Air France Damaged Baggage & Delta’s Shady Response To My Claim
My wife’s recent incident with an Air France damaged baggage claim got a really weird response from Delta. My wife and I visited several cities around Europe in December. Even though I’m on team carry on whenever possible, we had to check a bag because of liquids in presents we’d bought. This story only confirms my bad luck with luggage and desire to not check bags when it can be avoided. Here’s what happened and why I want everyone to take the approach I did.
Air France Damaged Baggage
On a flight from Paris CDG to Ljubljana, Slovenia, Air France broke 2 wheels off my wife’s suitcase. These things happen, so we weren’t overly upset or stressed about it. We filed the claim at the airport, got paperwork from them, and were on our way. A week or 2 later, I filed a claim on Air France’s website, and that was that. Or so I thought. I’d submitted a ton of pictures of the suitcase, claim forms, receipts, detailed notes. How this wasn’t simple is beyond me.
Delta Manages The Case
Delta was assigned to manage our case, since we live in the Americas and they’re the local SkyTeam member in this region. I had provided a link to where to buy the original suitcase, plus description and photos of the damaged one. I’d also provided the required claim forms from the airport. There were also receipts, credit card statements, and tags from purchasing the replacement suitcase.
I’ll note that this was December 26, so there weren’t many stores open. The only store open selling suitcases on December 26 in Ljubljana was the Samsonite store. Was it more expensive than our original suitcase and a better model? Yes. Was it also more expensive buying in euros, where we’d paid dollars for the original? Yep. Who’s fault is that? Not mine.
Delta’s Email Closing The Case
Delta’s first email read like it was written by a jerk. Just being honest.
Thank you for your e-mail regarding the mishandling of your luggage. We are sorry to learn about the inconvenience you experienced.
In order to continue the handling of your case, we kindly request that you submit all the information and supporting documents as listed below:
- Baggage claim check
- Purchase date
- Purchase value
- Full copy of the original purchase receipt for damaged bag
Our liability is limited to the original value and we require proof of amounts claimed. Consequently, we are temporarily closing your case and will reopen as soon as we receive the requested information.
I’d provided an estimate of when we bought the suitcase (3 years prior) during the claim. I’d also provided an estimate of how much we’d paid. Let me know if you think ANYONE still has the original purchase receipt for an item purchased 3 years ago.
Here’s why I think this email is a jerk move. Delta asked us for something 99% of people can’t provide and said the case was closed until we provide it. If they ask for things we can’t provide, they get to pat themselves on the back for reaching out to us. It wasn’t their fault we didn’t provide documents, right?
I’m not one to take it lightly when a multi-bilion-dollar company tries to pull a fast one to screw over the customer during the company’s mistake. I wrote back.
I find your whole email quite strange, as if no one read the claim or looked at the documents submitted.
Your responsibility to the customer is to not damage the bag and then to replace it if it’s damaged. We expect to be reimbursed. The airline is at fault, and your email comes off like you fully intend to screw us over. I don’t like your email at all.
The “I’m not taking a BS email” approach is something I get from my mom. I’ve shown Delta’s email to a few people, and everyone read it like they had no intention of reimbursing us for the Air France damaged baggage claim. It felt like they wanted to ask for something impossible so we couldn’t meet their requirements. I thought the “you’re not pushing me around” response was my best play, and I accompanied it with a tweet to Delta, Air France & SkyTeam all together. Airlines hate bad publicity for trying to screw over customers. Turns out I was right.
Delta Sings a New Tune
Maybe it’s just because a different employee responded. Possibly, my “don’t take BS” approach and overwhelming them with tons of documentation email did something. Who knows. However, Delta wrote back the next day saying the check was in the mail for full reimbursement. It arrived 3 days later.
If they were going to be so nice and reimburse us without that original receipt from 3 years ago, why did they need it in the first place? Why did Delta say our case was closed until we provided that receipt, since that clearly wasn’t the case? Their whole approach comes off like they intended to make us go away / give up. “I don’t have that receipt, so the claim is closed. That sucks.”
Start by asking us for something they think we can’t provide, and then we lose. If that’s how the first approach comes off, why was the 2nd email apologetic and straight to “check’s in the mail”? Your guess is as good as mine, but the first email came off like a power play, not customer service. Their first email read like they were hoping 99% of people will assume this can’t be done and drop their claim. That would save Delta incredible amounts of money.
I encourage you to not take BS emails from billion-dollar companies lying down. I didn’t, and it was the difference between getting and not getting $141 for a suitcase Air France broke. When a company asks you to produce something absurd in a claim where they owe you money, tell them it’s absurd and point out why. If we, the consumers, let them push us around, they will. If we tell them we won’t be pushed around (your approach to “I won’t be pushed around” might be different than mine), the check is suddenly in the mail.
When an airline damages your property or other times they ought to reimburse you, remind them of that obligation. I’m not one to complain about every little thing or ask for compensation just because the plane boarded 5 minutes late. However, you should definitely remind companies of their responsibilities when they try to dodge by starting with a ridiculous email. I imagine that a lot of people would see the request for impossible documents and assume the claim will never be settled. They’d give up. That’s probably why Delta starts with this approach. I hope you won’t fall for it.