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Am I too rough?

OK, so we all know I am pissed over the loss of my iPod. But I feel like I should be upset. I feel like the SAS Helsinki Arrival Service could have done more...

Am I too mean in this fax?


To whom it may concern,

I am writing to express and register my extreme disappointment with SAS over the loss of personal items on-board the aircraft.

On 16 January 2005, I boarded flight SK702 traveling from Stockholm Arlanda Airport to Helsinki Vantaa airport. After being one of the last 10 individuals off of the plane (it was a light flight with approximately 50 people) and clearing the security area, I had realised that I had left my Bose Noise Cancelling Headphones and iPod music player (enclosed in a small black bag designed with the Bose logo printed on it) in the in the seatback pocket of chair 9E (my assigned seat was 9D, but I had the whole exit row to myself). As you aware, once you clear the security area, the doors prevent you from going back into the airport departure lounges.

Understanding this, I immediately went to the check-in gates at the airport and they directed me to the a telephone bank which connected me directly to SAS Arrival Service. Upon explaining to the gentlemen what had happened, he informed me that he called around and was informed that the aircraft was already moved from the gate and that the plane would be cleaned in about a hour (it was approximately 20.45 EET when I first contacted SAS arrival service for help and the plane landed at approximately 20.30 EET) and that I should check back in the morning. When I protested the long length between the time he thought that the plane was to be cleaned and the next day would allow ample opportunity for theft, I was told that there was nothing that could be done. I wasn't even given any information on the when the plane would be used the next day so that I could possibly have gone to the airport and asked to have the flight crew on board check the plane (which would have narrowed the window of time and the list of individuals who would have had access to the plane if the personal items were not recovered).

I conacted SAS Arrival Service the next morning at 09.10 EET, and was told that nothing was reported found by the cleaners. This was quite surprising since I knew the exactly location where my personal items were and had reported it left on the plane before I even left the airport the previous night. I was advised during that morning phone call to check with Stockholm Arlanda Airport (the flight number back to Stockholm changed to SK707). I did as instructed and they informed me that no items were returned.

I called back this evening 17 January 2005, and the telephone agent informed me that it was very likely that any "found" items would have been returned by now. HOW DISAPPOINTING SINCE I KNEW WHERE MY PERSONAL ITEMS WERE BEFORE LEAVING THE AIRPORT.

I am registering my disappointment with the SAS Arrival Service in Helsinki, because had customer service been the priority, the attendant at the window last night possibly could have sent a message to the cleaners to ask them to look out for my personal belongings, since I was very very sure what had happened to my belongings and where they were located (I had checked my luggage to ensure that I was not making a mistake). Instead, a standard reply has now meant that my iPod in effect is untraceable and probably lost. The maximum chance of recovery was between when the airplane was taken from the gate and before it was put into service the next day.

Although your airlines Conditions of Carriage may have meant that you legally did not have to do more to help a customer who left personal belongings on board, a customer-oriented policy almost demands that one do more than state the opening and closing times of the arrival service.

I cannot beleve that my personal items were "lost". Rather, it is more than likely someone removed my personal items from the airplane without turning it into lost and found. And while it is fair to say that perhaps one of the 9 passengers behind me could have reached over and removed the belongs, it's very unlikely. In fact it is extremely unlikely.

My only recourse here is to file a police report in both Helsinki (since you don't provide any reporting), as regardless of contracts of carriage, the theft of property (this is what I believed happened) is illegal in any country and would clearly be against the company policy of the airport and the cleaning company (if they are not the same).

SAS has the fortune of a virtual monopoly in the region and cut-throat corporate pricing, so the usual threats of taking my business elsewhere just doesn't work here. Instead, I would like to know what SAS Finland plans to do to rectify this situation.

I will hope against hope that somehow, someone will return my personal belongings in the morning -- as the last SAS Helsinki Arrival Service Customer Service Representative said that sometimes they take 24 hours to return lost items. But even if the personal belongs are returned, I am still fundamentally disappointed in my SAS experience. My initial reaction here is that whilst I might have left items on the plane, SAS shares some of this responsibility for hindering my efforts to do more. You might ask why write such a long letter for such a small item? The answer is that the value of the items is mines to determine alone, and I feel like there was not a sense of fair play in how this situation was handled by SAS. And I think SAS needs to think about how they will respond to this letter to compensate for a customer-hostile customer service policy that was partially responsible for the lost of my personal items.

I bear no anger towards the people who answers your phone and try to help -- and in fact, your customer service agents are to be commended for dealing with me in a professional manner. I do however, hold the company responsible for creating policies prevent their hard-working service employees from taking positive actions that result in increased possiblity of inappropriate actions (such as taking items not belonging to them) occuring. This environment is further exasberated by the inability of SAS Arrival Service to provide any tracking or reporting mechanisms which decrease the chance of something being returned or insurance paperwork being completed.

Please feel free to share this letter with your management team. I know for certain that I will be sharing this experience with my colleages who travel for business and my friends that travel for pleasure. I will look forward to a reply.

Thanks and Regards, Rodney Cornelius

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
talktooloose
Jan. 17th, 2005 07:24 pm (UTC)
Sounds reasonable to me. You immediately reported the loss and gave the exact location. There is no reason that they shouldn't have gone to check immediately and, if it wasn't there, asked the cleaners about it. For them to leave it until the next day seems to me a lack of customer service. They must have understood how that would increase the chance of theft of valueable items. They should have acted immediately to help you.
akrodha
Jan. 17th, 2005 07:57 pm (UTC)
They could have done more, although you do seem to make it a habit to forget your iPod on airplanes :)
rcornelius
Jan. 17th, 2005 09:16 pm (UTC)
Hahahaha...you are right...I do forget a lot.

And I guess that's the thing. If I had gone to the hotel and called them the next day...I would totally say "shame on me", licks my wounds, and absorb the $400 lesson and just move one (like I said...I am in the market for new Noise-Cancelling headphones anyway...)

It was their lack of action upon immediate notification that makes me angry. Too bad no one felt empowered to help.

I am going to extract something from them. And my preference is travel vouchers good for future travel. And some of my Finnish friends are already translating me letter into Finnish for presentation to the Finnish consumer protection agency...so I am happy.
akrodha
Jan. 18th, 2005 02:43 pm (UTC)
You do have a point there.

It's nice to know that you have some friendly Finns ready to help you out there. Good luck!
malte
Jan. 17th, 2005 08:21 pm (UTC)
Am I too mean in this fax?

Oh I don't think so, but isn't it a wee bit on the long side? My feeling is that letters of complaint, like job applications, are best kept short and snappy.

Though a bulleted timeline might work just as well.
rcornelius
Jan. 17th, 2005 09:12 pm (UTC)
hee hee...my plan is to innudate them with long-winded letters until they are either forced to read and translate...or give me what I want! Mwu ha ha ha ha ha!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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