Lost Bag Leads To Lost Business

October 17, 2008

in Luggage Stories

After twenty years of flying, for the first time I’ve encountered the frustration of an airline loosing my bag permanently! It’s now been two months and there’s no sign of it anywhere! It’s just vanished! As if that’s not bad enough, this is a slightly unique circumstance. I’m at my wits end, and at this point have given up hope of ever seeing my belongings again! I presuming it stolen in NYC. Either by Jet Blue employees, or by a thief off the street preying on the unattended baggage claim after passengers have cleared away! Either way, I suppose all my stuff has long been sold at a discount rate somewhere on the streets on New York City!

On August 26, 2008 I moved from Maine, to Berlin, Germany to work at a friend’s hostel/hotel operation long-term, with no plans on coming home soon. I had two one-way tickets. The first going with Jet Blue from Portland, Maine to JFK. The second with LTU/Air Berlin flying JFK-DUS-TXL, with 200 lbs of luggage accompanying me, as well as my cat flying as carry-on bag. The Air Berlin portion went flawlessly! No problems or complaints! However, I was “screwed blue” by Jet Blue!

I checked in at PWM for JetBlue flight 603, at 11:15am to JFK. My AB flight departed at 5:45pm giving me plenty of time for delays and whatnot. I checked in with a backpack, a smaller suitcase, and a large heavy suitcase with absolutely ALL of my clothing and accessories in it! Even my socks and underwear! Plus, 2 lbs of tobacco, a 1.5 liter bottle of premium vodka, my cell phone charger, and two months worth of needed prescription medication, which I can no longer replace with my insurance because the policy ended when I resigned from my job in Maine! I paid extra for the third bag, as well as an additional $100 for the cat.

Anyway, we get to JFK not more than 1.6 hours after I check in at Portland. I’m at the bag claim when the bags come off the plane, and my first two come off, but no sign of the large bag with all the clothing and medication in it! After a while, it’s clear there are no more bags, so I go to the Jet Blue Claim office, and after twenty minutes they discover it’s still at PWM, but they tell me they will put it on the next flight at 7pm. Just one problem…. I tell them I’m moving overseas, and I’m on a one-way ticket with another carrier to Europe, and that flight leaves three hours before the next flight from Portland arrives at JFK with the bag. This gets their attention a bit! After a few minutes, they take a claim and get my new address in Germany and assure me they will Fedex the bag to Berlin at no charge to me, within 2-3 days! At first this seemed great, because it was so heavy, it would have cost me quite a bit in excess weight charges under Air Berlin’s baggage allowance policy. So, I happily walk out of the office and off to the next terminal thinking “No problems, the bag will come right to Berlin! That’s great! Jet Blue is willing to help me out that way! Surly it must cost $400-500 to Fedex a heavy bag to Europe?”

Well, I get to Berlin the next morning and send the Jet Blue agent I dealt with an e-mail at JFK Claim with a slight correction of the shipping address for the bag. I told them to postpone shipping it until I could confirm I had the address right, and they agreed. Two days go by with no reply, and no bag! By the third day, I get an e-mail stating that they cannot find the bag at either JFK or PWM. When they learned of the medication in it they put out an alert to all stations to check all unclaimed luggage. Another two days go by. No luck locating my bag! Finally, my cell phone battery dies, so I had to get in touch with a relative in Maine who’s been calling and e-mailing Jet Blue on my behalf to relay messages for me. Jet Blue tells me I can spend $100 the first week, save receipts and they’ll reimburse me. Not really the answer I was looking for! Two reps tell me that after a week, I can submit an application for a lost bag settlement. So I’ve wait another two days when I wake up to an e-mail from a representative at Jet Blue’s Salt Lake City lost bag department. According to him, the claim has been transferred out of NYC to SLC. He tells me that they have no idea where the bag is, and to replace the clothing they’ll need original receipts of all items in the bag! Plus they’ll need all this within 15 days!

Now, I don’t know about you, but I never save clothing receipts more than a week or so after I’ve bought clothes, tried them on, washed them, and seen they fit all right! I bought all these clothes between three months and a year ago. Most were new, never worn, bought with cash, and on top of that, fairly expensive! I, of course have no receipts for these clothes, nor could I ever tell you which stores and where I bought all of it!

Eventually after much run-around and arguing with them, after civility failed, they agree I can submit my claim with a rough estimate of all the goods in the bag. I do my best, but there was so much stuff packed last minute, that I probably missed some items? Well, they tell me my claim will take forty days to process. In the meantime I’m in a new city, far from home, and trying to get ready to start a new job within a couple of days. With the weak dollar, the $100 they gave me for the first week barely purchased me two shirts, some underwear, socks, and hygiene items! I’m completely unprepared to start working, but I push on regardless, and wait the forty days. All my belongings were worth roughly $1,600 dollars. After forty days of wearing the same two shirts, and one pair of casual jeans I wore on the flight over, and having basically no clothing, Jet Blue finally gets back to me saying they’re offering me a measly $550 for the lost items! I DON’T THINK SO! So I refuse the offer, give them 14 days to reconsider and then threaten to take things to small claims. At this point they decide they need another 14 days to reconsider, all the while it’s getting colder and colder out in Germany and I have no damn clothes! Let alone winter gear! So now, they’ve finally replied and upped their “final” offer to $1,000! Maybe that would reimburse me for 2/3 back home, but I’m in Europe the weak dollar isn’t going to cut it! Not to mention all the styles here are different, not my thing, and sized for very fit and trim people. I’m 15 lbs overweight, but in Europe that’s FAT, so good luck finding any decent clothes that fit without going back to the USA.

It’s been two months today, and I’m debating whether to take their offer or take it to small claims. However, there’s no way it’s worth the money to fly back to the USA for court, only to get the $1500. That would barely cover to flight!

I use to recommend Jet Blue to everybody, and would even pay more to fly them with the major carrier’s fares were priced below Jet Blue’s. After doing a bit of research online it appears Jet Blue has a major problem with stolen bags and goods at JFK. I want to say I’ll never fly them again, but rationally I realize all airlines loose bags. It’s just the service level I’ve received from them in resolving the situation and finding the bag is completely unacceptable in my mind. They absolutely could care less I moved to a foreign country and arrived with almost nothing that I need to conduct daily life! I’m so fed up with the situation I wish the whole airline would die and burn in hell! So much for my loyalty! Oh yeah, JetBlue… You can keep the $100 voucher for my next flight. I don’t think I’m going to be using it! How about investing in a baggage tracking system, and monitoring your JFK bag handlers with cameras since they seem to have an established problem there? Just read all the horror stories online about people having bags, and things in their bags stolen by Jet Blue staff at JFK! GO TO HELL!

Wishing you Bankrupt Soon,

Adam T. McLemore

{ 26 comments… read them below or add one }

Shakinthefat October 29, 2008 at 4:50 am

Hey Adam – I know where your bag is. Located in Scottsboro,Alabama at http://www.unclaimedbaggage.com/
Good luck finding it.

By the way, next time you tell a travel story keep it under 200 words.


Jennifer November 7, 2008 at 8:24 pm

Just wanted to say that medications should be kept in your carry-on bag. NEVER pack your medications in the suitcase. Some medications aren't supposed to be exposed to extreme heat or cold anyway (which is exactly what happens out on the tarmac). This includes pills.


Vicky October 21, 2015 at 9:27 am

I agree with you, Jennifer. Any and all medications if at all possible should be kept in your carry-on. I found this out the hard way the last time I flew (august 2015) down to Florida and my mother had a hassle me into keeping my inhalers in my little drawstring bag I use for a carry-on when I fly. Well thank goodness, I let her convince me because as I was running to the other side of the airport due to a gate change, I ended up having a very severe asthma attack. At age 19, I am by no means a seasoned traveler or an experienced adult but what my experience (small and one time as it was) is to always take any medications in your carry-on!! 🙂


mike r December 15, 2008 at 8:09 pm

Hey "shakinthefat" after your short but bone headed, off topic, useless/misinformed posts……YOU! have no business telling anyone how to post….sit there and drool you arm dragging Neanderthal!


Steve Vance April 2, 2009 at 11:13 am

So you are a whiney overweight bitch who buys new clothes every year (the proof of this is with the statement tht they were all under a year old and never worn). Deal with it yourself.

Also i do not believe for 1 second that all of your clothes fit in one bag including winter and summer gear. I also do not believe that you just wore one pant and 2 shirts for 3 months.

Finally, MAKE SHORTER POSTS, we dont need all the extra details you added to pretend you are a good writer.


LT April 2, 2009 at 11:19 am

You gave them the wrong address for express shipping and somehow it's their fault that is went missing?

Oh, and the word is LOSE!


stphn g April 2, 2009 at 12:15 pm

what, did you expect them to adjust your estimated $1600 worth of clothes to Euros? really? you think that's reasonable? (considering they probably looked in your suitcase and saw a bunch of old t-shirts and sweat pants…) maybe you should take comfort in the fact that you still have your cat.


Teddy April 2, 2009 at 8:13 pm

my gosh, wrong address and you're blaming the airline??

in any case, I tell anyone that if you're a smart traveler…never, EVER check in your bag.


Torgo April 3, 2009 at 3:19 am

Well, if you hate-filled trolls had paid attention, you would have found out that Jet Blue never found the bag *to* ship it. It was never sent at all, wrong address or not. Thanks for responding before reading, though!

As for the clothing, I'd say get what you can from them and be thankful. And never fly Jet Blue, of course.


Jayne June 5, 2010 at 1:49 pm

Sober up, asshat.


rerere August 17, 2010 at 3:03 pm

shut up bitch


Kay April 3, 2009 at 11:15 am

It sure sounded to me like Jet Blue has made every effort to help resolve the situation, and that what you're really angry about is that they haven't offered you the full amount of your "guesstimate" of how much the clothes cost and that they aren't offering you the replacement fee in Euros.

It's reasonable that you don't keep receipts. It's not reasonable for you to expect them to believe every customer who claims their belongings were worth $xxx and were brand new, etc. etc. It's also not reasonable for you to expect them to pay you in Euros when you bought the items with dollars.

Two months and you're still worked up and debating whether or not to accept their offer? Can we say OCD?

Accept the offer and move on with your life.


Ralph April 3, 2009 at 3:09 pm

Have you ever heard of travel insurance?


Trent April 5, 2009 at 4:31 am

Wow. I just have one quick comment. I lost any kind of sympathy for you with the last line of your post.

You wish them bankrupt soon. So all those people that had nothing to do with your bag can be out of work?

You are a moron.


Paul April 8, 2009 at 10:06 am

i understand things do happen. we are in a tough crisis in our economy. we need to keep it together, forgive and move forward.


Cat April 14, 2009 at 12:52 pm

So I just Googled "Adam T. McLemore" and found a profile on a networking sight for a 27 year old male Dominos Pizza delivery driver. Is that you?


Cat April 14, 2009 at 12:55 pm

And Yes the Adam T. McLemore profile mentions Maine, travel, Portland, and Germany. Coincidence?


jimbob April 17, 2009 at 1:20 pm

wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa aaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh


Festerdun April 20, 2009 at 3:58 pm

Adam, could you possible put a few more exclamation points in your post? My eyes glazed over halfway through the post because everything was just so overly dramatic!


Anna May 12, 2009 at 7:23 am

I love how it was the bag that included the tobacco and vodka. Thats basically saying "Take my bag and party!"


MW July 19, 2009 at 10:12 am

15 pounds overweight is fat. Sorry, fatty.


someone July 24, 2009 at 5:53 am

Also Germany isn't going to be any harder to find big clothes in than America. Perhaps the Eastern European countries, but not Germany.


rerere February 10, 2010 at 11:17 am

go to hell adam, hope you burn too.


College Kid November 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

i mean, a handle of premium vodka, 2 lbs of tobacco and 2 months of medication, yeah that bag was stolen, next time don't pack a party in your luggage.


Thi Halpern January 4, 2013 at 8:05 am

I say accept the $1000 compensation and cut your losses and move on.


Beth January 23, 2015 at 12:01 pm

I was always told to stay with the same airline so they don't have to transfer your luggage between airlines…


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