Friday, January 20, 2012

Carrying a lot of baggage

In contrast to the story below about treating airline priority customers well, let's turn to baggage handling.  I recently traveled on American Airlines through Miami en route to Boston.  The luggage from my first flight was to be shifted from that airplane to the Boston flight.  I had used some mileage credit to get a first-class upgrade so my bags were tagged with a special red marker indicating "priority handling."  According to AA, this would ensure special and expedited treatment: 

Immediately available system-wide, select American Airlines customers will experience Priority Baggage Delivery. Upon check in, your luggage will be tagged with branded Priority bag tags. And when you arrive at your destination, those bags will be the first ones delivered to the baggage claim area, allowing a swift, convenient exit from the airport.

I got to Logan Airport and waited at baggage claim for 45 minutes until all the luggage had been unloaded.  Mine was missing, so I went to the baggage service desk.  A very nice person looked up my record and said, "Oh yes, your bag missed the connection and is on the next flight."  So the company's baggage tracking information system had worked.  They knew where my bag was and had known for several hours.

Query:  Why hadn't they notified me upon arrival -- or even before arrival when I was aboard the plane?  They knew what plane I was on.  Why have me go through a long fruitless wait at the airport?  If you have such a powerful information system, why not use it to the benefit of your patrons?  Especially your so-called "priority" customers.

Indeed, why can't all customers gain access to the baggage information system on their computers or iPhones?  Sounds like that would be better service and possibly save money for those companies, too.


Anonymous said...

Delta recently actually made just that information available with using their app. You can punch in your luggage tag number and it shows updates on whether it made it on to your flight or not, and therefore know well before had if something is amiss.

Anonymous said...

I've suggested this countless times... Seems like Delta is finally listening, as someone stated above. From what I;ve heard they're also going to add exactly the proactive notifications you mention. (Which they should have added years ago.)