My husband & I are are currently on a Nordic/ Scandinavian vacation. We both have our bags now but I didn’t have my checked bag for the first 5 days. We flew to Helsinki and our last connection before getting there was in Frankfurt. Our flight from FRA-HEL. was delayed by an hour. The pilot said it was due to lots of bags that needed to be loaded. When we arrived in HEL at the baggage claim, everyone on our flight was standing for 30 minutes and no one was seeing their bags. Then 2 baggage agents walked up, started pulling bags off and handing out flyers with the QR code to website to report delayed bags. So we were waiting in FRA for previous flights’ delayed bags to be loaded, not our own. I immediately filled out the baggage report at the HEL airport before we continued to our hotel in Helsinki where we were staying for 2 nights. My husband’s bag was delivered the next day after 11:00 pm but mine was not. We then continued our itinerary to Viking overnight ferry to Stockholm. Throughout this, I was constantly monitoring the report for updates and I spoke to numerous agents because we were changing location. The website would not allow me to update my location because it said by bag had been scheduled with a courier for delivery but obviously, that had not happened and since both our bags were in the same report, there seemed to be confusion even though we had different claim numbers, of course. There was one person at the HEL airport that responded to my email about our location change and she was kind enough to change the location to our Stockholm hotel in the report. She also said she would get my bag on a flight from HEL to Stockholm that night. We were in Stockholm for 3 nights. My bag arrived at the airport and someone mistakenly sent it back to HEL. I have a Tile in my bag which was crucial because at least I could see wheee it was and when I saw it was back in HEL again, I emailed Karina, who was my savior through all of this and she got it on an early morning flight for Monday morning, the 5th day since reported. So I could see that it was back in Stockholm. I had spoken with multiple people at Lufthansa baggage delay number and they seemed pretty clueless and some gave me phone numbers that went nowhere, some dropped the call, etc. so by Monday afternoon, we decided to go to the airport ourselves where we could talk to someone in person. We were directed to the Aviator service that delivers the bags for Lufthansa. A young man took us to a huge room where there were at least 200 bags, none of which were mine. But from my claim # and report # he was about to track it down to another carrier SAS, who he said should not have been given my bag because Aviator was the Lufthansa service. He called them and alerted them to their mistake and then told us that SAS was bringing my bag back to the airport and we could come back to the airport the next morning to pick it up. After we walked off to get the Arlanda Express train back to Stockholm, I got a phone call from the SAS AGENT apologizing for the mistake and saying he would like to deliver my bag to our hotel by this evening. I agreed and the bag was waiting at our hotel by the time we got back. One of the issues with all of the human error through this whole experience was that after 72 hours. Lufthansa closes the report or that seemed to be the case from a conversation I had with one of the persons at the Lufthansa baggage phone number. None of them knew much more than I did from checking the report myself, they stumbled over their words, seemed to not have a solution, etc. The cost to me was all of the time I spent managing the situation, a lot of stress, eventually having to shop for a few items of clothing & toiletries since I had worn 2 shirts over the 6 days. I am petite sizes which they don’t have in Stockholm dept. stores and clothes are expensive. I could find very little that I would normally have spend the money on but I had to have something clean!
I’m continuing since I ran out of words on the first post. I waited until Sunday afternoon to buy anything but based on what was happening and the fact that my bag was sent back to HEL at that point, I was afraid that I would be moving on to Copenhagen before this was resolved if ever. I hope I can be reimbursed. Lufthansa should be responsible and I also have some delayed baggage coverage through my credit card company. As soon as I get home I will be spending time on that. I have kept all receipts, baggage tags and claims, etc. I highly recommend having. a Tile or some type of tracker in your bag. Without that, I would not have known my bag was sent back to HEL and I may not have it now. And I wish we had just gone to the HEL airport Friday afternoon to try to locate it, however, my husband’s bag was being delivered and we had pre-purchased tickets for the ferry to Tallinn for that day so we were trying to continue with our plans.
One way to make delayed luggage less of a headache is for a couple to put some of their clothes in each others luggage. That way if one spouse (or travel partner) gets their luggage at least the other has an emergency supply.
We recently flew Lufthansa from Europe to the US. We checked in on a Sunday and didn't see our bags until the following Friday. Flights were cancelled, we were re-routed - a total mess. Our itinerary had us flying on Sunday from Vienna to Munich and then a Munich to Newark flight. Unfortunately, our Vienna to Munich original flight was cancelled so we were booked on a later flight, giving us only one hour to transit in Munich. Our flight sat on the Vienna tarmac for 45 minutes, so we knew we were screwed but couldn't do anything about it. We landed in Munich, stood in a hellacious line and ultimately flew back to Vienna on Sunday (arrived at midnight!) so that we could take a Monday morning flight on Austrian directly from Vienna to Newark. Kinda frustrating and weird as we live in Vienna so 1) I got to see my cats one more time and got to sleep in my bed but 2) we were not expecting to be at home again and we had no luggage and we lost one day of our vacation. Then we arrive in Newark, but no bags. We flew to NC on Wednesday, still no bags. Fortunately, we had an extra change of clothes, toothbrushes and a Target nearby. Finally, on Friday we got our suitcases. My suitcase was soaking wet as it was clearly left out overnight in a rain storm. Good times. I don't think we will fly Lufthansa again.
Emily, that sounds much worse! I don’t think we will fly Lufthansa again either!
Bob, good idea, I should have thought of that!
They are a mess--it is ridiculous. When my flight was cancelled due to a strike in Italy in May, instead of notifying me, their system sent me a "time to check in" email. I had a helpful Air Dolomiti get to the bottom of it for me, as Lufthansa immediately washed their hands and blamed their partner airline--even though the whole thing was booked through Lufthansa.
I will not be flying them again, after over a decade. It's unfortunate because their schedules are good--but they take no responsibility for their shortcomings. Things happen of course, but there is a clear pattern that they operate with impunity.
OMG, I'm sorry this happened to you. Thank you for the warning. I'm flying Lufthansa FRA to MXP for a wedding then hiking. I was considering checking my bag but not anymore!
Your experience was almost exactly mine in July! Lufthansa online basically never knew where my suitcase was; the daily emails became a source of much laughter; only the airport agent in Salzburg was of any help; and good news is I did get it back the night before my flight home. My suitcase went to Turkey, though, in the meantime….. My flights were neither late nor cancelled - all was as scheduled. My friend’s suitcase showed up at 48 hours. (Although Lufthansa online never knew that - we just went to the airport to look.)
I am further than you in the reimbursement business though. After a number of emails (also reflecting polite incompetence), they informed me that legally they were only responsible for 100% of toiletries and 50% of clothing. And they paid me for about 30% of clothing. The end. I had spent nothing on toiletries since I had all of that plus a change of clothes with me. And when I shopped for clothes, I was leaving Salzburg - but I shopped sales and was conservative in what I bought. No matter…. Lufthansa’s performance was not impressive.
I too have travel insurance but haven’t started that process yet.
This is why I do carry on only. For me, it would drive me bonkers to have to sort this all out. Glad you got it eventually.
I knew there would be many more like me based on all the people at the Aviator counter/ door at the Stockholm airport. Travel Texas mom, thanks for the heads up on reimbursement expectations.
My spouse just read an article about luggage delay challenges. One specific company is responsible for the logistics for 90% of airports. The airport with the most challenges in recent times (not sure time period for the data): Frankfurt.
When you live in Europe but are from the US, you always check bags - as many as possible - when going on home leave. They are empty when I go over and full, full when I come back. Full of Target, Trader Joe's, Ranch packets, socks, underwear, Halloween candy, hot sauce, Takis, taco seasoning, chocolate chips, sweetened coconut, Neosporin, vitamins, Q-tips, Ibuprofen - the typical expat travel packet.
I can confirm what Emily says - I always check because I am going home to see family. And bringing back American stuff
Re splitting clothing between each other’s bags: Wisdom after the fact. The other strategy I employ is to pack a change of clothes and underwear in my carry-on (but not 6 days’ worth!). I also wear petites, and I have wondered how I would manage to replace any clothing were I in your situation. The northern European populations are so tall! It would be hard to find anything to fit.
I learned to bring a change of clothes in my carryon when my neighbor knocked my hand and sent OJ all over my shirt and pants. Siting for 5 hours in stained clothes is not something I wish to repeat nor sitting next to the guy who knocked my arm and got one tiny spot on his sleeve which he then gripped about the whole trip.
Thousands of people travel every day with checked luggage and never lose it, but, as you can see from this post, it does happen. And if it does happen it can be disastrous for you trip.
Next time you check your bag, imagine your favorite fur coat or jewelry being picked over by bargain hunters at Unclaimed Baggage in Scottsboro, Alabama. Imagine, enough people lose their luggage to fill a 50,000 SF store.
I made two business trips to Europe in the eighties and almost had my luggage lost on both of them. When, a few years later, I read Rick's advice to only carry on, I embraced it wholeheartedly. I've not checked a bag since.
Today, I don't even pack to the 8 kg weight limit of Lufthansa, one of the more restrictive airlines. I find having a truly light bag to be such a freeing experience.
I hear all of you, yes I did pack extra clothes in my carry on as well as compliant bag with enough toiletries and cosmetics to get by, but not for those many days. And we do pack light compared to most, our checked bags are carry on size. Guess we should just carry it on but we would have to take less, WHICH now I think I could do after seeing how little I could manage with! And yes, Lufthansa is one of strictest but they didn’t pay any attention to what anyone was carrying or check sizes from what I saw.
Again the check versus carry on…. 🤣 I don’t live in Europe but I will most like continue to check for reasons I posted about once.
Stuff happens. Lufthansa just seemed to be the least prepared to deal with it. It HAS to be some kind of IT issue. All of my previous delayed luggage issues have been that it simply didn’t make my flight. This time it was logged as being in Salzburg - a customer service person on the phone swore it was. Then they decided it went to Antalya (I have the sticker to prove it.) And the online “check your claim “ never knew any of it…. At Day 6, they asked me to list contents.
While I will probably do my best to avoid them in the future, the actual flying experience in the plane with them was pretty good. I just prepare for the worst and hope for the best. And choose my risks.
I just stopped flying Lufthansa internationally, years ago, for a whole lot of reasons - but losing checked luggage wasn't one of the reasons.
I always check my bag and have always had it come off the baggage carousel ( > 30 trips to Europe, usually 3 flights to get to my destination, and 3 flights home.) I travel mostly for 21-day vacations, and sometimes up to a month - I take enough clothes to cover off that period of time. I don't have the need, nor the desire, nor the time to look for a laundromat, nor to do bathroom sink laundry.
It can happen to anyone, anywhere (unfortunately)
If your bag is lost and you need to list the contents, it’s easier to do if you have taken a photo of everything you will bring as you pack.
Not just clothes, but toiletries, books, etc.
Make a written list too, and also photograph the outside of your bag.
I have done this for my last few trips.
I also now take a photo of the airline issued tag put on my bag before it disappears down the ramp, if I’m checking it.
It’s a cr**-shoot these days.
This post reads like an ad for a certain Apple product. It looks like the airlines have outsourced to us the job of knowing where our luggage is.
Worst Airlines and Airport. My suitcase is being delayed for 21 days. Sending them the location via Apple Airtag and still no response from them. Bad cuctomer services. They need to undestand, it is not about compensation. It is just we need our bags back !
I wanted to report back on the end result of the baggage delay. After I got home with no mishaps this time, I looked at the possible options for reimbursement for the $379 I spent which was 3 tops, a pair of jeans, some makeup and the trip to and from the Stockholm airport to see if my bag was there. I had heard that getting reimbursed by Lufthansa could take time, be difficult and not be a full refund. My credit card offered baggage delay compensation as did our travel insurance through Allianz. I decided that Allianz looked the easiest. I had everything you can imagine as far as bag tags, both mine and all the ones that were wrapped around the handle, the information sheet in my bag that Lufthansa asked to be filled out in case of loss or delay, all my receipts from the dept. store and any tags from clothing, airport train tickets to and from Stockholm, baggage delay report. I scanned everything in and then attached all the files to the Allianz report and sent it in on Sept. 1. I chose to have any compensation direct deposited into my bank account since that was probably the quickest and easiest. They gave me compensation of $299.71 on September 12. I am happy with that, it was our choice to go to the airport which resulted in sorting things out and getting my bag back that day, even though it was not at the airport by the time we got there. So that is the final result, end of story and time to let it go! Thanks for all the comments and sharing.
So basically Lufthansa can lose bags with impunity. That is probably why they have made their reimbursement process so slow and difficult. This is why people are fighting for overhead space. We don't trust airlines with our checked bags.