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Update: Track-it-Back doesn’t appear to be working any more.
Back in 2009, you could buy Track-it-Back stickers or tags through the US Air shopping mall and essentially get 140 miles per $1 spent on Track-it-Back. Track-it-Back sells tags or stickers which say “Return for Reward” along with the company’s phone number.
And if you donated the Track-it-Back to a qualified charity, you could get a tax write off which reduced the cost per US Air Dividend mile to about 0.5 cents per mile.
This was a GREAT deal, and I pooled money from my family, dug into my savings and purchased LOTS of Track-it-Back tags and stickers.
I donated most of the Track-it-Back tags, but I also kept a few tags and stickers for my luggage and passport. Since I had already bought lots of Track-it-Back products, I figured I might as well use them!
That turned out to be a great decision, because Lufthansa lost one of my bags and their office in India couldn’t locate the bag even though someone from Lufthansa’s lost and found department in Frankfurt had called Track-it-Back to report the bag lost!
Here’s what happened
Emily and I redeemed 160,000 US Air miles each for a First Class ticket from the US to India and Thailand and back. We flew on United from Kansas City to Chicago and Chicago to Frankfurt and then on Lufthansa to Mumbai.
We checked in our bags at Kansas City and United tagged them to our final destination of Mumbai, India. At Mumbai, 5 out of our 6 bags came out within minutes, but we waited for 1 hour for the other bag, but it never came out on the luggage belt.
So I stood in line for another hour to speak with Lufthansa’s overworked staff at Mumbai airport. There were quite a few understandably upset passengers who hadn’t received their luggage and the staff was trying to placate them while getting them to fill out the bureaucratic forms in triplicate that seem to be the norm in India.
Lufthansa had only 2 staff members to deal with the ~30 passengers, so I did feel a bit sorry for them.
The staff were entering all the information by hand so this took longer than it should have. Anyway, after I filled out the forms and got the customs agent to clear the bag in my absence, it was 3 hours since our flight had landed and 5 in the morning!
The next day, I called Lufthansa’s office in Mumbai to ask about my bag, but they hadn’t found it yet.
And they didn’t find it the next day either. In the meantime, Lufthansa promised to send me documents to fill out to get reimbursed, but I never did receive them.
Track-it-Back finds the bag
On the 3rd day, Emily storms into the bathroom while I’m showering and yelled: “Track-it-back sent me an email. They found our bag!”
It turns out that our bag was found in Frankfurt by Lufthansa’s lost and found who called Track-it-Back to report it as lost. Track-it-Back then emailed Emily and left her a voice mail to let her know that the bag was found.
We were very happy, but it took another 4 days to finally get our bag. It turns out that Lufthansa wouldn’t release the bag to Track-it-Back who normally arranges to ship the bag back to you.
So I called Lufthansa’s Mumbai office and asked them if they had found the bag. When I was told that they hadn’t, I gave them them the Frankfurt’s lost-and-found reference number and they were able to locate the bag.
I found it very amusing that I had to coordinate between Lufthansa’s Frankfurt and Mumbai offices to get my bag back!
Eventually we had the bag delivered to our house and it turns out that the reason the bag went missing was because the paper tag came off from the bag. But the plastic Track-it-Back tag was firmly fixed to the bag and helped us get our bag back.
I never thought I’d actually use Track-it-Back for its intended purpose!
When we opened our bag, we found the contents had been rearranged, but at the top was a sheet of paper in German which meticulously listed everything in the bag.
Bottom Line: The chances of losing a bag are slim, and I was not only surprised to lose our bag, but to also have Track-it-Back find it for us!
However, I was disappointed with the way Lufthansa’s Mumbai office handled the situation in India.
Disclosure: I don’t get paid anything for writing this post or for the references to Track-it-Back, or if you actually buy some Track-it-Back.