DALLAS FORT WORTH, TEXAS -- Plain and simple - on 18 January 2009, the gate agent at Miami International forced me to surrender my $1300 Louis Vuitton Keepall, which housed all of my belongings from a cruise vacation. I argued with her and was refused boarding without checking the bag, which fits overhead (and there was room on the plane).
Surprise, surprise, the bag never makes it to LaGuardia in NYC. It was my only luggage item. I completed all the paperwork and submitted it by the deadline (this is very time-consuming). Then, there is the three-month wait.
In the meantime, I filed a police report with Miami PD because I honestly believe the gate agent stole my bag. It is no coincidence that she forced me to surrender a bag, meanwhile there were other people allowed to board with duffel bags much larger than mine. Also, according to MIA airport security, there is no camera surveillance at this particular gate. Coincidence? I think not. The last I was told, the investigators were going to interview the people who worked the gate when I boarded. Apparently, American Airlines staff at Miami Int'l were unwilling to provide information about who was working then. I was also told that the "gate agent" may have been an imposter. This is POST-SEPTEMBER 11th America, right?!
In April 2009, Ms. Terenza Townsend sent a cold letter indicating that my claim was fraudulent and that it was denied. There were no specifics given, nothing. The verbage stated, "some of the information you stated is not accurate," and that they may prosecute ME for fraud. Imagine that!
I needed to be cool, so I waited before I called her. This Terenza Townsend states she did not believe the items could fit in the bag. Also mind you, if there is even the smallest of typos, then your entire claim could be denied. For example, if the bag was 9.7 inches deep and I put 9 inches or 10 inches, then my claim is deemed inaccurate and thus, false.) She also told me that although American Airlines acknowledges my bag was lost in their care, they will not take responsibility. Does that make any sense? No.
I wrote letters to the entire Executive Board. Surprise here - not a single reply. I sent emails. Imagine this - no reply other than "Contact Baggage Services ( i.e. Ms. Terenza Townsend).
I lost everything! My entire vacation was in that one article of luggage and it is all gone. I waited for hours at LaGuardia, hoping my bag would appear, but knowing it would not. The moment I surrendered it in Miami I knew I would not see it or my things again. I had a bad feeling from the start, when she singled me out and denied me to board the plane. Next time, I will get ALL the gate agents' contact information before I surrender anything. I will also take their photo with my phone. These people are hard to locate, believe it or not.
It is now October 2009 and my complaints and appeals have gotten me nowhere. I am making the next move - legal intervention. This experience has caused significant emotional distress. In addition, losing over $6k worth of material (luggage included) cannot go away quietly. It seems that suing American Airlines will be the only viable option.
Louis Vuitton Keepall - stolen 18 January at MIA Int'l by an AA Gate Agent!