How do Airlines Improve Luggage Handling? Simple and it’s Proven, I Will Explain. Justice is Your Right as an Air Travel Consumer, Demand it Now!

Posted on June 5, 2008. Filed under: Travel, Uncategorized |

We all understand the airlines are in rough shape and we know the fuel costs are crippling many airlines, many people will be put out of work because of it and I wish them well. Just hanging in there in a industry that is so volatile for so many years is a testament to their desire to do what they love doing and to serve you the customer. Trust me, working in the airline industry gets into your blood and the transition out to something less exciting is a tough one.

So the airlines are now charging you to check your bags because it is an additional way to create revenue for a struggling industry. I understand it, I don’t agree with it but would agree with it if the airlines guarantee you that your luggage arrives to your destination when you do!!!

This is the part that really ticks me off, you are paying more money for a baggage handling process that has shown no improvement for many years now. More than 8 Million bags were mishandled worldwide in 2007 (42.5 Million) than the year before. Your bags are at risk as is your entire reason for traveling yet the airlines have vehemently stated they will charge you the fee for checking your luggage but will not refund that fee even if they mishandle your luggage. This is outrageous to me and it should be to you!

Take a stand, contact your congressman or write to the airline executives and tell them that if they mishandle, delay, damage, pilfer or lose your bag, the fee for checking it is automatically refunded immediately or they can offer you a free voucher for checking your next bag, or do not charge you to check your bag on your return flight. These are some options available to the industry executives to do for you when they fail to handle your luggage properly . Trust me I have never seen a customer come out on the winning end of a mishandled bag scenario.

Doing this would put pressure on the airlines and force the airline executives to focus more on the improvement of their luggage failures which are dramatically increasing year after year. Who pays the price for their incompetence? You do. Baggage is the forgotten entity in senior management yet has increased in worldwide costs from $1.6 Billion in 2004 to exceeding $3.87 Billion in 2006, I have not seen the latest stats on this for 2007 but i guarantee you it has increased even more. Think about this?? The industry experts are saying that world airlines this year will lose an estimated $6.1 Billion dollars this year. Why do people focus on that but not on the billions of dollars being wasted on poor baggage handling. What does your bag mean to you in the purpose of your travel? I bet it means allot and it should to the airlines as well.

So how do the airlines begin to improve luggage handling for you and the purpose of your travel? It’s proven and it works!

  • To begin to fix a problem you need to talk about it and focus on it.
  • Too many luggage handlers view luggage as nothing more than a bag, a hassle and a job, I know I was a luggage handler at one time many years ago but one who cared very much even then.
  • Put the human and customer factor and your ultimate travel experience and attach it to the bag.
  • A person/customer is part of the bag as one they are not separate identities, what happens to a bag also happens to the customer in the form of lost  time, money, business, frustration and more.
  • Meet with all new hire groups regardless of the job they are hired to do, meet with all current ramp (Baggage handlers) and ticket counter agents and do this with every group in their company orientation or through a series of meetings with current staff and do it continuosly.
  • Tell the stories of those customers you have helped with their luggage woes and  what the airlines baggage mishandling caused or cost the customer attached to the bag.
  • Explain the process to your employees for settling a baggage claim.
  • Talk about the cost to the airline, customers and what eliminating or greatly reducing the baggage associated costs would mean to the airlines bottom line and survival.
  • By putting a face and an experience to the bag itself creates the emotional ties of what a bag means to the customer and the outcome of their travel.
  • Reward baggage handling improvement with insentives to win a trophy to display to that stations customers showing them that the employees there know the value of their luggage. Offer a certificate showing that mishandled luggage goals were met or exceeded and stations can frame it and display it to their customers. Offer a station feast for the station with the most improvement in luggage mishandle reductions.
  • People like rewards and they work hard to get them. Employees who care about the rewards and recognition get on their own team members to make sure they do their best.
  • Now watch the luggage performance greatly improve and your travel experience will benefit for it.

Folks, I guarantee this works and with very little cost or effort to improve the handling of your luggage. I did this with my own former airline. People I spoke to in orientation a year ago would see me in the airport or a hallway and stop me to tell me what a difference I made by sharing your experiences with them and also what they personally do to take better care of your luggage. My former airline went to #1 in the industry domestically for the least number of baggage mishandles and stayed there year after year.

Make them earn the new fee! In the end it will be worth it and you will save money, and that folks I guarantee. The choice is up to you, do what you always do and get what you have always gotten and then don’t complain when your travel plans abruptly change because your luggage did not make it with you. The choice is yours. I cannot be anymore clear on what action you and the airlines need to take now! Blessings and safe travels always.

Scott T. Mueller

Author The Empty Carousel a Consumer’s Guide to Checked and Carry-on Luggage



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