Better Baggage Info Needed at Gate

Discussion in 'United Airlines | MileagePlus' started by Weatherboy, Nov 18, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,196
    Likes Received:
    7,437
    Status Points:
    5,245
    So I checked-in for my flight more than 6 hours early yesterday, unable to get any seats on earlier departures home...even though there were at least 3 flights headed there over my 6+ hour wait.

    On my last UA trip, I had to check bags...and waited roughly an hour for them to come in baggage claim at EWR. If my bag beat me home, I didn't want to wait that long again to see where it was.

    UA and other carriers sometime have a habit of putting bags on the next flight out regardless of what the tag says, so when it was time for my flight to go, I asked the gate agent whether or not he could determine if my bag made it out sooner.

    He said "there was no use checking" since as a prior bag agent himself, he knows bags only fly with the passenger. I said check anyway because my experience says otherwise. He looked through the record and noticed my unusually early bag check-in time, but said my bag "would definitely be on the flight" although the way he said it made me think he was lying.

    I flew to EWR on an uneventful flight. Rather than wait an hour for my checked bag to no-show on the belt, I immediately went over to the baggage office at EWR even before the belt was activated for my flight. Sure enough, the agent told me "oh yeah, your bag came in over 3 hours ago...go over to the QOH deck to claim it." I was able to walk there and get my bag before most of the other passengers on my flight were even in the baggage claim area.

    I don't know if the origin UA agent was lying or just lacked the info to accurately report whether my bag was scanned on an earlier flight, but it'd sure be nice if the UA mobile app or agents in general had better information about bags too. Had I not been so over-proactive, I'm sure I'd be waiting at EWR quite a while for a bag that was already there.
     
    8MiHi, IDGflygirl and sobore like this.
  2. ssullivan
    Original Member

    ssullivan Gold Member

    Messages:
    27,358
    Likes Received:
    60,275
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I agree. It would be wonderful if the UA app had bag tracking information. The DL app does, and it's really the only useful feature that DL includes in its app that is unique.
     
  3. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,215
    Likes Received:
    61,743
    Status Points:
    20,020
    I'm willing to bet that the GA had no idea where the bag was as they wouldn't have the bag tracing system up on screen at the gates. While they shouldn't lie or make up answers when they don't know for certain at some level your pressing them for information they don't have likely created an uncomfortable situation.
     
  4. bucketlist
    Original Member

    bucketlist Silver Member

    Messages:
    94
    Likes Received:
    101
    Status Points:
    380
    Last Monday (12 Nov), on DUB-iad-DFW...MSY something similar happened. The 1st 2 legs were on UA, the last on AA. Bags checked thru in DUB to MSY, w/ all intermediate and final cities showing on the bag tag. The bags seemed to go direct from IAD-MSY, as it bags at UA baggage claim in MSY and the agent there told my SO bags arrived several hours earlier.

    For flight originating in DUB, you clear US customs in DUB, so when the flight arrives, it it's just like a normal internal US flight. Don't know if this changed anything.

    I asked UA service, in IAD, if bags were following me and was assured that as they were international bags, they had to go on my flights (frustrating any attempt to stand by for earlier flights). They also said they had no way to tell where the bags were.

    Now it was sensible for UA to put my bags on the non-stop, IAD-MSY, avoid a flight to DFW then transfer to AA and avoid possible grief if my bags didn't make it, but it would have been nice if they'd told me that or if there was some way to learn that. It also would have facilitated stand by for an earlier flight and alerted me to not wait for all AA bags to appear, then file a claim at AA, then (probably) be told to go direct to the UA left bag office, where they'd been for hours.

    This actually helped get us out of MSY quickly - the bags were there, my SO thought to check UA 1st, so we weren't delayed, but there should be a better way.
     
  5. Seacarl
    Original Member

    Seacarl Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,521
    Likes Received:
    11,372
    Status Points:
    16,520
    It would be sensible to allow pax to enter their bag numbers and see the bag status - whether on the website or mobile site or app.
     
    8MiHi likes this.
  6. Weatherboy

    Weatherboy Gold Member

    Messages:
    4,196
    Likes Received:
    7,437
    Status Points:
    5,245
    Does the TSA mandate that bags follow the passenger?
     
    LETTERBOY likes this.
  7. Seacarl
    Original Member

    Seacarl Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,521
    Likes Received:
    11,372
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Interesting question - maybe that's why there's no online bag info. But I believe that rule only applies to international flights - if you don't board an international flight, your bag has to come off. I don't think that rule applies domestically.

    Leaving Europe on occasion there used to be the bag match game, where all of the baggage was lined up on the tarmac and you had to ID your bags. It was a bit of a goat rodeo.
     
    8MiHi likes this.
  8. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,215
    Likes Received:
    61,743
    Status Points:
    20,020
    No. The airline can separate bags from the passenger at will. It is more difficult to separate yourself from your bag, but it does not have to follow you 100% of the time. If it did then lost bags would never be delivered.
     
    8MiHi, Counsellor and LETTERBOY like this.
  9. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,325
    Likes Received:
    9,603
    Status Points:
    7,570
    No as all bags in the US are scanned. UA does require that bags travel with customers on international flights.
     
    cheepneezy, Flyer1976, desamo and 4 others like this.
  10. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,325
    Likes Received:
    9,603
    Status Points:
    7,570
    UA does have 2 systems to trace bags that agents can use. One is BOLT, the bag system for taking delayed claims and is a sCO system that the New UA uses. The other is BOLT, a sUA system, that is the scanning system that shows every scan a bag receives. Not all agents know how to use either of these systems since they are area specific to those working in baggage service department.
     
  11. LETTERBOY
    Original Member

    LETTERBOY Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,650
    Likes Received:
    2,522
    Status Points:
    1,425
    In 2010, I flew IAD-LAS on UA, arriving at LAS on Friday evening. Almost as soon as I got to the baggage carousel, the UA luggage office made a PA announcement for certain named pax to come to the baggage office, with my name being one of them. I thought, "Aw, s***." As soon as I got there, the UA employee told me that my bag was routed through DEN, and before I even had time to get angry, told me that I would get it later that night, took down my hotel information, and gave my some kind of tag I could use (can't remember exactly what it was) that I could use to track my bag's progress online. At about 2 AM Saturday morning, the bag was delivered to my hotel. Granted, this was before the merger-related computer integration, so that may have had something to do with why my experience was so smooth. I was rather annoyed (to put it mildly) that this happened, but UA did exactly what they said they would do, when they said they would do it.

    Until the above happened, this is what I thought as well.
     
  12. Scottrick
    Original Member

    Scottrick Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,586
    Likes Received:
    4,078
    Status Points:
    2,570
    This does exist at baggage status kiosks, which I've only seen at SFO, IAD, and SEA. However, I think they only work for determining which carousel your bag is at or if it's lost. It won't tell you much if you're still en route (probably because I only see them at baggage claim, and you'd have no reason to be their if en route).
     
    IDGflygirl likes this.
  13. secretsea18
    Original Member

    secretsea18 Gold Member

    Messages:
    7,729
    Likes Received:
    44,584
    Status Points:
    14,020
    There are Baggage status kiosks at LAX too.
     
  14. lhrsfo
    Original Member

    lhrsfo Silver Member

    Messages:
    183
    Likes Received:
    139
    Status Points:
    375
    The question of separating bags from passengers is interesting. It was always regarded as a huge security hole in the days before suicide bombing became fashionable. The theory went that a potential bomber would pack a bomb in his bag and then fail to show up at the gate. The bag would fly and he (or she) would not.

    Accordingly certainly in Europe and I believe in most other countries also (but not the US which then was not very conscious of airline security), there were strict rules put in place. If a passenger had a checked bag and did not board, that bag had to be removed. For much the same reason, the bag could not be put on an earlier flight, as the passenger might not show up for the booked flight. However, it did not apply to delayed bags, since the act of the passenger boarding a flight satisfied the security concern.

    Clearly events this century has shown this as not a foolproof method, but it's still a good, and relatively painless, security process. The only real downside is the delay when a passenger does not board. At that stage, the passenger's checked bag has to be found and off-loaded, which can be a lengthy process.
     
  15. estnet
    Original Member

    estnet Gold Member

    Messages:
    1,749
    Likes Received:
    2,117
    Status Points:
    1,270
    Except when they don't - if you are connecting and a flight is delayed and you change there seems to be NO ATTEMPT for UA to
    get your bag on your flight (I spent hours trying to get them to do the right thing, but they didn't so I was without needed luggage
    for 3 days. The gate agents and RCC people either can't or won't co-ordinate with the luggage people.
     
  16. DTWBOB

    DTWBOB Silver Member

    Messages:
    748
    Likes Received:
    921
    Status Points:
    750
    I've had it happen with Delta -- and in one case at a small airport (FNT) I came in on the last flight of the day and was paged to the ticket desk (there's no baggage office there) as soon as I was off the plane and told my bag had beaten me. It was a win win situation, I got to head home earlier and so did the employee who paged me.

    I think what the OP encountered was a lazy employee who didn't want to work any harder than necessary. Not a surprise at a busy airport, particularly in the NYC area.

    DTWBOB
     
  17. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

    Messages:
    28,215
    Likes Received:
    61,743
    Status Points:
    20,020
    Or an employee who doesn't know the system and really has no reason to know it being pressed by a customer to give answers that they don't know how to get at.
     
    LETTERBOY likes this.
  18. adambadam
    Original Member

    adambadam Silver Member

    Messages:
    473
    Likes Received:
    384
    Status Points:
    595
    I for one am against the whole bag info on an app thing. I am all for a text message or some other alert if they scan your bag at the carousel and you are not there, but the last thing I need is for an overzealous passenger to throw a fit because the app hasn't been updated or their bag gets lost as we are trying to depart.

    At SFO it is usually pretty easy to check to see if you bag came in on an earlier flight before the current bags even start coming out (not to mention the computers that let you check). They try to stick the same origins to the same baggage claims so that bags from one airport will be grouped together in cases like these.
     
    LETTERBOY likes this.
  19. TravelerRob
    Original Member

    TravelerRob Silver Member

    Messages:
    645
    Likes Received:
    486
    Status Points:
    620
    This just happened to me on Friday. I had to check two bags and I had a long layover at IAH. There was a flight before the one I was booked on that left for SEA but I was too far down on the standby list, even as a 1K :( SEA is such a tough route.

    Anyway, got to SEA on the later flight and my bags were waiting for me by carousel 16. That rocked as several UA flights arrived at the same time and SEA has the slowest baggage claim of any domestic airport.

    FYI, SEA does have bag tracking kiosks as well by carousel 16. I fully agree with everyone else that UA should add bag tracking to their app. Hopefully it's on the horizon. DL can already do this and it's a great feature. You can be sitting on a plane (e.g. SLC-SEA) and load your bag info before the door closes to know whether your bag is actually on the plane or not. Great feature.

    -Rob
     
  20. Seacarl
    Original Member

    Seacarl Gold Member

    Messages:
    10,521
    Likes Received:
    11,372
    Status Points:
    16,520
    Quoted for truth. C'mon UA, you can do better in SEA

    +1
     
  21. sfogate
    Original Member

    sfogate Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,325
    Likes Received:
    9,603
    Status Points:
    7,570
    I made a typo mistake, the sUA baggage system is called BART. BART is the best way to see every bag scan your bag has had.
     
  22. Golden Toque

    Golden Toque Gold Member

    Messages:
    2,571
    Likes Received:
    3,540
    Status Points:
    2,070
    I think the wording is such that a passenger cannot knowingly seperate themselves from their bags... Purposefully leaving out the part about the carrier perhaps?
     
    Wandering Aramean likes this.
  23. Maximizer

    Maximizer Silver Member

    Messages:
    131
    Likes Received:
    114
    Status Points:
    420
    The worst is when your baggage arrives later than you for no good reason whatsoever. Out of 4 times that we checked child seats, 3 times they came on a later flight, even though our regular bags arrived with us, and everything was uneventful otherwise (no rush to check-in, flights on time). And of course child seats are the worst pieces of luggage to arrive late because it's hard to leave the airport without them! Yeah they give loaners, which are inferior and very worn.

    Anyone know why UA (and sCO) dislike their younger customers so much? ;) Now we always gate-check child seats, which is a hassle but at least gives us piece of mind.
     

Share This Page