If you can picture it; I stood, along with a few other people waiting as the luggage went around, and around, and around. Our second bag was nowhere to be seen. Finally after forty-five minutes, another flight number hit the board and that flight’s luggage joined the few bags left over on the conveyer. It seemed odd to me that there were several passengers who didn’t have their luggage, and there were several passengers worth of unclaimed luggage on the conveyor.
Not knowing what else to do, I approached the closest person in a suit with a radio to enquire about what should be done. He pointed me to the Lost & Found office, manned by the Phnom Penh airport staff. I filled out a PIR (Property Irregularity Report). Remember this report name. This is what you will fill out if your bag is pilfered, lost, damaged, or stolen. We had to provide quite a bit of personal information, including flight, home address, address abroad, phone numbers, and the most scary part, relinquishing our claim check to the people at the desk.
All we left with in our hands was the copy of the report, which now served as our claim. Important note: Do NOT lose this paper. You will need to turn it in. “no ticket, no laundry” comes to mind. On the report was the name of the person who helped us and the office phone number.
We passed by a couple sim card sales booths and chose not to buy one. With luggage missing, this was mistake one. It would have been better to settle getting a phone
We left the airport and came to the hotel, which in retrospect was mistake number two. We should have headed back to the Air Asia booth to see if any staff were still about to complain to, although in retrospect, it worked out.
We arrived at our hotel, and I was a bit stressed, realizing that I had only the clothes on my back and no way to charge my equipment, not to mention the value of what I had assumed were all low theft items.
I started working on a few things. I found the procedure for lost luggage on the Air Asia site, and a phone number. At that point (8:40pm the night we arrived) I didn’t have a sim card yet, so no way to call. I had internet, though, so my daughter (in the USA) called the number for me. It repeatedly rang and disconnected on her, and when she got through received a recording that the number was not in service. I did some research on the web and noted that there were many complaints dating back to 2008 about this. It is certainly something that could be addressed better, I think.
I did find an online form eventually and filled it out with as much detail as I could muster, as well as attaching (kudos on having a form which accepts attachements) a picture of my wife’s luggage with the same look and same color wraparound strap on it, as well as a copy of the form from Phnom Penh.
As I kept trying to find ways to contact them, I left a message on Air Asia’s facebook page (prefer not to do that, but having a communication black hole was worrying me too much. I also found a direct e-mail to Phnom Penh’s Air Asia site and mailed them all my information too.
What was the level of effectiveness of these approaches?
Today, when I followed up, I called the Air Asia Phnom Penh center and they told me that they had received the e-mail but had no news for me yet. Therefore, the e-mail to them did “work” in that an actual human read the e-mail.
The online form auto-responded during the night. The response said that the e-mail would be answered within five days! OK, to me, that’s a fail. If you have an anxious customer, five days is not an acceptable response time.
Phone calls to Air Asia? Dead end. Failure.
Phnom Penh Airport staff? I called to follow up a couple times and I asked at one point, if they had contacted Air Asia (I just wanted to be sure). Yes, they responded. They contacted Phnom Penh, Bangkok and the HQ in Kuala Lumpur. Further, when I phoned at 5:30, they had the suitcase, described it to me on the phone and I zipped right over and picked it up.
Traffic was heavy and took nearly an hour, but we persevered. (what else would we do? lol)
I’m amazed we haven’t come across any accidents yet. I never knew traffic was a contact sport…. After a while it all became a blur of red and white light against a dusk colored backdrop.
We closed our eyes against the dust and grime and eventually arrived.
The rest was fairly straightforward. We walked against the flow to the Arrivals release area. Then we showed our paperwork to the guard and with a pat on the shoulder to push me in the right direction he allowed us entry. As we entered, Lost and Found personnel greeted us and even pointed me to my suitcase. I turned in my paperwork and we were released to go with our suitcase.
A quick call to our tuk tuk driver and he circled around back to the pick up zone and we were on our way. The way back was a bit less busy and I think it was more like only forty minutes back to 252nd street.
Unfortunately having to go all the way to the airport meant $15 in rountrip tuk-tuk rides during rush hour, but at this point I’m not complaining, just happy to have the suitcase back.
The suitcase was intact and everything that was supposed to be there was there, so it ended well. So Air Asia, I’m not mad at you any more and Phnom Penh Airport Services, I am MOST impressed and very thankful.