look like a tweedy 1950s professor, at least). Check your metafilter mail.

Also -- BHV is like the Macy's of Paris, or maybe Nordstrom's. With parts of Best Buy and the Gap and Home Depot grafted on. And Williams Sonoma. And a dash of Staples.
posted by tractorfeed at 3:58 PM on January 7, 2010 [2 favorites]

Look at beautiful art. Have lots of sex. Just enjoy Paris.

I'm suddenly very jealous.

Nevertheless, I hope it all works out, Whelk!
posted by darkstar at 5:02 PM on January 7, 2010

People leave power transformers and charging cables and stuff behind in hotels all the time. Go down and ask at the desk if they have an appropriate one you can borrow, you never know. The worst they can do is say no.
posted by shelleycat at 5:36 PM on January 7, 2010 [1 favorite]

I recently had this happen to me but just on a US to Canada trip (of course, in my case, I sat around for two days in clothes that the flight attendant had spilled an entire cup of coffee on. In first class.) and having it ruin a trip to Paris is really horrible. I'm sorry you're having to deal with it. A few suggestions:

1. If you're in a hotel and they have a concierge try asking for their advice. Possibly they have a contact at the airport who can get you more info. They may know which delivery companies airlines use and could have a way of getting in touch with them to find out if they even have your bag yet, or if it's still languishing at the terminal.

2. If you are really wasting whole days with this, consider going to the airport. When this happened to me, it became apparent that I could have had my bag about a day earlier than I ended up getting it if I'd just gone to the airport to pick it up myself (I would have driven back the same night if I knew it was there). If you are going to move on to another location, it could very well be worth it to try this. The people on the phone change and just plain don't give a shit because they are not at the airport and can only report what they see on their computer screen anyway. You might get better results in person.

3. Buy new clothes. I eventually broke down and went to Wal-Mart and bought some stuff to wear because I was leaving for another location the next day and I couldn't deal with the same jeans another day. Two hours after I arrived back after the shopping trip (and 30 minutes after I called them AGAIN to have them tell me the bag was "at the airport waiting for the courier to pick it up for delivery"), the doorbell rang and there it was. The airport was a 60 minute drive, at least, so... yeah, right it was "waiting for pickup". I almost GUARANTEE that as soon as you spend the money you will have your bag, because that is just the way the world works.

I hope this doesn't ruin your vacation! I tell myself that as long as I have my passport and a credit card, all problems can be solved and I think this is the time to use it.
posted by marylynn at 9:00 PM on January 7, 2010

Response by poster: between this thread and the stories in Metatalk, I am feeling a lot better about the situation. (extra thanks to tractorfeed for the generous offer). I'm making a quick actually-work related trip to Versailles this morning and then I'm going to C&A which will ensure the bag is there when I get back.
posted by The Whelk at 9:31 PM on January 7, 2010


Or at least the last two days. Turns out no one connected the stray bag in the storage room to the couple moaning about lost luggage until this morning. This proves that the universe is run on irony.

posted by The Whelk at 11:01 PM on January 7, 2010

posted by darkstar at 11:28 PM on January 7, 2010

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