We live in the boonies – no straight flights here. Lost luggage is not uncommon. One day two pieces arrived at our door from two different airlines – our son-in-law and my husband had lost pieces on separate flights from separate countries that week. Another time, my husband wasn’t allowed on a better connecting flight because he wouldn’t be traveling “with” his luggage which had not yet arrived – understandable in terms of home land security, perhaps, but the piece did not arrive with him but days later.
This Christmas my son-in-law’s parents, eager to see their grandchild, missed a series of connections and ended up quite late. Not surprising. And then, inevitably, all four pieces of luggage were missing. After hurried runs to stores for toiletries & wearing their son’s shirts for a day or two, three appeared at the local airport. My son-in-law spent the next ten days phoning & e-mailing British Air Ways (whose system apparently consists of looking around when hassled and promptly forgetting the problem after hanging up.)
As luck would have it, this piece had gifts for their grandson, knitted caps & scarves for their daughter-in-law, heirlooms to be presented and gifts from German friends – all gone. Most irreplaceable was the baptismal gown that matched Heidi’s skills as a seamstress with her love as a grandmother. If it appears – increasingly unlikely – it will be too late for the ceremony this weekend in St. Louis.
When I was my children’s ages, we thought of flight as interesting and social. We could also set our watches by the Burlington. Sure, life is easier – 16-hour-drives remain taxing and I remember when flights, like talking long distance, were rare luxuries, seldom indulged in except for major events like funerals and weddings. Instapundit linked to speculation on the future – though “improvements” seems better for mating than relaxing. Ships have tapped a market – bridge cruises, magazine cruises, alumni listening to lectures in Athens cruises. My dentist does most of his in-service training for his staff and himself in exotic locales; the pictures in the office feature more umbrella-drink toasting than dental hygiene classes. Travel has become many things, but British Airline has a way to go to make it merely civilized.
And this is noted under customer service – though it might be better put as “or lack thereof.” My son-in-law has been muttering from the beginning that British was the worst; it turns out that “worst” is by a long shot. A case against the airlines argues “British Airways loses 23 bags per 1,000 passengers carried, about 60 percent more than the industry average and twice as bad as the worst U.S. carrier.”