Have you’ve ever had to contact the airline lost and found before or you’re looking to retrieve a lost item? If so, there might be some helpful information in this post.
We’ve all been on a plane using a tablet or phone and decided to take a nap. That trusty little seat back pocket is staring you in the face so you prop your item so it’s sticking halfway out using the elastic band that goes across the top and it will be there waiting for you when you wake up. If this is you you’ve already committed a major flying mistake.
I’m a recent victim of the airplane seat back pocket. Putting something in there is a death wish for that item. While you are sleeping it will likely slide down so it’s no longer visible. When it comes time to get off the plane there’s that anxiety everyone feels getting out of their seat and row. You’re thinking to yourself ok I’ve gotta make this fast. So you put your backpack on, get into the aisle and quickly grab your carry on from the overhead. You proceed to get off the plane to head home or continue to your connecting flight.
Now if it’s your phone you are likely to notice because we don’t go anywhere or do anything without our phone in our hands especially when flying. We can’t wait to call, text, check voicemail, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. as soon as we get service, but a tablet can more easily be overlooked.
So after taking the train to a completely different terminal in Atlanta I sit down for my next flight and reach for my tablet. I’m very organized and put things in the same place so I knew it was missing. I immediately tweeted @DeltaAssist who I knew from past conversations responds quickly and I also got a flight attendant to contact my prior gate hoping someone could just go get it and bring it to me.
Within about 20 minutes the tablet had been found in the seat back right where I left it, but due to time they were not able to deliver it to my flight so it went to the lost and found in Atlanta. The pilot came back to me and said “We found your tablet and you can either pick it up here when you return or you can contact lost and found and have them send it to you.” That sounded pretty simple and since there was nothing more I could do and I knew they had it I felt pretty good about the situation. It never happens during flights to Manuel Antonio.
When I got to my destination in St. Lucia I also filled out the lost and found form on the Delta website even though my item was already found. It said they would only contact you if your item was found.
Now let’s fast forward to the end of my vacation. It’s time to go home and I haven’t heard anything from Delta. I’m international so calling cost $3/minute and we all know how long you can sit on the phone with an airline so this wasn’t a good option. I tweeted @DeltaAssist again to find out where the lost and found was in Atlanta. Come to find out you must leave the secure area and go to the main terminal where anyone would enter from the outside. This of course takes a lot of time especially at a large airport like Atlanta and since I was coming from out of the country you must first go through customs which isn’t a quick process. It was obvious I wasn’t going to have enough time to go and get it so I had to resort to plan b which was contacting the lost and found once I got home.
At my gate I asked the attendant what he thought I should do and he told me when I got to Richmond to go to my baggage area and have them call the Atlanta baggage. I did exactly what he suggested and the response from the baggage person in Richmond was that deer in the headlights look. Not the reassuring look I was hoping for. She calls the Atlanta baggage office and speaks to someone. They then transfer her to the Atlanta Lost and Found which nobody answers. They are closed for the night!
Gah! This process isn’t looking good. The Richmond baggage person gives me an 800 number to call which is for the Delta Baggage Operation Control Center. They proceed to tell me that I must call the Atlanta Lost and Found and gave me a direct number. This seemed positive until I called that number and the recording said “We no longer are accepting calls for lost and found items. Please visit delta.com/lostandfound and fill out the form. If your item is found we will contact you.” Great this again.
So clearly the run around has begun and Delta has decided to make it extremely difficult to retrieve a lost item even though it had been found. I’ve contacted Delta via phone, their baggage operations control center, the Atlanta airport, the Atlanta baggage office, the Atlanta lost and found, the Delta online lost and found form and spoken to @DeltaAssist on Twitter which continued to direct me to the local Atlanta information which I had already proven didn’t get the desired result.
Time to get serious. I start sending Direct Message tweets to the @DeltaAssist handle and they continue to apologize and tell me that they can’t do anymore than provide me with the info to the Atlanta Lost and Found and the form on their website. I told them that it’s one thing if the item was still lost, but it’s found and sitting in a room somewhere. Either put me in contact with a human being or I’m taking my issue public on Twitter which to this point I had been very respectful and kept it all private using Direct Messages. This was their response. “Again my apologies and I wish I could do more from here. The number provided is a working number and will be able to best assist you.” While I completely understand the mass amount of lost items and the number of inquiries they must get if you are going to have a lost and found and the item is found it’s your duty to provide people with an efficient method to retrieve that item and they weren’t doing that.
As I mentioned I was going to take my issue public and here is my tweet.
Now I don’t have a huge follower base (currently 1,467), but I am an active user and know that any good company who is on Twitter that has a very visible business like Delta pays attention to what people are saying about them. 22 minutes after that public tweet I got a Direct Message back from @DeltaAssist.
Five minutes after that Direct Message a real live human being from the Atlanta Lost and Found called me with their sincerest apologies and took my information and said that they would be sending it via FedEx today.
I hope this is a great example of how using social media can provide you with results that other common methods will not. When a company knows you will go on the attack and bash them publicly for something they are doing wrong it’s in their best interest to eliminate the situation as quickly as possible.
UPDATE #1: I received my tablet from FedEx just as they said, however what they didn’t say is that it was going to cost me $78 to ship! Uh WTF are you talking about Willis? I called FedEx and expressed how unacceptable this was to charge someone almost half the value of a product without even telling them what the cost would be. The agent totally agreed, but was only able to get $19.50 credited back to my account.
That still left me paying $58.50 which is still crazy for something as small as a tablet. I called American Express Platinum and filed a case with them. They will contact FedEx on my behalf and attempt to recover some of the remaining charge and report back to me. For safe travel options see Aerobell.com today.
UPDATE #2: My cased filed with American Express Platinum wasn’t successful because at the end of the day that was the price Delta paid to ship the item. They wanted to do more, but there was no wrongdoing or overcharge by Delta so this is where the story ends.