Lost luggage tops passenger gripes

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The Independent Online

Missing luggage has overtaken frustration at delayed flights to become the chief source of complaint among air travellers.

Missing luggage has overtaken frustration at delayed flights to become the chief source of complaint among air travellers.

An air-passengers' watchdog is now pressing airlines to improve their service and increase the amounts of compensation they pay to customers whose baggage is lost or delayed.

The Air Transport Users Council reported that it had received 437 telephone complaints and inquiries about mishandled baggage last year and a further 155 written complaints. The previous year's figures were 392 calls and 120 letters.

The number of telephone complaints about delays fell from 271 to 232, while written complaints fell from 213 to 148.

The council named two airlines, Air France and Ryanair, for delivering a particularly poor service to travellers who wrote to complain that their baggage had been mishandled.

Victoria Beckham, the Spice Girls singer and wife of Manchester United footballer David Beckham, had four Louis Vuitton suitcases worth £700 each stolen at Heathrow Airport in April. She was reported to have accepted a £100,000 settlement from British Airways to compensate her for the value of the contents.

In contrast, the AUC cited a case in which a passenger whose baggage was delayed for seven days received £50 in compensation from an unnamed airline.

The AUC said it was pressing airlines to provide a minimum level of assistance to passengers whose bags were delayed.

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