An Open Letter
Dear Air Canada:
WTF? Seriously. I mean really. Like dude.
OK look, I travel a lot. I know this. So do you. You misplace my luggage, on average, 4 or 5 times a year. I accept this because you always find it and deliver it to me in a couple days time, and I know you're very busy and your entire business is a freaking godawful logistical nightmare. Frankly I wouldn't want to be in your shoes.
Still, I sometimes wonder how it happens.
Most of the time, my luggage gets lost when I miss a connecting flight, typically due to weather, but sometimes for other reasons too. When I miss a connecting flight I have to speak to someone at the connecting airport and get the missed flight re-booked.
I will charitably assume that, in this case, my bags come off the aircraft, get scanned, and are placed in the "Huh?" pile before I get my flight re-booked. Surely if I were faster and got re-booked before my bags were scanned, the scanner would say something more useful than "Huh?". I am willing to give you the benefit of the doubt here. But either way:
Reasonable Demand #1: Please automatically re-book me on the next available flight, so that my bags will get there by default, and I will then only lose them if I choose to dislike the automatically chosen flight and change it again, making it my fault.
I've had bags delayed due to weight restrictions too. This is also pretty understandable. You (well, Jazz) fly some pretty small planes, and they're pretty full of people and their gifts at Christmas, and probably not everybody's baggage fits. After Christmas last year, the lovely dilu and I each had one of two bags arrive and the other (yes, each) misplaced. When I asked how this made any sense, weight restrictions were the cited reason. Fine. Now, my Elite / Star-Gold aeroplan status is supposed to get me some priority baggage tags. These are not always attached, as I noticed two days later when the bags were delivered.
Reasonable Demand #2: I am one of your better customers. Please always put the priority bag tags on. There is no excuse.
This time on the way home from Christmas, the priority tags were attached, on all three bags. We had a touch-down and continuation, rather than a connection, so we didn't even get off the plane. On arrival in Montréal, 2 of the 3 bags came rolling out, and 1 was missing.
And here's where I stop understanding. Was the bag removed in Ottawa and accidentally not re-loaded? If so, somebody needs to be more careful. Or was the bag not loaded at all in Thunder Bay because of weight restrictions? If so, what good is the priority tag? Or is it that priority bags are loaded last, so they can be unloaded first, and then my bag was last to be loaded and didn't fit? In which case having a priority tag is the worst possible case!
Reasonable Demand #3: Don't unload my bags in the wrong city, if you do, which I hope is not the case. There is no excuse.
Reasonable Demand #4: If you're going to go to the trouble of affixing priority bag tags (which you are; see demand #2), then for crying in the sink, please don't ignore them. There is no excuse.
Reasonable Demand #5: You know how much all the bags weigh. You weigh them at check-in. Even if priority bags are loaded last, so that they can be unloaded first, they should never be the ones that are culled for weight restrictions. You already know if they won't fit. Come on.
But then, at the airport, when I arrive, and I ask Baggage Guy where my bag is, and he checks his computer, all he can say is "Nope, not here." Why is this? It's not his fault. If it was never loaded because of a weight restriction, there's no reason for that not to be in the computer. Or if it was accidentally unloaded in the wrong city, it should be scanned and in your system in that city, and the computer should know.
Reasonable Demand #6: You have computers. Use them. If my bag wasn't loaded, for a reason, there should be a record of this. The computer should know what city it's (still) in.
I hope we can work this out, Air Canada. I am not angry about the cases where it's perfectly understandable that my bags don't arrive. I'm definitely angry about the inconveniences that could be avoided by making a few process changes. And I'm more angry still if priority tags are ignored, as they sometimes seem to be, and in fact as Baggage Guy at YUL admitted they often are.
Hugs and kisses,
The Ponte Vasco de Gama crosses the Tagus estuary.
At over 17 km long, it's the longest bridge in Europe.
(Posted on January 3, 2009 04:24)