The short answer: Absolutely nothing.
On our recent vacation we flew Hawaiian Airlines from San Jose to Maui via Honolulu. When we boarded the plane in San Jose, it turns out that half of the overhead compartments aren’t the standard size, so our carry on wouldn’t fit. The flight attendant asked us if we would gate check the bag.
Stacy was immediately hesitant of the idea because we had multiple cameras in the bag. Our Nikon D7000 with multiple lenses and our Olympus underwater camera that we use when we go snorkeling. Snorkeling is probably the main reason we were going to Maui in the first place. When we went there for our honeymoon we got some amazing photos of sea turtles and fish. We couldn’t wait to do that all again.
Being concerned about the camera, Stacy took the Nikon out of the carry on (it was in it’s travel case) and left the Olympus camera hidden in my shoe inside the carry on. It turns out that hiding place didn’t do much good. After connecting in Honolulu and arriving in Maui we picked up our bags at the baggage claim, and headed to the hotel. When we arrived at the room I heard a scream as Stacy opened our carry on bag and immediately noticed that the underwater camera and it’s inflatable wrist strap were both missing.
I immediately tried calling Hawaiian Airlines but their offices were closed for the day. We decided we couldn’t do anything over the phone. I decided to try tweeting.
And then again the next day.
They did eventually tweet back telling us to call an 800 number, but they have since deleted the tweet.
Stacy tried contacting them via their facebook page. That got a response to send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org. By the time we got those responses we had already started to make some progress via the phone, or so we thought. After calling all morning, the customer service office finally opened and I spoke to an agent who took down all of our information and logged a case. I received an email that confirmed the notes she took and gave me our case number.
I realized the phone number that I had called was different than the one given to Stacy on facebook so I decided to call that number too. It turns out that was the “claims department.” The gentleman at the claims department seemed to be much more experienced with phone calls like this one, but he was also very honest with us. After explaining the situation to him, he said that he will log the case, but that it will be denied. I was a little startled by the honesty, but he explained to me that cameras are on a list of excluded items that airlines do not take responsibility for. He asked if we had purchased the tickets with an American Express card since they often cover stolen luggage items like this.
This is where things take a turn for the worse. We didn’t use my American Express card like we normally would, because we used Hawaiian Airlines frequent flyer miles. Apparently tickets purchased with miles don’t come with any similar insurance.
So before hanging up with the gentleman from the claims department, I wanted to be certain that I understood the situation completely. I was filing a claim with Hawaiian Airlines, that would 100% be denied, and I would receive a letter in a few days that told me as much. He said that I understood the situation.
He did say that when the letter arrived I could respond to it. Just like clockwork, a few days after returning from our trip we received the letter. To top it all off, it wasn’t even addressed to my correct name. I’ve never been called “Jack” before, but it was insult to injury to have the letter that said the claim was denied be addressed to “Jack.”
I have written that response letter and I am still waiting to hear back from Hawaiian Airlines. But it’s disappointing that things have gone this far. Our vacation was severely negatively effected by not having a camera to take pictures while we snorkeled. Some employee of Hawaiian Airlines stole our camera. They have taken no responsibility for it.