Readers of this blog know that I’m generally a fan of American Airlines, I fly over 100,000 miles a year with them and I think the AAdvantage program is the most rewarding airline frequent flyer program at least at the top elite tier.
Every once in awhile though an airline does something that reminds you why people hate airlines. This time it happened to be American.
Apparently American’s baggage system broke down in Miami for several hours on Friday. The airline couldn’t deliver checked bags to aircraft.
- Planes took off without any checked bags loaded
- Passengers weren’t told their bags weren’t onboard
- Indeed, in many cases they weren’t even informed on arrival at their destination
Usually when truly terrible situations develop, there’s an external factor (most often its weather) combined with very bad decision-making.
Here the baggage system broke down. That’s going to mean terrible inconveniences, and big costs for American getting the bags where they need to go.
Do you inform passengers on the ground? There could be a fear of very upset passengers, even chaos ensuing. On the other hand people will know what to expect. They could even choose not to fly without their bags.
American probably isn’t well-equipped to pull passengers bags for those who chose not to fly, although I’ve had airlines pull and re-tag bags for me mid-trip several times in other parts of the world.
Greenwald seems to think this is American’s fault, rather than a ruse by the NSA to have time to search his luggage.
Clearly each flight’s cockpit crew knew they were flying without luggage. And a decision was made not to inform passengers.
Unfortunately the frustrations were compounded even further when passengers arrived, only to wait at baggage claim. And wait. And Wait. And Wait.
American Airlines did not explicitly alert customers of the glitch, according to accounts from several passengers contacted by International Business Times. Travelers waited at luggage carousels in airports around the world, only to be greeted by empty belts where their bags should have been.
…”We waited another 45 minutes to see a customer service agent to file our locator claim,” Vendikos said. “That was the frustrating part — American Airlines didn’t say anything. You think they would tell us so we’re not waiting. We wasted a good hour and a half.”
And of course when something unexpected like this happens — weather at least can usually be planned for — customer service is overwhelmed.
My best to everyone affected by the glitch, hopefully they’ll be reunited with their bags soon. This certainly isn’t the best optics the very week that Delta announced a 2500 mile baggage delivery guarantee.
(HT: Reid F.)