How much of an inconvenience is too much?

Old May 28, 05, 12:39 am
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Location: Central Florida
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How much of an inconvenience is too much?

When I travel, I try to operate under the notion that one should simply check their attitude at the door to the airport and your travels will go a lot smoother. I do my best to adhere to this as best I can.

Yesterday, though, my patience was tested, and it continued today. Making a long story as short as I can, I was delayed from JFK-MIA, which included an equipment change and again from MIA-MCO, which included another two equipment changes. Without getting into why I chose to fly AA JFK-MIA-MCO rather than JetBlue non-stop or LGA-MCO, I can tell you I have done this before and have not had a problem. Yesterday, after seven hours of flight delays, and all of the equipment changes and one missed connection, I was not all that surprised to see that my bag didn't make it to MCO with me.

I filed the claim with the baggage agent at MCO (at around 11:45 pm Thurs night). I was told that my bag was still in MIA, it would be on the first flight in the morning and I would have my bag "some time in the AM". Since I live in Melbourne, the clothes were not an immediate issue, and as long as I had my bag in the morning, I figured "no harm, no foul."

When my bag didn't arrive by noon, I called the baggage number on the file I was given. The automated line told me that my bag would not be picked up in Orlando until 1 pm and that it would be delivered some time in the six hours following. I called to speak to a real person to see if this could be expedited, and was told that there was no way. I explained that I was told that my bag would arrive "in the morning", and I was told <paraphrasing> "there's nothing we can do about that now, all we can do is fix things going forward." I explained that I didn't want to be tethered to either my office or home on the Friday evening prior to a holiday weekend, and I would like a better idea of what time the bag would be delivered. I was told that the courier service would call me by 2 pm to arrange delivery, after they retrieved the bag from the airport at 1 pm.

When I still hadn't heard from the courier by 6 pm, I called back a little more peeved than the last time. I was almost immediately passed to a supervisor who, at the very least, sympathized with my plight. I was told, at that point, that the bag would be delivered in about 2-2 1/2 hours. I again repeated that my bag was long overdue for a morning arrival, and this was now longer than the six hours I was told previously. I explained that I had already missed happy hour with my co-workers and was due for dinner with a friend, but was waiting for the bag. The supervisor offered me a voucher for future travel on AA (no specifics were discussed) or some "additional miles deposited" to my account. I said that I really wasn't calling to get anything for free or as compensation, I just wanted my bag back -- and I was getting a little antsy as to wanting it back right then.

Well, the bag finally arrived at 11 pm -- a full 24 hours after I arrived on my flight and nearly 14 hours after my bag arrived in Orlando. Apparently, after all of the other problems, the courier driver got lost on his way to another scheduled delivery.

I hate when airlines/hotels offer to throw points or discounts at a problem because I don't know how that will communicate that a problem needs to be addressed. Upon reflection, I don't think it is unreasonable that some compensation for my inconvenience is offered, but I don't know what is at all fair. In the past, I have had hotels offer me a token 500 points for what seemed like a pretty significant problem -- to me, it was more of an insult than an indication that a problem needs to be addressed. I am planning on writing a letter to AA to express my unhappiness, and am curious if I should ask for some sort of compensation, or just be grateful is something is offered? I think it is pretty clear that I am loyal to AA, as I go out of my way to fly out of MCO instead of the much closer MLB -- especially since DL now offers MLB-JFK nonstop. I would like to continue this relationship, but my confidence in their ability to safely and accurately get me and my belongings from Point A to Point B in a timely fashion, with as little inconvenience as possible, is shaken, to say the least.

I would be grateful to hear some others comments....

stevekoe is offline  
Old May 28, 05, 12:49 am
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I had a similar baggage incident with Delta several years. My family of four was flying business ATL-SJO. We checked in four hours before departure. Delta lost all eight pieces of our luggage. While there were many other airlines flying to SJO that day, Delta would only transport the luggage on the next day's flight. It was a fiasco complicated by latino attitudes.

I wrote a letter. Delta gave me $100 plus 10,000 SkyMiles. I wasn't looking for compensation, I just wanted to know how they could lose 8 huge suitcases, checked in four hours before departure, on a non-stop flight. I never did get an explanation.
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Old May 28, 05, 5:19 am
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The OP had a nasty run of luck with AA like the ones we encounter every few years with practically any airline. I had one such with UA - but the worst problem was with the courier service they used to deliver the bag - they wouldn't be on time to their own funeral. It certainly compounded my troubles waiting for my bag, disrupting my schedule so I could be on hand to receive it. A waste of an entire day! I can relate here... you might well ask for some compensation, or you might even get some automatically with the breakdwons you had.
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Old May 28, 05, 11:29 am
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Yeah, I think the problem in many of these cases is the local yahoo courier services the airlines use. They are definitely not the best and the brightest.
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Old May 28, 05, 2:42 pm
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The courier service surely didn't help. But, I don't know how my bag could be in Orlando at 8:30 am (confirmed by the supervisor in baggage services) and not get to me until 11 pm in Melbourne (one hour away), no matter how bad the courier service is. Communication is also the problem here -- the baggage agent at MCO likely had no business telling me that I would get my bag "first thing in the morning", and it was only compounded from there.

Thanks for the thoughts.

stevekoe is offline  
Old May 28, 05, 2:54 pm
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Originally Posted by stevekoe
I can tell you I have done this before and have not had a problem.
Depending on how many times before, then I would say that your luck has been pretty good. What you had happen was a day of huge bad luck. If this is your preferred routing and this type of occurance becomes the norm, then you need to make a business decision of whether or not you really want to fly that routing and/or carrier.

Bur I don't know how spending additional time writing a letter will change what happened. Especially these types of instances. I usually never write unless it was an avoidable action by an agent that caused my travel problems.

Do you need the points? If not, I'd let it go.

I hope this helps.
jeffreyt is offline  
Old May 28, 05, 9:05 pm
Join Date: Jan 2005
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you could have flown n/s on a RJ JFK-MLB on DL i think. but anyway, on every airline you're going to run into problems every so often, it's a fact of life. and a lot of contractors to blame too.
MuAT is offline  
Old May 30, 05, 9:27 am
Join Date: May 2001
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Like you, I also try to roll with the punches. I've had bags delayed a number of times, the most recent was last year when I got rerouted from JFK to LAX rather than LGB. After trying to locate my bag after at least 6 calls during 36 hours, we did not receive any help from AA. Hence my wife and I drove to LGB, went to the checkin desk, and gave them a description of our bags and told them we suspected our bags were in their hands. Within 5 minutes the agent came back with our bags! When asked why they hadn't entered the bags into the system or why they had failed to respond to inquiries about our bags, they simply said they did not have enough staff to do these things. The agent said he would speak to his boss, though.

I learned from an AeroMaybe (AM) experience a number of years ago when our bags were lost for about a week and all attempts to locate them were unsuccessful. My wife and I went to the destination were our bags were to be shipped and I demanded to see the room where Aeromaybe kept all the lost bags. I was told it was impossible, that there were no lost bags, and that I couldn't have access, but I persisted. Within a few minutes I was taken to a relatively large room containing perhaps 100 bags. Needless to say, I was able to immediately spot all our lost bags!

Bottom line: if possible go to the location where you think the bags would be located and demand that someone look for your bags.

I've learned not to ever let experiences like this anger me.
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