Sorry if this is a little long! This was something I wrote to post on another website, a while back!
In August 2008, I moved from Maine, to Berlin, Germany to work at a friend’s hostel/hotel operation, long-term, with no plans on coming home soon. I had two one-way tickets. The first going with Jet Blue from Portland, Maine to JFK
. The second with LTU/Air Berlin flying JFK
, with 300 lbs of luggage accompanying me, as well as my cat flying as carry-on bag. The Air Berlin portion went flawlessly! No problems or complaints! However, I was “screwed blue” by Jet Blue!
I checked in at PWM
for JetBlue flight 603, at 11:15am to JFK
. My AB
flight departed at 5:45pm giving me plenty of time for delays and whatnot. I checked in with a backpack, a smaller suitcase, and a large heavy suitcase with absolutely ALL
of my clothing and accessories in it! Even my socks and underwear! Plus, a 1.5 liter bottle of premium vodka, my cell phone charger and other numerous electronics, and two months worth of needed prescription medication which I accidentally packed when I thought I had it in my carry-on! I paid extra for the third bag, as well as an additional $100 for the cat.
Anyway, we get to JFK
not more than 1.6 hours after I check in at Portland. I’m at the bag claim when the bags come off the plane, and my first two come off, but no sign of the large bag with all the clothing and medication in it! After a while, it’s clear there are no more bags, so I go to the Jet Blue Claim office, and after twenty minutes they discover it’s still at PWM
, but they tell me they will put it on the next flight at 7pm. Just one problem…. I tell them I’m moving overseas, and I’m on a one-way ticket with another carrier to Europe, and that flight leaves three hours before the next flight from Portland arrives at JFK
with the bag. This gets their attention a bit! After a few minutes, they take a claim and get my new address in Germany and assure me they will Fedex the bag to Berlin at no charge to me, within 2-3 days! At first this seemed great, because it was so heavy, it would have cost me quite a bit in excess weight charges under Air Berlin’s baggage allowance policy. So, I happily walk out of the office and off to the next terminal thinking “No problems, the bag will come right to Berlin! That’s great! Jet Blue is willing to help me out that way! Surly it must cost $400-500 to Fedex a heavy bag to Europe?”
Well, I get to Berlin the next morning and send the Jet Blue agent I dealt with an e-mail at JFK
Claim with a slight correction of the shipping address for the bag. I told them to postpone shipping it until I could confirm I had the address right, and they agreed. Two days go by with no reply, and no bag! By the third day, I get an e-mail stating that they cannot find the bag at either JFK
. When they learned of the medication in it they put out an alert to all stations to check all unclaimed luggage. Another two days go by. No luck locating my bag! Finally, my cell phone battery dies, so I had to get in touch with a relative in Maine who’s been calling and e-mailing Jet Blue on my behalf to relay messages for me. Jet Blue tells me I can spend $100 the first week, save receipts and they’ll reimburse me. Not really the answer I was looking for! Two reps tell me that after a week, I can submit an application for a lost bag settlement. So I’ve wait another two days when I wake up to an e-mail from a representative at Jet Blue’s Salt Lake City lost bag department. According to him, the claim has been transferred out of NYC to SLC
. He tells me that they have no idea where the bag is, and to replace the clothing they’ll need original receipts of all items in the bag! Plus they’ll need all this within 15 days!
Now, I don’t know about you, but I never save clothing receipts more than a week or so after I’ve bought clothes, tried them on, washed them, and seen they fit all right! I bought all these clothes between three months and a year ago. Most were new, never worn, bought with cash, and on top of that, fairly expensive! I, of course have no receipts for these clothes, nor could I ever tell you which stores and where I bought all of it!
Eventually after much run-around and arguing with them, after civility failed, they agree I can submit my claim with a rough estimate of all the goods in the bag. I do my best, but there was so much stuff packed last minute, that I probably missed some items? Well, they tell me my claim will take forty days to process. In the meantime I’m in a new city, far from home, and trying to get ready to start a new job within a couple of days. With the weak dollar, the $100 they gave me for the first week barely purchased me two shirts, some underwear, socks, and hygiene items! I’m completely unprepared to start working, but I push on regardless, and wait the forty days. All my belongings were worth roughly $1,600 dollars. After forty days of wearing the same two shirts, and one pair of casual jeans I wore on the flight over, and having basically no clothing, Jet Blue finally gets back to me saying they’re offering me a measly $550 for the lost items! I DON’T THINK SO! So I refuse the offer, give them 14 days to reconsider and then threaten to take things to small claims. At this point they decide they need another 14 days to reconsider, all the while it’s getting colder and colder out in Germany and I have no damn clothes! Let alone winter gear! So now, they’ve finally replied and upped their “final” offer to $1,000! Maybe that would reimburse me for 2/3 back home, but I’m in Europe the weak dollar isn’t going to cut it! Not to mention all the styles here are different, not my thing, and sized for very fit and trim people. I was 15 lbs overweight at the time, but in Europe that’s FAT
, so good luck finding any decent clothes that fit without going back to the USA! I eventually settled for the $1000.
Finally, Three months after my arrival, the check finally comes through with a generic letter of apology, but I still lost over $500 worth of personal items that were never reimbursed. And I had to wait six months to come back home for a visit before I could get some decent replacement clothes!
I use to recommend Jet Blue to everybody, and would even pay more to fly them when the major carrier’s fares were priced below Jet Blue’s. After doing a bit of research online, it appears Jet Blue has a major problem with stolen bags and goods at JFK
. I want to say I’ll never fly them again, but rationally I realize all airlines loose bags. It’s just the service level I’ve received from them in resolving the situation and finding the bag is completely unacceptable in my mind. They absolutely could care less I moved to a foreign country and arrived with almost nothing that I need to conduct daily life! I’m so fed up with the situation I wish the whole airline would die and burn in hell! So much for my loyalty! Oh yeah, JetBlue… You can keep the $100 voucher for my next flight. I don’t think I’m going to be using it! How about investing in a baggage tracking system, and monitoring your JFK
bag handlers with cameras since they seem to have an established problem there?
[Edited 2009-09-05 18:36:36]