For many travelers, baggage claim is the ninth ring of hell – the final test of your wits, your poise, and your patience. A special kind of torture.
You were able to get from your gate to the baggage claim area in a few minutes, but bags like to take their time. As your patient waiting turns into impatient waiting, and a four-dollar Snickers bar turns into a stale regret, you begin to feel frustration growing inside you, like an increasingly upset stomach. Or maybe that’s just the candy bar.
“What’s taking so long?”
As if they could sense you on the edge of hysterics, the baggage carousel finally begins its whirr to life. A fleeting sense of comfort washes over you as the very first bag crests over the conveyor belt and slides onto the interlocking aluminum plates. But it’s not your bag. It’s never your bag. Inevitably, the convenience of being the first bag out is always squandered on some oblivious passenger who is nowhere to be found. Whose bag is it? Why aren’t they here to pick it up? I mean, what else do they have to do in the airport at this point? It’s been half an hour since our plane landed. Are they getting a haircut in here or something? What kind of person buys a duffel bag in such an ugly floral pattern anyway?
Fellow passengers file by, leisurely picking up bags that seem to appear with perfect timing. Meanwhile, your charcoal gray Samsonite is nowhere to be found. With nothing to do but watch as the floral duffel bag taunts you with each unclaimed pass around the carousel, your mind begins to wander. Does this floral duffel bag even belong to anyone? What if it’s all part of some subtle psychological joke that baggage handlers like to play? A bag that belongs to no one, but always shows up first.
The carousel jolts to a halt and the little sign above it changes from SFO to JFK. Along with it, your emotions change from frustration to desperation. Suddenly, you don’t mind how long you’ve been waiting, you just want your bag to be here.
Enough. You stomp over to customer service, ready to yell your throat out of your body, but it’s no use. For one, the sugary countenance of the service rep is impenetrable. Secondly, no amount of yelling is going to get your bag here, because it’s in Barcelona.
Somewhere else on Earth, a woman wonders if she’ll ever see her floral duffel bag again.
Come to TUCON 2012 to learn how the transportation and logistics industry is using TIBCO software to improve service and prevent incidents like this one.