The Rude Manager

April 17, 2009

in Luggage Stories

I love flying Southwest. I know many dislike it for various reasons but for me, $99 flights and no fees, along with the free seating arrangement which, if you know how to plan it right, actually has always worked out very well for me, cannot be beat. I normally fly out of Chicago to various locations and I have never personally had the problems that others seem to have frequently, especially with Delta.

Unfortunately, last year while trying to get back to Chicago from Orlando, our flight was delayed and then finally canceled due to heavy fog in Chicago. The rest of our group was flying into Detroit and since we had no where to stay to wait until the next day for a flight we quickly were moved on to their plane just 15 min. before boarding. When we asked about our checked baggage we were told that it would be switched; however, we were pretty experienced travelers and took that with more than just a grain of salt.

I have flown Southwest in and out of 5 or 6 different cities without problems but I can honestly guarantee that I will NEVER fly out of, or even into, Detroit again.

We went to the baggage terminal to collect the rest of our group’s luggage and to see if there was a slim chance of ours arriving. While our group went to get the cars, two of us stayed behind. We waited another half hour until no more bags from our flight were being unloaded, and then went to find a customer service rep to report the bags. We were treated like dirt and told that we would just have to wait to find our bags.

When we walked into the office, the rude manager told us to get out the minute we walked in and to go back and wait. We were obviously confused and tried to explain, but the best way to describe how we were treated was as if we were an obnoxious child who kept bothering their parent or something while they were on the phone. (I would like to point out that she was sitting there doing nothing.)

When we walked out of the office and started talking to a large crowed of people gathered around the carousel, we found the problem. Our luggage carousel was supposed to be shared with a flight from New Orleans to Chicago that had been diverted while in air. Since they had already taken off, the passengers had been fairly confident that their luggage was still aboard. They told us that they had been standing there for three hours and several were starting to get angry with the officials who just ignored/yelled at them. Those of us who had flown Southwest many times tried to assure them that the crappy service was definitely not the Southwest norm.

After hearing their story and realizing that that was probably why the manager had told us to “go away,” we went back to the office to explain the situation. (At this point, our entire group had been sitting outside for over an hour.) When we got back she once again started yelling at us and saying that she thought she told us to get out (I know). We tried unsuccessfully for a few minutes to interrupt her tirade and explain that we were on a different flight but she continued to yell over us.

Thankfully a regular customer rep was standing in the room next door and heard us. He quickly came in to help us out although you would think that it should be the other way around if it happens at all. The manager should not be the rude and obnoxious one and we weren’t the only ones; another woman and her young daughter were having the same trouble dealing with this power tripping manager for the same problem as us. After another half hour of filling out paperwork and describing the situations, we were informed that they would not send us our luggage but instead we would have to drive the hour and a half from our home to the Chicago airport in a day or two to pick up our luggage. While this was inconvenient, it was also understandable.

And it definitely could have been worse; 2 hours after we arrived and had finally convinced them that we really did know where our luggage was, we walked through their baggage claim area one last time. As we were walking out we heard them announce that they had found the New Orleans flight’s missing luggage…it had been sitting, uncovered, on the tarmac for 5 hours…it was raining by that time.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Poker Daddy April 21, 2009 at 5:19 am

DTW can be horrible. Almost all of the employees of the airport make it a game to make things hard on white travelers.

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Aces High May 28, 2009 at 6:35 am

I don't think the issues with Detroit are racial. I do, however, agree that Detroit airport should be avoided at all costs. I am a frequent flier and the Detroit airport more closely resembles a developing country's airport than anything else. I should also say that when I used to fly through Detroit, I had baggage difficulties (e.g., bags not making the connections) about 20% of the time. That is a HUGE percentage. Once I stopped flying through Detroit, most of my luggage problems disappeared.

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