damage to laptop stored by flight attendant

Discussion in 'Your Questions' started by marels, Sep 24, 2007.

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  1. marels

    marels Newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    3
    0
    Hi,

    I hope someone might be able to advise here. Recently travelled on QF flight to Sydney. During take off prep, a flight attendant offered to store my laptop in overhead compartment. During flight when i got up to get something out of the bag, laptop fell out, and impressively bounced in aisle. Screen and casing damaged. Despite there being a computer bag available the laptop was not stored in a bag or the computer bag, as it had been "kindly stored by the flight attendant". I have travelled many times with laptop and never personally had any damage to fragile good.
    QF have offered $300 (instead of $160) ex gratia, because I am a "premium customer". Repairs will cost significantly more.
    As far as i am concerned this was negligence on their part. The damage would have been much less likely to occur if the bag had been stored properly by the flight attendant (or if she got me to store it).
    Would appreciate any suggestions
    Marels
     

  2. acampbel

    acampbel Member

    Oct 31, 2005
    351
    2
    Tricky .....


    Qantas could argue that you agreed for it to be stored and must have been aware of the method of storage. If one of the FA's had subsequently opened the locker and the laptop fell out, then you would have more of a case for a lack of due care. Unfortunately you were the one who opened the locker so must accept part of the liability, especially as the standard safety demo includes the text "Take care when opening overhead lockers .......".

    With the cost of laptops dropping below $1K (OK - maybe $2K for a whiz-bang one) I would be tempted to take the opportunity to upgrade and try and recover some of the rest through ebay.


    Cheers,

    Andrew

    .
     
  3. moa999

    moa999 Senior Member

    Jun 23, 2003
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    Frankly I would never let an FA put away my laptop, not that I would ever pull it out before takeoff anyway, unless you got a large delay.

    What is the repair bill for the laptop?
     
  4. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    The FA's also have a duty to endure that the cabin is safe for take-off, and as a result it was there legal duty to ensure that the laptop was safely stowed for take-off. There is thus the question of why it had not be stowed appropriately by this time?
     
  5. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    It didn't fall out during take off, it fell out when he opened the locker to take something out of the bag from what I can tell from the post; can't see how you could argue that it was inappropriately stored for takeoff

    When my lappy got damaged in flight, I just claimed off of my travel insurance and they happily paid out for a replacement; assuming that the OP has travel insurance, shouldn't be an issue


    Dave
     
  6. oz_mark

    oz_mark Enthusiast

    Jun 30, 2002
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    I didn't say it did fall out during take-off.
     
  7. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    I think that I may have misinterpreted your post; when I 1st read i tI thought that you were suggesting that it handn't been appropriately stored by the FA and that it was the FA's fault; on rereading, I see that you may be questioning how comes the OP hadnt stored it appropriately before the FA came

    Dave
     
  8. marels

    marels Newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
    3
    0
    There are various places to store bags etc, eg under seat or in overhead locker.
    I have previously on many occasions also stored a laptop it in the pocket in front of the seat, andt this has not (always) been questioned by FAs.
    While I accept that FAs have a responsibility to ensure cabin is safe for take off. QF and their FAs also have a responsibility to ensure that goods are properly stored. This is to ensure that any risk of damage (to goods or hurting pasangers is minimised).
    Common sense would say that fragile goods should be stored in protective bags when such bags are available.
    Otherwise, FAs can just do what ever they want with bags, goods, laptops etc when storing them in lockers, and claim no responsibility.
    This WOULD NOT be an issue if i stored the computer my self and it sustained damage.
     
  9. vt

    vt Member

    Mar 9, 2006
    220
    2
    Melbourne
    Can I ask where you laptop bag was during this?

    Also, you say there is a bag or computr bag...I didnt know QF carried computer bags for passengers. I have always either placed my laptop bag overhead or under the seat infront when there is no room in the locker above. Mind you, I am usually the first to board as I am not one of those important QP members that wait for final call.

    If the attendant had taken your laptop out of the bag, then you might have a case.

    From reading what you wrote, you either did not have a laptop bag or you did not secure the laptop in the bag properly when you handed it to the attendant. In any case, you openned the overhead without being careful of displaced objects.

    Then again, I could go dive in the wading pool at my local...not signs there yet.
     
  10. Mal

    Mal Enthusiast

    Dec 25, 2004
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    I believe there is also stuff in the Qantas T&C's about their liability in a case like this.

    Flying with Us - Before You Travel - Conditions of Carriage - Long
    "we are not liable for any damage to your Cabin Baggage unless such damage is caused by our negligence"

    But then Laptops could be classed as a fragile item or something else under their T&C's.

    IMHO, this is a tricky one. While I want to side with the OP about the issue, I feel that Qantas will eventually win. Any travel insurance/credit card insurance/general insurance policies which may help ease the burden?

    PS - Welcome to AFF marels :)
     
  11. Dave Noble

    Dave Noble Senior Member

    Oct 10, 2005
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    I cannot see how you could show negligence; the FAs warn at the end of each flight to "Please take care when opening overhead lockers as you luggage may have move during flight" so assuming this was not the OPs 1st ever flight, this warning wil have been given before

    Contact your travel insurance company and lodge a claim for the repairs since damage to luggage normally covered. If no insurance, then to be fair, this is an example of why travel insurance is a sensible thing to have.

    You will probably have to deduct the $300 from the claim since that amount has been covered by QF

    As far as using the seat pocket for storing the laptop, this should be spotted by the FA and the laptop moved to a location either in the overhead locker or under the seat in front of you since the seatback pockets are not a permitted place for laptop stowage

    Dave
     
  12. Evan

    Evan Established Member

    Dec 26, 2006
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    Yep, i feel it would be a difficult to say QF is at fault, after all the OP could have stowed the notebook when requested themself, even under the seat in front of them. Just as a matter of course i will not allow anybody to handle my notebook unless i really have to.

    As has been stated before some other form of insurance, eg house/contents or travel insurance etc may just pay out depending on the policy.

    E
     
  13. Reggie

    Reggie Established Member

    Mar 20, 2006
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    Even if the OP had a computer bag in the overhead locker, there is no way a FA would open it to put the computer in. It would leave them liable if a pax then stated there was something missing from said bag.

    More likely is the FA would pass bag to pax, who puts the item in it, then FA puts bag with item back into locker.
     
  14. poppet

    poppet Intern

    May 2, 2006
    91
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    Adelaide
    I think this is something Qantas is 'cracking down' on. My laptop wheely bag weighs more than 7kg so I normally check it through (because I definately wouldn't want it falling on my head if the locker was to open) and carry my laptop on its own. In that last 6 years I have never had a problem storing the laptop below the seat in front of me until about a month ago when the air hostess spoke to me when I got on the plane and said that it had to be in the overhead locker for takeoff. WTF? So I wrapped it in someone's coat in the overhead locker and hoped for the best - luckily no dramas. But two of my colleagues have had screens broken from having to put theirs in the overhead lockers. I now have a smaller bag for my laptop which I carry it in to disguise the fact it is a laptop and put it back under the seat in front of me.

    I think you should pursue the matter with Qantas because I'm sure there's more war stories out there and they can't keep ruining people's laptops.
     
  15. marels

    marels Newbie

    Sep 24, 2007
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    0
    Thanks for the opinions, much appreciated.
    I will pursue this for a bit longer with QF and let you know how it goes....might be weeks or months though i suspect if the form letters i have received so far are anything to go by.
    One of them actually concluded by saying "Thank you again for taking the time to let us know about your experience". completely ignoring any of the issues I raised.
    The thing that baffles me in all these cases is that they dont really take the time to look at a FF profile, history and trends, because if they did they would realise that one flight would recoup their costs. Though not good for short term return to shareholders i guess.

     
  16. NM

    NM
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    Aug 27, 2004
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    So if an FA puts something in the overhead locker, QF is responsible for it. But what happens if you, as a passenger, stow something in the overhead locker and another passenger opens the locker and it falls out? Who is responsible? Would that be Qantas because its their locker, Boeing because they designed and built the locker? The stowing passenger for not stowing it "properly"? The opening passenger for not be careful enough when opening the locker?

    Now how would that change of the falling item injured a third party? Then who is responsible for the injury?

    As has been mentioned, this is what Travel Insurance is for. Make a claim now and forget the long and drawn out communications with Qantas for compensation. If the insurance company believes they have a case against Qantas to recover their payout, they will surely pursue it.

    And if you choose to travel without travel insurance, then you must be willing to accept the risks associated with travel.

    If we start to define the actions of a FA who is trying to be helpful as being negligent, then we have no recourse for complaint when the FAs refuse to assist anyone for fear of being sued for their actions. I posit that allowing someone else to stow your laptop in an overhead locker without you first placing it a protective bag could also be considered negligent.

    My laptop always travels in the overhead locker and it is always in a protective travel case. I always place it in a position in the overhead locker that will provide as much protection as possible, and I always watch as other passengers place their belongings in the locker near my laptops. And if necessary I will adjust the stowage position to ensure maximum protection for my valuable and fragile device. I take that as my responsibility and solely my responsibility. I do not consider it the airline's responsibility, the aircraft manufacturer's responsibility, the airline staff's responsibility, or fellow passenger's responsibility.
     
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