Monday Jun 09, 2008

Counting your chickens before...

Well I knew better than to count my chickens before they hatched. Last week I blogged on how my luggage made what I would consider a difficult trip. Two airlines with 8 hours a down time in a airport. That worked so well. So this week, I had a simple trip to Dayton from Dulles. What can go wrong on a 1 hour non connection flight ?

Pretty much everything concerning luggage. I get to Dayton and the luggage belt has stopped again and people are hovering, looking for their bags. Turns out the airline did not put 30% of the passenger bags on board. We all made our way to the luggage office to file our claims.

The airline at least knows my bag never left Washington. That is kind of sort of comforting. But they cannot tell any of us when they will ship the remaining bags. They will not commit. Will not take any action. It would have been nice even if they just talked positively and firmly even though they had no clue. Nothing. No help. No information.

So now everyone is upset. The majority of us have meetings the next morning and nothing to wear. Should we shop ? Will the bags show up ? Nothing back from the counter people. They recommend calling the 800 number.

The 800 number was even worse. An automated voice system that just does not work. After 3 tries it rolls over to a real person. This person can only read a script and I think they are a half world away. So you know there is nothing they can do to help you. Every time you call, three times total, I had to wait for at least 20 minutes. Make sure the cell phone is charged.

The phone call was interesting. It goes like this. We value your elite status with us. I see you are calling regarding a "insert baggage type here" black bag. No natural sound. It is forced. Like the worst automated systems of the 80's. No matter what question you ask, you get zero information that you can use. Like a flow chart they clearly are not free to think outside of the script. So frustrating.

At one point a lady asked me if I had internet access. I tell her no because I am shopping for clothes, that I may not need since you cannot tell me if my bag will show up or not. How am I going to have internet access in a clothing store ? Essh.

I know when I fly home they will have to pry that bag from my cold dead hands before they take it from me.

If FedEx can track my package anywhere on the planet why can't the airlines track bag the same way ?

Saturday Jun 07, 2008

A tale of 2 travel days...

This is a tale of two travel days. One that was unexpectedly flawless. The other could not been more a failure. This week started with me traveling to Morgantown and then to Boston the next day. I decided to fly into Pittsburgh since you really do not have many choices into and out of the Morgantown area.

So the first leg of my trip started at 8:45 am with the flight to Pittsburgh. I rented a car for the trip to Morgantown. My second flight to Boston was at 8:30 PM. Almost 12 hours apart. On USAirways. When I checked in for leg #1 on United the kiosk checked my bag completely thru to Boston on USAirways. Cool. No need to go to the baggage claim twice in one day. But the agent asked me if that was what I wanted ? That is when doubt entered my mind. I said yes sure.

So now I have this cloud over my head since my baggage is going to be loitering in Pittsburgh for a whole day. Being transferred not from a UA plane to another UA plane. But from a UA plane to a US plane with 12 hours to sit somewhere. You see I never like checking my bags a connecting flight. More chances for it to travel to another destination without me. Potentially a better destination. Last time I did this my bags showed up in Ireland 2 days later. Try finding a big mans store in a thin mans country. So this bag "home alone" scenario was n the back of my mind. In the end UA/US came through with the interline transfer and the bag made it.

Leg #2 was a totally different story. At least I put my mind in a low key state before I got to the airport. Had a great lunch. Healthy too in Boston. Hit the airport with some time to spare. Noticed that NO counter personnel bothered to show up. Hmmm. Got my first flight delay message. Well five delay messages later and still no counter agent, I decide to check the flight coming to us. It was also delayed. Thank goodness for the Macbook and Wireless card keeping me connected. Well, it then happened. The proceeding flight was cancelled. The seating area lit up with SMS notification tones. Half the area stood up at once. Now it is a mad dash to the customer server center. Was in the first 10 of 50 people. Whew that cardio is coming in handy now.

Turns out UA rebooked us automatically for the next flight. Which by the way was 1 hour late. Oh hear we go again. But at least the plane is in the air. On its way to Boston. Ironically this was my original flight. I changed to since my meeting was only in the morning. So we all are patiently waiting in the seating area. Then the announcements start. Not delays but motivation boarding announcements. Like if we do not board by 9:15 the crew will be up against the working limit for the day and the flight will not fly. Great. So we board with 5 minutes to spare. People working together. Got to love team work.

Flight was uneventful. Yes finally back in DC. Well now we cannot get out of the plane. The Jetway will not move. Tweenty minutes later we are free. The only bright spot was the luggage was waiting for us when we got to baggage claim. In fact it had been there so long the belt timed out and shut down the moment we stepped up to it.

It going to be a fun travel summer. Reduced flights. Angry employees. Thunder storms. That rumored "lets weigh you before you get on the plane" pricing. Lets go cardio.

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leroyk

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