The holidays are here! It’s a time to enjoy family, hopefully a little time off from work and a time to shop for more things for others to be thankful for.
It’s also a very stressful time. We’ve got great expectations of what will be and should be over the holidays. Many of us are traveling from here to there and our sheer numbers in tight places make everything a wee bit more difficult. Sometimes we even forget about being thankful for each other and we slip into a wee bit of holiday rage. You know, that time when we may yell at a fellow traveler for taking up too much overhead bin space or trample our neighbor in an effort to the get that special Black Friday deal.
I love spending time with family for the holidays, but I am not a big fan of the traveling. For some reason United Airlines thinks it’s funny to repeatedly lose our luggage. Last year over Christmas our suitcase was delivered to us after 5 days, right before we turned around to fly back home. Well worth the $15 each way we paid to have it flown to Pennsylvania in the first place.
This time we flew directly to Pennsylvania from Los Angeles, not passing go, not collecting two hundred dollars. I really did think to myself, “what could possibly go wrong?”
Our bags were delayed. It’s a sad and lonely feeling when you’re standing at the baggage carousel, watching the bags come out and twirl around on the belt. The people you flew in with are collecting their luggage and going off to have their adventures while you continue to stand there, waiting. Finally the belt stops and you are alone, still waiting for a bag that isn’t coming.
In this particular instance it only took just over one full day for our baggage to arrive but we were put through the wringer by United’s baggage claim staff while waiting. There were several times I caught them lying to me and when I called them on it they’d punish me by placing me on hold for increasingly long periods of time. Finally, I heard from the delivery company that United contracts to and after being told all day that the delivery company is unreachable by the public I was informed that they are public and they were shocked to hear that I was told by United that I could not contact them. The reason why, I learned from the delivery company, was that my luggage had only just arrived with them, which was in direct opposition to what I was told throughout the day by United.
So here you read me telling you that I caught United Airlines as a company, through their employees, lying to me and treating me badly. In order to give them their say I contacted them, told them I was writing this and asked if they would like to comment, promising to include it here. My response was a form letter telling me how to go about filing claims for delayed or damaged luggage. Should they reply in person at a later date I will place their response in the comments section.
The moral of the story, I believe, is that people will continue to be people, not always nice, often only looking out for themselves. Companies do the same to an even greater degree, but we continue to deal with it to get to spend time with the people we love.
That said, there’s no reason we should continue to put up with such treatment from the companies that rely on our patronage for their continued existence. We should demand better and if enough of us do it then they will treat us well and make that time we spend with our families even more precious.