Wednesday, 10 August 2011

BA lost bag phone madness

Here is a bit of a communication failure that really just fits the process. I flew back from Ankara via Dusseldorf yesterday and arrived safely. My single checked bag however has yet to arrive.

Waiting by the carousel as all the other bags squeaked round is a rather lonely experience but near to hand was the "Arrivals service team". I had the sticky baggage tag issued in Ankara that has the original and connecting flight details listed. The clerk cheerfully took down a few details and issued a lost bag receipt and uploaded a few details to the World tracer lost baggage tracking service.

The receipt had a URL for an online tracking web page for the baggage search process that showed the details I had submitted. Unfortunately the on-line version showed an incorrect baggage tag number, the last digit being one out. Such a flaw in the data was bound to fail the whole tracking service so I decided to call and correct the number.

Calling the Local Baggage Tracing office on the number listed on the receipt started a merry phone trail.
Calling 0800 408 1100 - gave the message "This number is no longer in service please redial another number."
Calling that number 0800 727800 - gave the message "This number is no longer in service please redial another number."
Calling that number 0844 493 0787 - gave a two level phone tree resulting in the message "Please call 0844 493 0785."
Calling that number eventually gave a vaguely helpful baggage tracing person. After updating the Baggage tag number to the correct value a search revealed that bag was likely to be still in Ankara. "A message will be sent and the bag hopefully delivered back to you." was the update. We will see how that turns out. Such a phone bounce around makes me think of an organisation held together with sticky tape and string. I hope that the planes are better maintained than this business processes.

The IATA travellers faq as some useful information on lost baggage and its retrieval. Including the faq that "globally 98.2% of all baggage travels with the passenger as planned" That works out at about 5 bags a plane going missing.

One item in the bag that I will be sad to loose was my trip reading Time Restored - The Harrison timekeepers and R.T. Gould, the man who knew (almost) everything" by Jonathan Betts. This excellent biography of the restorer of the first experimental Marine chronometers follows it's subject through the interesting parts of his life. Staring with a brief naval career, an ugly divorce, through the intense restoration work and on to radio celebrity status. An intriguing life from the last century of a fragile genius who first restored the important Harrison "longitude" clocks.

As for that festering bag of washing with the book - if they don't get that bag back to me soon I am sure it will be declared a Bio-hazard and humanly destroyed.



Gannett said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gannett said...

Bag was found and delivered back to me, intact and complete. If you in the same position, have faith , check the details and hope.