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Last week I started thinking about this incident again, and how awful it had been. As I had just settled into my new house and had some time on my hands, I decided to try my luck again. I sent an email to Subhasis Mukherjee, the Air Arabia customer service rep whose last email to me, more than six months ago, ended with “Rest assured I will keep you updated with any updates.”

That email bounced.

I then found a couple of Air Arabia Facebook pages and sent them some messages. A few days later I received this email:

Customer Relations – Air Arabia
Sep 26

to me
Dear Mr. XXXXX,

Thank you for contacting Air Arabia Customer Relations.

Reference to your post on our Facebook page, we would like to share with you – as communicated earlier – that we have investigated the matter thoroughly with the concerned earlier this year and have not discovered any discrepancy neither were able to locate your missing items.
We assure you that we have followed extensive tracing actions in this investigation and eventually resulted with a negative outcome.

We will not be able to provide you with any sort of compensation as Air Arabia assume no liability for the claimed lost items from the checked baggage.

Thank you

Yours Sincerely,

Customer Relations

So there we go. Make up your own mind, but this is one of the worst experiences I’ve ever had, and I suggest you steer well clear.

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So you’re thinking of flying Air Arabia. It’s probably cheap, but you don’t know too much about it. Well I’m glad you found this site.

I was also thinking of flying Air Arabia. It was cheap but I didn’t know too much about it. But I thought I’d give it a go, so I booked a flight from Istanbul to Delhi.

I had just spent two weeks in Istanbul with my girlfriend, we had had a great time, I was going to spend a couple of months with some friends in India, and life was perfect.

However, when I got to Delhi, my bags weren’t there. When they finally arrived all my valuable possessions were missing, including several years of memories, photos, writing and some work I had been doing on the road.

Air Arabia have done nothing to help me. I am not usually a vindictive person but the way I was treated by the staff in person, on the phone and over email drove me mad. Of course, I was also a bit of a fool for putting my computer in my check-in baggage, but I am a pretty trusting person, and it was late, and I hadn’t slept for a couple of days, and I was tired, and they weren’t Air India, so I thought I’d be alright. In any case that doesn’t give the baggage handlers the right to very systematically go through each and every pocket of my bag and take what they want!

So I thought I’d buy this domain name as some kind of way of getting back at them. If you read this and decide not to fly with Air Arabia because they are evil thieves with no care for their customers that will give me the slightest hint of glee. If you are from Air Arabia and you read this and you want to help me out that would give me a slightly larger feeling of glee.

I had just compiled a list of about 20 other sites I had found where other people were complaining about luggage being stolen from bags on Air Arabia, and I had just written a really captivating introduction, which would definitely have convinced you, but then the dodgy touchpad on my cheap replacement computer accidentally clicked off the page and in a puff of smoke it disappeared. There is no way I’m doing it all again, so google is your friend. Below you can find my complete email correspondence with Air Arabia.

If you have an experience you want to share you can do so in the comments.



12 March 2013: Initial complaint sent to Air Arabia via online form:

Dear Air Arabia, I flew from Istanbul to Delhi via on March 11 under the above Reservation Number (xxxxxxxx). When I reached Delhi my bag had not arrived and I was asked to complete a missing baggage form. The bag arrived the next day and I collected it from Indira Gandhi International Airport. Due to the design of the airport I was not allowed to enter the terminal without a ticket for departure, and so my bag was delivered to me at the airport gate by an Air Arabia staff, or a BWFS staff member acting on behalf of Air Arabia. Her name was Arti. I was instructed to sign a form stating that I had received the bag, else I would not have been allowed to take it away from the terminal.

Immediately upon receiving my bag I noticed that the lock on the main compartment appeared to have been tampered with. I sat near the gate of the airport and opened the bag, and found that several items were missing from the bag. As I could not re-enter the terminal to speak with the same staff, I quickly returned to the BWFS counter to inform them that items had been stolen from my baggage. I reached the BWFS counter no more than two minutes after receiving my bag from the aforementioned staff. 

First the BWFS staff mistakenly called staff from Oman Air instead of Air Arabia. After rectifying this mistake, and waiting around an hour in total, the same BWFS/Air Arabia staff member who had previously given my bag appeared at the BWFS counter to speak with me. She said that as my bag had left the terminal (which it had to, because I was not allowed to enter the terminal to collect it) I would not be able to make any complaint using the formal Air Arabia complaints mechanism. Instead she asked me to make a written complaint to Air Arabia, which I completed and handed to her, and to follow it up with an online complaint (which I am doing now). 

The items stolen from my bag were (AUD value in brackets):
Laptop Computer ($1200)
Digital Voice Recorder ($200)
Clothes, towel and other personal items ($200)
Film ($50)

I have since noticed that a set of small portable speakers worth $200 were also stolen, although I did notice at the time and was not able to record them in my original complaint.

Obviously I am shocked, saddened, disgusted and completely lost after what has happened. I had a positive experience with AirArabia up until the disappearance of my bag and then of these valuable items. I hope that Air Arabia will swiftly provide due compensation for the cost of these items. The laptop computer also contained many important documents for my work and studies which I am completely lost without.
I can’t wait to hear from you. Please contact me by email as I am currently travelling and my phone connection is intermittent.

Regards

XXXXX XXXXX

17 March 2013: form reply from Irish Garcia (igarcia@airarabia.com)

Dear Sir,
 
Thank you for contacting Airarabia claims department.
First and foremost, kindly accept our sincere apologies caused to you by this unfortunate incident.
 
Kindly be informed, that your complaint is now forwarded to the concern department for investigation.
 
Regards,
Irish

21 March 2013: reply from Subhasis Mukherjee (smukherjee@airarabia.com)

Mr. XXXXX,

This is regarding your complaint that you had filed concerning the items that you had found missing after receiving your baggage at Delhi airport. First of all I am extremely sorry for the delayed response the reason being your case was being investigated from our side.

I had inquired from my staff Ms Arti whether she had actually asked you to check the contents of your baggage when same was handed over to you but she informed me that she did request you to check your baggage and advise her if all was ok but some how you told her that you would do that later. Also I believe that there were no signs of your baggage being tampered with as nothing was mentioned in your compliant. Ms Arti further intimated me that you had contacted her after about 10 – 15 mins later and have complained that a few items were found missing from your baggage. I would like to inform you here that in such cases when passenger has received his/her baggage and have given us their receiving then we anticipate that everything is alright and we close the case from our side. In your case also staff similarly believed that everything was satisfactory with you and she closed the case. After you mentioned that items were found missing Ms Arti told you to give a written compliant as we can not raise a pilferage case once passenger has been handed over the baggage and is in his/her custody.

But having said that it is not that I am disagreeing with your complaint but on the contrary I would investigate it further in order to check whether any untoward incident had happened with your baggage inside the airport premises and will get back to you as soon as I get any further information.

Thanks & Regards

Subhasis Mukherjee
Airport Manager – DEL
email id.: smukherjee@airarabia.com
mobile : 9717399280
airarabia.com

21 March 2013: email from me to Subhasis Mukherjee (smukherjee@airarabia.com)

Hi,

Thanks for contacting me.

I was not asked by Ms Arti or other staff to check the contents of my bag, though we did have a conversation which I remember very clearly which went like this:

Staff: Here is your bag, you need to sign the form before you can take it.
Me: Do I need to check what’s inside?
Staff: It should all be there.
Me: I’ll sit down first and then check.
Staff: Okay

It was not suggested to me that I should check my bags at the gate, because we were standing awkwardly at one of the exits, in public space, and a number of police officers were present and one was gesturing that I should move out of the space. I was not in a position to check my bag thoroughly before I had to sign the form. Thus I informed staff that I would move to a seat (only 10m away) before opening my bag.

When I suggested to Ms Arti and the other staff that I would sit down and check my bags I was not informed that I would then have no grounds for complaint if things had been stolen; if I had I would have checked them at the gate with Ms Arti present. At the time I was not expecting things to have been missing (of course, one does not expect such things) and so it was only once I sat down and looked closely at the bag that I noticed it had been tampered with. The bag had been firmly secured with cable ties, one of which was were tampered with (presumably with a screwdriver, knife or similar) to allow the thieves to take them off and put them back on in such a way that the tampering was not immediately evident. In my haste to get to the BWFS counter I left the tampered cable tie where I had been sitting and so I was not able to show staff. No staff asked to see it; if they had I could probably have retrieved it from outside.

I informed staff at the BWFS counter within about two minutes of receiving the bag, in fact as soon as I sat down I noticed that things were missing and ran to the BWFS counter, where I sat on the floor and looked through the bag in detail. The staff from the BWFS counter, from Oman Air, from the police at the visitor’s lounge and those who print e-tickets all saw me sorting my luggage on the floor of the terminal, opposite the BWFS Counter. There was a delay in contacting Ms Arti and Air Arabia as the staff at the BWFS counter accidentally contacted staff from Oman Air, who took a formal complaint from me before realizing that I was an Air Arabia passenger, and then called the Air Arabia staff.

I hope this information is useful, please let me know if you need any more information.

Thanks

22 March 2013: reply from Subhasis Mukherjee (smukherjee@airarabia.com)

Dear Mr XXXXX,
 
Thanks for updating me with your views and once again I would like to inform you that I deeply regret your loss on arriving at DEL. I have gone through your mail and have done some investigation from my end and as of now I have not found any discrepancy anywhere. Now the only further course of action that I can take is request airport security to let us view the CCTV coverage of that particular time and if some unlawful activity did take place we will deal with same accordingly.
 
Rest assured I will keep you updated with any updates.
 
Thanks & Regards

Subhasis Mukherjee
Airport Manager – DEL
email id.: smukherjee@airarabia.com
mobile : 9717399280
airarabia.com

22 March 2013: email from me to Subhasis Mukherjee (smukherjee@airarabia.com)

Dear Sir, there is most certainly a discrepancy here, in that I have had over a thousand dollars worth of valuables stolen from my bags while under the custody of Air Arabia. If the goods were not stolen in Delhi they were stolen in Sharjah or Istanbul; either way Air Arabia is responsible.

However I share your view that Delhi is the most likely place for such theft to have occurred, as I have since read many similar complaints online. It seems I am not the only one to have had items stolen by air Arabia baggage handlers in India (in which case surely staff should advise passengers to check their bags thoroughly before leaving the terminal, if staff are aware of thefts taking place). Thus if my complaint is not resolved adequately I will contact Delhi Police to obtain my own copies of the CCTV and try to determine where in the chain the theft may have taken place.

To begin with, you could obtain the video of me opening my bags outside the departure gate, and you will see that my version of events has been accurate throughout. You could also obtain that day’s (12/3) footage from the BWFS office near the visitor’s lounge to see what sort of ideal I had to go through to receive my own bag from the BWFS staff.

I would appreciate a speedy conclusion to this matter as I have now been without a computer for ten days and my business is suffering as a result.

Regards

19 April 2013: email from me to Subhasis Mukherjee (smukherjee@airarabia.com)

Hi Subhasis,

Please let me know the outcome of this case and what compensation Air Arabia will be providing. As I am planning to travel from Kathmandu to Istanbul on or about May 14, and was previously planning on using Air Arabia for that flight, I would accept a free ticket as compensation for my lost baggage. However if you do not provide compensation you can be sure I will never fly Air Arabia again, and will make sure no-one I know ever flies with you either.

I look forward to your response.

Cheers

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