American Airlines Complaint - Stolen Camera - Stolen Luggage
DALLAS, TEXAS -- Report of Theft
August 4, 2008
My new Nikon D4 camera, including the instruction booklet, was stolen from my checked bag after going through inspection at DFW, Flight 369, August 1, 2008. The AA agent directed me to the bag inspection station, between Gates 21 and 26, Terminal A, after receiving my boarding pass. The two agents at the inspection station asked if I had any aerosols, weapons, or film in the bag. I replied that I didn't but had a digital camera in the bag. The camera was wrapped in a white plastic laundry bag, knotted closed,from my motel to prevent any possible moisture damage. The instruction booklet for the camera was loose and both were wrapped with a clothing for padding, packed in the center of my soft-sided zipped bag. I unzipped the bag partially to show the agents the white, knotted plastic bag, which was visible, packed in the center. The agent stated that it would be fine as such and that only film could possibly be damaged by inspection. I left the bag unzipped and departed to my gate. My direct flight would board in about two hours.
Upon my arrival in ABQ I picked up my bag at the terminal baggage claim.It appeared normal and completely closed. It took less than 10 minutes to retrieve my bag from the time the plane landed so I doubt if my camera was stolen in that brief time. Upon unpacking at home I discovered that the camera, plastic bag, and booklet were missing from my bag. I immediately called American Airlines DFW who routed me to their missing luggage department, who in turn routed me to a recorded message at the ABQ airport. The message asked to report what was missing or damaged and that they would contact me ONLY if they found the items. Numerous other calls to American Airlines corporate were met with recorded messages and disclaimers.
Neither my e-ticket issued by Orbitz or any other signs at either airport alerted me to the fact that American Airlines will not be responsible for - specifically - missing cameras,artwork or jewelry packed in checked baggage. The warning is written in the envelope of your boarding pass, in small print. Of course, when you receive your boarding pass, you usually have surrendered your luggage and it is on the conveyor belt inside the terminal, so even if you wanted to retrieve your belongings, it's gone. Be forewarned if you pack such items, as the baggage people at DFW are thieves that can steal your belongings with corporate impunity. If I had read of the other experiences with this airlines from similar incidents and AA's general poor service, I would have booked another airlines or at least kept my camera with me. As it is, I will NEVER fly with them again, even if they're able to remain in business with their dismal performance record. For about $500, American Airlines has lost a frequent flier, business traveler, and encouraged me to recommend other airlines to anyone who asks, including my company.
Since I have not received any reply or compensation from AA, I mailed CEO Gerard Arpey, the battery charger for the camera to be forwarded to which ever thieving employee took my camera so that they can fully use it at no expense to them.