When it became apparent to Air Transat employees that Vivian’s backpack hadn’t made it on to the plane from Toronto to Manchester (England) with her on Saturday they should have sprung into action. When my luggage failed to accompany me last year I was informed by Air Canada employees before any bags hit the carousel. No waiting and wondering. It’s not that people aren’t trying to be helpful, but a pleasant attitude is no compensation for apparent incompetence.
Perhaps Air Transat didn’t know the bag was missing before the flight landed. Mistakes can happen. However, she was told her bag would be on the next flight. That was a blatant lie. Planes fly from Toronto to the UK several times daily. Her bag sat in Toronto until Monday, arriving in Manchester Tuesday morning. Maybe that was the next Air Transat flight to Manchester rather than the next flight, but Manchester was the arrival point, not her final destination.
It is about 120 kilometres between Manchester and Conwy, Wales, where Vivian stayed for the first four days of her trip. Assuming a steady walking pace of five kilometres per hour, that is 24 hours to walk the backpack there. I would have done it in a couple of days if I didn’t get too distracted by the scenery. It only takes 90 minutes by train or car. I hear a rumour they have both of those in the UK, but I can’t be sure since apparently no-one could figure out how to deliver the backpack.
“Customer Service” for Air Transat doesn’t deal with anything baggage related. I still haven’t figured out what they do. The “Central Baggage” department didn’t answer and didn’t return my call when I left a message. I called “Customer Service” and was assured that they would send an email to “Central Baggage” and I would hear from them “before the morning is out.” At 3 pm, no longer morning in any Canadian time zone, I called again. “Customer Service” informed me that my file was being handled by the president’s office. I guess he read the advance copy of Thursday’s blog that I had emailed him.
Unfortunately, his action apparently was to refer it to the Central Baggage, the people who don’t return phone calls. I received an email from the supervisor of the department telling me Vivian’s bag would be delivered Friday (today) and how to submit a compensation claim under the Montreal Convention (for the uninitiated, that is the conference the airlines held to determine industry-wide standards to shaft their customers). I already knew that information from my attempts to track the bag. And frankly, having received several broken promises already, I no longer believe delivery promises from Air Transat and its subcontractors.
In fairness, the subcontractor did deliver the bag Thursday – to the wrong town. On Sunday, when this saga started, Vivian provided Air Transat with her itinerary for the next week, including train times. She followed up with several emails to a company called Global Baggage Solutions (who have provided no solutions to date), stressing that she was only in Conwy for four days, and then leaving for Keswick.
The response? After she left for Keswick, Global Baggage Solutions sent her an email telling her to stay in Conwy because that’s where her bags would be delivered. If she wasn’t there, the bag would be taken back to Manchester for the weekend and be redirected then. By which point she will have left Keswick. Perhaps it is all a ruse – the bag is still in Toronto and they will deliver it to our home in Ottawa at the end of the month.
I was flabbergasted. Air Transat screwed up and its representative wanted my wife to change travel plans to accommodate them!
At this point it doesn’t look like Air Transat understands a basic business principle. Customer retention is a whole lot easier and cheaper than customer acquisition.