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08 August 2013

American Airlines repeatedly ignores their own written baggage policy

Date: 15 April 2013
Airline: American Airlines
Location: Denver, CO (DIA)
Flight: AA3613

I am seeking a reimbursement of $170, cash or airline credit, for an item that was pilfered from my checked bag.

On Apr. 15, I flew home to Chicago from Denver. When I retrieved my checked bag from the baggage claim, three of the pockets were splayed open and multiple items were coming out. One item was missing entirely: a pair of Black Diamond Sabretooth Pro Crampons (metal spikes you attach to boots for mountaineering and ice climbing, retail $170). They had been packed very securely.

I immediately filed a claim with the baggage department. My claim was initially denied. According to the documentation included with my checked bag stub, the airline has at least $3300 baggage liability per passenger, which does not cover 'photographic equipment, computers and any other electronic equipment, jewelry, cash, documents, works of art or other similar valuable items.' Crampons do not resemble anything in this list.

I was told that I could file a complaint online, which I did the following day. I received a reply, saying again that I was denied, with a similar list of non-covered items. Again, it does not seem that any of the non-covered items include crampons.

I wrote a complaint online once again, stating that my crampons are not included in their list of non-covered items. I received a reply stating that, ""It is our practice for personnel in our local offices to handle claims of this type. They have the full authority and responsibility in such matters. You will be contacted as soon as possible.

After three months, I still had not heard from the local office, so I called them directly. I was told that my file had been denied and closed out, that my item was not covered because, 'We only really cover clothes and stuff.' I was told there was nothing they could do.

I have been a regular American Airlines customer and would greatly appreciate the airline remedying this very unpleasant experience.

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