It's been a rough summer for the airlines industry with record flight delays and cancellations. Now, we're also hearing from fliers not getting their luggage when they arrive at their final destination.
It happened to Raleigh resident Jacqueline Hodge when she flew from RDU to the Dominican Republic on American Airlines for a week-long vacation.
"I'm looking for my other bag and it was nowhere to be found," she said. This was her first time out of the country, and she was forced to scramble to get necessities. "I was staying at a resort; I bought a can of deodorant. It was $10.00."
Without her bag, Hodge said she had to spend a lot of money out of pocket to enjoy her trip. She said she was never notified the bag arrived while she was in the Dominican Republic, so when she flew back home she tried to find her missing luggage.
"When I got back to RDU, I went in American baggage claim and asked about my bag. My bag made it to the DR the next day," she said.
Hodge filed a lost luggage claim with American Airlines but she said all she got back was an automated email that the airline received her message and will get back in touch with her.
She waited nearly a month but still, no one with American Airlines got back to her in regards to her missing bag.
Hodge got in touch with Troubleshooter Diane Wilson for help. Hodge said to Wilson, "American Airlines contacted me the next day, saying that my bag was in a warehouse in Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, and they will send it to me, but it's been a whole month!"
It's key to know your rights. If it's lost or delayed, report it to the airlines right away. If you buy anything while you're without your luggage keep receipts. According to the US Department of Transportation, airlines are required to compensate you.
The maximum liability allowed by regulation is $3,800 for domestic flights and $1,800 for international flights. Airlines can pay more but aren't required to do so.
When it comes to Hodge's case a representative provided this statement: "American strives to return delayed luggage to customers as quickly as possible. Unfortunately, weather and operational issues may slow down the process in some instances. Our team has reached out to the affected customer and they have since received their baggage. We understand it can be frustrating when travel doesn't go as planned, and we apologize to those customers whose plans have been impacted by delayed baggage."
Just days after Troubleshooter Diane Wilson got involved, Hodge was mailed her bag that's been missing for a month and she says she's happy to have it back in her possession. Besides finding her bag, she also received compensation for the items she had to buy since she didn't have it for the trip.
"I just wanted to thank you for helping me get my luggage back. I really appreciate you. Just thank you so much because I don't think I would have got it without your help," she told Wilson
With all that's going on with air travel right now, it's a good idea to pack as light as possible. Try and fit everything in a carry-on, at least enough to get you through a couple of days. Besides insurance, also consider paying for the flight with a credit card that offers protections for lost or delayed luggage.