Monday 25 October 2010

As a hostage to a baggage crisis

Hostage to a baggage crisis

Everything went well for my return to Amsterdam from Stockholm until we got to Schiphol airport where the dial on the Farce-meter did read empty on competence and problem management.

Apparently there was an accident in the baggage sorting area that meant a delay in retrieving our baggage from baggage reclaim.

We were told there would be a delay of about 15 minutes; I think it was well passed the hour before I picked up my luggage.

As we waited by the assigned conveyor belt there were certain announcements made about the delay, then about the airport being a non-smoking airport, the advice not to leave luggage unattended and then changes to the assigned conveyor belts for baggage reclaim.

Amsterdam we are told has one of the most sophisticated baggage sorting systems and it has featured on the National Geographic television channel.

Between computers and silly human ideas

My concerns about those changes were two-fold, at first the indicators were not updated to reflect that change and then only the flight numbers were announced.

On the matter of the indicators, it should have been an easy software fix to show that under the remarks column that passengers to go to another conveyor belt and the newly assigned conveyor belt updated with the information.

I was quite surprised by the use of only the flight numbers because I never once checked my flight number and I felt people would have been better served by first announcing the origin of the flight and then the flight number, that way we would have been better focused on using the information properly.

Cities and flight numbers

From what I noticed of all fellow passengers as myself, none of us moved to the new conveyor belt because for each KLM flight number there were at least 5 code-sharing flight numbers – the time between scanning though the list of flights from other origins and then the one that pertained to your journey just left you hoping you will hear the advice again.

I did match the flight number to my flight but by then I had lost the other crucial information that I had to go to the service desk to be helped when Stockholm was cleared off the indicator as all baggage completely off-loaded.

At the service desk, I was told where to get my luggage and when I said they should have announced the origin with the flight numbers the lady looked at me as if it was a stupid suggestion and gave the silly excuse that there were so many flights to handle.

What it would have saved them and us if only they had done the sensible and easy thing – all announcements for boarding are made with flight numbers and destination, all notice boards with arrivals or departures always have origin or destination with flight numbers – I think the point is made.

The smell of home

As I walked to the trains a hawker of perfumes accosted me and ask if I had a wife, I had no time for small talk, talk less of smelly talk, I just wanted to get home but I had the presence of mind to refuse the offer of a cheap ticket bought in error to Amsterdam when the ticket machine offered a better discount.

I got home tucked in a mozzarella salad and that was home sweet home.

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