With a tip of the hat to Mark Hurst, I thought I’d post the ‘good experience’ I just had with Alaska Airlines.
When I was coming home from San Francisco last week, I got in fairly late to YVR and waited for my checked bag to come down the conveyor belt. Surprisingly it was the first one down the chute and I grabbed it quickly thinking I’d be on my way home that much sooner.
Then, as I was wheeling it away, another passenger asked if my bag ‘was supposed to be like that’:
It had come down the belt face down and I just picked it up and extended the handle and started towards the exit without looking at the front of it….obviously it wasn’t supposed to look like that. At some point in it’s journey from San Francisco to Vancouver, it appeared to have had the front main pocket ripped cleanly off along with the contents of that pocket.
Once I realized what had happened, and put the hanging threads and fabric back inside what was left of the pouch, I quickly thought that my speedy trip home just got a lot longer. Fortunately the Alaska Airlines counter was only a short distance from where I was and there was no lineup.
I wheeled up to the counter and showed the person behind the counter my luggage and that I thought it wasn’t supposed to be like that. She seemed genuinely concerned about the situation and asked if I had anything in there that might have been lost. I was pretty tired and couldn’t remember what I had in there as I had also shuffled everything around in SFO so that I wouldn’t have to lug too much around in my carryon bag which already had my laptop and a bunch of other stuff.
She told me the airline had a local repair shop that would either repair or replace my bag. I laughed at the thought of repairing the missing pocket – I had searched out for this particular suitcase for awhile and because I have a thing for green, combined with the ease of spotting it in a sea of black luggage figured it would be hard for them to patch the gaping hole. At least the rip was very clean and on the pocket’s seam.
I was then given a local number to call back once I had figured out what was missing and they would arrange to replace the items. She also gave me a claim form to take to the repair shop and I was on my weary way.
Given the circumstances, I couldn’t think of a better way for them to handle my situation. The woman that helped me seemed to really care about what had happened and wanted to ensure that I was taken care of. If only more companies had these kind of people working for them.
Once I got home and got everything sorted a few days later, realized I was only missing a couple of books and some magazines….I did have some gifts for Stacie in there at one point but decided they were too fragile for checked baggage and ended up swapping my reading material with them in my carryon.
All told about $70 worth of books is probably clogging up a conveyor belt somewhere underneath YVR or SFO. When I called back to tell them of the ‘damage’ I ended up speaking with the same woman who remembered my green bag. She told me I could simply rebuy the missing items and bring the receipts to the airport and they would reimburse me on the spot…or I could mail them in. The mail in option wasn’t that appealing since it’s a little too much like a mail in rebate so I opted to drop the bag off at the repair shop, pickup the missing items and head to the airport in one trip (a 60km roundtrip from my house). I figured it was worth the hassle and time to get it all sorted right away as we’re planning on going away in a few weeks and wanted usable luggage.
So I headed to a book store to replace the items, then to the repair shop. They determined pretty quickly that a repair would be too involved and opted to replace my bag with a similar one. Unfortunately it wasn’t green and so I now have a bright blue suitcase – so leave it alone if you see it on the conveyor belt – I’m talking to the old man that I always seem to see manhandling every bag that comes down thinking it’s his….going so far as to open the bag! At least the replacement is the same brand and a slightly better model than I had before – according to the repair shop staff.
Next stop was the airport. Of course the ticket counter I had to go to was at the opposite end of the airport from where you have to park. I swear it took 20 minutes to walk from my car to the counter.
Once I got to the counter, I was taken care of quickly and they even reimbursed me for parking which was nice. I was surprised they were able to just cut me a cheque on the spot and not have to go through head office or some insurance company. Of course, it was a relatively small amount of money. As before, the person that helped me seemed to actually care about my ‘loss’.
All things considered I thought the entire situation was handled great. Considering the hassles involved, it was very smooth. Kudos to Alaska Airlines and their helpful staff!