When travel technology fails, be nice to the humans
A baggage handling agent sums up why people matter in travel and why we need to be nice to them
The baggage carousel stops and yours ain’t on it.
For travel agents, it puts pressure on the rest of the well crafted itinerary because that human is upset and the tirade begins…clearly all the agents fault
I was feeling the pressure; late nights at an interstate travel conference, a ridiculously early start to make the first connecting flight to participate in a sports event, before flying back same day to connect on to India.
Back to the carousel, the internal dialogue sounded like
“How @#$%^ hard is it to get my #$^&* bag to Melbourne.“ The 2:30am fire alarm hadn’t helped my mood.
I’ve been on the end of that phone call where me, my people or the tech at Stuba is “the idiot…”. But Glenn, standing behind the counter, wasn’t the cause but was skilled at dealing with stressed irrational pax.
So I took a deep breath.
“Hi, I was on that flight and my bag hasn’t shown up. It’s really important to get the bag because…”
Everyone Glen talks to, multiple times an hour, is the most important person in the world. Glen politely shuts me down as he knows the key to my happiness is the screen in front of him. Duly noted, I shut up.
“This is strange,…. You flew out Friday, here now, back again tonight and it looks like that’s where your bags have stayed, how strange…..”
Internal dialogue; “oh #$%^%”
I needed to get home, unpack, put on the washing, ask wife to get it dry for me, pick up my karate bag, head off to tournament, home a couple of hours later, pack clean clothes and head to the airport.
“Sorry Glen, I know it’s not your fault, I’m just realising that…”
“That’s okay Sir, I’m just trying to find your bag and….”
“Glen, no offence, but I know there won’t be a courier waiting here to drop it to my house and I will be back here at 4 o’clock for the next flight…”
Internal dialogue “@#$5 $@#^ ^%#4&”
” Now if you can describe your baggage to me….”
“Glen do I need to buy a new suitcase?”
I began managing the expectations with my wife, including would she buy me some jocks, and err, a new suitcase…
“Sorry babe, the handle broke off the washing machine just before and its locked up…”
“Sorry Mr Luckey, not entirely sure where about your bag is ….
The world was entirely out to @#$%@^ me and I was consciously working on the hard-core deep breaths.
Glen, with wry smile, had been monitoring my #firstworldproblem inner turmoil and to his incredible credit, had switched to expert mode, intrigued with this weirdness. I helped by blurting out uncontrollably
“I need five more pairs of jocks” and “where can I get a large Samsonite case from on a Sunday in 20 minutes…”
” Mr Luckey… is that your silver case with the purple strap wrapped around it coming around now with baggage from the Sydney flight?”
It was. Glen had weaved magic. Why?
Because I had not blown a gasket at him; because of that, he went above and beyond and decided to help. He came through.
When the technology fails, remember to be nice to the humans.