Monday, November 2, 2009

Another Day, Another Flight, Another Lost Bag

Something didn't feel right when I began the check-in process at the Delta self-service counter today at MIA. You see, I usually fly American Airlines because they have a hub at MIA with direct flights to just about every city I need to fly to. I hate layovers. Not only are they a waste of time but they provide another chance for the airline to let the traveler down.

Another reason I fly American Airlines whenever I can has to due with my frequent flyer status. I've hit Platinum 2 years in a row now and may even hit Executive Platinum this year (I'd easily nail EP status if I didnt fly direct everywhere as flights with layovers get you more miles for your sacrifice in time). With that status comes a waiver of baggage fees, aka "the biggest consumer ripoff in the past 5 years". Even though my company picks up this baggage fee, it pisses me off that such a thing even exists. Let's see, the airlines were losing a boatload of money and claimed rising oil prices had a lot to do with it and figured that baggage gave the aircraft a lesser mpg, knew people need clothes when they travel, and decided to offset their costs by charging for baggage. That may not be exactly how it went down but I'm sure its pretty effin close. Well, oil prices have come way down yet we still get raped with baggage fees. Thank you, Sir! May I have another?!?!

So there I stood, looking at the kiosk and wondering if it would be possible to check my bag of clothing and carry on both my briefcase and my bag of product samples. In the past 2 months, my luggage had been lost twice which resulted in me walking into a meeting with a customer with plenty to tell but nothing to show. In other words, it was a waste of a meeting and I looked like an asshole. This would save my company $25 and ensure that I had my samples just in case my luggage was lost. Physically, I knew I could. Morally, I struggled with the decision. I can't stand the assholes who place their own well being above others on airplanes. The people who cram 2-3 bags into the overhead are said assholes. I didn't want to be that guy, the very guy I despise. So, even though I had reservations about checking the bag of samples, I gave into my morals and did it anyways.

I was on 4 hours of sleep, having gone to bed around 1am and gotten up at 5am to be at the airport by 6am for a 730am flight. I was hoping to sleep on the flight from Miami to Atlanta but a screaming baby prevented that from happening. The flight from Atlanta to Chattanooga was delayed but I wasn't surprised since delayed flights and ATL airport are kinda one in the same. Luckily, my appointment wasnt until 130p so I still would have time to grab my bags and a bite to eat with my sales rep before heading to see my customer. Or so I thought...

The airport in Chattanooga is tiny so the baggage carousel started less than 10 minutes after we landed. Now we pray. I was relieved when I saw my bag of clothing come out. Just one more bag and I'd be on my way...

That bag never came.

The carousel stopped and I was pissed. I'd just paid $50 to have Delta lose my bag and there was nothing I could do about it. Nope, can't get upset because that isn't going to do anything. All I could do was suppress my rage and meander over to the baggage office to report the problem.

Apparently taking 2 bags off of a plane in Atlanta and putting them on another is a difficult feat because, according to the Delta employee at the baggage counter, this happens almost daily. I took my claim number and hoped the bag would be on the next flight which was due to land at 120p, 10 minutes before my meeting...great. I ended up being an hour late and thus had to rush. I don't know about Delta Airlines but my time is very valuable to me, especially when it comes to doing my job. My brain was working overtime trying to not be pissed about being charged for bags only to have them lost. I decided I would resort to writing another letter to the airline which would most likely result in me being placated with a $100 voucher for use on a future flight. Yay...

So what can be done about being forced to pay for baggage on flights? As I see it, you can add $50-$100 to whatever "discount" airfare you are able to find on a flight so it really isn't a good fare. It's absurd how 9/11 security (fear) initiatives and the price of oil are holding the American consumer hostage when it comes to leisure or business travel. There has got to be a solution. In fact, I know there is a solution but the airlines are just too f**king selfish to take the necessary steps to making that solution a reality. But that's a whole separate discussion for another time. Until then, I guess we just have to grin and bear it while the airlines take advantage of us.


Paula said...

I couldn't agree more about the charge for luggage. And why is it that the first one is cheaper than the second one? On American it's $20 for the first; $30 for the second. I suppose they're trying to deter you from taking a second bag.

And see on most trips I could probably try to cram everything into a carry-on but then I have the stupid no liquids over 3 oz. rule. Unfortunately not all my toiletries come in miniature size. And, really, I don't always feel like rebottling stuff in mini bottles.

As you can probably tell, this topic gets me highly annoyed. They're definitely taking advantage.

David said...

I would like to say that I am very disappointed that the post was taken down about 95 being shut down