Interminable Wait for Luggage

August 28, 2011

in Luggage Stories

Flying recently into DEN to ATL on Frontier (which surprises me to be writing this story; Frontier is my go-to airline out of DEN). All is well and good leaving DEN, everyone is friendly and helpful. Great trip so far.

Our group of 5 people decided to catch an early flight to ATL so we could get there, relax, go to dinner and just have a great time before the big event the following day… we landed just after 3:45 ATL time.

Then we landed in ATL. As we made our way to the luggage carousel for Frontier – the only one – we noticed a lot of people standing around. OK no big deal, earlier flight still picking up. But then I looked at the faces. Everyone was angry, short-fused, looking at the watch and I thought, oh no…

Our flight gets listed on the monitor – around 4:15. OK bags must be coming soon. There are four flights listed on the monitor. The belt starts up and people gather around… 5 bags come out…. the loading belt stops… 5 people from the flight 1.5 hours before pick up their bags like they won the lottery with shouts of “THANK GOD” and “ITS ABOUT F’N TIME!”

— “oh no…”

And we wait. The belt starts up again… this time 7 bags come off, some from our most recent flight — at which point the murmured swear words ripple through the crowd.

— and we wait… Belt starts up and a flood of luggage comes in… 10 bags… all together… the belt stops.

–and we wait… and wait… and wait… Clock is telling us 5:00 — at least 2/3rds of our flight, and some of the previous flights are still waiting…

Belt starts up again… and another mad rush of luggage comes out… about 40 bags. Finally the previous flights are done, and gone… but there we are.

Mind you that it’s now approaching 5:45 and half of our flight is still waiting for their luggage.

We are waiting for one more bag… just one. Then the next flight passengers arrive… and what do they see, a WHOLE bunch of angry people who have been waiting for their luggage for over 2 hours to make their way 1000 feet from the plane.

Throughout all of this half of our group went to the Lost Luggage office… which was locked, lights shut off and yet they said very clearly that their office hours were to remain open throughout the time we were there.

We went to the ticket agents; they couldn’t tell us anything other than the fact that yes, we checked luggage in Denver. We file a $1500 claim on the luggage we were missing and they said that it might be on the next flight and they would deliver it yada, yada…

So we decide to cut our loss at 6:15pm and go get our rental cars. At the rental car desk just moments before we were to depart, we get a call telling us they found the luggage. It was in the Lost Luggage office.

Apparently there is a mystery worker who has elevator access to the rear of that office who put luggage in the room, never opened the office, and left… with the doors still locked and the lights never on.

So we have to tell the rest of our group to go forward… and we return with our bag at 7:30pm

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

James August 31, 2011 at 11:39 am

This sounds like a New York City airport. My parents live near New York City so I regularly get to experience Port Authority luggage service. The worst was a four hour wait for a bag on a flight into JFK from London. Waits in Newark are regularly over an hour. The shortest wait is longer than the longest wait I've experienced at any other airport.


Robert September 14, 2011 at 2:12 pm

Well, let's not forget the human flotsam that works those baggage lines ….. we're lucky we get anything all done that moving belt….


gijerk July 25, 2013 at 8:18 pm

no kidding, almost as bad as military personnel


crella September 15, 2011 at 7:33 pm

That's not the norm for Atlanta, though, I go through there 3-4 times a year and have never waited long for my bags.


Carolyn April 29, 2013 at 10:21 pm

This is nothing. Try waiting all day for your luggage to find it's in a different country and then have to wait 5 more days for it to be sent to your door. And that's happened to me around 6 times.


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