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Why is UA checked bag claim so slow? (EWR,ORD, SFO, IAH, ...) [Consolidated]

Why is UA checked bag claim so slow? (EWR,ORD, SFO, IAH, ...) [Consolidated]

Old Feb 23, 13, 8:16 pm
  #1  
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Slow baggage claim at Seattle

I like to check a bag. Although I "travel light," I find that checking a bag is often easier. There is less heavy lifting, I don't have to fight over bin space (and I like the bulkhead anyway), I can take whatever liquids I like, etc. It's my choice.

But my home airport seems plagued with long waits for bags. Last weekend, it took 38 minutes from my arrival at the baggage claim until the first bag came out (I know this because I was listening to a 38-minute podcast.) In the past, I've actually gone to the United Club on arrival, sat down, watched TV, had a drink and then gone to baggage claim. This time I arrived after the club had already closed.

My questions are:
1. Does United know that this is a problem?
2. Is there any point in complaining?
3. Can United state a reason for the long delays? I think I'd feel better if I knew that there was something particular that United can or cannot fix.

It can't be the Seattle/Tacoma Airport because the hometown airline, Alaska, has 20-minute guarantee. And they operate many flights right next to United gates.

I'm curious to know if anyone else can shed light on the situation.
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Old Feb 23, 13, 8:28 pm
  #2  
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Originally Posted by Mats;20305415 .... Last weekend, it took [b
38 minutes[/b] from my arrival at the baggage claim until the first bag came out.....
definitely a discouragement to checking bags. Unfortunately it is close to the norm for SFO,

I just don't understand how AS can have a 20 minute "guarantee" but UA is so much worse.
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Old Feb 23, 13, 8:38 pm
  #3  
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It was about 40 min for us at SEA this past December. Compared with 18 min at SAN a week later, also on UA.
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Old Feb 23, 13, 9:19 pm
  #4  
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SMF is regularly 30 mins or more
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Old Feb 23, 13, 9:45 pm
  #5  
 
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60+ minutes at den on 2/14 with an 11pm arrival. Seemed like someone put the skis in the right area but no one put them on "belt". Lots of UA staff milling around doing nothing.
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Old Feb 23, 13, 10:29 pm
  #6  
 
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UA slow bags

About a month ago took SFO-SEA and checked bags (heavy work equipment, no choice). Bags took about 15 minutes to show up, most bags came out and people left, but not 1 VIP priority tagged bag shows up. About another 20 minutes later the big bag door opens up and the cart pulls up with the car of ALL of the VIP/priority bags. So the VIP service is the very last to be delivered. The bag loaders were apologetic, but really?? Of course, not a UA employee in sight.

For RJ's coming to SFO, they often announce bag will be down in 30-45 minutes (this is after walking from the gate and stopping for a potty break). So, often 45-60 minutes wait for bags at SFO. Seems so funny the couple of times I have flown into SFO on AA, bags are always there within 10 minutes.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 1:48 am
  #7  
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Originally Posted by ddrost1 View Post
SMF is regularly 30 mins or more
I miss Terminal B.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 3:37 am
  #8  
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FWIW - it has to do with airport design, UA operation in the airport and staffing.

Last time, I was lucky enough to join the UA tour @ SFO. Before the tour, I did not understand why it always took so long to claim a checked baggage.

After that tour, now I know.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 7:30 am
  #9  
 
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OP's baggage experience at SEA matches mine. On those occasions that I've checked bags when arriving SEA or am meeting people who have (15-20 times over the past 3.5 years including both sCO and sUA), I've never gotten the waited-for bag in less than 20 minutes - using that as the benchmark based on the AS guarantee. On a couple of occasions, it's been 45 minutes. I've responded to the post flight surveys and once emailed customer care, for what that's worth. Priority bags have at least pretty consistently arrived first in my experience.

To garykung's point, there may indeed be some constraint outside UA's control, as I've had long waits on AA and DL as well. That said, AS can consistently get ALL bags at SEA out in 20 minutes, so perhaps UA and others could learn from them.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 8:40 am
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SEA has been my base for the last year and the priority tag has always worked, that little I can say.

The rub always seems to be the north satellite ... anytime I'm coming home and tying up at n-term, the bags take forever and I've some times just popped into the club for a snack, coffee, email, wiz, what-have-you before heading to claim.

It's ridiculous because the nterm isn't that far away it's taking them an extra 10-20 minutes but then again, I don't know anything about the process of handling baggage. Then again, i've had them show right up and at a high traffic evening as well so go figure. It just seems like it's all about nterm. AS flies out of nterm and they supposedly get them there faster tho, I wouldn't know how consistent that is because i won't fly them and would find that "promise" a poor reason to select them.

I think eventually UA is consolidating at B, maybe it will get better then?
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Old Feb 24, 13, 9:33 am
  #11  
 
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My wife flies to SEA almost once a month and always waits a long time for the bags (at least 30 mins from disembarking the plane to the baggage claim). She also indicates that the posting of the baggage claim can take time so people don't know where to stand.
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Old Feb 24, 13, 10:31 am
  #12  
 
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LAS solved their 45 wait time. They moved baggage claim 50 mins from the gates. (T-1 to T-3) A walk, a train, and another longer walk with a few slot machines added to the mix!
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Old Jan 12, 15, 9:56 pm
  #13  
 
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Baggage Claim Frustration @ EWR

Seems like EWR is so slow to send the checked bags down to carousel.

Yesterday, was flying in from IAH. Docked at the gate at 8:13 and the 1st bag came down at 9:02.

Mine was one of the first comes to come out but i'm sure there are people who waited till 9:20-30.

The next carousel was a flight from LA, and the arrival was 8:05 but not a single bag was coming out until i picked up my bag.

I can understand 15-20 mins but 50 mins really isn't acceptable.
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Old Jan 12, 15, 10:06 pm
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The only time I've had to wait anything noticeable was when we had to park at a B gate instead of C.
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Old Jan 12, 15, 10:09 pm
  #15  
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Originally Posted by bryanlee81 View Post
.... I can understand 15-20 mins but 50 mins really isn't acceptable.
Not uncommon at SFO.
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