Lufthansa stole my laptop
On January 4 I was on a flight from Frankfurt to Boston. I had a seat in the middle of the center aisle of Row 29. I put my laptop, in a neoprene case, under the seat in front of me so I could watch a show on it during the flight, and put my knitting project bag on top of it, then put my carry-on in the overhead. I got out a book of puzzles and did one while I watched a movie on my seatback screen. I sat in my seat like this all through boarding.
About 4 hours into the flight, I reached for my laptop, but it wasn't there. I asked the folks in the row in front of me if it had slid there, and someone sitting on the left-hand side of the plane in Row 28 said a couple with a baby had found it and gave it to a flight attendant.
I pushed my call button, and eventually spoke with the purser. Here's what happened.
The couple had found the laptop, which had slid foward on the floor and was visible in Row 28 during boarding, and assumed it must have been left there on the previous flight. It was a bulkhead row. They gave it to an attendant, and were moved to seats in business class. I didn't see or hear any of this happen. No one asked me or anyone in my row about a missing laptop, and there were no announcements.
The attendant gave it to the purser and said it was left on the previous flight, and the purser left it at the gate before the doors closed. My computer was left in Frankfurt.
The purser assured me that I just had to contact a Lufthansa agent once I got to Boston and my laptop would be sent to me. I spoke to both her and the flight attendant as well as the couple. None of them had tried to see if the laptop belonged to someone. I got a written statement about what happened from the purser.
We had a quick connection in Boston. I gave all the information to the agent, and connected home.
The next day I got a call from the flight director the laptop was left with. He got my contact info from my computer, not from the information I'd left in Boston. He told me Lufthansa could not mail it back to me internationally, or take it to the US on a plane. I would have to arrange for someone in Frankfurt to pick it up and get it to me.
This is completely ridiculous. Not only have I lost my laptop due to Lufthansa's mistake of not checking before they removed it, but I am supposed to bear all the cost and responsibility of getting it back.
I've written to Lufthansa's customer service, lost property departments, the authorities at Lufthansa and United, the FAA, the DOT, and the German aviation authority, and have not heard back yet from them. I have some AWESOME singer friends in Germany and we're seeing if they can pick it up and ship it to me, because I need it back. Heaven knows whether that will work.
But Lufthansa is responsible for the mistake! If my friends do pick it up, Lufthansa should definitely cover the shipping costs, but they SHOULD be going out of their way to take care of this, and so far, all I've gotten is "it's your problem."
I am also furious that a valuable laptop supposedly left on a plane doesn't even warrant one "does this belong to anyone" announcement before it's taken off the flight. I understand about flight security, but does it honestly hurt to check beforehand?
My impression was that the flight attendants were too busy with boarding to bother, and it was just easier for them to believe it was left and leave it in Frankfurt than to see if it belonged to someone on board. When I spoke to the flight attendants and the couple involved, the idea that it belonged to someone on board didn't seem to have occurred to any of them.
Please spread the word on LJ, Twitter, and Facebook. Link this post everywhere you can. Get public about your disgust with an airline that takes people's property and refuses to take action to fix its mistakes. Let's make it impossible for Lufthansa to ignore this.
If writing to the authorities or social media pressure won't make them respond, I am calling the police.