Southwest Airlines — baggage lost
We traveled from Chicago to Baltimore at 3:00 p.m. flight 202 on Friday, December 22nd to spend time with family over the holidays. We were the last people off of the plane, and stopped to use the restroom, and by the time we reached the baggage claim it was unclear from the signage which carosel our baggage would be on. We asked the baggage personnel and they were unhelpful. We finally recognized some people from the flight and migrated towards an unmarked baggage claim. Our flight finally came up and we waited about 45 minutes for all of the bags to come around. We realized that none of our bags showed up, and about 20 other people from the same flight had a similar situation. Next, we all went to the Southwest baggage office and waited another 30 minutes only to be told that our situation wasn't unique, all baggage from Chicago was delayed since 10 a.m. the same day, and to fill out a claim form to get our baggage. (At this point, I wondered, if you knew that major baggage issues were a factor, why wasn't that information communicated to the baggage receiving personnel in Chicago? If we were told, "We are having a baggage problem, and if you can carry your luggage on, do so" , then we could've been armed with the necessary information to make a decision.)
We filed the claim, and waited. We called at about 11:00 p.m. to find out what was going on only to be forwarded to an unmanned voice message system with no options to speak with a real person. We finally got thru to a person around mid-night who informed us that one bag was in, but they were still waiting for the other one to arrive. When asked the ETA of the second bag, they had no answer. We asked them to bring the bag that they had, since it had gifts in it, and we were exchanging gifts with family in a couple of hours. They refused. They said they would give us $75 to come and pick up the bag. At 12:30 a.m. that did not sound very appealing. So we waited. We were told that we would receive a call with an update by 1:00 or 1:30 a.m. at the latest. We never received a call.
At 7:30 a.m. we phoned again. Once again, we were routed to the unmanned phone system. (Very frustrating, it's as if they are saying, "we screwed up, we lost your bags, but we're much to busy and important to actually take your phone call." It's like a bad one sided relationship that we are paying to be a part of.) We continued calling and finally got thru to someone who let us know that both bags were in and would be delivered sometime between 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m. We envisioned yet another day of waiting and asked if their were any other options. We were told no. We were offered $50 to come a get the bags. (Apparently, our discomfort and inconvenience was going down in value in the eyes of the BWI Southwest Baggage Office.) Next, we were told by J'Vette -a baggage clerk- that our situation was not unique, our needs were not important, and that we would have to wait our turn in the line up of people who were waiting for bags. (Just what we needed after a night of not sleeping-waiting for a call from SWA baggage). We opted to pick up the bags, not wanting to trust our holiday plans to the Southwest Logistics Dept and clerks like J'Vette.
Thanks a lot SWA for helping our holiday get off to a great start. We are disappointed and feel as though Southwest Airlines baggage teams should collaborate more effectively and communicate with their customers. Mistakes happen, but Southwest should do a better job of handling customer concerns. Additionally, SWA should invest in customer service training for baggage people. The airline crews are so friendly and outgoing... that image diminishes when you deal with the baggage office. The two are incongruent.
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