Welcome Back to Soupfly!
This is part 2 of my post from a couple days ago about my recent experience with Frontier Airlines. If you missed part 1-go here now to read.
Maybe there is Hope
So, maybe something can be done after all!
Up to this point, I had not been impressed by the quality of care or concern by any of the Frontier staff members. Actually, I kind of felt as though they were being entertained by my plight.
Moments later, the supervisor, Sarah appears. I explain my situation, that I desperately need to retrieve the bag that was mistakenly checked. She assures me that she will do all she can to make this happen. Yay! Hooray. I finally feel that there is someone on my side. I am not relieved yet, but I am more hopeful than I was moments earlier. I ask if I should go to security and if she can just bring me the bag to security. She explains that the reason there is such a challenge with this situation is that once a bag is checked it can only go one of two places; onto the plane or to baggage claim. If it goes to baggage claim, only the passenger is allowed to bring it to security.
She tells me to go downstairs to baggage claim, carousel 22 and wait for her to retrieve and send me the bag. She asks what the my bag looks like and I describe it. It’s black and white and has some designs on it. I really don’t know how to describe it. My wife says it’s white with black flowers. Here’s a picture of the bag. How would you describe it?
Here’s a tip. When you travel, always take photos of all your luggage and have it saved on your phone. If you ever find yourself in a similar predicament you can easily just show the picture of your bags.
I head to baggage claim as Sarah heads to the inner belly of the plane or where ever the luggage for this flight happens to be at this time. I arrive at carousel 22. It’s empty. No flights listed on the sign board. No people. No other baggage. That’s good. I won’t have to sort through other bags. Just wait for mine. So I wait. And Wait. And Wait. Seemed like forever.
In reality it was a total of about 10 or 11 minutes. Even still, we are really cutting it close. I still have to go through security. It is now 12:03. Gates close at 12:40. I have roughly 35 minutes to get my bag, get through security, ride the tram and get to my gate. Sarah is on my side. I know we’ll make this happen. I’m confident, but sweating.
I had texted my wife while I was still up at the counter hoping for some kind of remedy to retrieve my bag. I said, I checked the wrong bag. She replied, “You’re stressing me out.” Probably shouldn’t have sent her that message. So, to make her not feel stressed, while I was waiting for my bag at carousel 22 I prepared a pre-text. Once I got my bag, I would just hit send and she would feel better, knowing that all was well. My pre-text read: Got my bag. Now going to security.
As I’m standing at Carousel 22 waiting for my bag to arrive, suddenly another Frontier staff person appears and stands about 10-12 feet away from me, in front of the baggage carousel. She is texting on her phone, she looks over at me a couple times but does not engage me nor introduce herself to me. I think that’s a bit odd. Finally, after a couple minutes, I walk over and approach her, introducing myself. She then responds, tells me her name, Maria (not her real name). Apparently she is texting with Sarah and is there to ensure that I get my bag. She says to me, “Sarah, has your bag and is sending it now. She will escort you to security, once you get your bag.” This sounds very promising to me. Sarah is going to ‘escort’ me to security. No problem. I’m very excited. Just waiting for my bag to appear.
I thank Maria for the information and then within a few seconds, at the top of the Carousel, out through the chute, here appears my bag! I am thrilled. It seems like forever for it to actually drop onto the belt and make its way toward me. Finally, there it is, on the belt in front of me. I grab it off the carousel. I don’t remember if I smiled or said something to Maria. All I know is, I have my bag.
Wrong Bag- Again!
I head towards the elevator to meet Sarah upstairs to be escorted to security. I press ‘Send’ on the text for Michelle. This will ease her worries a bit. I take a couple steps and begin to run towards the elevator, when I realize something is not quite right. OH NO-O-O-O!!! I look down. It’s the WRONG BAG! Sarah had sent my suitcase, not my carry-on!
I am stunned! I walk towards Maria and tell her the problem.
Now, Sarah has to go back and send the correct bag down to Carousel 22, AND they have to return the suitcase to be put back onto the airplane. I follow Maria into her office. She texts Sarah, telling her the situation. Then she makes a call, I presume to whomever is loading baggage onto the plane to inform them that there is one more still to come.
And then I wait. I also realized that the text I sent my wife, “Got my bag, heading to security now.” is incorrect. I decide not to stress her out more by informing her of the new status. I wait, staring at the Carousel 22. I’m praying that we can make it onto plane in time. I am thankful that Sarah is doing all she can to retrieve my bag. I’m frustrated, wondering how they could send the suitcase rather than the carry-on.
The time is ticking by and I still have to go thru security. Finally, the correct bag, my carry-on with my laptop in it, appears on the carousel. I thank Maria. I run to the elevator. I go up one flight to level 2 where I see Sarah in front of me with-I’m thinking a cart, something for us to ride to get to and through security quickly. No, instead, she is running and says to me, “Let’s go.” So, I run too. Here we are, running, Yes, I mean running, through the airport towards security. When we get to security, she flashes her badge and I guess she assumed they would just let us pass through. No way. TSA does not care. You’re late. Too bad. We did, however get to bypass the line. Thank God for that. Thank you Sarah.
But now, I still had to go through the same, normal, time consuming procedure. Shoes, belt off, everything out of pockets, etc. Once I had placed all my items in the multiple bins, the TSA agent points to the other side of the aisle and tells me to take all my bins to that side, because this side is now closed. Ugh! Ok, so I do. I get through security, Sarah is waiting for me. I finish gathering my things and then we run, again. This time to the tram to ride to the gates.
We get on the tram and sit down. As we sat there facing each other, I say to Sarah, “I did not intend to create a lot of excitement for your team this morning.” Sarah looks at me with a big grin on her face, (which I can’t imagine why she would be so happy) and she says to me, “I always enjoy when someone presents me with a challenge, an obstacle to overcome and I get the opportunity to fix it.” And that was about the extent of our conversation as the tram doors opened and we then proceed to run for the last time; to my gate. I ask Sarah for a quick picture. We take a selfie, I hug her and walk down the gangway to board my plane- 5 minutes after gates were scheduled to close.
As I boarded the plane, I was expecting the passengers all to applaud or to say something, either happy for me or perhaps annoyed that I was the one who delayed the plane taking off. No, nothing like that happened. They all, perhaps including the flight crew, were entirely unaware of what had just transpired over the past 42 minutes. The flight attendant greeted me and asked me to quickly take my seat. I found my seat and let out a huge sigh of relief.
I was on my way to Atlanta to speak at the National Customer Service Association Conference. I immediately knew that this experience I just had would inform my presentation entitled, “I Am the Customer Experience”. Sarah truly embodies what being your customer’s hero is all about. Thank you Sarah!
Thank you for reading. I appreciate all my Soupfly readers from around the world. This month so far we have readers from the following countries: United States, Canada, Indonesia, Philippines, Malaysia, United Kingdom, Australia, Netherlands, United Arab Emirates, Norway, Singapore, Vietnam, Poland, South Africa, Pakistan, Romania, Peru, India, New Zealand.
To Pre-order your copy/copies of my upcoming new best seller, I Am the Customer Experience- go here:
Cheers and God Bless you!
Christoff J. Weihman
President/CSE Chief Service Elevater-ASPIRE Enterprises
Founding President National Customer Service Association (NCSA) Las Vegas
Las Vegas, NV
702 848 8955