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Carry on Advice | Prohibited Items | Fear of Flying
Baggage Advice | Top 10 baggage tips

25 April 2012

Why you should remove your valuables if you check your carry on

Flight Details
Airlines: Delta, Air France, KLM
Date: 15 March 2012

I am writing about a terrible experience I had in the USA.

At the beginning of March, I retired after serving for 30 years as a Police Officer. To celebrate this and our Pearl Wedding Anniversary, along with my wife Fiona, we went on a 7 day Caribbean Cruise, followed by 5 days in Orlando.

The whole package was booked through Thomson’s Travel Agent in Peterhead, with it being supplied by Royal Caribbean Cruises.

On our return I flew from Orlando Airport on 15 March 2012 on flight DL1707 to JFK. While at Gate 76 there was an request asking if anyone would be prepared to delay their flight and if they did they would be given a $200 voucher. I was unable to assist due to connecting flights.

Soon after a further request was made asking if anyone was prepared to put their hand luggage into the hold for the flight. I only had 1 small suitcase and agreed to put it into the hold, this was despite numerous other passengers having 4 or 5 pieces of luggage with them. I was told that I would next see my suitcase on my return to Aberdeen. My suitcase contained a camera case with a digital camera, camcorder and an underwater camera. Within these cameras were 3 SD cards with all of our holiday photographs/videos on them.

On my retirement my work colleagues bought me a football shirt in my teams colours as a leaving gift. I took this shirt with me to the 4 ports of call on the cruise and took a photograph, with the intention of putting these photos on a Thank You card.

On 7 March 2012, my retirement date, I had also had a photograph taken of me with a cake on the ship. We also visited Jamaica and while there we were very fortunate to see Prince Harry at a Plantation. My wife was 2 feet away from him and got some fantastic photographs. I was using my camcorder and also got some great footage.

Once we got back to Aberdeen my case was missing. I reported it to the KLM desk - reference number xxx. They checked their computer system and they located it at JFK. They (KLM) undertook to transport it to my home address via Amsterdam and I would get it back the next day.

The suitcase was delivered the next day and all of my cameras were missing, having been stolen.

Since then I have been pushed from pillar to post by KLM, Delta, Air France and also Royal Caribbean. I have made numerous telephone calls to Air France and on one of these calls I asked the female operator 5 or 6 times to speak to a Supervisor. This was refused and she then hung up the phone. The level of service is totally disgusting. Once they have your money no one seems to be interested.

This was to be a holiday of a lifetime. Someone at JFK has stolen my cameras. The SD cards are irreplaceable.

My initial estimate as to the value of the items stolen was 551.50 GBP. Air France subsequently replied with a message saying as a "goodwill gesture" they will give me 499 GBP to replace the “damaged” items. I replied to this reminding them that the items had been stolen not damaged and that I found this offer totally unacceptable.

I then sent them an up to date list of the cost of actually replacing the stolen items - 637.17 GBP.

I have been a victim of theft and I do not think that it is very fair that I have to be out of pocket. I have done absolutely nothing wrong whereas the thief has.

I have also had to make numerous international telephone calls to France and the USA to provided details. During one of the many conversations with Air France one of the operators said that they usually make an offer of 600 Euros in situations like this. It is interesting to note that 600 Euros is approximately 499 GBP. She also said that not all claims made are genuine, implying that I was telling lies. Wholly unacceptable.

Air France initially asked for receipts for the stolen items. Who keeps such receipts. I did send Air France, by Air Mail and again at my cost, photographs of the original boxes that the cameras were in

The sum of 499 GBP has subsequently been place into my bank account. I feel that this offer is derisory and I am entitled to compensation for what has basically spoiled the holiday of a lifetime.

My wife is heartbroken and devastated that someone could be so cruel.

- Derek

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