I spent the first two weeks of 2015 in Las Vegas attending CES and then NamesCon. After over two weeks I was looking forward to going home. I was "done".
I was meant to be flying Las Vegas - JFK - Dublin, leaving Vegas Friday morning and arriving into Dublin the following morning.
Unfortunately, as can happen, there were weather issues at JFK which led to flights destined for the airport being put on an "air traffic control restriction". Apparently there were heavy winds in JFK which meant that they had to close several of the runways. JFK is a busy airport, so any reduction in capacity will cause headaches and a nasty "domino effect". So my flight out of Vegas was delayed for about two hours. We were asked to disembark and wait in the boarding area. I was able to get to the American Express Centurion lounge, which was fairly close by. So the wait in Vegas wasn't particularly painful. But I knew that my delayed departure from Vegas meant that I'd miss my connecting flight.
I contacted Delta's Twitter account and they were very helpful and also made sure that I asked the right questions once I got to JFK.
JFK is a big airport and obviously the delays earlier in the day had impacted quite a few passengers. But Delta's staff were very easy to deal with and they gave me a few options and put me up in a hotel near the airport for the night. Oddly, while Delta did cover the hotel for the night they didn't actually cover breakfast or anything else. No matter.
So the next day I went back to the airport and spent most of the day in the Delta lounge. As I only had a light jacket and the clothes I was standing in hanging around New York wasn't an option, as it was -6 degrees outside!
I was being re-routed with Delta via Paris, so I'd now end up doing JFK - CDG - DUB which should have been fine. The flight to Paris was fine and also had wifi, which was nice (I wish they had it on their flights out of Dublin to the US!).
When I got to Paris, however, things went downhill.
The flight to Dublin was, as usual, with CityJet. They're very very small planes, so you either walk across the tarmac to board them or get bussed out to the planes and then walk across the tarmac to board. As I was boarding the flight to Dublin on Sunday morning I could see my three bags sitting on the tarmac beside the plane along with other people's bags.
I got to Dublin and went to collect my bags. I waited. I waited and eventually had to resign myself to the fact that only one of my bags had made it from Paris. The staff at the airport were very helpful and sympathetic, but there was nothing they could do as the bags had never been loaded onto the plane in Paris. So I filled out the baggage claim form.
That was Sunday.
Now this is where it just got weird.
From Sunday morning until Tuesday morning Air France apparently were unable to locate my bags. Delta confirmed that the bags had made it to Paris - I knew already, as I'd walked past them on the tarmac. But Air France didn't know where my bags were.
Delta's mobile app includes baggage tracking
I was in communication with their agents in Dublin, in Paris and via Twitter with both Air France and Delta.
Eventually I was contacted on Tuesday morning to say that they'd located the bags and that they would be delivered probably at some point on Wednesday. The bags finally made it to me on Wednesday evening.
Air France customer service were in touch with me, but nobody has explained to me the gap between the bags not being put on the plane on Sunday and them finally making it to Dublin on Wednesday.
Here's their email to me from Friday - emphasis added:
Thank you for your message received on Twitter. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience concerning the delayed luggage following your journey from New York JKF to Dublin on the 17th of January.
I am also very sorry to learn that your disappointment was further compounded by the fact that you saw you luggage on the loading ramp before the departure of your flight AF1716 (operated as DL8577). We consider the efficient handling of customers’ baggage to be of prime importance and every effort is made to provide an efficient and rapid baggage transfer and delivery service. Regrettably, in this occasion your bag failed to be loaded on your connecting flight. This could have been related to an issue with the luggage tag or luggage hold capacity on this particular flight.
In recognition of the inconveniences you were caused and as a token of our appreciation of your understandable disappointment, I am pleased to offer you 5000 miles that will be credit in your Flying blue card xxxxxxx.
We will always make our best efforts to alleviate any problem especially our most loyal customers might face.
We hope that our gesture can work towards restoring your faith in our company and would consider ourselves privileged if you would allow us to welcome you on board again soon.
While I appreciate the olive branch I'm still rather annoyed about the lack of explanation as to why it took them so long to locate the bags and send them on to me. Of course this isn't the first time I've had issues with Air France and bags..
Will I ever get an explanation? I'm not going to hold my breath!