From time to time, luggage does get lost in transit. It’s one of the realities of air travel. But for affected passengers, it’s the way in which the airline resolves the problem that can make all the difference.

AFF’s founder and site administrator, admin, was particularly unimpressed with Qantas recently after their bag went missing for almost a week. The suitcase had made it all the way from Cape Town to Sydney, but was somehow misplaced after the bag was re-checked with Qantas for the short final flight from Sydney to Melbourne.

I returned from a short overseas trip last Monday evening, flying Qantas. Luggage was checked in in Cape Town (with a Priority Tag as I was travelling Business Class) by BA and tagged to Melbourne, via Johannesburg and Sydney. I know Jo’burg is notorious for luggage pilfering, so was relieved that my luggage arrived safe and sound in SYD. I cleared customs, and rechecked it in at the Seamless Transfer (sic) desk for the final leg to Melbourne. Arrived in Melbourne a few hours later, and – you guessed it- no bag!

Bags go missing for all sorts of reasons. Often it’s simply because the suitcase missed a tight connection. When this occurs, the airline will generally recover the bag and deliver it to the passenger as soon as possible.

But on this occasion, the bag was not quickly located. It took six days worth of attempts to contact Qantas before it was eventually found.

What happened over the next few days has shaken my confidence in the Qantas lost baggage process, the quality of (some) of their staff, and the way they handle their customers..

After checking in the bag at Sydney, the bag had somehow been sent on a flight to Queensland instead of Melbourne! It remained there for nearly a week, even though admin‘s name and contact details were clearly visible.

While admin accepts that bags can and do go missing, they believe the situation was handled particularly poorly by Qantas. Following their recent experience, they’ve suggested five ways that Qantas could improve the customer experience when bags go missing:

1. Recognise how disconcerting it is for passengers when Qantas loose their luggage.
2. Train customer-facing staff to realise that the fault is with Qantas, not the passenger!
3. When the lost luggage is reported, give the customer a detailed description of the process used to locate the luggage. This should be a comprehensive flowchart with decision points, time lines etc
4. Phone the customer each day with a status update
5. Consider transporting all lost/unclaimed bags to a central location manned by trained staff who know how to distinguish a name tag from a “Made in the EU” label!!

Read the full story, and share your own experiences with lost luggage HERE.


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Matt Graham
The editor of Australian Frequent Flyer, Matt's passion for travel has taken him to over 60 countries… with the help of frequent flyer points, of course!
Matt's favourite destinations (so far) are Germany, Brazil, New Zealand & Kazakhstan. His interests include economics, aviation & foreign languages, and he has a soft spot for good food and red wine.

You can contact Matt at [email protected]