NOTE: This is Part 3 of a series of posts inspired by 40 very active hours of travel on March 13-14, 2015. There will be 1 more entry in this series. For Part 1 “I don’t care about $2, click here. For Part 2 “Maybe I didn’t exist”, click here.
On March 14, I was flying from Baltimore to Chicago in the morning, spending about 12 hours in town, then flying back out of Chicago to Orlando in the evening. My morning flight was on United, the evening flight was American.
At the Baltimore airport, I checked my bag with the skycap outside the terminal (no $2 fee this time!). He said, I see you are going to Orlando (which technically was true, but not for a long time). I said, “Yes, but I will be in Chicago most of the day.”
It was 5:00 am, so very little additional conversation took place. The sky cap handed me my boarding pass and claim ticket, and off I went to find my gate and a little nourishment.
When I landed in Chicago, I had a short window to grab my bag, pick up my rental car and drive the 40 minutes to my destination.
At baggage claim, I was greeted by an eerie calm. I thought maybe I had just gotten down there faster than everyone else, but at the carousel where my bag was supposed to be, there were no bags and no people. Having danced this dance before, I figured it was just a waiting game, so I waited.
A few more people showed up, and a few random bags came out. But still no sign of mine. The eerie calm around me was turning into worry as the window was closing for an on-time arrival at my destination.
So at this point, I approached the attendant who was in the area, a very nice woman named Linda who I would learn later has worked for United for 42 years. She very graciously told me that the procedure at O’Hare had changed, and that now they deal with the bags making connections first, then bring the bags terminating in Chicago down to baggage claim. She said the process could take up to 45 minutes to an hour.
So I decided to wait a little longer, and did so nervously. Finally, at the 45 minute mark, I approached Linda and asked if she could at least find out the status of my bag.
I handed her my claim ticket, and immediately she told me the news that I did not want to hear.
My bag had been checked all the way through to Orlando. And no matter how long I waited in baggage claim at O’Hare, my bag would not be joining me.
Two things were packed in my suitcase that I felt I could really use during my time in Chicago. One was a jacket, and the other was my GPS.
Luckily, I had put on a light sweater when leaving Baltimore, and knew that I could count on my phone or I could rent a GPS along with my rental car.
Those two problems averted, I got my rental car, turned up the heat and started driving to my final destination.
The question that still remains in my mind, and I would love to get your perspective on this as well, goes back to the actions of the skycap in Baltimore.
Did he provide good service by sending my bag directly to Orlando (and also, by the way, checking me in for my later flight on a different airline – which I didn’t know about until later), or was it bad service to assume that I wanted my bag checked all the way through to Orlando, not considering whether or not I would need it in Chicago?
On the one hand, he saved me from having to re-check the bag (and myself) in when I arrived for my evening flight. On the other, he also caused me undue stress and worry, caused me to be later to my destination that I wanted to be, and left me without some of the things I needed for the day.
So you have heard the story. What do you think? Good service, or bad service?
If you were the skycap in this situation, would you have done anything differently?
I look forward to your thoughts. Leave a comment below or email me.
Thanks for reading!
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