Monday, June 22, 2009

The Great Luggage Saga of 2009

So ... the trip went off without a hitch. Until we landed at DFW, that is. That's when everything went south. Aside from the fact that it took almost 40 min. for the first bags from our flight to make their way up to the carousel, we should have been forewarned that things were about to get ugly when we saw a sizable group of passengers from the previous flight queued up at the customer service stand - all with very unhappy looks on their faces. But alas, we did not heed the warning. Instead, we were pretty pleased to see our bags start popping up in the first group up from the ground. One. Two. Three. And so on. Quick inventory of everything we'd pulled off the carousel told us one bag was missing: Derek's rolling garment bag. The line of bags being burped up the shoot came to a quick halt. The same bags that had been circling the carousel since we'd arrived in our baggage claim area continued to make the rounds. Fifty. Sixty. Seventy times around.

And the line at the customer service desk grew. Grew to include Derek. And this is where it gets ugly. We're now more than hour on the ground. Derek's the third(ish) person in line. The customer service agent is clearly no help as those speaking with him continue to get more & more agitated. There were many raised voices, hands thrown up in disgust, eyerolls to family members across the baggage area, and phone calls to stall family waiting in pick-up lanes. One hour and 45 min. after we'd landed, Derek is finally speaking to the agent. When it was all said and done, Derek had to describe his bag and give account of every item inside "in case we have to open your bag to verify it's yours" in order to get a claim ticket. This was after he out & out refused to go chasing all over the airport looking for his missing bag as the agent insisted. This was after he had asked no fewer than FIVE TIMES to have a supervisor help him. One would think this was the end of the line but it would take a total of TWO HOURS to get the claim finalized. We left the airport more than THREE HOURS after our flight landed all b/c this yahoo in baggage didn't have a brain between his ears. To say that we were tired and beaten down by the time we left is beyond an understatement!

Oh, but it gets better. Keep in mind that he reported a BLACK ROLLING GARMENT BAG missing. Sunday afternoon, Derek checks the status of his missing baggage. American claims they've found it, and the courier is due to deliver the bag at any time. Sure enough, the doorbell rings. The bag has arrived. The courier presents Derek with a BLUE ROLLING CARRY-ON BAG. The same blue rolling carry-on bag that we watched go round and round and round and round the carousel for the three hours that we waited to get his damn missing baggage ticket. Even the courier knew before he left DFW with the bag that this was not Derek's bag. But interestingly enough, this bag mysteriously had a flight tag that had Derek's info on it. Nevermind all of the other tags on the bag had another woman's name & info on them! What?! That means that the stupid agent in that baggage area retagged the bag after the fact b/c there's no way that bag originally had Derek's tag on it b/c we put the AA flight tag on the bag BEFORE WE GOT OFF THE SHIP (through the ship's Easy Fly program)! So Derek refuses to take delivery of the bag and is instructed by the courier to call American Airlines to report the mistake.

Wait for it. It gets better. It takes him more than 20 min. to get the customer service rep on the line to understand that the bag that was delivered was not his. And get this. She claims that there is no description of the bag or its contents in the system. What?! It took that stupid carousel agent an HOUR to get that typed in the system. Part of the information - at least the fact that the bag was supposed to be black - was even on the courier's paperwork. But American suddenly has no specific information on the missing baggage. And better yet, they've deleted his missing bag claim from the system since they'd supposedly found it & couriered it to him! So in order to get the ball rolling again, he had to ALL OVER AGAIN describe the bag and its contents. Can you say pissed? "When can I expect to know something about my bag?" Check our system again in two hours to see if your claim has been renewed. It can take up to 48 hrs. "What happens if you are unable to find it?" Oh, you have to wait 5 days in order for American to consider your baggage lost. Then you'll begin the long chain of phone calls to file a claim for reimbursement. Oh. And that'll cost you your firstborn.

But wait. It gets better. About 8 p.m. his cell phone rings. It's clearly a call about his missing bag, but he mouths to me that it's not American who's called. Nope. It's United Airlines Baggage Department at Washington-Dulles Airport. Did you read that? ... United Airlines. Washington-Dulles. "We have your rolling garment bag. It has no tagging whatsoever. No flight tag or i.d. tag. We're not sure how it ended up on one of our flights. We did, however, find your business card in the built-in tag slot on the back of the bag." Somehow TWO forms of i.d. had been removed from his bag. Fishy? Sure sounds like it to me. So ... United can't send the bag directly back to us b/c they do not have the open claim for the missing bag. Instead, they have to fly it to AA baggage claim at DFW for them to route the bag for courier delivery & close out their open claim.

The CORRECT bag arrived on our doorstep today. We have yet to check the contents. I hope they're all there b/c it'll get REALLY ugly if a single item is missing!

SIDEBAR: Derek called AA corporate to complain about the ridiculousness of this situation. He talked to several bigwigs who were very unhappy to hear the details of this debacle. They asked him to file an official complaint against the agent working our baggage claim area. He's supposed to receive a phone call once his complaint is processed. I won't be holding my breath!

1 comment:


Susan, AA lost my bags when I was pregnant and ready to pop. I had to buy EVERYTHING new in NY on December 31, including winter things. They never cared. Never gave me a dollar back. AA stinks. AA does not care. AA could care or less if you got lost with the bags.
Oh I lied they gave me $50
Good luck!