Knoxville residents wait years for airline compensation

Knoxville residents wait years for airline compensation of lost baggage

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School teacher Melissa McCoy showed 6 On Your Side the large garment bag that stayed behind at her home in September of 2010. School teacher Melissa McCoy showed 6 On Your Side the large garment bag that stayed behind at her home in September of 2010.
"They assured us certainly the bags will be found, don't worry about it, they'll be found," Mike McCoy said. "They assured us certainly the bags will be found, don't worry about it, they'll be found," Mike McCoy said.
The McCoys have bought new luggage since their September 2010 trip and replaced their clothes,  but the sentimental items can never be replaced. The McCoys have bought new luggage since their September 2010 trip and replaced their clothes, but the sentimental items can never be replaced.

By DON DARE
6 On Your Side Consumer Investigator

KNOXVILLE (WATE) - It's likely happened to you. You've taken a flight and your bags were lost.

Often those bags show up again within a few hours, maybe a day or two.

A Knoxville couple whose bags never arrived at their destination called 6 On Your Side saying they are fed up after waiting more than two years for the bags to be declared "lost."

The 23rd Annual Airline Quality Rating Study, released just last week, shows more airlines were on time last year, but customer complaints were up. Mishandled bags are one of the complaints that irritates passengers. 

A Knoxville couple who took out travel insurance to protect them if their bags were lost have been unable to collect a dime.

They're now finally getting some answers.     

School teacher Melissa McCoy showed 6 On Your Side the large garment bag that stayed behind at her home in September of 2010.

"This bag didn't make the trip because I needed the deep, square, trunk-sized bags to carry the items I had," she said.

She says each of the other two bags had name tags on them, just like this one.

Mrs. McCoy and her husband left McGhee Tyson Airport on a United Airlines flight September 2, 2010. They were flying to Denver International to visit a new grandchild.

The bags were stuffed with clothes, cameras, laptops, gifts, and sentimental items for the baby.

Once in Denver, the couple made it to the turnstile before luggage from their flight had been sent down the shoot. Their bags never arrived.

"Waited and waited and finally talked to some people. They assured us certainly the bags will be found, don't worry about it, they'll be found," Mike said.

Mrs. McCoy says United Airlines confirmed their luggage had been put on the plane in Knoxville.

"The last place they were known to be was somewhere about a mile deep in the belly of Denver International Airport," she said

As a frequent flyer, Mike McCoy bought insurance as protection in case his luggage was mishandled.
   
He called the company.

"They said as long as the United company would not state these bags were lost then they could not honor their agreement for paying the bill," he said.

"They will not confirm the bags are lost because if they declare them lost then the insurance company that we bought additional trip insurance through has to then pay the claim for the luggage and the items lost inside," Melissa said.

The McCoys have sent messages back and forth to United Airlines central baggage service and made calls, but to no avail.

"My calls were sent to call centers in every continent of the world," Melissa said.

United Airlines told 6 On Your Side, with 99 percent of checked bags arriving on time, the McCoy's experience is not indicative of United Airlines service to its customers.

United Airlines says it's reached out to the couple to apologize, finalize their claim and compensate them for their missing bags.
 
The McCoys have bought new luggage since their September 2010 trip and replaced their clothes,  but the sentimental items can never be replaced.

"I would like to have my bags, at this point I do not think that is a reality or even a reasonable expectation," Melissa said.

The McCoy's believe that having to wait for more than two-and-a-half years is far more than a "reasonable amount of time" for the airlines to have reached a decision about their bags.

However, they are grateful there is finally a resolution.


Don Dare's 6 On Your Side reports can be seen every Monday, Wednesday and Friday on 6 News at 6:00.

If you have a consumer issue, call the 6 On Your Side Hotline at (865) 633-5974 or email ddare@wate.com.

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