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Old 22.10.2018, 11:34
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Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

Wanted to share an experience, in case it's useful for anyone else (I couldn't find much on the forum previously, and nothing recent):

My large suitcase arrived in ZRH with one wheel (of four) missing. The Swissport desk said they couldn't produce a damage report as "missing wheel" does not count as damage under Swiss rules. Apparently it's only damage if the case has a tear (!). They suggested I try filing a customer complaint when I got home, via Swiss' website. There was no Swiss airline desk to complain to, so I hurried off for my train.

I took a few pictures of the case on the train and filed a complaint online after 2 days, with little optimism.

Took 2 weeks for a response but, to my surprise, they told me to take the case to get repaired and send them the bill. If it was not repairable, then I should send them my original receipt for the case, and they would reimburse this this price, less 10% depreciation for each year of age. (I have no receipts for the suitcase and in fact it was bought second hand 3 years' ago, so I don't even know how old it is.)

I took the case to this place on Langestrasse in Zurich (found through a very old post on this forum):
http://www.schirmfredi.ch/

Very friendly place, seems they do repairs and reports for airlines and insurance companies all the time. Dropped the case off one evening and the next day they rang to say it could not be repaired, due to being an unusual brand of case and wheel type. Schirm Fredi produced a report (cost: CHF 25) saying "unrepairable" and confirming the new price of the case in Switzerland as CHF 149. They advised me to send this to the airline.

So I sent all the paperwork off to Swiss along with my bank details, and about 3 days later, they paid CHF 174 into my bank account! After the initial complaint, my emails to Swiss were all answered within 24-48 hours.

Overall it was quite inconvenient travelling into central Zurich twice with the case, and now have to figure out how to dispose of the old case. However, just wanted to share that it is worth complaining online, even if you have no success at the airport.
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Old 22.10.2018, 11:49
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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My large suitcase arrived in ZRH with one wheel (of four) missing. The Swissport desk said they couldn't produce a damage report as "missing wheel" does not count as damage under Swiss rules.
I've had my wheels ripped out in flights to ZHR twice. Both times with Swiss (though I had booked one through Lufthansa). I went to the damaged luggage counter and both times I had absolutely no trouble getting the report done.

So either they changed their rules very recently or you had a silly person in the Swissport desk.

The worse case of luggage damage was also in ZHR - the side was splintered to smithereens. I sent the email to Swiss with the report and got a quick short email for me to choose my new luggage from their 3 options. One week later my new luggage arrived by DHL.

They have been pretty good with luggage damage repair/compensation. Same experience with Lufthansa, though (with the added bonus of having an extremely friendly support).

As to where to dispose of the old luggage: any recycling centre will take it our of your hands. They might charge a nominal fee (I had to pay 2 chf, which was defined by how much the case weighted).
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Old 22.10.2018, 14:18
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

If it was an international flight ‘Swiss rules’ do not apply. The Montreal Convention 1999 applies. This convention provides that the airline is ‘strictly liable’ for loss or damage to a passenger’s baggage. This means you do not have to prove the airline damaged it. On the other hand the airline’s liability is limited to SDR1134 (about 1580 francs) per passenger.

Of course this is not the amount they have to pay you, this is the maximum. You have to prove your actual loss.
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Old 22.10.2018, 15:55
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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I've had my wheels ripped out in flights to ZHR twice. Both times with Swiss (though I had booked one through Lufthansa). I went to the damaged luggage counter and both times I had absolutely no trouble getting the report done.

So either they changed their rules very recently or you had a silly person in the Swissport desk.
They started to sort a damage report: first weighing they case it check it wasn't overweight (which it wasn't), then tapping on the computer. Then they looked a few things up on their system and said wheels/Swiss didn't count. They said every airline is different. To be honest, it was late flight, I was too exhausted to argue.

It was only when I got on the train I looked up the airlines regulations and my rights, and also realised I should have got some photo/documentary evidence of the "unreportable" damage while still in the airport, etc.

So, given they only had my word that the case was damaged on the flight at all (not on the train ride home), I was surprised how easy this was.

Much easier than trying to claim compensation for delayed/cancelled flights.
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Old 22.10.2018, 16:07
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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Much easier than trying to claim compensation for delayed/cancelled flights.
I gave up on that one I've had zero luck.
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Old 22.10.2018, 16:13
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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Much easier than trying to claim compensation for delayed/cancelled flights.
It can be really easy, I sent an email & within 24 hours was given a form asking for banking details. Within 24 hours of returning the form I was informed its been approved & payment will shortly be made. Unfortunately the nominated Bank SATA had it's banking license suspended on Saturday & all accounts are currently frozen but that's not the air lines's fault.
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Old 24.10.2018, 11:06
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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I gave up on that one I've had zero luck.
I used this tool when I was in the UK:
https://www.resolver.co.uk/rights-gu...-cancellations

It was promoted in the UK press quite a lot and on MSE (a popular know-your-rights website in the UK), and I think is quite widely known and used.
https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/site/resolver/

Not sure if you can use it when you are resident elsewhere in EU/CH. I will certainly try, if I have an issue again.

It's free, gives you templates to use, all correspondence is saved inside the tool, and it automatically reminds you after X days/months to escalate the case. First letters go to the customer service desk, and eventually if they don't respond it sends letters to management inside the company, and ultimately to the CEO. You just have to fill in the template letter seach time (which includes adding freeform paragraphs of text if you want).

I had one issue that I had been writing letters about for several years: even quoting EU Regulations and case law at them, but no luck. Used Resolver and the airline (TUI) paid out immediately. I think it looks a bit more "official" coming from Resolver, not just little old me.

On the other hand, I have an open case with Swiss, flight cancelled due to a 'technical fault', with no luck so far. They always try to say it was beyond their control (even though 'technical fault' has been struck down in several EU court cases now).

Anyway, you could try that. It takes a huge amount of effort out of writing letters, tracking correspondence, and chasing. Otherwise you start to ask whether 100 hours of work for €250 compensation is worth it!
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Old 24.10.2018, 15:42
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

One of the challenges with the EU regulation is that the Swiss government has incorporated it, as written, into domestic law.

Court rulings up to and including the ECJ do not automatically change Swiss legislation, as they do in the EU. Swiss court rulings of course do.

The Regulation, as written, does not provide for compensation for flight delays as an example. Nor do EU/national courts decision of what is, and what is not, an extraordinary circumstance apply automatically to Switzerland.

I certainly do not favour the ECJ having any authority over Swiss legislation. That is what the parliament, and/or our direct democracy is for.

If you feel that Swiss are not complying with the law appeal to FOCA who are the Swiss enforcement body.
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Old 24.10.2018, 19:19
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

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One of the challenges with the EU regulation is that the Swiss government has incorporated it, as written, into domestic law.

...
The rules apply for any flights which arrive or depart in the EU, regardless of whether it's an EU or non-EU airline:
https://europa.eu/youreurope/citizen...r/index_en.htm

So, a domestic Swiss flight may not be covered by the EU Regulations, but my London-Zurich is covered, whether I had travelled with Swiss (a subsidiary of Lufthansa) or an American airline.

The next step on the Resolver tool is to escalate the case to the UK Civil Aviation Authority, which I have just done. (Previous step was writing to Thomas Kluehr,, the CEO, which I did in April 2018). The last email from Swiss customer service actually said "Kindly be advised that further information about the delay of your flight can only be disclosed to the relevant authorities, as otherwise it is strictly confidential and internal." So I guess they are telling me to raise this with the UK CAA.

Anyway, let's see what the CAA come back with.
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Old 25.10.2018, 13:04
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Re: Broken suitcase with Swiss, reimbursed (good news)

Response from the CAA:

You may be aware of the Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) directive. We are pleased to advise Swiss Airlines have signed up to söp, the German Conciliation Body for Public Transport; an independent ADR provider which the CAA has assessed as competent to provide an aviation ADR scheme.

SOP has carried out alternative dispute resolution for a number of airlines since 2011 and the complaints handlers are lawyers and whilst their outcomes are not binding on the airline there is a reported compliance rate of over 90%. The service is also free of charge to consumers.

Here is the direct link for completing the online form: https://soep-online.de/request-form-flight.html where you can communicate in English by selecting the Union Jack icon.


They then go on to give instructions on pursuing the complaint with CAA directly, if I still wish to do this. But I will try ADR first.
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