Air France Complaint - Theft from checked-in baggage
I had checked in a bag (Baggage Tag No.: DL808436) on 26th October 2007 from San Diego to Chennai per the following routing: (i) SAN to ATL by DL0720 on 26 OCT 2007; (ii) ATL to CDG by DL0028 on 26 OCT 2007; (iii) CDG to MAA by AF0204 on 27 OCT 2007.
When I reached CDG on 27th October, 2007, I was informed of a strike by a section of Air France employees, because of which AF0204 was cancelled. I was rerouted to Mumbai by AF0134 that left CDG on 27th October. Upon my arrival in Mumbai, I noted that my baggage had not arrived. I filed a missing baggage complaint with Air France in Mumbai airport, and was provided with a copy of the Baggage Declaration Certificate.
After considerable communication with Air France and considerable hassle, my baggage finally arrived in Kolkata from Chennai on a Jet Airways flight (with Rush Tag No. 9W400627) on 5th November 2007 evening. Upon opening the suitcase, I found that the new Panasonic digital camera (Price: ~ USD 300; copy of receipt was sent to Air France) which was in its original packaging and kept inside the suitcase was missing. Please note that (i) I had declared the camera in the customs declaration form that I had filled at the Air France counter upon my arrival in Mumbai airport; and (ii) I had listed this camera in the Inventory Form that I had filled and faxed to Air France offices in Delhi and Kolkata. I had called Air France's Delhi and Kolkata offices this morning and had informed them of this missing camera.
On November 6, 2007, I faxed a letter to Air France's Mumbai office. On November 28, 2007, I received a letter from Air France stating that the General Conditions of Carriage incorporated by reference on my ticket advices passengers not to include cameras in checked baggage; therefore, Air France cannot accede to my request for any compensation. I find this explanation wholly unacceptable for the following reasons:
(1) Just as a list of prohibited items in cabin baggage is explicitly provided on the ticket jacket, such a list should have also been provided on the ticket jacket with respect to checked baggage. Referring to your “General Conditions of Carriage” in fine print on the ticket jacket is tantamount to cheating your passengers.
(2) If a camera is disallowed in checked baggage, this should have been ascertained from me, even if verbally, at the time of checking in. This was not done.
(3) My checked baggage did not arrive upon my disembarkment in Delhi on your AF-134 flight, and remained undelivered for about 10 days, ostensibly because of a strike by a section of your employees. During this period, you were the custodian of my checked baggage. Since my suitcase in your custody was vulnerable to pilferage by your staff because it was lying in your baggage hold for an extended period of time due to the strike, I would like to know what additional precautionary measures Air France had taken to prevent theft from checked baggage of passengers during this period of the strike.
Air France ought to accept responsibility for theft of items from checked baggage of passengers and compensate passengers for their losses.