By John Cahill
Vice President of Business Development
As a seasoned traveller, typically logging 80,000+ airline miles and over 75 hotel nights in a year, you become accustomed to and prepare for Airport parking hassles, TSA security requirements, clogged airport terminals, weather delays, long lines, cramped planes and just plain waiting. I’d have to say, in general, the best way to prepare is to lower your expectations for service and comfort, whether it’s Airport personnel, vendors or the Airlines. Not to say there are not service agents who will truly try to be helpful. There are good people and good experiences to be found out there. But, however exciting travel sounds, business travel is just not a glamorous activity.
To cope and compensate, you develop certain routines. One rule you see used by many travelers is to bring a carry-on bag and not check luggage. For some, this may be strictly to avoid baggage fees but for most active business travelers these fees are waived and not applied based on the quantity of flights with a specific airline. However, often not checking a bag is one key to speed and convenience when arriving at an airport and not having to wait for luggage at baggage claim. I am one who adheres to this policy unless I have excessive luggage for a lengthy trip or planned extracurricular activities, e.g., golf clubs.
Recently I was traveling on a usual route leaving from my home Atlanta airport on my usual, loyal airline. But this time, I had arrived early. I knew the plane would be full and crowded and I wasn’t necessarily in a hurry so I decided to check my usual carry-on bag. Being a frequent flier, I knew my bag would be tagged priority and I would not have to wait long for my bag at my destination. And besides, the airline has a 20-minute bag delivery guarantee! I was able to traverse the airport a little easier and boarded my cross-country 4+ hour flight.
I arrived on time, proceeded to baggage claim and waited for my bag. After waiting 10 minutes or so, I began to notice people picking up bags without priority tags and making their way out of the airport. Could it be that the one time I voluntarily checked my bag, it didn’t make the flight? I was at the airport plenty early for my flight. With all these thoughts going through my mind, I heard my name paged to please come to the Airline baggage service desk. There I found the reason my bag was not on the baggage claim conveyer (see attached picture). Ouch! The very courteous and helpful baggage service agents surmised my bag had either been stuck in the routing conveyer after being checked, had fallen off the delivery trolley, been dragged and run over, or, all of the above. Well the airline did compensate me for my bag and the agents made the experience as painless as possible. For that I am grateful. Also a big shout out to Briggs & Riley luggage! Although my bag was destroyed, the contents were unharmed!!! From the picture, you may notice a bottle even survived. Unfortunately for me, it was not a bottle of Bourbon – I could have used it just then.
Now I am even more dedicated to my “never check a bag”’ policy.