Wednesday, August 5, 2009

United Airlines Baggage Handling - FAIL!

BS returned home to the bosom of his family this morning ago after spending 1 1/2 weeks in sunny, NOT-humid California. His young 'cousin' is a rising high school senior, and he escorted her around Southern California visiting colleges. Her dad is unable to do that kind of traveling, so he made BS a deal he couldn't refuse.

Those poor, poor young'uns. They had a grueling schedule that week. I'm surprised they lived through it. *Snort* Here is just a sampling of the hardships they suffered:

Tuesday: am - visit USC; pm - SIX FLAGS MAGIC MOUNTAIN!
Wednesday: am - visit UCLA; pm - DISNEYLAND!
Thursday: am - Cal State; pm - BEVERLY HILLS!
Friday: am - UCSD; pm - BEACH!

I think you get the picture here. Not to mention the nice hotel accommodations and eating at fine dining establishments like In-N-Out Burger, Chipotle & Yogurtland (which is, apparently, the best place in the universe - "Yogurtland is amazing").

So, after having more fun than he could stand, he boards his plane in Sacramento - with all trust & faith in the marvels of modern electronic baggage tracking - for his connection in Chicago.

Okay, I am going to use as many of BS's words here as possible.

The plane was not late to Chicago's O'Hare Airport. This is an important point. It was about 15 minutes early. But they spent 20 minutes driving around the runways, then 20 minutes sitting out on the tarmac, and then 20 more minutes waiting for the shuttle to take him to his next gate. So, guess what? He runs to the gate (which is at ground level) only to see the doors being closed. He's left standing there staring at his plane through the big giant windows.
"Can't I just get on? It's right there."
"No sir, we're soooo sorry. It's too late."

(oops, I have been corrected. "They didn't say any of that 'sorry' shit")

They directed him to customer no-service for assistance, and he spent 10 minutes walking to where they said it was. No customer service desk. Huh? So someone else told him where it was and he walked there only to find it was next to his terminal where he had just been.

BS: "As I'm standing in line for customer service, I can still see my plane at the gate. I just want to point this out."

Waited in line, watching his plane pull out & leave him behind (really, they couldn't have just opened the door & let me in?), for an hour & a half to be told the next plane was at 6 in the morning (he got to his gate at around 9 at night).

United, after punching a lot of keys on their computer: "Don't worry sir, your suitcase made it on the plane, so it will be waiting there for you when you arrive."

Yeah, right.

Now he has tons of time to kill until the next plane out at 6 am. What to do, what to do? Ooh, there's a bar, so he goes in and makes friends with the nice female bartender who gaves him some free beers. There he met some random people who had the same problem he had. Out comes the laptop, and they sat around on the "shitty-ass benches in the airport" watching movies with a big ol' bottle of Captain Morgan Spiced Rum. All. Night. Long.

Sleep? I don't think so.

I went to fetch him at around 9 am at our airport. He was just a wee bit bleary-eyed, doncha know.

Hug, hug, welcome home, good to see you, yada yada yada, let's go get your bag. Trot off to the United baggage claim office to get his bag that the nice United people assured him would be waiting for him.

Not there. Huh? So the teenager in the office punched a lot of keys on his computer which told him it was on the plane he just came in on after all. It is being offloaded as we speak & will pop up on the carousel any minute, really.

There are few things in life more enthralling than watching the luggage carousel go round & round & round & round & round as you wait for your suitcase that never shows up. Have you ever really noticed some of the bags on that thing? Like this one - I totally want one of these (taken with my cell phone camera):

But the best thing about this cool-as-all tie-dye footlocker was this bit of a shirt hanging out the bottom:

Back to the United office . . . wait in line . . . wait, wait, wait. They punch a lot of keys - again - on their computer - the same computer, I might add, that just told us it came with him on his plane.

"No sir, your bag wasn't on that plane. Uh, it's still in Chicago. We'll put it on the next flight out. Should be here by 5:00 this evening. Really"

I am left wondering, why were all those keys that all those people kept punching (on all those computer that are supposedly all connected to the same network) all telling them different things?

Anyone? Anyone? *crickets*

Sheesh. He finally got it that evening. Coincidentally, I had gotten a link to this video on You Tube a few days earlier. Kismet, I tell you. This gentleman also had a problem with United (also at O'Hare), and the video has spread like wildfire all over the internet (full story here) . . .

. . . even causing Fox News to take notice . . .

. . . which prompted the musician to post a response & follow-up updating United's response as they scrambled to mend their tarnished image . . .

1 comment:

Sista G said...

This is one of my pet peeves - airline SNAFUs! Seeing the gate doors close, and having the plane still sitting there (for at least 10 minutes, given his travels to customer "service") would have sent me on a rant like no other to the gate staff and/or customer service. "Take no prisoners" would have been my mantra. I win at airlines wars so much that E and C call me the "Delta Whisperer". I wouldn't have walked away without at least a free future flight. That's just how bad I am!

p.s. - I love that trunk, too!