Sharing Experience : What to do when your luggage is wrongly tagged upon check in

Disclaimer : This post is WITHOUT prejudice or any malicious intention to defame any organizations or individual mentioned. This post is purely with the intention of sharing an experience and sharing information on what to do should anyone ever faced the same experience.

The feeling of excitement after several months of planning and the moment we were at the airport waiting to board the flight are all memories to cherish. What would the worst thing that could have happen that would shatter these excitements totally and make one worry for days on arrival? The sinking feeling?

After my recently experience with Air Asia X, I would definitely say, Delayed / Missing luggage.

Missing or delayed luggage is actually the most common issue travelers faced with any airlines. However, these negative experience could always be turned around with the right customer service delivery and SERVICE RECOVERY.

This unfortunately was not my experience when I traveled recently to Japan on Air Asia X. Not only my delayed luggage was caused by mishandling (carelessness of the associate involve at the counter of KLIA2), the poor customer service and follow-up by the respective team was a true disappointment.

Let me relate what occurred…..

It all started when I dropped my luggage at the baggage drop off counter in KLIA2 late one evening in January 2016. I was also at fault – the excitement of meeting up my friends in several hours, I missed the important step of checking my luggage tag stub after it was handed back to me with my travel documents.

I went immediately through immigration clearance and that was when I noticed that my luggage tag stub had a different name and different destination. I immediately went back to the counter to address the issue with the associate who had tagged my luggage earlier. All these happened within 10 minutes from the moment I left the counter and came back to the same counter.

I was then told by her and her colleague that she would rectify the error immediately. Since there were 2 hours and 30 minutes to the scheduled flight departure, I knew that they would have sufficient time to rectify the error (crossed tagging of bag under another person going to another destination).

I requested for a new luggage tag under my name and destination printed; but I was told by the associate involved that it is not possible as it has to be manually removed. When I asked for assurance that the luggage will reach my destination, the associate along with her other colleagues at the counter assured and guaranteed me it would.

After flying for over 7 hours, to my disappointment, my luggage did not arrive the destination as promised.

Now come the hassle of filling for Property Irregularity Report (PIR) at the airport counter where communication was limited due to the differences in spoken language. However, I was promised that someone from Air Asia X will be reaching out to me with updates.

I then resorted to also contacting Ask AirAsia via their social media platform; Twitter, highlighting the issue. The team responded several hours later asking for the booking number and screenshot of the PIR. I responded almost immediately with the required information. Several hours later, there was no responds and after following up from my end, I was then advised that it is under investigation and someone from the respective team will update me.

24 hours past, to my disappointment, there was still no update nor call, nor even the promised email from anyone on the status of the missing luggage. Another Tweet followed, only with a more disappointment response – where I was asked for the PIR again. And further follow ups in Tweeter sent only came back with the reply informing that the case has been forwarded for the team to contact me for updates. And NOTHING AT ALL!

Almost 48 hours later, the evening of Day 2 since my arrival with no update from Air Asia X team, I had no choice but to contact someone I know asking for assistance. And the contact was kind enough (he was from a different team) to assist me to investigate and kept me constantly updated. He even went to the extend of escalating the case to higher management due to the lack of responds from the team concern.

Finally on the end of Day 3, I was contacted by my contact (AND NOT EVEN someone from the team concern nor Air Asia X customer service) that my luggage has finally been found and would be on the flight to my destination the following day before it would be delivered to the hotel where I am staying. My contact was even kind enough to call me in Japan to personally inform me that the luggage had been found.

On Day 4, after over 3 hours from the expected time of arrival, there was still no call or email from anyone in Air Asia X with the expected delivery of the luggage. This led me to reach out to my contact again; with my frustration this time on the whole thing. I was also at the verge of cancelling my return flight on Air Asia X as I have decided to fly on other commercial airlines even if that means that I had to transit in Hong Kong or Bangkok. My contact was kind enough to assured me that he will help where possible and requested for me to give Air Asia X another chance to rectify the issue.

3 hours later, my contact once again personally contacted me with an update that the luggage had been forwarded and should be reaching me the following morning. Almost an hour later, I (finally) received a call from Air Asia X Japan advising me on the status of my luggage.

Suffice is to say, this is a TRULY DISAPPOINTING experience as without pressure, I don’t think I would ever hear from anyone apart from the message Air Asia X Japan team left with the hotel (I wonder why they called the hotel instead of calling me).

I understand things can go wrong in a highly stressful and pressured environment. However in my case, I personally noticed the error and security breached in which I took steps to rectify it immediately. I did the right thing to inform Air Asia associate almost immediately and gave sufficient time to rectify the error (2.5 hours prior to the flight departure).

The error wasn’t rectified and my luggage still went missing despite assurance that was verbally extended by more than 2 associates of Air Asia over the counter in KLIA2. It turned up only 5 days later, towards the end of my holiday. That is the disappointing part and I found it hard to accept ESPECIALLY in the lack of communicate and promised updates.

In addition, this also contravened a security breach in a highly security sensitive aviation industry, which I found hard to comprehend.

Having working in the travel industry as well, I am fully aware on the procedure that should have been taken in the case that I have shared above which to my disappointment was a total different case to the information shared by the associate at the KLIA2 counter. This leads to a serious INTEGRITY issue in my opinion especially for associate who works in the line of customer service.

So, anyone out there should you faced the same issues, please note of the following procedure and PLEASE INSIST on the right procedure. In my case above, unfortunately, although I am aware of the right procedure, I choose to trust the Air Asia team despite knowing that they did not follow the procedure.

  1. For cases of wrongly tagged baggage, the team can reprint the luggage tag under the correct guest name with the correct destination
  2. Then with the tag, the associate can go to Wrong Destination baggage holding area to look for the luggage using the number
  3. Once the luggage has been located, the luggage will be re-tag with the correct tag
  4. Then the luggage is to be brought to the Correct Destination baggage holding area for loading / holding
  5. In scenario where the tag needs to be manually done, the step 2, 3 and 4 mentioned above needs to be done. And then only the associate need to ensure that the manual tag number is entered into the system under right guest name

To add to the disappointment, I submitted a complaint online via their online form highlighting the issues and seeking clarification; despite the steps and measures I had taken to help in getting the error rectified along with a little form of compensation (NO, I didn’t ask for a free flight. I didn’t ask for a free meal onboard either). I received a generic reply highlighting the following which totally has no relation to what I had experience. There were no indication nor reply to my request for clarification / explanation.

– article 8.2 of our Terms and Conditions state as follows – Valuable and Fragile goods – Passengers are strongly advised not to check in such items as

baggage. If they are checked in as baggage, passengers agree they send for carriage of such items at their own risk.

– Article 11.2 of our Terms and Conditions state as follows – Notice of Baggage Liability Limitations – Liability for loss, delay or damage to baggage is

limited unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges are paid

Following the reply from the team, I responded rejecting their offered compensation of RM50 for “On Spot Compensation” stating that they never responded to my request for clarification / explanation on the complaint raised with a recap of what I am expecting from them which highlighted mainly on the lack of response / updates during the incident as well as why I was given a different information on why a re-print of the correct luggage tag was not possible when I insisted that it is possible.

My 2nd submission of complain in response to the 1st reply from them took over 3 weeks for them to respond. To which I re-submit a 3rd submission seeking for an explanation. I finally received a respond yesterday after 2 weeks with the same respond as below… an automated response that as per :

As mentioned in my previoues email we regret to inform you that we are unable to compensate you further as in our usual terms and conditions stated that:-

– article 8.2 of our Terms and Conditions state as follows – Valuable and Fragile goods – Passengers are strongly advised not to check in such items as

baggage. If they are checked in as baggage, passengers agree they send for carriage of such items at their own risk.

– Article 11.2 of our Terms and Conditions state as follows – Notice of Baggage Liability Limitations – Liability for loss, delay or damage to baggage is

limited unless a higher value is declared in advance and additional charges are paid

In addition, if you have purchased travel insurance, you may want to check with the providers if you could be reimbursed back on your lost.

Again, this does not respond to my concerns on the “Breach of Security”; how the luggage was handled and failed to address my request. The main purpose of my complains were to seek explanation while seeking compensation in my initial email is no longer what I was seeking for (I told them to keep their RM50.00).

With the rapid and successful growth of the wonderful organization lead by a highly respectable leaders, I wonder where their customer service standards stands as in the case that I had experience, it is clearly indicated that their customer service standard is definitely not on par and not to our expectations. This is very unfortunate.

Many have asked if I will stay loyal to Air Asia after this incident and would I consider flying on Air Asia again. As I have mentioned earlier, missing / delayed luggage is a common airline error and I truly understand that at times, it is unavoidable. In my case, it is purely the way the Customer Service Team handled the incident – the issue raised were totally ignored.

In answer:

Would I stay loyal to Air Asia? No, I would no longer stay loyal to Air Asia and will consider other airlines when making my choice to fly domestic or international.

Would I consider to fly on Air Asia again? Yes, there will be cases where due to time constraint, I would fly Air Asia (as they have direct flight to certain destinations where other airlines do not). However, should I have time on hand, I would still fly on other commercial airlines even if it means having to transit before reaching the final destination. Should I have to fly Air Asia again, I would avoid checking in luggage and opt to travel light instead with only hand-carry as I NO LONGER TRUST the team.

2 thoughts on “Sharing Experience : What to do when your luggage is wrongly tagged upon check in

  1. They should fix the problem on the spot not dragging it till unresolved. Customer service is an important key subject in hospitality.

    I never a loyal person when it comes to airline. My first priority is timing and pricing. Service to me is all about people. Not everyone is the same however is the company that train them.

    The way they handle this matter is really irresponsible. They should improve their customer service to bring up their standard. I believe other airline faces the same challenge and they do have service recovery plan.

    Cut and paste the airline articles and terms & condition is not a service recovery plan is more like washing hand. What do u think?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Totally agree. Very unfortunate that they don’t think so in my case as avoiding the reply to my query knowing that they are at fault is not the way to avoid the issues on hand. Like I say, I don’t want any compensation to start with, all I want is an explanation why it happen when I was the one who rectify the issue

      Liked by 1 person

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