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Baggage Operations

Joanmc74
New Arrival

My wife and I recently (5/28) traveled on a flight from Omaha, NE to Providence, RI via Chicago (Midway). There was a severe storm moving across the US that we were trying to outrun and land before the weather was too bad... we did not succeed. In attempting to land we got a GREAT roller coaster ride which ended up with us being diverted to Grand Rapids, MI until the weather at Midway subsided. When we finally made it to Chicago, we had 10ish minutes to make our connection. We actually made it! Having traveled a lot through work, I fully realized that there was little to no chance that our baggage would be so lucky. Unfortunately, I was right 😞

I work in an industry similar to yours where things go wrong that are 100% out of our control. I have learned the difference between an okay Customer experience and a great Customer experience is preparedness and communication. I want to be very clear that this trip was a good experience for us. I have nothing negative to say whatsoever, but I do however have a recommendation.

In the world of computers, networks, cell phones where no one is out of communication for very long at all, our experience should have been a little different... it should have been GREAT!

When we landed in Providence, my wife and I stood by the baggage claim belt until all the bags were unloaded and the belt stopped. Actually, my wife stood by the belt and I stood right outside the Southwest baggage claim office. (Not my first rodeo). I then was "fortunate" enough to be the first person of several to make it to the office. We were met by two very courteous ladies that were happy to help BUT there was a bit of the "deer in the headlight" look when I first walked in. I had to explain my situation (a couple times) and then wait for them to clear the belt. After they verified that my bag wasn't there, they commenced the claim process which took 15-20 minutes and then I was on my way. All in all, this whole process took close to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Wouldn't it have been GREAT if any of the following would have happened?
- When we landed, a text message informed me that my bags did not make the transfer and ask me to verify where I would like my bags delivered, OR
- When we arrived at the baggage claim, the ladies were already informed of the issue and had the paperwork already filled out, OR
- The ladies were informed of the problem that was headed their way. I believe this alone would have cut my wait time down to less than 30 minutes.

One point of note... I was the first in the office and there was 10 people behind me. I am sure Customer # 11 did not have as good of an experience as I did. If each person took 20 minutes and there were two employees processing... Customer # 10 was in line 1 1/2 hours before his or her 15-20 minutes started.

Just something to consider as you are working new and inventive ways to focus on Customer Satisfaction and further differentiate yourselves from your competitors.

1 REPLY 1

Re: Baggage Operations

chgoflyer
Top Contributor

@Joanmc74 wrote:

My wife and I recently (5/28) traveled on a flight from Omaha, NE to Providence, RI via Chicago (Midway). There was a severe storm moving across the US that we were trying to outrun and land before the weather was too bad... we did not succeed. In attempting to land we got a GREAT roller coaster ride which ended up with us being diverted to Grand Rapids, MI until the weather at Midway subsided. When we finally made it to Chicago, we had 10ish minutes to make our connection. We actually made it! Having traveled a lot through work, I fully realized that there was little to no chance that our baggage would be so lucky. Unfortunately, I was right 😞

I work in an industry similar to yours where things go wrong that are 100% out of our control. I have learned the difference between an okay Customer experience and a great Customer experience is preparedness and communication. I want to be very clear that this trip was a good experience for us. I have nothing negative to say whatsoever, but I do however have a recommendation.

In the world of computers, networks, cell phones where no one is out of communication for very long at all, our experience should have been a little different... it should have been GREAT!

When we landed in Providence, my wife and I stood by the baggage claim belt until all the bags were unloaded and the belt stopped. Actually, my wife stood by the belt and I stood right outside the Southwest baggage claim office. (Not my first rodeo). I then was "fortunate" enough to be the first person of several to make it to the office. We were met by two very courteous ladies that were happy to help BUT there was a bit of the "deer in the headlight" look when I first walked in. I had to explain my situation (a couple times) and then wait for them to clear the belt. After they verified that my bag wasn't there, they commenced the claim process which took 15-20 minutes and then I was on my way. All in all, this whole process took close to 1 hour and 10 minutes.

Wouldn't it have been GREAT if any of the following would have happened?
- When we landed, a text message informed me that my bags did not make the transfer and ask me to verify where I would like my bags delivered, OR
- When we arrived at the baggage claim, the ladies were already informed of the issue and had the paperwork already filled out, OR
- The ladies were informed of the problem that was headed their way. I believe this alone would have cut my wait time down to less than 30 minutes.

One point of note... I was the first in the office and there was 10 people behind me. I am sure Customer # 11 did not have as good of an experience as I did. If each person took 20 minutes and there were two employees processing... Customer # 10 was in line 1 1/2 hours before his or her 15-20 minutes started.

Just something to consider as you are working new and inventive ways to focus on Customer Satisfaction and further differentiate yourselves from your competitors.


 

Great report! I'm sorry you had this experience, but thank you for taking the time to offer some great suggestions.

 

Unfortunately...

 

Southwest has no baggage tracking system.

 

Bags are never scanned as part of normal transit. So Southwest has no way of knowing if they made the transfer. Or, indeed, where they even are relative to the traveler's itinerary. Or where they are right now. Bags are only entered into the system manually, when necessary, if they show up unclaimed somewhere, or are otherwise obviously displaced.

 

I know that's hard to believe, when other carriers have the ability to show you via their app -- in real time -- exactly where your bag is.

 

There have been rumors for several years now that Southwest has plans to implement a baggage tracking system, but I've seen nothing to indicate that will be happening anytime soon.

 

Hopefully, if/when that actually happens, the ideas you suggest will be possible.

 

Q: Have you bags been located yet? Hopefully they've made their way back you!