Thursday, March 01, 2007

The Joys of Traveling

On Monday, Adria and I flew from Anchorage to Washington, D.C. I needed to make the cross-country trip for some training and Adria came with me to keep me company while we wait for our apartment in Anchorage to get ready for us to move into.

One of the interesting things about Ted Stevens International Airport (and Alaska in general) is the amount of taxidermy that is on display. Adria once remarked, "It's like the entire state is the Bean Museum!" For instance in the picture below, Adria is standing in front of a world record Kodiak bear:

Our itinerary was to fly on Northwest Airlines from Anchorage to Minneapolis, switch planes and fly to Reagan National Airport in Washington DC. But, as with happened on my flight from Washington DC to Portland in July when I was stuck in the Denver airport for 3 hours, our plans didn't go as smoothly as expected. First our airplane arrived one hour late. We landed in Minneapolis and then had to run halfway across the airport to make our flight to DC. We made it to our airplane just as they were announcing the final boarding. After we got to our seats and sat down for a couple minutes, the pilot came on the loudspeaker and said that we had been waiting a couple of minutes so that they could get all of the luggage onto the plane. After landing in Washington DC, Adria and I made our way to the baggage carousel, only to find that our bags (along with many people who were also coming from Anchorage) where not there. After talking with an agent we found out that our luggage didn't make it on the flight and was still in Minnesota and it would be on the first flight the next day. The agent also gave us 2 vouchers for $25 off our next flight with Northwest. The vouchers included this note:
Dear Valued Northwest Customer,

We apologize for any inconvenience you experienced due to this luggage mishandling. Your business is important to us and we are disappointed that your luggage did not arrive with you.

Included is an amenity coupon and a Discount Travel E-Cert as our way of saying thank you for choosing Northwest Airlines.

Thanks for flying with us!

Andrew C. Roberts
Executive Vice President - Operations

Now, I have a two issues with this note:
  1. For being "disappointed that our luggage didn't arrive with us", this note doesn't seem too remorseful, or at least remorseful to the tune of a total of $50
  2. The $25 coupon carries the disclaimer of "Travel must be completed by October 31, 2007 or per rule of fare purchased, whichever occurs first." Other than traveling to Las Vegas for Adria's sister's wedding, I don't anticipate flying anyplace other than on business (and we certainly aren't flying NWA on that trip). This makes this a coupon that I am almost certainly not going to use.
After dealing with the agent, Adria and I took a cab to the hotel where my training took place and went to bed without our luggage (which ended up arriving 24 hours later).

But I guess we weren't the only ones who had problems getting our luggage on that day. Below are pictures that one of my buddies took of the piles of unclaimed luggage in the American Airlines terminal at Reagan National airport at about 10:30pm.

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