I have just finished a long battle with U.S. Airways over a guitar they crushed.
They started out cordial & helpful. I was told to submit a claim and a letter from a guitar dealership attesting that the instrument was beyond repair. But things changed once I submitted my claim; they said their insurance doesn't cover musical instruments, so they would not compensate me.
The circumstance was that I had gate-checked my guitar, which I do to minimize handling by employees and to avoid the rough-and-tumble baggage conveyors. However, when it was raining in Halifax, they decided to put all the cargo on the belts instead of bringing it to the gate. When I recovered my guitar, the body had been irreparably crushed by something heavy.
In our subsequent correspondence, they fought me:
- They told me my baggage wasn't packed well enough… But it was. It was in a padded case, which has worked perfectly for gate-checking over 8 years of travel with Air Canada and British Airways.
- They told me it's their policy to not compensate for damaged instruments… But that's another way of saying, "Because we say so."
- They told me gate-checking doesn't mean the baggage comes back to the gate… That one left me speechless, and I was insulted they thought that goofy logic would fly.
When I wouldn't go away, they finally offered $200, which is only a fraction of the $750 price tag. When I said that wasn't enough, they simply told me "We have to consider this matter closed."
My experience with Carnie Ellingson from Baggage Services was that, through arrogance or arrogant company policy, I was treated like an opponent rather than a person they were trying to help. They were either incapable of or disinterested in understanding their mistake, and they just told me whatever they thought might make me go away.
Well it worked, in a sense. This was my first flight with U.S. Airways, and it will be my last.
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- Crashed Guitar
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