Wednesday, March 24, 2021

Luggage lost, damaged or delayed on arrival? Onus is on the airline to compensate you

A perfect flight can get ruined if your checked-in baggage arrives at the carousel, open, damaged or with valuables stolen. Ask actor Sonakshi Sinha or musicians like Amjad Ali Khan and Anoushka Shankar, who all have been at the receiving end. Recent episodes  shows such incidents continue to happen.

In fact, passenger complaints regarding baggage have increased considerably in the last three months. From 6.1 percent in December last year and 12.6 percent in January, complaints about lost, delayed or damaged baggage and valuables made up for 15.7 percent of the total grievances in February, as per data from industry regulator DGCA.

While one can argue that this is still lower than the 20 percent reported in February 2021, industry observers say the complaints are increasing as airlines add to their capacity, after the pandemic-led disruption.

Airlines have been responding in varied ways. One is to discourage customers from checking-in their bags. DGCA's new notification states that passengers with no check-in luggage can buy tickets at lower prices for domestic flights. SpiceJet already has this.

Spotting another opportunity, Vistara recently launched its Gate to Gate luggage delivery service where the customers can have their bags carried to and from the airport.

"We have observed the need for this service among today's travellers who deeply value seamless and hassle-free experiences. It is easier to take a case into consideration to understand the rationale. A family of four going on a holiday carrying one piece of luggage each is otherwise forced to book two cabs to reach the airport with all the luggage, and then again to reach their final destination upon arrival," the airline spokesperson said in a response to Moneycontrol's query.

"It is a completely safe and secure service, whereby every piece of luggage is sanitized and packed in double-layered, tamper-proof packing materials covering baggage against the risk of pilferage. Every movement of the luggage is tracked and is, therefore, traceable. Luggage pick-ups and deliveries are entirely contact-less," the spokesperson added.

24/03/21 Prince Mathews Thomas/Moneycontrol

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