Sunday, August 06, 2006

Baggage, Continental, Why?

It's totally trivial in the face of war, missles, terrorism and other madness, but why does air travel so utterly suck, now, in the 21st century?

I am currently on hold with Continental Airlines. Yesterday I flew from Seattle to Newark, and then to Halifax. I had a 45-minute connection in Newark. We took off from Seattle 30 minutes late (no explanation), but made up the time. We landed at 8 PM. But didn't get to our gate until almost 8:30. WTF?!

I ran to my next flight, and made it. My bag didn't.

In Halifax, a Continental representative stood there while four of us forlornly waited for our bags. We were, I must point out, the only four people there. When I finally walked up and asked her, she said that all the bags had come off. I was out of luck.

I suppressed the urge to strangle her while yelling why didn't you tell me that 20 minutes ago you stupid idiot and filled out the necessary paperwork. It wasn't her fault my plane to Newark was late.

This morning, 18 hours later, no bag. No razor, no clothes, no plug for my trusty Powerbook, no shorts (it's a wee bit hot here) nothing.

The nice Continental rep had given me a number to call. I called. It rang, and rang, and rang. No answer.

So I went to, which has a handy dandy service where you can check on your bag. All I need is my File Reference Number. Only the nice Continental rep didn't give me a reference number. She just gave me this great number that rings and rings and rings.

So, now I'm on hold. Forever. Best case, a date with my wife tonight may be ruined. Worst case, in 9 days I'll find my bag waiting for me in Seattle.

What most gets me is that everyone else just takes this in stride. The airline, other customers, everyone. They're used to it. We can deliver a zero calorie soft drink. We can land a cruise missle within 3 inches of its target. We have the internet. But we can't move a 10-pound bag the size of a small cooler from Seattle to Halifax and have it arrive within 24 hours of its owner.

Follow up: I just got off the phone with Continental. They think the bag might be in Halifax. They gave me a reference code. I checked online and got 'NO INFORMATION AVAILABLE'.

I am going to go have a beer now.


Blogger beavertank said...

Something unfortunately similair happened recently on a trip to Guatemala. Our problem was slightly worse, though, because we were there on a medical mission and the majority of the medicines we brought with hadn't made it and we had no phone, aside from pay phones, and no computer with or without internet access.

The worst part is we left the gate late in Houston and we could see our damn bags sitting on the tarmac next to the plane. The bags showed up, three days late, and we eventually found out that Continental makes quite a bit of money in shipping freight and has been known to bump passengers bags in favor of paying freight.

They're a bunch of assholes, service like that isn't something people should stand for.

10:21 AM  

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