Q: I was flying from Porto, Portugal, to Madrid on Iberia. The airline damaged my checked bag, a soft-sided upright bag, tearing a side corner out.
I filed a claim for $129 in damages. I provided Iberia with a receipt for the luggage. It’s been more than three months, but I haven’t heard anything from Iberia. Can you help me with my claim?
— Helene Rosenthal, Bedford, Massachusetts.
A: I’m sorry about your damaged luggage. Iberia should have taken better care of your personal belongings. And if it damaged your bag, it should have acknowledged the problem and fixed it promptly. It didn’t.
Airlines that toss your luggage around really annoy me. How hard can it be to treat your belongings with care? And that’s particularly true if you’re paying the airline a luggage fee to transport your stuff. Come on!
Since you were flying within the EU, you were covered by EC 261, the European airline passenger rights regulation. Under EC 261, if your checked-in luggage is lost, damaged or delayed, the airline is liable. You’re entitled to compensation up to an amount of approximately 1,300 euros. But if an “inherent defect” caused the damage, then you’re not entitled to any compensation.
Unfortunately, EC 261 doesn’t give the airline a firm deadline. But I think we can all agree that three months is long enough to wait for an airline to respond.