In airline news, other than the massive dropping of numerous flights and raising prices ridonkulously, Delta is merging with Northwest. I have to admit that my first (admittedly ungenerous) reaction was, “when you add crap to poop, you still don’t get ice cream.”
Delta has been the bane of my existence as an airline traveler. I’ve lived in Long Island, NY, as well as Atlanta, Lexington (KY), and currently Chattanooga, among other places. My family remains in NY, so I fly to see them quite often, and then there’s the various professional conference-type things. Not once have I flown Delta that they haven’t lost my luggage. Not a single time. (I credit them for my penchant to fly with copious amounts of underwear in my carry-on.)
Not only have they lost my luggage, but the service desk is always quite snotty about it (which horrifies me as someone committed to good customer experience). I had the temerity to ask, given that they had barcode-stickered my luggage, if they could at least let me know the last place my luggage had been zapped. (Sort of a proof-of-life thing, since I saw that documentary on how some airline got caught dumping lost luggage in dumpsters.) I was informed, in a haughty voice, that they didn’t actually *use* the barcodes on my luggage – it was there simply so I could match the number stuck on my ticket to the number on my bag.
This offends me. not the snottiness – that’s fine. I completely understand having a shitty job where you have to deal with the repercussions of someone else’s failures. I used to work retail, I get it. I am, however, offended by the use of BARCODES when you are not actually utilizing the barcode for its intended purpose. Why don’t you just use regular old numbers? Is it because using a barcode makes it look like you are actually keeping track of which bag goes onto which plane? Everyone knows that as long as something *looks* official, people will accept it.
So, yeah. That long-ass sticky thing on your luggage? Not really used for anything, including tracking. Unless it gets lost. And then if you haven’t retained your ticket jacket, where they stuck the corresponding barcode number, you are out of luck. So, okay, the barcode does do something – it’s there as your way to give Delta information in the case that their incompetence results in the loss of your bag. That way when they find it, they can type in the number and figure out it should be with you instead of in Philly. Where you neither came from, arrived, or transferred at.
I don’t know if Delta’s merging with Northwest is a good or bad thing, though my libraryfolk have little good to say about Northwest, either. I doubt it, since the airlines seem a bastion of inefficiency and error.
I would like to point Delta to A Librarian’s Guide to Etiquette, and today’s post on being obsessive-compulsive. Not that Delta is at all OCD – they don’t seem to mind being heartily disorganized and losing items. But they really should listen to the part that says “excessive incompetence isn’t good for anyone.” Really, Delta. I mean it.