Since WHEN Are Airlines Exempt From Basic Consumer Law?

in Pinmapple8 days ago

Slowly the world is discovering the many subtle - and sneaky - ways "covid" (the plandemic) have changed the world we live, work and travel in. But sometimes it simply SLAPS you in the face that the business and travel fundamentals have changed, well, fundamentally.

Never was it more apparent than my recent appalling travel experiences at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam, the Netherlands.

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image credit: googlemaps

Now before anyone tells me "it's not a great time to travel internationally and I should have known better", my half-Thai daughter NEEDED to be in the Netherlands to start university, and there were some legal challenges for documentation the first weeks since she was still technically a minor at age 17, and so we went together.

I should preface this all by confirming that it was CRAZY EXPENSIVE!

Flying in (August 9th) it took AGES to get our bags (like HOURS) and there was great confusion as to which part of the airport the bags were being sent to. We walked 11,423 steps around the airport as the announcements kept changing which carrousel the bags were supposed to be on, before we FINALLY collected our luggage from the Qatar Air flight from Cyprus. Sidebar: Qatar is a FABULOUS airline - recommended. Despite the huge delays and the organizational fails at the Dutch end, our bags arrived mostly OK (one broken suitcase handle on my daughter's big case) and with all the contents intact and undisturbed. Customs? Non-existent.

Flying back to Thailand on 29th August, I was advised to arrive 4 hours prior to the flight time. And so we dutifully arrived at 6.55am for an 11am flight, only to discover the flight check-in opened only 2.5 hrs before the flight. FAIL.

Stood in a HUGE queue, got checked in, said my goodbyes and was hustled through to security.

97 mins to clear the security, having all but fully undressed! Barely made the flight, which was already boarding.

It was a grueling journey, no two ways about it. Amsterdam to Chiang Mai, Thailand via freaking Sweden. Yup - you read that right. Wasn't possible to get anything direct, not with less than 7 hour layovers.

So far you GET it - I had a difficult journey, that cost a bomb and was seriously less than pleasant. But that's NOT what this post is about.

My concern is that I paid serious money for ME - and my checked, accepted and approved & barcoded luggage - to move from Point A to Point B - under very stringent conditions, all of which I met. But the luggage never came.

WHY? Because it simply never boarded the first flight in Amsterdam.

It took me more than 19 phone calls and 4 days of BARKING HARD to even get a response to WHERE IN THE WORLD my luggage was. Lost? No. Just "they were busy at Schiphol airport and your luggage wasn't boarded."

I ONLY got that response after I posted a ranty-public "thing" on social media calling out the airlines involved - Thai Airways International and their code-share-partner, SAS Scandinavian Airways.

Finally, finally the said luggage was located, sent to MUNICH in error, and then eventually made its way to Bangkok, and then finally to me, almost a week later.

And that was when I lost it...

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Two of the 4 wheels completely torn off. All 4 corners beaten in - honestly, looks like someone too a hammer to it. Lock torn off. It was a BRAND NEW SUITCASE making her maiden voyage.

Now I had Gold Level Travel Insurance with a super generous daily stipend in case of delays, hugely high medical and accident and which even allowed for my gift-boxed-cremated-remains to be couriered to my Next of Kin, in case of sudden death during the journey. 😆

And so I put in a claim, only to have it immediately rejected.😱

"All luggage issues are the responsibility of only the airline".

I checked with about 5 other different travel insurance companies, just to make sure I wasn't just getting a bad deal from a bad company, but it turns out to be some standard that now applies across the board, internationally.

So far, my attempts to secure compensation is falling on very deaf ears over at Thai Airways. 😭 There are horror stories a-plenty of no response, outright rejection an people waiting for refunds over 2 years later for Covid flight cancellations. Pretty much people have told me, Don't bother. Save your energy, buy a better suitcase and get on with your life. And probably I will do that.

But there is a part of my brain niggling and asking a fundamental question.

  • If I take your money for a 6 course meal and serve only 3, you're ENTITLED to a full refund for service delivery.
  • If you buy from my store online and I fail to meet the delivery timeline agreed, PayPal, Visa et al =WILL REFUND YOU IN FULL, even if you do eventually receive the order, which may have been delayed through no fault of mine.

So WHY aren't the airlines being held to this same service standard??

And WHY are we accepting what is clearly NOT what we paid for?

Tonight, after I post this ranty-share 😆 I am completing my written request for not only damages to my destroyed luggage but for compensation from Thai Airways for failing to meet their contractual obligations. If that doesn't get a response within 7 working days, I will lodge a formal complaint with the Office of the Consumer Protection Board of Thailand. Cos SOMEONE has to say Enough!

I DID pay for my ticket using my visa card and I believe I still have some option for redress through Visa International. But that's not the point. We SHOULD be able to expect to get what we paid for, and to be compensated promptly when there's a failure to deliver.

Have YOU had something happen to you recently, flying internationally?

How did that resolve?

Curious: tell me about it in the comments below!



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You know there is a rant category on hive right ;))

All jokes aside you are entirely right. What airlines are doing at the moment is just super stupid and not fair at all. You cant ask big money and then only deliver half of it? I wonder how this would look in surgery (always compare it to surgery).

Pay money for new boobs, but sorry you are not getting stitches because 'we are super busy'. Imagine how that would look

I have to admit I have all the luck in the world with my last couple of flights, but those were with no luggage and no stopover which reduces the risk of drama like a-lot! But indeed, I heard someone say this week that she landed on the weekend on schiphol airport and saw a tremendous amount of orphan-suitcases....this is stupid right!

Of COURSE I know there's a RANT category, but like NO ONE reads them. 😆 And this is very particular to travel and to Schiphol, in particular.

Worst part? I'm flying in to Schiphol AGAIN on 19th December... 😆 with luggage. AFTER I booked and paid for the ticket I realized I SHOULD have flown into Germany and taken a train.... sigh.

Hoping for a better experience and flying Etihad all the way, up and back, so at least there is no partner code share to worry about in the equation.

I'm going to be home alone, dog sitting, at Rodenrijs en Berkel 19th to 23rd, then Ploi comes down for Christmas days till 27th, then we go together to Berlin for a week. And I fly back on 6th.

Maybe we can manage a beer in Rotterdam? Is only 15 mins on the metro from where I'm staying. xxxxx

Sure we can somewhere in the week! Will work out, better we will make it work out

Yeah with no transfer is better and you have only 1 partner to blame then hehe. At the moment schiphol is a shitshow ofcourse but the german airports are also having their crap and trains have their crap haha. It is just a global staff shortage it seems.

Fingers crossed your december experience will be better!

Oh my, what a difficult journey you've had and add to that your luggage not arriving with you and finding out it was damaged after finally arriving home. I would definitely be pissed off and would rant too. And insurance ending up the way it did, darn! It is but right to file a formal complaint especially when you bought the insurance policy, it stipulated that damages like that would be compensated.

So much has changed in the world.... and it FEELS like accountability may well be an endangered species.

Are you traveling internationally much? Or in your own country? I WANT to believe that all this information and transparency is helping us evolve, but most days I'm just not sure.

I have not traveled internationally in the last 3 years so I wonder how much has changed especially during these recent years. Thankfully during my past travels, I have not experience something more than delayed flights.

Time to get out and about, girl... a wide & beautiful world awaits, luggage issues notwithstanding. I've already booked for December to Netherlands and to Berlin. I feel like the very definition of optimism. 😁

It definitely is and my feet are itching to step foot outside, lol! Oh my, my! What a trip that must be! Your optimism is infectious I got excited and feel like packing my bags too😁
!LUV

I've heard there is a lot of that going on at the moment, and them blaming COVID. WTF. A lot of people DO shrug and get on with it because it's not worth the stress but sheesh, thye DO need to be accountable!

My dutch cuz said it's not about Covid so much as the Ukraine war. The Dutch are seriously working overtime to keep their tiny country safe from russian-ukrainian "refugees" and economic migrants - seems they've plugged things up sooooo tight that they can no longer find bottom rung workers to do menial jobs like baggage handling. Same kind of issue as Australia can't find fruit pickers....

I'm going to get everything sent off this weekend and then move on - Don't want to stay engaged with this vibe but equally not happy about the lack of airline accountability and having to spend yet again to buy more luggage. I'd love to be able to afford samsonite.... LOL - maybe I should seek luggage sponsors and invite them to roadtest their luggage with me through schiphol in December?? LOL...

Haha yeah go the influencer vibe 😂

Oh yeah, guilty of Australian detachment here.... War in Ukraine IS affecting petrol prices so we are listening 😂

I do have a vent post in my drafts... But I've moved on now so it seems silly to post it.

Your venting is totally legit and anyone who has travelled understands the freaking outrage! I've known people to put gps trackers on their luggage so THEY can tell the airlines where it is...

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I understand your frustration! Big corporations talk the talk but do not walk the walk. All they care about is money money money