The Cannes Film Festival brings Hollywood celebrities to the South of France for a yearly celebration of movies. Aside from the red carpet world of premieres and parties, there is real business conducted here, major film studios, distributors and the world of home video and DVD.
As the producer of several documentary films released on DVD, I have attended the film festival many times, participating in the Cannes Marketplace. While attending the festival recently I experienced a lost luggage horror story myself when British Airways lost my luggage for three days, forcing me to buy clothes and rent a tuxedo.
Uneventfully, I flew from LAX to LHR for the main part of my journey. I then transferred to another BA flight for the short flight from London to Nice, the closest city to Cannes with a major airport. I arrived in France and spent about two hours waiting for my checked bag, which never arrived. I then had to find the lost luggage office and was sad to find they only spoke French. I do speak a little and managed to convey the information about my bag and flights and also my hotel info in Cannes for delivery. I received a claim form and then discovered the airport and services in Nice were handled by a private company, on behalf of BA.
So now I am in Cannes for the festival, with meetings and events to attend, with no suits or my tuxedo for formal events, all lost in my missing suitcase. I had my carry-on with essentials, but all my clothes, all my suits for business meetings, even my tuxedo, required for many events at the Festival, all missing.
I called the BA office when I arrived at my hotel and was assured the bag simply missed my flight, and would be on the next flight to Nice, then delivered to me at the hotel. Even with this fact, I still needed to buy clothes immediately, as all I had was the clothes I was wearing, now dirty after my almost 20 hours of travel since leaving Los Angeles.
I went to the local department store, MonoPrix (like Target) and bought myself $200 worth of underwear, socks, tan pants and a shirt or two, thinking that would get me through the day and evening. The first day in Cannes passes, no suitcase, no calls, nothing. I spent time on the phone with BA and the French company handling the Nice airport, who continued to assure me it was on its way. There was much confusion and they each had a computer system, BA had one and the French airport company had another, and they were no connected.
I had several events to attend that evening, so with still no suitcase, I was forced to rent a tuxedo, as the one I own was lost in space. So now I have spent about $400 because British Airways lost my bag.
Day Two in Cannes comes and goes, still with no suitcase. More calls, more excuses, still no suitcase. Third day comes, finally the suitcase is delivered in the late afternoon, three days after I arrived. This is a true lost luggage horror story. When the luggage was delivered I received no explanation or apology.
After calls to BA while still in France, they offered to upgrade me for the flight home, which I thought was a good start, sitting in business class might just make things feel a little better. Imagine my surprise, when I arrived at Heathrow for my return flight to the USA, the upgrade was simply from Economy class to Better Economy Class, their little section with slighter more space in coach. It was a joke, I argued with the ticket agent, who was very rude and said they never upgrade all the way to business class. I was so tired after the two week festival, I just didn’t have the energy to argue any more. This was a chance for BA to make up for the hours of wasted time they caused me and the hundreds of dollars of money they caused me to spend.
After I returned home, I sent a detailed letter to the then president of the airline detailing my situation – with no response. I then sent a registered letter, which also got no response. To this day I have never flown British Airways again, nor will I. I am also eager to share my experience with other travelers so no one experiences the same horrible service from BA.