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I boarded at ORD (Chicago O'Hare) for a flight to Berlin Tegel via Zurich. I had 2 normal luggage items and one oversized item (snowboard equipment), which I checked in 2+ hours before departure. I was told to take my snowboard bag to the oversized luggage check station, where I left it. I was following with my eyes for about a minute and saw that the guys working the scanners did not move my bag, it kept just lying on the floor. One more guy even asked the other worker if he should put it through scanner, but the other one said no.

With that we left and went through security, then boarded the plane. Upon arrival to Berlin we were told the snowboard bag did not arrive to Berlin. After tedious hours spent at the lost and found counter and then waiting for a few hours, the bag was located by automatic tracing system - in O'Hare! I have a question:

  • Given that all the tags were correct, how could it happen that the bag didn't make the flight? Does it have to do with TSA check or potential manual opening?
  • What rights do I have in this case? Can I file a compensation claim against the airport?
  • Why didn't the airline (Swiss) "notice" that our bag was not on the flight? I have overheard the gate agent saying to another one that the only bag missing was from a transfer passenger (i.e. it could not have been me).
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    Did you hand it over to a person who clearly accepted it from you, or did you leave it on/near the oversize luggage desk without involving someone at the desk? – brhans Mar 6 '18 at 14:39
  • @brhans after the check-in agent putting the tags on my bag, I myself brought the bag to the oversize scanning station (on both sides of check in area at Terminal 5). There were 2 attendants at the oversize screening station. One of them showed with a gesture that i need to leave the bag on the floor, picked it up and put it a bit further inside the roped-off area next to scanner. This was the extent of receipt. – travel-with-snowboard Mar 6 '18 at 14:46
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We can only speculate.

  • Sometimes bags don't get taken where they are supposed to go, because they get forgotten, put in a dusty corner, mixed in with bags of a different priority, or any number of reasons.
  • Sometimes tags get separated from bags, so then airline staff have to identify whose bag it is and try to figure out where it was supposed to go.
  • Sometimes bags don't get loaded on planes because of inadequate time (not likely an issue here).
  • Sometimes bags don't get loaded on planes because of inadequate cargo capacity. (Sometimes there are more checked bags than will fit on an aircraft, or sometimes the total weight of bags, cargo, crew, passengers and aircraft can be greater than the airplane can safely haul with the fuel load it needs in the weather conditions through which it will be flying.)

Contact your airline and ask for compensation. If you have travel insurance that covers delayed bags, contact them to make a claim.

Until we invent perfect humans, a certain amount of bag misplacement and delay is always going to occur, unfortunately.

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