Photographer: American Airlines Lost My Camera Gear Worth $13,000

Award-winning photographer Michelle Frankfurter is taking to social media to share a horror story involving her precious camera equipment. She says American Airlines lost her cameras equipment worth $13,000.

“I was traveling with a Red Cross producer when we received a text from AA at 4am that our connecting flight from Phoenix to Reagan National Airport was cancelled,” Frankfurter writes. “The ticketing agent for American Airlines in Phoenix was able to book us onto another flight to Chicago O’Hare and from O’Hare to DCA.”

But after flying into Chicago and trying to board the connecting flight, the gate attendant informed Frankfurter that the overhead bins on the plane were full. Frankfurter makes it a point to always carry her camera gear into the cabin.

“I had my gear in a ThinkTank airport bag, intentionally inconspicuous so that it does not attract attention,” Frankfurter says. “The attendant at the gate insisted that we hand over our carry-on bags […] I protested, explaining that the bag contained camera gear.”

After some back and forth, Frankfurter finally gave in, and that’s how her nightmare began.

Photographer Michelle Frankfurter. Photo by Jay Premack and courtesy Michelle Frankfurter.

Here’s her full story through a sequence of Tweets:

Frankfurter says that since this happened last Wednesday, she has been “dropped into a matrix nightmare of AA 800 numbers, call centers, and various agents” who have tried but failed to find her equipment. And her attempts to reach other divisions of the airline have been met with complete silence, she says.

Frankfurter does insure her equipment, but her insurance had lapsed and nothing was covered at the time of this loss.

In addition to shooting weddings, Frankfurter has spent years shooting documentary photography around the world, creating images that have been recognized, published, and exhibited worldwide. In 1995, she won two prizes from the prestigious World Press Photo competition for her long-term photo project in Haiti.

Update on 6/22/18: Jared Polin tells PetaPixel that American Airlines seems to have a policy of only covering $3,500 for lost baggage of certain items domestically.