Oboist has all her equipment lost by bad airline

Oboist has all her equipment lost by bad airline


norman lebrecht

November 20, 2017

From Emily Ross:

I have this horrible situation with Brussels Airlines and could use some advice. They lost my suitcase three months ago which had, amongst other things, all my reed-making equipment and cane in. The total value lost is over 2,500€. After months of phone calls, emails and waiting, they’ve now come back to me saying that due to me not being able to provide receipts, they’re going to give me 600€ as a gesture of goodwill.

Obviously this doesn’t even cover half of what was lost which also included many clothes, concert dresses + shoes and toiletries/makeup etc. I simply do not have the funds to replace all of this and need a better solution from them. I’ve called and emailed to complain and say how unacceptable this is. I don’t know what my rights are when it comes to these things, and I fear I’m about to be massively fucked over by a greedy company, whose fault it is in the first place!

Any help/advice would be massively appreciated!


  • Tish says:

    Do you belong to a union and if so, it might be worth asking them for help.

  • Elena Greco says:

    I am in the US, and I realize your country might or might not have equivalent agencies, but I would strongly recommend the following, once you have filed a first and second official complaint with the airline.
    1) Be sure to itemize in detail the items that were lost, as well as their purpose in your profession.
    2) Post on social media, most of all this airline’s Facebook page. Bad publicity (the result of which might be lost $ for them) is the one thing that will get a business motivated — especially one that clearly doesn’t care about its customers.
    3) File the equivalent of a Better Business Bureau claim (USA); I don’t know what the organization would be for your particular country, but I’d bet it has one.
    4) File a complaint with the equivalent of the US Department of Transportation. https://www.transportation.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint

    Here’s hoping you get your reimbursement!
    ~ Elena Greco

  • urania says:

    If you have insurance for situations like this, you could take a lawyer – often already one letter does help,

    I am in a kind of similar situation. I moved and the moving team was totally ignorant, much went wrong and I had to pay extra workers. These companies who do deal by email and internet with customer do everything to make you tired and want you to give up frustrated. They do not care – they just fight you down. Good luck anyhow.

  • Elizabeth Owen says:

    Perhaps the Musicians Union can help if you are a member. You are probably not the only person that this will have happened to. Good luck.

  • Mark F. says:

    My high-school English teacher always claimed that the name of the Belgian airline, Sabena, stood for “Such a bad experience, never again”. It sounds as if Brussels Airlines inherited their style. My condolences.

  • Nutters says:

    Did you not have travel insurance to cover this?

    • Bruce says:

      My guess would be no, otherwise she wouldn’t be asking for help/advice.

      • Max Grimm says:

        Indeed and many (if not most) travelers are unaware that they are required to prove the worth of the items damaged/lost with appropriate documentation and even then, regardless of the total sum of losses, the airline can only be held liable for a maximum capped amount of ~ €1.220 here in Europe.
        Insurance is a definite must when traveling with expensive items.

  • Nick says:

    I am sorry I cannot suggest how to get amends for this particular instance. But I have one suggestion for the future – for everyone. Most of us make sure we have at least one luggage label on the outside of a case. I suggest a larger label should be added or stuck on with destination details including phone number and email. Then the same information should be placed on top in the INSIDE of the case. Exterior labels can sometimes get torn off. If a bag ends up in some left luggage store, it will eventually be opened.

    But so many cases nowadays look almost identical. To avoid another passenger taking yours, make sure there is something distinctive on the outside – especially if the colour is, like most, black. There are simple multicoloured belts that can be purchased that thread through the gap between handle and case to make yours look very different. And as others have suggested, travelling without baggage insurance nowadays is almost asking for trouble. Unfortunately most policies have very low amounts for lost luggage. So talk to a travel insurance company about a specially tailored policy that offers more and also covers more than one trip. You can even specify certain items and their value to be included in the policy. Annual travel insurance policies are often worth investigating.

  • Ruth says:

    There is a helpful article on this subject in last Saturday’s Daily Telegraph travel section, page 21.

  • Dean says:

    Brussels Airlines may not sound like a major carrier, but they are a division of Lufthansa. Make sure that anywhere you post/pursue to use Brussels/Lufthansa to perhaps embarrass the parent company into doing what’s right.