Thursday, December 23, 2004
So after 12 hours of holiday cross-country travel on delayed flights, I finally arrive in Los Angeles. After a good 30 minutes, the luggage carousel stops moving, and my bags are nowhere in sight.
Great. I have a flashback of packing my bags 15 hours earlier.. "I can just toss my glasses and phone charger in here.. I mean, it's only a short flight.. it's not like I'm going to China.."
I head over to the jampacked lost baggage room, wait half an hour in line, only to be told "Well of course your bags aren't here, sir. They were only checked through to Houston".
I explain to the nice gentleman that I clearly explained to the check-in agent that I was traveling to Los Angeles, and showed him the boarding passes that were issued for both flights.
To which the lost baggage agent replies, "Well sir, it's very important that you tell the agent when you check in that the bags should be sent to your final destination."
At this point, my body thinks it's 4am in this morning, and I don't have the energy to even begin to get upset. So I just nod understandably, and explain to the lost baggage agent, "Gotcha. Next time I check in, I'll be sure to explain specifically that I am traveling to Los Angeles and my bags are traveling to Los Angeles too." This sent a contagious chuckle through the room of other tired, aggravated passengers.
To make matters worse, so many people have apparently lost their luggage that the luggage delivery service is backed up 1-2 days, and the airline won't allow passengers to return to pick up their bags at the airport. The 800 number on my "Property Irregularity Report" (great name!) has been busy all day, and Customer Service has kindly explained that that department's "phones are all messed up". The tracking tool on their web site is broken as well.
My only question is, why didn't the check-in agent's software automatically check my bags through to my final destination? Aren't computers supposed to prevent this type of human error? Double-check my luggage tags? It all just feels so... 1980s.
Cheers, Continental. Happy Holidays to you too.