Um they lost my luggage

A few years ago I flew an ATA/Southwest codeshare flight from San Francisco to Indianapolis. I had a early flight out of SFO, a four and a half hour layover in Chicago (Midway) and then I flew the last leg of my trip on Southwest. When I arrived in Indy, I made my way down to the baggage carousel. I watched bag after bag roll by, but none of them were mine. I was not happy. If my connections would have been close I would have been much more understanding, but really in four and a half hours my bags couldn't make it on the plane? Seriously? I was tired, cranky and now seeing red.

I calmed myself down and made my way to the baggage office. I took a deep breath before stepping up to the counter. Yelling at this poor girl was not going to make the situation better. I told her my luggage didn't make my flight. The very nice girl wrote up my report, asked me some questions, and gave me a number to call along with a list of the other Chicago flights for that night and tomorrow morning.

I went home without my luggage. I was annoyed and aggravated, but I had hope they would make things right. I called about an hour after the next flight came in. The woman I spoke to did not answer, but the person who did told me my luggage was not on that flight, but surely it would be on the next one. I waited again. I called back after the last flight of the night and that is when the rudeness happened. A different woman picked up this time. First she told she had to put me on hold. However, she didn't put me on hold she just put down the phone, continued the conversation on her cellphone (which I can hear) for a good five minutes. When she comes back on the line I explain my situation and give her my claim number. Then she shortly tells me that she can't help me. Since it was an ATA codeshare flight I need to talk to ATA. When I try to explain I asked that very question, she just seems annoyed that I am still talking. She tells me that girl was wrong, refuses to give me her name and hung up on me.

I take a deep breath and call back. A different woman answers the phone. I still ask to speak with a supervisor. The new woman on the phone tells me she is one. I remain calm as I recount the facts of the last phone call. The manager is very sorry, and she goes and looks for my luggage. When she returns she tells me that one bag has arrived. The catch is they won't bring it to me until the other one gets there too. Okay I get that the courier costs money, but all I want is my luggage back. I had plans to unpack and do laundry the next day. I refrain from getting into it with the manager. I'm already angry about my previous phone call and I really don't want to get into it with her. I ask for her name and the name of the rude employee. She reluctantly gave me both.

The next morning I called yet again. This time my other bag was there. I was told that my bags would be going out in about an hour. I needed to be there when the courier arrived, and they would be there within a four hour time frame. So not only are my initial plans for the day scrapped, so are my back up ones. I waited at my apartment and at the end of the four hour range my bags arrived. I was grateful that they were found. I was happy they brought them to me, but I was still not happy about the whole event. I wrote a letter to Southwest praising the nice girl who initially helped me, identifying the very rude girl, and thanking them for finding my bags. I expected nothing in return. I just wanted them to give praise and criticism where it was due. This was not a "I want a free flight" offense or anything crazy like that! I did get a return phone call and an apology. Both were classy moves on Southwest's part.

If you ever have your luggage lost, there are a few key things to remember:

  1. Do not yell or verbally abuse the employee at the luggage office. He or She did not lose your luggage. However, they will be instrumental in getting it back.
  2. Make your luggage stand out. Yes we put our name and address on labels, but what if those fall off? You want them to be able to ID your bag on sight. I was lucky. This particular set of luggage was a hideous khaki green. It is ugly, but easy to find in a sea of black rolling bags.
  3. Put something unique in each suitcase. That way if the name tags are gone, they can look inside to confirm it is your bag. In my case it was Halloween so my wings and boots saved me there.
  4. Take the drama out of it. Stick to the facts even if the employee is rude. Take the high ground. Getting into a screaming match just makes you look unreasonable
  5. If you do write to the company, again stick to the facts and do not make demands. Now if the bag is totally lost or damaged, of course fill out the appropriate paperwork and let them know about your loss. However, just expecting you'll get some perk out of it is not the way to go.


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