a340pilot
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Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:36 am

I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? The only time I had a problem with luggage was with Westjet, But 5 hours later they showed up at my door with the luggage! Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?


Best regards,
a340pilot



PS-Westjet, even though the luggage arrived only 5 hours late (not a big deal) they insisted they made a mistake and gave me 50.00 off my next flight! Very good customer service!
Go! Canucks Go!
 
DodgeCharger
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:51 am

Majority of luggage is never completely lost. It is just misloaded.

Usually whenever a passenger comes to our ticket counter and says their luggage is "lost", 99% of the time it arrives sometime within the next 24 hours. Almost half the time it arrives on the very next flight.

 
rongotai
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:54 am

Misplacing often takes place at transfers, and especially after a schedule disruption with a rerouting or flight change involved
 
Goose
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:09 am

I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? The only time I had a problem with luggage was with Westjet, But 5 hours later they showed up at my door with the luggage! Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?

There are barcode tags on all WS bag tags now I believe, however they are not used to tell which plane they go on at all. In several stations I've been to, the barcode is only used for the sorting system in the airport terminal's bag-belts. It runs through a laser-scanner not unlike the item check at a supermarket, and a "kicker" boots it onto a belt feeding the appropriate baggage carousel. In the case of WestJet, I can imagine that at any given station all their flights are put onto one baggage sorting carousel, and the actual sorting is done by hand.

The bag sorting method I've always seen is based on a bag carousel almost exactly the same as the collection carousels that you see in any arrivals hall. All of the sorting is done by hand - guys pick bags that come off the carousel and then load them in the bag cart or ULD with that flight and destination. The loading crew at the flight is supposed to check all bag tags they load, but they're often trying to load 150+ bags in 10 minutes or sometimes less, so as you can imagine it doesn't always happen. The process I've seen - and is used all across WestJet's system - is entirely reliant on people reading tags correctly. As you can imagine, there's a lot of room for human error.

Implimenting bag-tag scanners to scan every bag, while effective and could improve security issues like positive bag-match, would definately slow down the process of loading bags.... not a great feature in a time-sensitive industry. Really, the best that any company can do is to train its guys and drill them on reading bag tags. Experience and training is everything.

In my experience, loading crews who have years of time on the ramp loading flights make these mistakes of misloading bags a lot less. For example, I can only recall once at CP where I encountered a misloaded bag when offloading - because most of the guys working the CP ramp in, say, YYZ or YVR were 10+ years of experience. You have to understand that many of the folks working as ground handlers for airlines like WestJet often don't work for WestJet at all but work for contracting companies like WorldWide or Airport Terminal Services, and for the most part they're quite young (most are only in their late teens or early twenties) and have little experience on the ramp. They often don't stay long because the pay is fairly low as well, so turnover is high - and thus the problem is perpetual.

As well, if you're connecting, bags do get missed if the connection is within a limited space of time. It's compounded if the upline station misloaded the bags or misread the tags while loading -- see above. The problem is compounded by human errors...... but again, most of the issues with missed or late bags are a result of human error.

[Edited 2004-01-13 21:14:30]
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
scottysair
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:26 am

It is going back in Apr. 1998

Let me explain to you about my bags and before was took on the wrong flight and exactly when I was flew on Southwest Airlines on their way to JAX and with my 1-stop in TPA. And the bag was not there with the baggage claim and they took with the wrong plane and it was waiting for my bag at the baggage office and it was everything is fine.

July 1, 2001 flew to PHX

This is check-in with my ours bag on their way to PHX and connecting to CVG flight. They took with my bag to ATL and it was make mistake with the flight to ATL. When we were there in PHX and it was right near at the baggage office and got them with these 2 bags for us. The Ramp agent did took with the ATL flight and it was mistake in FLL. Which one did not get any pay attention which one of the city code. I was reported to my friend Darlene at FLL and told her about what is happening of ours bag. This is exactly I still remember about of them before and didn't not make lost with the bag either.
 
Venezuela747
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:52 am

I believe they are msiplaced in the first place, and then if tehy can't find them they just got lost. So one leads to another
ROLL TIDE!!!
 
redngold
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 7:55 am

Or they can just conveniently (for them, at least) forget your luggage, as is what happened to me on my latest flight. They simply left my suitcase at HPN, and it was still on its way to DTW when I arrived at my final destination, CLE.

ARGH!
Up, up and away!
 
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ramprat74
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:08 am

Most of the time it is human error. I'm surprise how we do it. Lets say you are connecting in ORD. UA has about 75 planes on the ground at once. The airline only sends out a few people to pick up the bags from your arriving flight and has to transfer them to each of their connecting flight. This could be 10-15 different destinations. That person has only a certin amount of time to deliver those bags. The airlines want to keep reduces connection times at hubs. Its a long drive from C21 to F16 in ORD.

When I'm working the pit. I look at every bag before I stack it. Like Goose said. Most don't do this. They rely on their fellow employee to load the bag in the right cart in the bagroom or transfer cart. You have anywhere from 3000-6000 bags that are handled within a hour at ORD. We misplace about 6 per 1000 of those. I think that is really good in my book.

UA is using all handheld computers now to track the bags. Its kinda like tracking a package at Fedex. The baggage service employee can find out where the bag was scanned last.

We are doing our best. This is all airlines and not just UA.
 
srbmod
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:27 am

Bags can be misplaced or "lost" in these manners:

1. Bag is misloaded unto the wrong flight. Supposedly, this should not be happening anymore with positive bag matching.

2. Bag misses the flight. A bag could not get loaded because:
a.) Was late arriving to the gate.
b.) Aircraft had reached bag max.
c.) Cargo bins all filled and no more bags could be loaded.
d.) The bag label/tag has fallen off.
e.) Bag fell out of baggage cart. A strange twist on this one was a story that came out a few years back about finding a number of lost bags in the water by LCY that had fallen out of bag carts.
f.) Transfer driver drops the bag in the transfer point when it needed to be taken to the gate.
g.) Bag(s) were not picked up from the transfer point.
 
aaway
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 8:40 am

"I have always wondered about this, Do airlines actually lose your luggage or is it just misplaced? "
Having worked extensively with baggage issues, the answer is YES to getting lost and YES to being misplaced. It's unfortunate that with the level of automation now utilized in this industry that baggage handling still primarily consists of human interaction. Here at LAX, whereby LAX is the connecting point, I've seen bags that had hours between flights get set to the side and forgotten. Bags get delivered to the wrong carrier, and that carrier doesn't send the bag(s) back. Baggage that should have been downloaded to baggage claim go elsewhere. And, it would be an oversight to mention that pilferage is very common. The tact nowadays is to take the entire bag, if necessary.

"Has Anyone ever "LOST" pemenantly your luggage? How is Luggage lost? Are there not barcode tags as to which plane it goes on?"
Never in my case, but there is a company in the state of Alabama that serves as a clearinghouse for unclaimed baggage. Typically, airlines will hold unclaimed baggage for 60-90 days. This company (and there probably more like it) will buy the baggage and it's contents for a nominal amount. Of course, the company will turn those contents into profits later.
As I mentioned, baggage handling involves manual labor primarily. The barcoding and automation occurs typically in the span from the ticket counter to the baggage staging area (bagroom). Optical readers are used in the most sophisticated systems to route baggage to the correct sortation pier inside the bagroom. However, these readers tend to be somewhat sensitive to minute amounts of dirt/dust. Or, perhaps the reader just can't quite make out the barcode because of bad placement on the bag. Catch my drift??? With these scenarios, human intervention is required. Human intervention is also needed at the end phase of the entire process...loading/unloading the aircraft.
Perhaps the most intriguing innovation for baggage tracking is RFID (Radio frequency identification). There have been some experiments with this technology that have produced promising results. Simply stated, a very small transmitter is implanted into bag tags (not sure of the wavelength, though). With this process, baggage can be tracked throughout the handling process.

"The greatest mistake you can make in life is to continually be afraid you will make one." - Elbert Hubbard
 
Dalmd88
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:12 am

What is the surest way to never lose a checked bag? Put Your name and address on the inside of the bag. I know Delta has a policy about misplaced bags. I think each station has 24 hours to find the owner of a bag, then all misplaced bags get sent to ATL. In ATL they are sorted by color, and a group of employees goes through the lost bag reports and attempts to match them up. After a bag has been in ATL for a week, they open the bag. If your name is in the bag, bingo. Frequently the tags on the outside are torn off. So having the info on the inside also is a good last resort. After three months of searching it gets sold to www.unclaimedbaggage.com.
 
nudelhirsch
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 9:17 am

My experience:
DEN to FRA via ORD...

AA plane, delay in DEN due to wind, no landing in ORD due to T-storms, deviated to Madison, WI, then new flight to ORD, after some hours of the captain negotiating about fuel, then ORD to LHR on BA, then BMI LHR to FRA...
at each apt we had like 3 hrs to wait...

then in FRA, one of our bags was lost. we went to the bagagge guy, he scanned the barcode and stated, our was in LHR, plane too heavy, they would fly it into STR and deliver it to our house the next day...what happened...good to have computers around...
Putana da Seatbeltz!
 
srbmod
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:13 am

In ATL they are sorted by color

Let me guess, one pile for black bags, another for all other colors.

I spend the last month I worked @ FL in the transfer point, and we would get calls everyday from outstations looking for bags and 9 times out of 10 they were looking for a black #whatever (each type and style of bag has a number and sometimes letter code). That is why people need to put some type of mark (that will not come off) on the bag to identify it in case it gets lost.
 
aa61hvy
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:39 am

I have not had trouble quite yet, except for AA DFW-EWR, the misplaced my bag, on a direct flight..? Got it that night..

My dad has flown through CDG about 10 times, everytime on AA. 9 out of the 10 times he flew through there his bag was misplaced. And eventually given to him a few days later..
Go big or go home
 
AlekToronto
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 11:58 am

Well one of my latest experiences might illustrate why INTERNATIONAL baggage gets misrouted. I was flying KLM YYZ-AMS-PRG late last year and I when I was checking in the check in girl (about 19 or 20 yrs old) gave me boarding cards for PRG but I happened to notice that she stuck BUD (Budapest) tags on my suitcase. I pointed this out and she kinda went "oh" and went on to retag them to PRG.
So that makes me wonder how many times this happens?
When my father travelled AF once they sent his bags to JNB when he was travelling to JFK - probably same mistake..

Alek
 
elwood64151
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:10 pm

From my experience with the industry, a lost bag goes through a very interesting process:

1) The bag is misplaced.
a. It is loaded onto the wrong outgoing baggage cart (this happens if the airport does not have automatic baggage sorters).
b. The bag doesn't make it to the aircraft in time (this is usually the fault of the passenger, who showed up late for the flight).
c. The bag is mis-transferred and no one sees it.
d. The bag goes to the transfer point instead of directly to the gate.
e. The tag falls off.
f. The bag cannot go on the aircraft for whatever reason.
2) The bag is found at the wrong station and re-routed to its proper destination.
2a) If the bag is found without the tag, it is placed in storage for one to three days.
2b) An outstation that is missing a bag sends a message to other stations describing the bag. If that description matches a bag some other station has, it forwards that bag to the one that originated the message.
3) If the bag is not identified and recovered after one to three days, it is sent to a central baggage facility (usually at one of the hubs), where it is stored for up to a year, waiting for someone to claim it.
4) If the item (bag, computer, whatever) is not claimed after a year, it is usually disposed of.

Some airlines hold on to bags for extensive periods of time, as Mike Wallace (of CBS News) found out when his bag was returned to him fifteen years later, as he described once on Sixty Minutes.

Or was it Andy Rooney?
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
tekelberry
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:14 pm

Implimenting bag-tag scanners to scan every bag, while effective and could improve security issues like positive bag-match, would definately slow down the process of loading bags.... not a great feature in a time-sensitive industry. Really, the best that any company can do is to train its guys and drill them on reading bag tags. Experience and training is everything.

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

[Edited 2004-01-14 05:14:58]
 
AIR757200
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:49 pm


Its all statistics ... each airline has an average per 1,000.. I sometimes tell the crabby passengers that they are a statistic and the bag will be on the next flight (when we know its a misload).  Smile
 
captaink
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 1:55 pm

We have a list of codes used for different reason bags are delayed.

Sometimes a bag was tagged incorrectly, for the wrong flight or destination..
Sometimes there is a problem at loading, and the bag is loaded on wrong flight, or doesn't get loaded at all..
Sometimes the bag doesnt get through security screening in time to make the flight.
And on of the biggest problems we have in the caribbean, is that bags are left at origin due to weight restrictions. Caribbean people travel heavy. SO the aircraft just cannot take that kind of load on such a long flight, so bags get left behind and fowarded on the next available service to the destination..

Now in the cases mentioned above, the bags that are onhand at a station are put into the system, and the station tha tis missing the bag puts the missing bag report in the system, the two match and voila. you get a response, and you request the onhand bag to forwarded on a specific flight. Now all this works great if stations use the baggage system.. For some it is BMAS and others or most it is WorldTracer..

But there are times, Ladies and Gentlemen, when a bag seems to have dissappeared of the face of the planet. No stations seems to have it, and we just cannot find the bag. In that case it is lost, and after a period of time, it would be recommended to the pax to file a claim fof the bag.

Any further questons on Baggage Tracing.. email me.. dc9super80@hotmail.com.

It is my fav part of my job..
There is something special about planes....
 
Goose
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 2:59 pm

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

But it's expensive. And that's why airports I'm familiar with will never put them in.....

I have no doubt it's more efficient - but probably not perfect - as compared to human sorting. However, with the airlines I've worked for, human sorting has been the only means of sorting bags available.... so training is key.

In my experience, the belt systems put in by the Airport Authorities in Canada are built by the lowest bidder, and are of dubious quality and reliability....
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
elwood64151
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:06 pm

I remember one time at FL in MCI, we had a bag that never showed up. For three days, we kept calling ATL and sending messages looking for the bag.

Finally, I was talking to the gentleman (who had come in just to see--thankfully he lived near the airport) and saw that his routing had been on DL to ATL, then FL to MCI... I called DL baggage in ATL, and they told me there was a bag on file but that it had been sent to MCI--to DL!

I called the DL bag office at MCI, and lo and behold! They had been waiting for us to come pick it up!

How's that for screwy?

DL ended up oweing us $150 for passenger lost baggage compensation!
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
ckfred
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 3:58 pm

Another problem is the gate change. An airline may send out to the gate baggage for passengers that have checked in somewhat early.

Then, there is a gate change. For whatever reason, the bags sitting on the tarmac at the orginal gate are not taken to the new departure gate and are loaded onto the next plane that comes in.

In 1998, I was flying AA from ORD to BOS, connecting with Business Express for YHZ. AA made it into the gate early, by about 5 minutes. But for what ever reason, the bags didn't make it to the BEX flight.

The bags made the next BEX flight, which got in about 3 hours later, and they were driven out that evening to our hotel in Port Hastings, which was about 3 hours from the airport.

 
elwood64151
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:06 pm

Ckfred:

A gate change should never be reason for bags missing their flight. If it is, then someone should be reprimanded or fired.

At NJ, the gate lead at the gate where the arcraft was supposed to come in was responsible for moving bags in the event of a gate change. That meant they either had to drive them over themselves or find a transfer driver to do it. Either way, if those bags missed, there was Hell to pay.

I realize we only had between 6 and 8 gates at MCI during my tenure with NJ, but it should work no matter how big the airline is, especially if you split the ramp into zones (as we were going to do when we moved within Terminal A to a new twelve gate area, which never happened due to the bankruptcy).
Those who fail to learn history are doomed to repeat it in summer school.
 
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ramprat74
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:10 pm

Denver's baggage system is fully automated with very minimal human interaction due to computerized barcode scanners. It's faster than human sorting.

This is a joke right  Yeah sure

I worked at DIA the first day it opened. The bag system hasn't worked right since day one. Only UA uses the baggage system for outbound bags only. They had to shut down the system for A&C just to make the system work for UA's B concourse. Every airlines except UA, AC and UX use tug and cart from the old parking garage on the lower level.

The week the inbound system was working in 1995. It worked nice.  Smile
 
Vimanav
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:15 pm

In connection with baggage loss issues, I have an interesting observation which I would like to share. I learnt of this during a seminar in FRA where we came upon the subject of maximum number of pilferage cases on the LH network.

Apparently German law requires large organizations to have a system whereby juvenile delinquents (underage criminals in plain lingo) should be given an opportunity to work in their set up with a view to rehabilitate them and bring them back into the mainstream.

One of the organizations which is part of this program is FRA Airports Authority who have employed a number of these youngsters in baggage handling functions. While the idea may be extremely humanitarian in terms of rehabilitating wayward youngsters, there is very little in the form of security or control to stop these kids from succumbing to temptation, cutting up the odd bag which catches their fancy and filching the contents. I was given to understand that their preferred flights were those heading for Spain, Japan and India.

This was about six years ago. I do not know if the situation has improved in the meantime.

rgds//Vimanav

I do not know if
Sarfaroshi kii tamannaa ab hamaare dil mein hai, Dekhnaa hai zor kitnaa baazu-e-qaatil mein hai
 
APAOps5
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 4:35 pm

To the best of my knowledge some bags don't make the flight in wake of weight restrictions. A heavily loaded plane on a hot day (density altitude) at a high elevation airport (I.E: DEN-the milehigh city). When it comes to either loading all the bags or all the pax, some bags may get put intentionally on a later less full flight to accomodate all paying pax. (Or sometimes higher yielding cargo). However, this is makes up a very small minority of "lost" baggage, especially since older a/c (737-200) that could have weight restrictions have been all but phased out.
 
FredT
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 5:48 pm

We had both manual (for the smaller aircraft, F50, SF34 etc) and fully automatic sorting. With the automatic sorting, we were required to check the tags manually as well when putting the bags on carts/in ULDs as it does fail.

All the bags are counted, and if you end up loading one bag more than there should be on a flight... you can enjoy unloading it all again. That's for security reasons, no bags fly withoug being accompanied by their passenger.

It still happened of course, albeit rarely. The worst case scenario was to get a bag on a certain wrong flight... as that would mean it couldn't get back for an entire week as there were no return flights!

Bags falling off carts was probably the main reason for them not showing up as they should. In that case, they were found and sent right.

A couple of times, we got bags bumped to the next flight due to there not being enough room. Never due to weight, which will probably be more of a problem in cargo world. People just don't pack their bags tight enough! Big grin

Cheers,
Fred
I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
 
globetrekker
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Wed Jan 14, 2004 6:09 pm

AlekToronto-

What you explained above is quite common with KLM and other airlines. I don't know for other airlines, but the problem with KLM is the check-in system we use. Normally when you book a ticket with one or more connections it will automatically download into the check-in system. However if you made changes in your ticket or you bought two separate tickets from two different airlines, or for some reason the complete itinerary does not come through from the reservation system we can manually enter your onward destinations. With years of experience many agents know the 3-letter airport code out of their heads, but ofcourse mistakes will be made. Reversing letters or just entering the wrong code. For instance DUB (Dublin)/DXB (Dubai). The codes are almost every time in the ticket, but sometimes agents do not double check, unfortunately and you are on your way to Ireland and your luggage to United Arab Emirates.

Advice: Name tag in and outside your luggage with your personal contact information. Makes a HUGE difference!!

GlobeTrekker.
The World Is A Book And Those Who Do Not Travel Read Only A Page
 
Goose
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 2:38 am

In ATL they are sorted by color

Let me guess, one pile for black bags, another for all other colors.


Hah! Sucks when the gate agent calls down to the loading crew saying, "We have someone up here who has decided not to fly, so we have to pull their bag. Hang on a second, I'll get a description......

..... it's a black roller bag. You guys okay finding that?"


 Nuts
"Talk to me, Goose..."
 
UPSfueler
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 10:37 am

Like Ramp Rat74 said at ORD we are really short handed noa a days with the shape our airline is in. We are working with minimal staff and the company wants us to get from the plane to 4 seperate corners of the airport within minutes. For those of you that live by ORD or have ever been through it, its not a small airport.
 
mas a330
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:06 pm

Lose or misplace, call it what you want, i better get it back.
 
EZYcrew
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RE: Do Airlines "lose" Or "misplace" Bags?

Fri Jan 16, 2004 9:16 pm

It also depends how rude you've been to the check in agent. A few years ago I did checkin for SR in GVA (I was a grounded f/a for ears problems for a couple of months). I am not really proud of it, but I intentionally sent a pax golf equipment to Dar-es-Salam iso Malaga. This guy refused to pay his xbag, then refused to pay the penalty for his ticket change, and yelled at me for a good 30 minutes. He also made very personal remarks and insults I can't put on this forum.
Once he left my counter, I tore off his golf bag's bagtag, and replaced it with whatever I found in my trash. I hope he had a good time in Malaga!