Northwest Airlines Complaint - Lost Luggage and Poor Service
I am amazed at how poor Northwest Airlines' customer service is, even though they are struggling to survive.
I was on a flight from Norfolk to Halifax on 22 June 06, connecting in Detroit. I checked 3 bags, one of which was my military officer's sword to be used in my wedding on the 29th of July. The flight was rerouted to Bangor, ME due to fog over Halifax. All the bags were removed from the flight in Bangor, the only one that didn't make it was my sword, which was packed separately. I notified the ground crew that was there (one person since the airport was closed) and they let me know I should just file the claim when I get to Halifax. At this point, I was smart enough to figure out that the sword either never got on the plane in Norfolk, or got taken off in Detroit, and never made it back on.
Since the local hotels in Bangor, ME did not honor Northwest Airlines vouchers, many of us got to spend the night in the airport. The airline crew though apparently had a room.
When I arrived in Halifax the next day I spent 30 minutes with an agent filling out my claim paperwork. I was assured the bag would show up (OK).
Throughout the weekend, there were no updates or information available when I checked.
I went back to the airport Monday and asked to see if there was anymore information on the piece of luggage - the person at the desk told me there was no claim filed in the computer and that there was nothing he could do to help me. After enough badgering he filed the claim on the computer - this was the same person that told me he couldn't do anything.
I had a layover in Detroit again on the way back, and decided it would be a good time to check to see if it was there somewhere. Luggage services for Northwest in Airlines is a bunch of friendly people. I walked up and was first in line. I got to deal with the supervisor, even luckier (or so I thought). I related my story, and the supervisor asked me to wait while he helped others behind me with problems that could be dealt with quicker.
After the 6th person went ahead of me, I put my foot down. I was helped by a friendly woman who had every Northwest punch line memorized. The standard Detroit quote is "We never have had people who are unhappy with our luggage service". Just keep telling yourself that and click your heels Dorothy. The woman then told me it was probably in Halifax. Probably being the key word - she didn't attempt to check. I let her know that it wasn't in Halifax when I left 3 hours prior. She then told me it was probably in customs - probably again. If any of you have ever flown out of the country, you know that you clear customs going into a country not out - flight went through Detroit, landed in Bangor and it was not on the plane.
I had to expedite the process and ask the woman if anyone could actually check a computer, or look in their baggage room. That was when she threw the paperwork at me and told me to do it myself. So, I proceeded unescorted into the unclaimed baggage room (are you concerned yet ?).
I didn't find my luggage there of course.
Well, I get back to Norfolk and the baggage office there is closed. The sign says it is only open after incoming flights land - wait I just landed. I waited for half an hour - still no one showed. I went back to the airport twice before I could find someone that worked at the ticket desk to help me. Her best advice was that since I needed the item for a wedding I should just borrow it. Does anyone else besides me feel uncomfortable borrowing an item, or lending that same item to someone who relates this story to them ? The airline just lost my sword, now I want to borrow yours so they can lose that too !
I did get one call from a regional baggage person after that, who assured me they would do all they could to find my luggage.
It is now 3 weeks later. I still have no luggage. I sent my claim in certified, so the airline could not claim they never got it. I have tried to call the 1-800 number for luggage several times, the recording says that they are only open from 8-4 Central time - go ahead call it, they are closed permanently, and all you get is the same recording. I have sent several e-mails, which their site says will be acknowledged within 2 hours and answered within 24 - no answers.
The bottom line is that if you are flying - think about what it is worth to you to not have to deal with this. I had flown Northwest prior and vowed to never do it again. Over New Years, I flew out of the country on Northwest. When I went back to the ticket desk to check in for my return flight, the desk was gone (yes gone). Even though I had gotten an e-mail confirmation the night before and checked the flight on their website, the airline evidently no longer flew out of that location. They apologized and let me know that they had rebooked me on a Continental flight that had left 3 hours prior - thanks great work. I went to the Continental desk they were very accomodating and got me on the next flight - thanks guys.
Think before you book - the couple of dollars I saved was not worth it.
Pat in Virginia
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