Woman loses her wedding shopping to careless airline

Sep 21, 2012, 06:51 IST | Bipin Kumar Singh

The bag contained jewellery and expensive jackets

If you are an airline passenger returning from a shopping spree, then it would be wise to carry your luggage as hand baggage or be subjected by the airlines to a frustratingly long wait or paltry compensation in the event that your belongings are misplaced or lost.

Monica Sambharya
Lost in transition: Monica Sambharya, who has been running from pillar to post, after Air France misplaced her luggage when she flew a JFK-Paris-Mumbai flight on September 11

A Worli Seaface resident Monica Sambharya (35) went through an ordeal and is appalled by the unprofessional behaviour exhibited towards passengers by one of world’s most renowned airlines, Air France.

Sambharya along with fiancé Harshul Parikh were booked on an Air France flight DL 8705, JFK-Paris-Mumbai and landed at Mumbai at 10.45 pm on September 11. Like any other passenger, Sambharya proceeded to collect her baggage at the designated luggage conveyor, but it never showed up.

“It has been a very frustrating as well as shocking experience. Since September 11 till date, I have called the Air France office several times and each time they come up with a different excuse about my lost luggage. I have called all Air France offices between Mumbai to Paris, but am yet to receive my luggage,” Sambharya said.

She claims that over 15 other passengers on the same flight are facing the same plight.

Sambharya is getting married in November and is all the more worried, as she had shopped for things needed for her big day. “I had shopped for things for my wedding, which is in November.

I paid over five thousand dollars for jackets and jewellery. I never expected my baggage to go missing, and be made to run from pillar to post by the airline responsible for losing it. I also found out that the airline’s compensation policy for international passengers is a meagre 20 dollars per kg for misplaced baggage, which makes me all the more sad,” Sambharya said.

Goodwill gesture
On September 11, this newspaper highlighted the case of Hyderabad resident Jayakumar Bhavanishankar, whose sunglasses costing over Rs 5,000 were stolen from his sealed, checked-in baggage on an Indigo flight.

The airline, instead of accepting its mistake maintained that the seal is placed on request, but not as policy, and issued a cheque of Rs 1,000 to the passenger as a gesture of goodwill.

The other side
When contacted, a senior manager with the passenger services of Air France at Mumbai airport said, “We have been coordinating with our head office in France for the past one week. We expect to deliver the passenger’s belongings shortly.”  

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