14 October 2009

"Perfect Delivery"

Every business should have a worst case scenario handbook for employees to reach for in moments of crisis or emergency. Consider it the "Trouble Shooting" section of electronic equipment manuals. Not only would one have been necessary for the Delta Airlines staff at Las Vegas McCarran International Airport, but the Holy Grail for the Delta staff at JFK International Airport in New York.

Las Vegas, 9:00a: There was a flood of hungover and post-trade show passengers waiting to check-in with no discernible lines to abide by. A Delta greeter appeared like she had given up on finding any solution to assist the passengers and the counter staff. Instead of organizing the masses, she walked back and forth, unraveling into a heap of helplessness. We were checked-in, only barely.

New York, 6:00p: Half of the passengers' baggage didn't appear on the baggage claim carousel after an hour of waiting. Mine included. The belt continued to run empty, giving us false hope that they would suddenly, miraculously appear. For the next two hours we shuttled between the carousel and the Delta baggage service office, at first asking for, and then furiously demanding, an explanation and a solution.

The two customer service reps fed us illogical explanations because, as we later surmised, they didn't want us to complete and claim form that soon. To have fifty passengers' bags delivered the following day is a decent size additional cost for the airline. So, between informing us that the conveyor belt was broken while another flight's baggage was being deployed on the same carousel and that it will take an hour for one of them to go out to the tarmac to personally check on the situation, they took three hours to finally offer to complete the loss baggage claim form. And, aren't only planes allowed on the tarmacs anyway?

Peaceful and expedient resolution can be this simple:
"In case of delayed or lost baggage:
1) Take one hour maximum to confirm and/or determine loss.
2) Assist passengers in completing our Lost Baggage Claim Form and reassure them that you, and Delta, will do your best to have their bags delivered to them the following day.
3) Apologize for the inconvenience and thank them for their patience."

Passengers don't want to be lied to. It just aggravates the situation. I received by bag the following morning, intact and still locked. It would have been nice to have my three hours perfectly delivered to me as well.


  1. I can t believe this episode is from last year, because same thing happened to Delta passengers at JFK baggage claim, except the origination cities included not only Las Vegas, but Vancouver and San francisco. Delta is beyond reprehensible. Terrible.

  2. consider yourself extremely lucky. during recent winter weather cluster fuck on a flight to LGA. perfect delivery was given our bag. had it for 5 days, and stole everything out of it, that wasn't covered by airport liability. My advice to anyone, would be to plan for the worst. fill out your claim form at the airport. and instruct the bag to be held at the airport. money on a cab ride to and from is a small price to pay for the reduced chance of theft... of any number/category of items that airlines are under no obligation to cover as lost/stolen.