It may not seem like it but airlines aim to not lose bags.
On August 9, 2013 Air Berlin flight 8109 landed in Berlin from Stockholm with none of the passenger’s bags on board! The bags were all left at the airport. The airline then could not find any of the bags.
Passengers started a Facebook group called ‘Airberlin 8109 Stockholm to Berlin – Where are our bags?!?!?’. The group’s description says: “Baggage company says to contact airline; airline says to contact baggage company. Vacations & weddings ruined. We still can’t comprehend why the captain decided to take off before any pieces of luggage were loaded. We need support from Air Berlin — please get to the bottom of this. This isn’t one lost bag, it’s a whole plane of lost bags!”
Air Berlin responded to complaints on their Twitter account @airberlin, with advice like: “We’re really sorry and understand your annoyance. Please send your receipts…” and “Unfortunately there is no number (phone) I can give you, the Lost & Found will get in touch as soon as they found your bag.”
Some bags have now been returned via Lufthansa and British Airways. One passenger complained: “Got my bag back but…it’s damaged, and things are missing.”
Air Berlin did not release an official statement for over a month about the incident. On September 6th, they said:
“The majority of guests on the flight were transfer passengers with a connecting flight via Berlin-Tegel, airberlin’s hub. To ensure that these guests would still reach their final destination via Berlin on the same evening, the pilot decided to take off as quickly as possible in Stockholm and was therefore not able to wait for the baggage to be loaded.”
On Social Media, the airline’s treatment of lost bags is getting scathing commentary.
The airline failed in three ways here:
- Losing the bags-obviously
- Not pro-actively following up customers inconvenienced by this
- Not using Social Media to state their case
This seems to breach their own Customer Service Plan.
The airline is Germany’s second largest airline, after Lufthansa, and Europe’s seventh largest airline in terms of passengers. They fly to 174 destinations using 129 aircraft. They are a member of One World. Etihad owns 26% of Air Berlin. Skytrax rates them as a three star carrier. For customers of flight 8109, they may now rate them as one star and not feel that they are their airline yet.