Monday, March 12, 2007

Lost Luggage Limbo

Back in January I was coming home from a trip to Austin, Texas. It was an evening flight and I was riding one of those smaller planes. I had my computer bag and a roll-away carry on. I had checked the carry-on at the jetway. In these cases they pull the bag out when you land and you pick it up on the Jetway right as you exit the plane. When I got off the plance at SLC I just walked off the plane and forgot to wait for my carry on. Just as I exited security I realized what had happened but by then I couldn't go back to the gate since I didn't have a boarding pass to get through security. I went to the Delta ticket counter to see if they could call down to the gate and have them send my bag through the luggage system so that I could simply pick it up at the carousel. After waiting in line, they told me to go to the luggage office by the bag claim area. I went to the luggage office and after waiting in line again they told me to wait for it to come out of the carousel. I suggested they call down to the gate and they said "Don't worry, they always just send the unclaimed carry-ons to the carousel. I waited at the carousel for 45 minutes and my bag never showed up. I got back in line for the luggage office and this time the line was very long. Apparently there was a lost luggage epidemic that night. The lady in front of me got on a cell and her conversion went something like this:

"Hello. Delta Airlines? I am standing in line at the luggage office at Salt Lake City and you have lost my luggage. I need someone to help me right now. I am warning you that if you don't do something RIGHT NOW I am going to have a nervous breakdown and something very bad is going to happen."

After about five minutes of this she closed up her phone and got back in line. Personally, I took her nervous breakdown threat seriously. She was in pretty bad shape.

Anyway, I finally got up to the counter and by this time I had been waiting for about 1.5 hours. I got a different lady this time and she had the good sense to call the gate (something they should have done right away). They told her that they would look for it and call her back. So I sat down and waited again. In the meantime, they let me look through the lost luggage room. No luck. Finally, she waved me over and said that they couldn't find but I should call back later that night since she was sure it would show up. I told her that I was coming back to SLC the next day and that I would stop and see if it showed up then. So I went home two hours after I got off the plane and still did not have my bag. Late that night (about 11:30 pm) I got a phone call at home from Delta Airlines. Here is how the conversation went:

Delta: "Hello, is this Norm Jones"
Me: "Yes."
Delta: "This is the luggage office at Austin, Texas and we checked on the computer and we understand that you lost a bag tonight."
Me: "Ummmm.... Yes, I did."
Delta: "Well, we have your bag here in Austin."
Me: "In Austin?"
Delta: "Yes, it appears that when you left your bag at the gate, they assumed it belonged to one of the pilots or crew and they put it back on the plane and the plane returned to Austin."
Me: "Aha."

They said they would send it back to SLC and that I could pick it up in the morning. So the next morning I go to the airport and stood in line again at the luggage office. They looked on the computer and couldn't find any record of the bag coming through. They took me back to the lost luggage storage room and we looked all over but couldn't see the bag. I was about to give up but noticed that there was another small area we hadn't yet searched. I asked if I could look there and they said "No, it won't be there." I kept insisting and they finally relented. Sure enough, there was my bag.



At 8:36 PM, Blogger R. Jeffrey Davis said...

Welcome back to the blogsphere. What an amazing story. You should check out my post from the other day:


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