Sad day for lips on fire.


Posted in News on November 30th, 2012 by Reagan

Tags: ,

 

Two months ago I was flying American Airlines (don’t do it. not worth it. never ever worth it.) and my checked baggage was ransacked. The American Airline agents had their way with my bag that I paid money to keep in their possession while I traveled with them. They stole my Bottega Veneta handbag, a camera, a Bottega Veneta coin purse, my car key, Rayban sunglasses and every single tube of lipstick that I own. The total value of what they stole was almost $4,000. it never occurred to me that a company would rob from their paying customers, which is why I had valuable items in the checked bag that I thought would be safe and well taken care of. American Airlines has been completely unsympathetic, and unhelpful would be an extreme under-exaggeration. I have spent hours upon hours of my life dealing with this mess, because of how difficult their customer service/central baggage department is. They sent me a check this month for $200, yes $200 to cover what was stolen.

This whole experience has really shaken me. I’ve never felt so violated and afraid to travel. I now question that everyone around me is out to take advantage of me. American Airlines doesn’t value their customers, and has no interest in fixing their mistakes. I have felt so sad and frustrated and helpless throughout this experience, and hope that by sharing my story, it can help prevent some of you from feeling the way I feel/have felt. I haven’t cashed my check from American Airlines in hopes that they’ll do the right thing and fix this mess in a more appropriate and considerate manner.



72 Responses to “Sad day for lips on fire.”

  1. Jamie "ChatterBlossom Says:

    This sucks!! I am so sorry!!

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  2. Andrea Says:

    That is the worst! Makes me never want to check a bag again.

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  3. Carrissa Says:

    It’s unbelievable that companies can get away with this…there is no accountability anymore! I feel your frustration!!!

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  4. Rachael Says:

    That is the worst! I hope they fix it!!

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  5. Feisty Says:

    That sucks, good for you for calling them out. This is exactly why I do carry-on only. It’s a pain in the ass in the airport, but it’s one of the few areas that I am a control freak about. Airlines don’t give a crap about me or my luggage.

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  6. Kristina Says:

    I’m so sorry to hear that! It’s awful!!! Last Monday,a homeless guy broke in to my house! I know how you feel! Hugs from my broken soul to yours! :)

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  7. Meggan Says:

    The feeling of being robbed is awful, really awful. Boo to American Airlines!

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  8. Jill Says:

    Cash your check and buy a lock for your suitcase. AA will not give you more. I had 2 family members die in an AA crash due to pilot error and it’s all about business to them.

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  9. Katie Says:

    Oh girl. Same thing happened to me a few Christmases ago (with American Airlines too!). All of the jewelry I was traveling with and several Christmas presents were stolen. Some of my Grandmother’s jewelry that she had given to me was taken, it was valuable and obviously irreplaceable. The feeling of violation… I feel you. Take heart.

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  10. Rebeka Says:

    What is it with people robbing you? I just don’t understand. I’m so sorry to hear this happened. Because of this story I won’t be flying with them and next time I check a bag I will surely put a lock on it – I have never heard of such a thing happening. Wow. Just wow. Also, so sad to hear that all your fabulous lipsticks got stolen – and the worst part is the fact that the thief probably just threw them away afterward (because, I mean, who wears a stranger’s used lipstick? maybe a thief? I don’t know, clearly I haven’t thought this out very well…)

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  11. A Says:

    I’m sorry your things were stolen. I only fly AA and always lock my checked luggage with a TSA approved lock. It’s never been messed with or removed. It’s common knowledge to never check anything of significant value. I understand that you have a large following on HDOF, but this is between you and AA. Using your readers/numbers to get a resolution from AA for this seems petty.

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  12. Hmm Says:

    Sounds like A works for AA!

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  13. Kathy Says:

    Thank you for blogging about this. If I were you, I would contact the Department of Homeland Security. If they can get things out of your bag that easily, think of what they can get INTO your bags that easily.

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  14. kokoleelee Says:

    This is awful. I am so sorry. A good reminder to us all. And to “A,” they should know it’s common knowledge that locks are allowed to be cut to check that luggage is secure and safe, so locking your baggage is something they specifically say not to do because then they might actually tear your baggage open. I don’t live in America and always wondered why Americans travel carry on style. I guess it truly is NOT worth it to pay the baggage fee. What a shame. Hope AA rectifies this. Maybe we should all start taking photographs of what we pack.

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  15. Sarah Says:

    I recently flew to Jamaica for vacation, and on the way back, when the customs folks were looking through our things (pre-check-in), they actually handed us back a purse I had in the suitcase and a camera and all my costume jewelry and said it was safer with us than in the checked bag. Nice.

    I hope American does the right thing too – is there some sort of consumer advocate you can contact to make a bigger stink? Shame on AA.

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  16. Rae Says:

    I think writing about this on your blog was a fantastic idea. It’s unfortunate we have to go to different measures to get customer service, but that is reality. Blog away Reags. Shout it out that you’re unhappy. The saying is true, the squeaky wheel gets the grease.
    That really really REALLY freaking sucks you were stolen from. I HATE thieves. Unfortunately it’s not just AA. I think I mentioned to you when this first happened that my brother had the SAME thing happen with Delta. They didn’t give two sh**s about what was stolen.
    And as far as locking your bag? Every single time I’ve dropped off my checked bag I’m asked/told there cannot be a lock or they’re break it, so that doesn’t solve the problem.
    So sorry Reags.

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  17. Marissa Says:

    That is horrible – the value that they STOLE and then the tiny check they sent! I think you should put this on your facebook, your twitter, your pintrest, everywhere! I know by doing that – sometimes it does get them to act quickly and more appropriately. If you have a reporter contact friend, I’d see if they can splatter that on their blog or local newspaper or radio station. It’s bound to be remedied if you go after them hard and strong…..at this point they think they’ve remedied it! But have not!!! They still out you about $3800.
    Marissa

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  18. Liv Says:

    I’m sorry! That is why I never check anything valuable. I’ve always believed it’s safer in my carry-on (even if it means I’m lugging around tons of stuff with a baby too) which is ridiculous because it is someone’s JOB to safely handle luggage. It’d be a different story if a ticket agent stole cash from a register, but because it goes on behind the scenes, it happens without repercussion!

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  19. sorry Says:

    http://www.budgettravel.com/blog/faqs-about-items-stolen-from-checked-bags,9836/

    i would also tweet them, hashtag, contact their public relations/media, and file a police report at the airport.

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  20. Jen Says:

    You should tweet with @americanairlines (or whatever their twitter is) a brief mention of the dissatisfaction and poor customer service. Don’t say anything defamator. I did this when Toyota refused to replace a known manufacturing flaw (in the door) that would have cost me $500+ I got a phone call within 8 hours and directions to take it to the dealer to be fixed for free. I don’t even have many followers. :) Just don’t sound like a crazy mad consumer. Oh, and I sent a follow-up tweet afterwards that said “Thanks for doing the right thing, @toyota”

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  21. Nessa @ Isle Style Living Says:

    So crazy.

    I had a bag just disappear a few years ago. I was traveling to Samoa and my bag never made it, no record of it in the system. Nothing.

    This is such a horrible awful situation. I’m sharing this in hopes that American Airlines gets their crap together and fixes this!

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  22. kati Says:

    better to be seen as slightly petty and have a chance at the situation being fixed, i always say. as of right now :)
    they kinda make you take it from both ends at the airport. “you must pay extra for this bag that MAY OR MAY NOT ACTUALLY MAKE IT TO YOUR DESTINATION. and if it doesn’t or one of our shitty employees steals something out of it, there’s really nothing we will do for you!” really how is anyone supposed to have faith in that system?

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  23. MelanieBaker Says:

    I can’t believe that you are still dealing with this sh**! I’m sorry, Reagan! :( boo on AA.

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  24. Laura Says:

    Reags, you should send this post to tips@consumerist.com too! They’re good at getting customer horror stories heard and passed around and hopefully resolved. Such a crappy, crappy experience.

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  25. Jen Says:

    I’m a frequent traveler, primarily with American but also Southwest and other airlines. I’m so sorry to hear that things were stolen out of your luggage. Unfortunately theft from checked baggage is rampant not only with AA but with every other airline under the sun. (Don’t believe me? Check out flyertalk.com, where you’ll see countless stories similar to yours.) And all of the US airlines have essentially the same policy–they won’t cover theft of electronics, valuables or little else. Part of the problem in this day and age is that your baggage goes through many hands, not just American’s but also the TSA. If you google TSA + arrest you’ll find countless stories about TSA employees being arrested and convicted for stealing from passenger bags. So it’s really easy for AA to point a finger at TSA and vice versa.

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  26. Jen Says:

    One more note: Check with your homeowner’s/renter’s policy. You may be able to file a claim with them.

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  27. Emily Says:

    I’m so sorry. That is absolutely awful. I will be sure to avoid AA now and reconsider how I pack. My thoughts are with you and I hope they eventually do the right thing.

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  28. Kel Says:

    Reags I know how you feel!! My bag was “lost” on the way to my ten day spring break vacation years ago with about 5000 worth of bathing suits shoes and my beloved Marc Jacobs dresses and that was only the stuff I cared about. Years later, i am still mourning the loss of those previously affordable pieces of fashion. We flew delta but the same runaround was given to us, ending in what I think was only 500 in damages. Simply not enough to replace the loss and certainly not enough to fix the feeling that they simply didn’t care. Now whenever I travel I take the important things on carry on even if its super annoying and i am that girl hitting people in the face w my oversize duffel as I make my way down the aisle to my seat.. and also, get an Amex because they cover you for travel insurance. Chin up girl!!

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  29. Jasmine Says:

    Wow. That’s horrible. I’m so sorry. :( I had a really bad experience with United, and I’ve heard countless stories about other airlines too. What is the deal with airlines ripping people off, providing terrible customer service, losing luggage, STEALING, and just generally screwing people over?? I’m retweeting your story on twitter (which is how I found you). Hopefully, everyone’s retweets will get their attention.

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  30. Emily Says:

    Is there really no integrity left in this world? What a sad commentary about the state of the average human being, it’s very disheartening. Sorry that you have to deal with it on such a personal level.

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  31. Jessica Says:

    This is a nightmare. You might also try filing a claim with the TSA since they handle your bag before it ever reaches the airline and it may have been someone on their side. Either way, it’s horrible and I’m sorry it happened to you :(

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  32. Kristin U. Says:

    Holy wow Reagan, this is beyond awful! I have never been an AA fan and this just seals the deal. I truly hope they do something (beyond this initial measly attempt) to rectify the situation.

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  33. Pauline Says:

    I cannot believe what happened to you! I have never flown AA and hearing this story, I never will give them my business for sure. I am so sorry about what happened. Companies and businesses should know that it’s all about the costumer and costumer service is of utmost importance. I have had a horrible experience with Walmart and therefore will never give them business ever again for as long as I live- although it was no where near as horrible as yours.

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  34. Amelia Says:

    IIRC, American Airlines filed for bankruptcy a while ago. My experiences flying with them in the past few months are indicative of an understaffed, floundering company that’s collapsing in on itself and trying to cut it’s losses by doing a shoddy job of, well, everything. I hope that you are properly reimbursed, but it may be unlikely at this point.

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  35. Viridian Vega Says:

    It’s not the airlines, it’s the TSA. Especially with items like lipstick, various other makeup and facial moisturizers and such, which are subject to limitations making it impossible to carry on quantities that would be normal-use for the average woman.

    Basically, the TSA sets it up so certain things HAVE to be checked, then they warn you not to check these things, then they blame you when they steal these things. I understand the airlines not wanting to pay for the TSA’s con game but this is insane.

    That being said, AA’s customer service is horrible and I wouldn’t fly with them on that basis alone.

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  36. Linda Says:

    this is no good! I am so glad you did this complaint email. I am a big fan of letting others know. sorry you had this happen to you. BIG HUG!

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  37. Amy Kieffer Says:

    I am hearing that TSA does these things. Are you sure that it was American Airlines?

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  38. IRIS Says:

    I am so sorry to hear about this. I did fly with American Airlines once in the past, and it was also THE worst experience on a plane ever..Fortunately none of my belongings got stolen though! Thanks for sharing this, I think it will make people more conscious about flying.

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  39. Donna Says:

    I am an American expat living overseas in Saudi Arabia. Two months ago I was flying from our home in Texas back to Saudi. My arm was in a sling because I was recovering from shoulder surgery. I had paid extra for isle seating. We were also flying AMERICAN AIRLINES. When we got to the gate we were told there was an earlier flight leaving for Dallas and were strongly encouraged to take the earlier flight. I asked if the flight was full because I had a bag that needed to be in the overhead. I was assured there were plenty of seats left and my bag would be no problem, but there were no isle seats left. Being that it is only a thirty minute flight I agreed to sit in a middle seat. When we got to the plane there were people waiting in line to get on. The plane was FULL and there were no more overhead bins vacant. The flight attendants were so rude and told me I would have to go to the front of the plane and put my bag below. The baggage handler grabbed my bag and asked me where my final destination was. I told him Saudi but explained that I needed to be able to get the bag at the gate in Dallas being that I had a years worth of blood pressure meds and did not want my bag to be lost. He Yelled at me to either let him check the bag all the way through or else get off the plane. I chose to get off the plane. When I made it back up yo the gate they had locked us in and so we had to bang on the door to get someone to let us back into the airport. I was crying by then, one armed, in pain, my son dragging my bag, his bag and trying to explain to the gate attendant what had happened. The same gate attendant that had assured us that we should take that flight to begin with. No sorry, can we help you, are you o.k., nada nothing. We were put on the next flight, we got to Dallas in time to catch our flight to London. American Airlines was rude there as well, people who need extra help are allowed to board first, the gate attendant acted as if I was a stow away. So rude to me and my son. We make it to London and have to go through the American Airlines terminal to catch our next flight to Saudi. Oh my! They took my bag off the exray belt and made us wait for about an hour before taking everything out and going through every inch of my luggage. I asked them if they could please hurry because we were going to miss our flight. They basically said they did not care and we would just have to wait. I had to ask for a place to sit down to be able to rest my arm. A gentlemen asked if going through every thing I owned was really necessary and boy did that poor man get a lecture on terrorism.We did make it to Saudi,only one bag missing. They did find it. Nothing was missing.I tell this long story for a couple reasons. American Airlines stinks with terrible customer service. No wonder they are bankrupt. I have flown most of my life. Lots of overseas trips and I have never been treated so poorly. I also believe that a companies customer service can make or break them. Listen up American Airlines.

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  40. georgia Says:

    this happened to my mom a while back and what ended up happening was that once the baggage went on the conveyor belt it became TSA property, not the airlines. so TSA was ultimately held responsible and paid a portion of the stolen value. maybe try this route if you haven’t yet. good luck!

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  41. Melissa Lehman Says:

    Absolutely awful customer service!!! Shame on you American Airlines!!!

    Reagan, have you ever seen the “United Breaks Guitars” video on YouTube? The guy who made that video got results. Maybe you should make a video about American Airlines craptastic service.

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  42. Alice Says:

    Piss on their heads (said with a British accent)

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  43. J S Says:

    Thanks for the heads up Reagan!

    I absolutely do not trust any airline to keep anything of value safe, even when carrying on. TSA still makes a mess and they always find one thing to dispose of or confiscate. BUT, I will NEVER fly American Airlines because they are the rudest of the rude. United isn’t so great either, but I find dealing with their customer service is a bit less stressful.

    SHAME ON YOU AMERICAN AIRLINES FOR NOT TREATING YOUR CUSTOMERS WITH THE RESPECT THEY DESERVE. YOU LOSE! And YOU suck a$$!

    And to “A” this is her Blob. She can say or write whatever she feels is necessary. If you don’t like it, don’t read her blob.

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  44. J S Says:

    Ps. I think you should file a police report and also file a claim with renters insurance. It may be worth checking out. Also, pull strings with your NY peeps to get your story on national TV. Perhaps AA (absolute a$$hole) will make things right. Perhaps.

    Merry Christmas Reagan and Piper! Next year is gonna be your year, I know it!

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  45. Melinda Lyon Says:

    This just makes me sick. I’m so sorry this had to happen to you!! I wish you a super wonderful week though :D

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  46. A Says:

    I’m sorry that my comment came across as horribly awful. It wasn’t meant that way. You can’t rely on strangers to always be good people. That’s the awful truth. So packing valuables is a huge risk, because some people are lousy. Not just AA people, but other airlines as well. They all have TSA agents and baggage handlers that will steal if given the opportunity and that’s awful. I don’t work for AA as someone assumed and I will always be a reader of both blobs, as someone else assumed. I’m sorry if I was hurtful. I hope this post helps you receive a resolution.

    Amanda

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  47. bridget Says:

    that BLOWS. i seriously, seriously hope you get the proper compensation. so sorry reagan.

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  48. Jenny Says:

    Such crap! Stealing used lipstick is just hateful. I hope the winds change for you soon.

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  49. Cass Says:

    bastards.

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  50. Julie Says:

    Llike a few others have said make a big stink about it, and very publically. Tags, hastags, FB page. They are insured for this very reason, and bad public opinion is dangerous to them. Keep fighting for it. They owe me thousands (I did a lot of work for them, which they haven’t paid me for. Different issue, but still enraging.) They are notoriously bad for paying what is owed. But seriously, keep fighting.

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  51. Laurel Says:

    That is awful! Tweet about it if you haven’t. Seriously. I’ve had friends complain on twitter about companies that have screwed them over and all of a sudden them wanted to make things right. Good luck!

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  52. Charlotte Says:

    I am so sorry this happened to you, how absolutely horrific, I had never even thought something like this would happen! I really hope they resolve this for you and you get the composition you deserve, not that it will ever make up for what you have had to go through. Hugs x

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  53. Cinthia Says:

    Really sad this happened to you Reagan :( My luggage has been lost twice, luckily I recovered it with everything in but it’s such a pain each time, even to get them to answer the phone…! I wish you the best, I RTed. Their official Twitter is @AmericanAir.

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  54. David Says:

    Sorry to hear of your misfortune. I try to use only a single carry-on because of stuff like this. If you used a credit card, check with them because many cards have travel insurance to cover things like this.

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  55. Erin Says:

    Oh no! I’m so sorry- that is shocking! I also had a nightmare experience with American Airlines last spring and will NEVER fly with them again. NOT WORTH IT. I’m so sorry for your hassle and stress… yuck. I hope they finally do the right thing too.

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  56. Sharesa Says:

    That’s terrible! Karma sister!! Karma will get the theives that stole from you! My husband and I were robbed on our honeymoon in Costa Rica back in June. It leaves you feeling totally taken advantage of. I know in my heart that what comes around goes around and they will get theirs! I am so sorry this happened to you.

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  57. Emi Says:

    Ugh, so sucky! I work in insurance and get such a yucky pit in my stomach every time I hear a story like this! File a claim with your homeowners/renters/business policy!

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  58. Ashley Says:

    I’m glad that you decided to post about American Airlines. I chose to fly on American to South America and back this summer because they had the cheapest ticket, but it was not worth it! They are always late, and they usually lose my luggage. I will not fly American again, even if they have cheaper rates.

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  59. Natalia Says:

    WOW, awful!

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  60. Ursula Says:

    You could try something like this guy:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo

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  61. Nina Says:

    Any chance you used a credit card to book your airline ticket? If so, does said credit card have any lost baggage protection/insurance? A lot of credit cards have this benefit, so check if yours does so you can file a claim with them asap! Good luck!!

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  62. Amanda Says:

    Ugh. I’m pretty sure I’m never flying on American again. Seriously…it’s understandable that they can’t control every employee-turned-theif, but to not reimburse you for the loss?!?! It’s just plain wrong.

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  63. Suz Says:

    Raegen, my heart goes out to you! What a disgusting thing to go through. People who steal are just trashy, trashy people. BOO.

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  64. Brittney Says:

    I feel your pain! The same thing happened to us last summer while flying with LOT Polish Airlines (we live in Europe). My husband accidentally put the watch that I gave him on our wedding day in his checked luggage, which was then stolen from his bag. They wouldn’t give us a cent, even though I have a receipt for the watch and everything. It’s so frustrating to pay $1000 for a ticket and then something like that happens. :(

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  65. Anna Kathryn Says:

    This reminds me of that youtube video where United Airlines broke a guitar and neglected to replace it http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5YGc4zOqozo and eventually United had to listen since this guy made a video that went viral. With social media the way it is, I think your best bet is to keep doing what your doing..tell people about it in every form possible. Heck, make a video about it and blast it!

    I’m sorry for your loss..I hate flying for that reason, I always feel violated. Hope you are able to get what is owed to you!

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  66. DaNelle Says:

    I’m sorry to hear about your trouble. I also have had problems with American. Their customer service is non sympathetic and the worst I have ever seen. We flew with them to Jamaica with friends and booked way in advance so we could go enjoy our trip. We had problem after problem. They changed our flight which was definitly not in our best interest. We lost a day in Jamaica for a day in the airport which is why we didn’t choose this flight to begin with and we could have payed less for it when we originaly booked it but they informed us 2 days before leaving on the trip that this was now our only choice. So much for booking in advance for the best flight. When I asked about my friends that were flying with us they realized they had missed them and had them on our old flight connecting on a flight that they wouldn’t be able to catch due to time. Our friends had to meet us and we did not get to fly together like we had planned. On the way home we changed to 4 different gates and times. I hope you have better luck with them……

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  67. Amy Says:

    Um… hello lawsuit. I would sue them if I were you.

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  68. Shannon Says:

    Airports have security cameras everywhere, especially “behind the scenes”. This is to protect them from their employees (if they get injured on the job, etc). I have seen many people who have demanded they look at the footage, and they caught whomever stole items from suitcases. Maybe you could try that route?

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  69. Summer Says:

    That sucks! I agree about Tweeting and doing whatever you must do! $4000 is no joke! I am surprised you checked anything of value though – I’ve always thought it seemed pretty commonsensical that anything of value stays with you. It’s sad that people are so untrustworthy!

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  70. Abercrombie Milano Says:

    Non ci sono molti abiti dipartimentali costa negozi che vendono biologico abbigliamento per bambini a causa dei loro prezzi di abito occasione prodotti costosi per la loro qualità più fine e durata. Tuttavia, ci sono molti negozi online che vendono moda abbigliamento biologico costa che non sono solo buoni per abiti look.The da materiale costa utilizzati in abiti femminili è estremamente importante. Esso definisce il loro modo di guardare. Vestiti Costa fornire il meglio dei materiali in voga, che vanno dal vestito da sposa comode costa, abiti da sposa costa, maxi abito costa e abiti da sera costa.

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  71. Ketty Pirce Says:

    WTF? How is it possible?! I would cut someone’s head off for this…

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  72. Christa Says:

    I know this is kind of late, but we had an airline break a stroller that was gate checked as the airline required and they didn’t offer us anything. But American Express paid to replace the stroller because we purchased the ticket using our card. So, check with your credit card company and see if they offer travel insurance for tickets purchased using their card. Worth a shot!

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