Charles79
Topic Author
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:35 pm

Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 2:09 pm

My bf came home the other night from work (as an Air France agent at LAX) and told me this rather amusing story. He's been helping with baggage services, i.e., trying to match lost bags with their owners. One afternoon a bag came from CDG and had what turns out to be an incorrect bag tag. The bag was tagged at CDG to transfer from AF at LAX onto flight SW338 to TUC. Well, such a flight doesn't exist at LAX, so the bag was never transferred to another plane. My bf started scratching his head. First he checked the IATA code SW: it belongs to Air Namibia, which doesn't serve LAX at all. It gets more interesting: the airport code TUC belongs to an airport in Argentina. Although he wasn't sure, he had a hunch that the named African carrier doesn't serve Argentina either. He checked the passenger's record, and it had the same information (possibly entered by whomever checked the passenger in at CDG). Finally he gets an idea: he checks Southwest's schedule, and sure enough, there's a WN flight 338 from LAX to Tucson, AZ. Their conclusion was that somewhere, somehow, someone had to manually enter the data into the passenger's record and entered SW for Southwest and TUC for Tucson (instead of WN and TUS as it should have been, although the ICAO for WN is SWA so it wasn't that far off). The bag is now in its owners hands!

Anybody else has a similar story of bags being sent to the wrong place or improperly tagged? Please share!

Also, I'm not an expert on the scheduling and reservations tools available to airline/airport agents. Is it possible that this mistake could/should have been caught earlier? I've heard that WN sometimes doesn't show up in the computer system of travel agencies. Any info on this? Thanks!

Cheers!

Charles
 
atrude777
Posts: 4258
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:23 pm

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 3:09 pm

What is interesting is Southwest does not interline with any airline anywhere.

Not sure how the ramps or agents would know to switch the bag over to SWA, if WN doesn't even interline in the first place. That AF pax was supposed to recheck their bag in LAX for their WN Flight to TUS.

Unless I am missing the story here or something?

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!
 
bluewhale18210
Posts: 179
Joined: Thu Aug 10, 2006 3:23 pm

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 4:54 pm

As to your first question, how the flight number and destination was messed up, here's a possible explanation:
The passenger asked the agent at CDG to send his bag to Tucson, AZ via SWA 338.
Since WN ticket must be issued separately (by WN), AF reservation system will NOT have any flight information. It's up to the French agent to enter it in manually.
Very possibly, the passenger showed the agent his itinary, which will say "Southwest Airlines flight 338" from Los Angeles, CA to Tucson, AZ. That's it. No airline code, no airport code. Or maybe it has airport code. Anyway the CDG agent then made a guess to the airline code (SW=Southwest?) and made a mistake of entering TUC instead of TUS. And out comes the bag tag.
When passenger arrives in LAX, he picks up his bag, clears customs, and again drops off the bag at the transfer area in Terminal 2. Then he was off to his flight to TUS. Since the transfer information is incorrect, the bag then got sent back to the origin airline, AF, and went into your BF's hand.

Second part of the question: how can a bag be transfered and sent to the passenger if WN doesn't interline with anyone?
When passenger got to TUS without his bag, he naturally finds an WN agent to report his loss. WN agent then informs him that there is no such thing as an interline transfer between WN and AF and he will issue a courtesy case to the passenger and trace his bag for him. In case the bag is lost totally WN will not pay a dime of damage. Then he uses the original tag information to trace the bag, probably by calling LAX if they have seen the bag, or ask them to check with LAXAF for this bag. Quite possibly when TUS made the phone call your BF already delivered the bag to WN's baggage department and it is on the way to TUS. I have gotten a few calls from WN before regarding lost bags, and the only way to get the bag to WN is to walk it over, or ask them to personally pick them up.

Oh by the way, wrongly tagged bags happen everyday. Sometimes they will end up halfway across the world before anyone found out where the bag is supposed to go. More often than not if something like this happenes the bag is sucked into the oblivion, rotting away in some airline's CBT warehouse, never to be seen again...
JPS on A300-600RF A319/320 B737-400/800 B757-200F B767-300F CRJ-200/900. Looking to add more.
 
swiftski
Posts: 1837
Joined: Tue Dec 19, 2006 6:19 am

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 5:26 pm

Quoting Charles79 (Thread starter):
Anybody else has a similar story of bags being sent to the wrong place or improperly tagged? Please share!

I was on an SK flight LCY-CPH once and we waited for our luggage, only for nothing to come. After time, and speaking to a few people, SK announced that "no-one with final destination CPH checked any bags on this flight" which left us all bemused. "All the bags were for connecting pax"

After a while of discussing, another annoucement of "We appoogise, it appears we only loaded on the 16 connecting pax bags, your bags are currently still at LCY. By this time it was too late for them to make the next flight. I asked for them to be send to me.

When they arrived, they came off a BA flight, with a new BA tag, BA "Priority" and "Rush" stickers all over the handles. You'll note, BA don't fly LCY-CPH, they fly from LHR, which means my bags (and I assume the others) got all the way over to LHR to be loaded onto a (non SK) flight and shipped to me. Bizarre.
 
speedbirdegjj
Posts: 402
Joined: Tue Nov 25, 2003 7:01 pm

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 7:55 pm

I've seen something similiar over here. The passenger booked using a travel agents online booking tool that has the ability to search LCC's as well as lecagy, or GDS loaded airlines. They booked JER-LGW-NCE return using BA to London and Easyjet to Nice. When i retrieved the booking in the BA system , Amadeus, it actually showed the U2 sectors although obviously they aren't loaded. When the passenger arrived at the airport the check in agent saw the U2 sectors as the oncarraige and tagged the bags all the way to Nice, even though obviously there is not interline agreement, and the bag sat at LGW for 4 days until the pax picked it up on his return!!.
 
dutchjet
Posts: 7714
Joined: Sat Oct 14, 2000 6:13 am

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sat Sep 15, 2007 9:16 pm

Its is very nice indeed that your friend took the effort to ""analyze the situation"" and get the bag to its owner......is always nice to hear stories where employees make a special effort to accomodate a pax and/or correct mistakes made by others.
 
Charles79
Topic Author
Posts: 1117
Joined: Sat Mar 03, 2007 12:35 pm

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sun Sep 16, 2007 12:59 am

Quoting Atrude777 (Reply 1):
Not sure how the ramps or agents would know to switch the bag over to SWA, if WN doesn't even interline in the first place. That AF pax was supposed to recheck their bag in LAX for their WN Flight to TUS.

Unless I am missing the story here or something?

Bluewhale's post answers your question: when you arrive at LAX T2 from int'l flights all passengers have to pick-up their luggage and clear customs, then drop them back at the interline belt (an airport service, and they take the bags from T2 to all the other terminals in the airport) or hand carry them to their next airline (which most passengers do for WN flights). In this case, the passenger obviously thought that by placing the bag in the interline belt it would make it to WN. Note that this interline system doesn't belong to AF or any other airline at LAX, and my bf says that they have had people drop bags for WN there before and they get delivered to WN in T1 (promptly followed by a call from WN telling them to not do that!).

Quoting Bluewhale18210 (Reply 2):
Since WN ticket must be issued separately (by WN), AF reservation system will NOT have any flight information

That I knew, cause my bf worked at a travel agency before and whenever passengers wanted to fly WN they had to call WNs 1-800 number or go online (and then charge the traveler $15 service charge for doing something they could have done themselves for free!).

Quoting Dutchjet (Reply 5):
Its is very nice indeed that your friend took the effort to ""analyze the situation"" and get the bag to its owner......is always nice to hear stories where employees make a special effort to accomodate a pax and/or correct mistakes made by others.

Well, he is good hearted by nature and really tries to help...but he just started in this position about 3 weeks ago. The 2 agents they had before doing baggage service were fired cause they were not doing their job, and when my bf walked in they had no fewer than 500 lost bag reports dating back 3 months that they never bothered to resolve. Unfortunately, these few crappy employees end up giving the airlines such a bad image. Why they waited so long to fire them that's Swissport's fault (the handler for AF in LAX).

Thanks for all the replies!

Charles
 
atrude777
Posts: 4258
Joined: Wed Aug 13, 2003 11:23 pm

RE: Interesting Lost Luggage Story

Sun Sep 16, 2007 1:04 am

Quoting Bluewhale18210 (Reply 2):



Quoting Charles79 (Reply 6):

Oh..Sorry for the confusion, I work for Southwest in STL and I did an entire Month in bags.

So I know how the whole thing works.

My confusion was, since we didn't interline, how did our ramps at LAX know to look for a bag from AF, and vice versa, if we don't interline.

Unless, as I made the assumption, that passenger already did drop the bag off and had it rechecked, not knowing abouot the messed up information.

Alex
Good things come to those who wait, better things come to those who go AFTER it!

Who is online