Thank You Etihad Airways

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30 minutes spent online trying to sort a flight itinerary out to attend a mate’s wedding in Scotland in April. Worked (finally) all the connections and which day Etihad flew to Birmingham or Aberdeen etc. Finally got an itinerary sorted, pressed the button that takes you through to actually booking and paying for the flight and the result?

A Bug in their software.

Sigh – maybe I should check Emirates instead!

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Fly United … Not!

Being a traveller and having flown to around 50 countries and flown many times, I can appreciate the frustration of some of the arrogant things some airlines do. I’ve had luggage go missing. When I was living in the UK, the guy that used to deliver lost luggage when it finally turned up used to telephone me and let me know when he was arriving so I could have the kettle boiled when he arrived for a cup of tea. Yes, he had come to my place many times. Then there was the tale of my luggage here, when Thomo’s Baggage Flies Further Than Thomo and Talking About Thomo’s Baggage Flies Further Than Thomo. Fortunately the airlines have buckled to their responsibility with me – or perhaps I have just been lucky by avoiding American Airlines.

Dave Carroll has not been so lucky.

In a blog post called United Breaks Guitars Carroll explains his trials and tribulations with United Airlines. Reading this post is a wonderful example of customer non-service and buck passing. What’s best, however, is the music.

Dave Carroll is a musician and when he finally folded in his struggle with United, he promised to write three songs. The second song is in preparation now, but the first song and video is available for viewing on YouTube – really worth watching. Enjoy it.

Lunch At Dubai International Airport

I was travelling from Bangkok to Jeddah via Dubai. I had a 10-hour transit in Dubai. Killing some time at the airport I was walking around. It was then I discovered that the Safar Restaurant on the Departure Level provides free meals for Emirates Airlines transit passengers whose transit period is 4 hours or longer.

No one had mentioned this to me.

Flying Emirates and having a 10-hour transit, I therefore had lunch. Not great but not so bad either.

Talking about Thomo’s Baggage Flies Further Than Thomo

For those of you who were interested, the bags did not turn up to the Hotel. At 9:00 pm, after a Pizza from Ronnie’s New York Pizza in Sukhumvit Soi 4, I went to the airport. My bag had still not been seen.

At the airport I asked a Thai Airways type person where Thai Airways handled lost baggage. She said “G Floor”. I went to the lift and checked – there was no “G” Floor. So I found another Thai Airways person and asked them. They said “on the arrivals floor under G Section here”. I went there.

I located the Lost Baggage office and stormed in, really, annoyed by now about my baggage. I let the staff there have it with a full description of how long I had been without my baggage and finishing with a comment about how unhappy I was.

The Thai Staff in that office said “er, we are domestic lost baggage – you need to talk to International”.

“Where is that?” I asked.

“In the secure area” they noted.

At this point they told me to wait and then they telephoned the International Lost Baggage Office. A guy from that office met me and accompanied me into the secure area. We spent a happy 45 minutes searching through hundreds of lost bags until someone said “flight from Sydney?” Upon answering yes, he took us to the back corner of this office and lifted a bag down from the shelves … my bag.

So, about 10 pm on the night I was flying out I was reunited finally with my bag. I had flown Bangkok to Sydney (then driven to Canberra and back) then returned to Bangkok.

My bag had travelled Bangkok to Frankfurt to Vienna to Kuala Lumpur to Sydney and then on to Bangkok.

Pity I could not get the frequent flyer miles for my bag.

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Thomo’s Baggage Flies Further Than Thomo
Sunday night, Bangkok, nice new airport called Suvarnabhumi (still haven’t got my tongue around that one yet) and Thai Airlines (who had recently moved their head of Baggage Services to a desk with no responsibility). Thomo was flying from Bangkok to Sydney on the flight that left 18:15 from the airport. Thomo arrived in Sydney Monday morning but his bags did now.

 

So, finally, an email from the Bag Lady in Sydney to tell me that my bag will be arriving Sydney soon and she will instruct for it to go on the flight to Bangkok tonight means I may have my bag tomorrow – before I fly out again.

Thomo …. Not a happy passenger!

Thomo’s Baggage Flies Further Than Thomo

Sunday night, Bangkok, nice new airport called Suvarnabhumi (still haven’t got my tongue around that one yet) and Thai Airlines (who had recently moved their head of Baggage Services to a desk with no responsibility). Thomo was flying from Bangkok to Sydney on the flight that left 18:15 from the airport. Thomo arrived in Sydney Monday morning but his bags did not.

Filled in the report with the ground staff. This is not Thai staff but is outsourced to the Menzies Company in Australia – they also handle Emirates baggage, amongst others – more on that later. I then picked up the hire car and drove to Canberra after being promised that I would be contacted later that day with news of my bag.

Got up Tuesday morning and as I had not heard from Thai Airlines, I telephoned the contact numbers given me. The Thai staff member who looks after this was on sick leave so I called Menzies. After much enquiring they noted that they believed my bag had been located in Frankfurt and could I tell them what brand it was.

“Polo, I think” said Thomo.

“Yes, we believe that the bag is Polo” said the Menzies staff. We will have the bag sent to Sydney.

“OK” says Thomo, but please remember I am in Canberra so telephone me about delivery. Also note that I am likely to fly out of the country again tomorrow afternoon or Thursday.

“Oh, OK. It will take 30 hours for the bag to get back from Frankfurt” says the ever helpful Menzies.

“But that means it will arrive in Australia after I have left” says Thomo.

“Well, we will have it come anyway” says Menzies.

At this point I went out to do the business I had come to Canberra for. Later that day, I called Thai again and spoke to the Sales Supervisor who was on holidays. She was sympathetic and helpful and promised to do what she could. Later that day I confirmed my flight out on Wednesday.

Wednesday (er, yesterday as it seems), I checked in at Sydney Airport with my Woolworth’s Shopping bag, laptop and camera, and spoke to the Thai Ground Staff at the airport (not the Menzies staff). They checked my bag and said “yes, we have found it, it is currently in Vienna and is due to go on a flight to Sydney via Kuala Lumpur”.

To be fair to Thai, she did notice, at this point, that I was not going to be in Australia and so she said she would try and have “the bag pulled from the bin in Kuala Lumpur”. I asked her for a contact number for baggage lost and found in Bangkok, Thai’s home port, but she did not have that so she gave me the general reservation number instead.

I arrived in Bangkok.

Thursday morning I got up, had breakfast. I received a phone call from the Thai Bag Lady in Sydney (who has been most helpful) and she gave me the number for the baggage lost and found at Suvarnabhumi Airport. Unfortunately I copied the number down wrongly and so I rang the Thai reservations number in Bangkok. The nice person there, simply identified as agent 3176 (yes, that was what the telephone system identified her as), gave me the number of the baggage lost and found at the new airport.

I telephoned that number but no one there spoke English. They did give me another telephone number which was never answered. I checked the Thai Airways website and they have a press release there called “THAI Sets Up Call Center on Lost Baggage” which notes that “Passengers who have not yet received their baggage may contact THAI’s Baggage Service Department at Tel. 0 2130-0057-58, 0 2130-0060, 24-hours a day.” Of course, no one speaks English there. The web address so you can check is http://www.thaiairways.com/About_Thai/Newsroom/Press_Release/Press_Year_2006/press0906_274.htm

So, finally, an email from the Bag Lady in Sydney to tell me that my bag will be arriving Sydney soon and she will instruct for it to go on the flight to Bangkok tonight means I may have my bag tomorrow – before I fly out again.

Thomo …. Not a happy passenger!