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sparkymarky
7th Jun 2004, 15:25
A family member had a very strange experience recently whilst travelling with a few friends.

At check-in the agent tagged one of the cases twice, and missed her case completely. They spotted this straight away and pointed it out to him - at this point the cases had moved forward on the conveyor belt to his side, but were stationary as they had not yet reached the main belt.

Instead of reaching over and reassigning one of the tags, he said he'd call the baggage handlers and get them to sort it out. They weren't happy with this and tried to persuade him just to fix it straight away, but he point blank refused.

Surprise, surprise on arrival at their destination - one case with two tags, second case missing. (and still is!)

Is this the correct way to deal with this situation?

Seems mad to me that if anyone left an unattended bag in a public place it would be dealt with by the bomb squad, yet this agent was happy to send an untagged bag into the distribution network - where presumably it still lurks!

FinalsToLand
7th Jun 2004, 15:49
The bags should never have left the check-in area until the problem was sorted,
It would have only taken a couple of seconds to swap the second tag onto the correct bag but the check-in agent either didnt have a clue what they were doin or they were totally lazy,

Where did this happen at?

F.T.L.

sparkymarky
7th Jun 2004, 16:43
FTL there's a complaint underway already, so probably best I keep the airline and airport under wraps for now. No harm in giving them the chance to redeem themselves before dishing the dirt!

I was just wondering whether this was some bizarre aviation guideline. My own reaction was the same as yours, but it never hurts to be sure of the facts!

witchdoctor
7th Jun 2004, 18:30
No susprise to me at all. Many of the check in staff at this time of year will be temps who have probably had absolutely minimal training and then chucked in at the deep end. I see bags, buggys, wheelchairs, you name it, turning up at the a/c all the time without any tags.

It doesn't help that some of the more experienced staff who supervise or train these temps are also some of the most unhelpful and bolshie slackers on the planet. Sadly, others will take the cue from these people and adapt their attitudes accordingly to fit right in.

The guys working in the baggage hall in the bowels of the airport will also be working their balls off now, and they won't necessarily retag anything which comes down the belt untagged. I dare say the offending luggage was put to one side somewhere until somebody gets round to dealing with it.

surely not
7th Jun 2004, 19:58
Witchdoctor, that is a very emotive and quite inaccurate response based on the airports down south that I have worked at.

If the staff are put onto check-in they should have received the same training as the permanent staff. I'll grant that the bean counters have managed to delay the recruitment thereby cutting down the time on the job before the peak fo summer, but the reputable handling agents have upped their game re training in recent years.

Sparkymarky, the check-in agent was greatly in error, the issue should have been dealt with at check-in.

bealine
7th Jun 2004, 20:57
At check-in the agent tagged one of the cases twice, and missed her case completely. They spotted this straight away and pointed it out to him - at this point the cases had moved forward on the conveyor belt to his side, but were stationary as they had not yet reached the main belt.

I have made similar errors on a couple of occasions - it is most likely during busy periods. We are absolutely forbidden to manhandle bags and several of my colleagues through the years have suffered permanent injury through hauling bags back from the "back belt". Quite rightly, the agent allowed the bags to travel to the sortation area.

In our (British Airways) case, the bag without the tag would have gone to the "reject chute" (known as the "s**t chute" to the army of troglodytes in the dark, nether regions in the bowels of the North Terminal. I would have personally taken a new tag (forgetting the bag that had two tags, cos that's irrelevant) downstairs - or entrusted said action to Bluejay or one of our floorwalking army - and re-tagged the bag at the head of the "reject chute", delivering said bag into the arms of a Trogg to load into correct aeroplane container!

If it was another airline, their procedures may be slightly different, but I'm certain manhandling bags (in the UK) is forbidden by all carriers. (Some of the US employers bully their staff into committing offences under the airport Health and Safety by-laws but that's their affair). Maybe the check-in agent was let down by a colleague in baggage sortation!

No susprise to me at all. Many of the check in staff at this time of year will be temps who have probably had absolutely minimal training and then chucked in at the deep end. I see bags, buggys, wheelchairs, you name it, turning up at the a/c all the time without any tags.

Absolute and utter balderdash, old boy! Despite the cutbacks, training is still thorough and temps work alongside experienced staff. Bag tags can come adrift through (a) careless handling (b) the practise of looping a tag through both handles of a holdall (the tag should only ever go through one handle) and (c) the trusting of the job of tagging a bag to a passenger in the case of oversize items (pushchairs, golf clubs etc) and not supervising the job properly.

Finals to Land - you may know how to fly an aeroplane, but may I suggest you "shadow" ground staff and baggage handlers for a day or two so that you understand how airport procedures work! In any BAA controlled airport, check-in staff who manhandle a bag on the belt risk losing their pass - no pass, no job!!!

witchdoctor
8th Jun 2004, 08:51
I guess I must need new glasses then as all the manual tags which should be put on at the gate must be drifting around in a veritable snowstorm on the apron. Funny so many can fall off in the space of 50 feet or so from gate to aircraft.

Just because temps 'should' have had full training before letting them loose on the public, don't neccessarily make it so, nor does it mean they are capable of complying with that training.

Still, I'm sure that your crystal ball gives you a far better picture of the situation at my station than I am able to ascertain by working there every day.:rolleyes:

Topjet
8th Jun 2004, 09:31
Witchdoctor- Its not just check in staff that have minimal training, i know of several, if not all of new dispatchers who are thrown into the deep end, many having only a basic idea how to dispatch and mistakes are made, quite often more serious than a check in agents mistake, and not all dispatchers necessarily follow their training either.

Whilst i agree most summer staff are given minimal training and mistakes are made, but its not just the check-in, its all round.

Bealine- Just for your info, FTL used to work in check in so im sure he knows a bit about how the airport works.

bealine
8th Jun 2004, 09:57
Sorry, topjet, FTG and witchdoctor - I'm thinking of my own experiences at check-in/gates and not the "total airport ground areas" - and of couse other airlines might not follow exactly the same procedures as Nigel's boys!

Since about 1998, our involvement with manual tags has been minimal - nearly everything BA departs with Auto-tags, the only exceptions being gate-checked baggage (which BAA security shouldn't be letting through to the gates these days) and the odd pushchair which hasn't been "Auto-Tagged" at the gate.

sparkymarky - I hope that your experience was down to genuine error and not the "couldn't care less" attitde which seems to have been displayed here!

witchdoctor
8th Jun 2004, 19:50
Terribly gracious of you old boy, apology accepted.;)

PS. I think Topjet must be spying on me.:O

sparkymarky
21st Jun 2004, 12:39
Hi all

I said I'd hold fire on naming and shaming until everyone had the chance to get their house in order. Well, the luggage now seems to be officially lost, the claim is with the insurers, so here goes...

The airport: Glasgow
The airline: easyJet

The suitcase hasn't turned up anywhere, and after five days is assumed lost by the airline, at which point it becomes an insurance claim. Strathclyde Police have also investigated and they reckon it wasn't stolen.

So, the situation is, it isn't in Glasgow, it isn't in Luton (the destination), so where is it?

Apparently (and I'm open to correction if this is wrong) there's some sort of system for tracking misdirected baggage in the UK. But no system for tracking it if it leaves the country.

So, the assumption is the case was mistakenly loaded on a plane heading for a foreign location. Maybe it's chilling in Amsterdam, or sunning itself on the Costas, or maybe it's seeing the sights in New York, Chicago or Canada! It certainly seems to have gone further then the owner - and there's no way of tracking it. Not very security conscious.

I'm not keen on budget airline bashing - I've been all over Europe with the Ryans and Ezys and on the whole they've been very good. But in this case, easyJet have been worse than useless. Uncaring and ignorant staff, constantly engaged phonelines, a WEEK to respond to the initial email report of lost baggage. Unsurprisingly there's a complaint letter with Ray Webster, but no acknowledgement of receipt yet.

On the plus side, the Servisair people at Glasgow were helpful and gave the impression of caring about finding the case, as did the lost property people. The police were also really friendly and helpful. So, in this case, thumbs up to them, thumbs down to Ezy.

FinalsToLand
21st Jun 2004, 12:44
There is a system for tracing baggage world wide, its called World Tracer (About World Tracer) (http://www.worldtracer.aero/aboutWT.html) , How it works i do not know as apart from filling in missing bag reports I never had anything to do with tracing them, I believe it uses the tag number on the bagtag but as your bag didnt have a tag on it then im guessin its pretty useless.
My moneys on the bag still being somewhere in glasgow airport.

F.T.L.

newswatcher
21st Jun 2004, 13:36
sparkymarky, out of interest, did your friends have their name & destination address inside the case, and/or their name and destination city on handle tag? I have often wondered whether this advice on the BA site would ever prove useful.

witchdoctor
21st Jun 2004, 15:08
Not sure what type of luggage you have (ok, had), but when it comes to a situation like this, it is always worth having something immediately recognisable, preferably in some lurid colour like yellow or red. Doesn't make it look pretty, but it's also worth writing your surname in large letters on the bottom of the luggage with a permanent marker pen.

If you ever get the chance to look into the baggage halls in the underbelly of an airport, you'll soon see just how many thousands of bland, anonymous blue/black pieces of luggage exist. Even a personalised strap doesn't help much. Not too surprising that some go missing from time to time and prove an absolute b#gger to track down.

jonathang
21st Jun 2004, 16:43
Instead of reaching over and reassigning one of the tags, he said he'd call the baggage handlers and get them to sort it out. They weren't happy with this and tried to persuade him just to fix it straight away, but he point blank refused.

I agree that the bag should have been re-tagged at check-in from the dispatch side of things we end up sorting these problems at the last minute. People make mistakes.

Apparently (and I'm open to correction if this is wrong) there's some sort of system for tracking misdirected baggage in the UK. But no system for tracking it if it leaves the country.

Yes the system is called the world tracer and it generally works very well if all destinations use it effectively.

The system as it says is a world wide system and works on the the IATA three letter codes i.e. GLA , LTN etc.

When a missing bag report is filled at the destination an (AHL) file. Or to the punter a Property Irregularity Report (PIR). The world tracer automatically tries to match the Bag tax i.e. (XH456348) and or the name, contents etc of the passenger to.

All (OHD) files, or on-hand bags at all other destinations.

When a misrouted bag turns up at a destination it is placed in the system as an (OHD).

All the world tracer does is match (AHL) and (OHD) files. Once a match is found the destination requests the bag and it is rushed on another flight or flights via the fastest route possible.

Basically if you don't keep your baggage receipts the chances of your bag being found are reduced dramatically.

So, the assumption is the case was mistakenly loaded on a plane heading for a foreign location. Maybe it's chilling in Amsterdam, or sunning itself on the Costas, or maybe it's seeing the sights in New York, Chicago or Canada! It certainly seems to have gone further then the owner - and there's no way of tracking it. Not very security conscious.

This assumption is highly likely. What passengers also misunderstand is the bag may have been routed by accident on another airline's aircraft. It should not happen but in reality does. If the destination did not put the bag onhand under the correct airline, at a random destination, doesn't take a genius to work out if there is no bag tag on the missing bag. Chances of finding a bag on a contents match over many destinations. Especially if itís a Black Trolley Bag for example is extremely small.

Not very security conscious.

Yep, the system isnít full proof still human error, however the bags would all be scanned anyway.

My moneys on the bag still being somewhere in Glasgow airport.

Possible but doubtful as it would be an easy match for Luton. Glasgow would place that bag onhand and first thing Luton would do when report is filled in would be to check Glasgow's onhand bags. Itís likely to be a misroute.


hope this helps.

Its not as easy as it looks.

Globaliser
21st Jun 2004, 17:29
jonathang: Possible but doubtful as it would be an easy match for Luton. Glasgow would place that bag onhand and first thing Luton would do when report is filled in would be to check Glasgow's onhand bags. Itís likely to be a misroute.What puzzles me, though, and would probably puzzle the OP just as much, is this: The missing bag didn't have a tag on it, and never had a tag on it. Why on earth would anyone at GLA even think of putting it onto any aircraft at all?

jonathang
21st Jun 2004, 18:52
Globaliser: -What puzzles me, though, and would probably puzzle the OP just as much, is this: The missing bag didn't have a tag on it, and never had a tag on it. Why on earth would anyone at GLA even think of putting it onto any aircraft at all?

Agreed, It is unlikely to happen but unfortunately does happen when the bags are being loaded into the trolleys it not impossible for the the baggage sort area guys to make a mistake.

The other possibility if there was previous flight bag tag. For example a STN tag on the bag it could have added to the STN flights trolleys.

This can also happen when there are 3 or 4 flights to the same Destination going out at once, i.e. Palma (PMI). Late at night pulling bags for 4 flights all PMI it's not difficult to load them on the wrong flight.

Clearly the next question will be why were the bags not over. A bag down could cancel the error.

And yes that is a check-in job to remove the previous tags but when itís under the bag on the other side etc it can be missed.

Hope this helps.

sparkymarky
22nd Jun 2004, 08:30
newswatcher

I'm told the bag didn't have any other identifying details so the BA advice does make sense. A lesson learned for the future! Apparently the police asked this too.

I'm also told it definitely didn't have any tags from a previous journey.


The baggage handlers at Glasgow say the case isn't there - they've been asked by Servisair and the police, so it does sound like it's gone to some overseas location and is lost forever.

That said, there's a pink t-shirt with the slogan 'Glamour Friendly' written on it, in the case. So if some lost property person is reading this and finds such a t shirt let me know. I'm told there's only five in the world so you know where it came from!

Thanks for all the info. Much appreciated.