For those of you that are regular readers of my stories, you'll know I try to be positive; report on positive experiences and give props to companies that do customer service right. If you want a site full of customer complaints, head to The Consumerist. With all due respect to them as they provide a valuable service, I just try to focus on the positive and offer actionable recommendations for customer service improvement. So, enough with the justification. Here's the headline:
USAirways baggage claim at Philadelphia International Airport is a disgrace.
After an eight day trip from Philadelphia to Tucson to Vegas, I arrived back home at around 11pm on flight 1750 and here's what greeted my already cranky, tired worn out self
The plane parked at terminal A and my car was parked in terminal C. So, the baggage handlers had no control over that. But, is it too much to ask to return to the same terminal from which I departed? Again, probably out of USAir's control but it just set the tone for the rest of the story (I sound like a pissed off Paul Harvey - RIP). Did I mention it was pouring rain and terminals A and C don't connect indoors in Philadelphia?
I get to baggage claim in terminal A and nowhere is my flight listed on any of the carrousel monitors. so I assume its the one with all the people standing around it looking as clueless as me.
I wait some more
I wait until all the bags are gone, the carrousel has stopped and there is just me and one baggage rep left in the area
I ask him where my bag is. "If you want it, go to terminal C or too bad". (alienation #1)
So I'm irritated but I rationalize that its ok because that's where my car is parked anyway.
I walk outside, in the rain, to terminal C
Inside the baggage claim office were three claims reps. I hand my claim ticket over, granted, with a bit of an attitude, And I ask for them to do what it takes to get me my bag. I'm going home.
As one representative looks up my info, her colleague tells her "you can't file a claim yet. you have to wait ten minutes"
"Wait ten minutes!?! Are you kidding me?" I snapped back
"Its policy" (alienation #2)
First rep looks up and says "You better lose the attitude" (alienation #3)
First rep tosses the ticket back in my direction and says "Its right out there!" - (alienation #4)
"Out where?" I asked
"Right out there on carrousel 1"
So what's the answer? Apparently for me, its 4 times.
The cool stuff: technology can make this whole, all-to-common problem go away; along with the fine folks with whom I had to deal. Build me "Bag Tracker". Every bag gets scanned several times enroute. Give me the ability to track my bag at a kiosk, from the web and give me an iPhone app. As soon as I get off the plane, I should be able to know if my bag made it on the plane and if its made it back off the plane and at what baggage carrousel I can find it. If my bag is lost or misdirected, let me tell the airline what course of action I want through the application.
USAirways, please take the idea. Run with it. Show me this stuff matters. The last technology innovation airlines offered customers was on line check in. How long ago was that? There is so much more to be done to improve the experience.