Airport Diaries – Five legs is one too many

Posted in Travel at 14:31 by Kathleen

(written on June 8th, 2007)

I’m off to Brazil. And from Hilo, Hawai’i, it’s a trip! Two days! My flight is not too bad, though, long waits in airports but this way I don’t have run. However, I found out that a five-legged flight can be trouble.

Did you know that those tags they stick to checked baggage can only cover 4 legs? Five legs (i.e. 6 airports), like my flight, is simply one too many leg. They can write-up a “manual” tag, but apparently the probability that the tag is ripped off and the baggage lost is very high. Airlines losing checked baggage?! No, really? Hey! If they actually say that the bag is more likely to be lost with the manual tag that’s a big red flag that you will never see the bag again.

So, my flight has 5 legs: Hilo-Honolulu-LAX-Dallas-SaoPaulo-Iguassu. There isn’t much I can do about that right there as I’m checking in. The solution I’m told is to check the bag to an intermediate destination, hope that it will show up, claim it when I get there, re-check it, and of course do that security circus all over again. Lovely.

I figure it would be very hard for them to lose my bag on the Hilo-Honolulu flight, so I opt to check the bag to Honolulu and deal with this very silly situation in an airport I am familiar with. I’m early and the woman at the Hawaiian desk is very friendly and puts me on the standby list to hopefully give me an extra hour in Honolulu. Sweet, I thought. I actually get on the earlier flight, get to Honolulu, go to baggage claim, wait… wait… no bag. Go the service desk: “If you fly standby your bag is still checked on the original flight” (very grumpy, and unfriendly staff by the way). So my question is, why the f**k put me on the earlier flight “to give me more time to re-check my bag”. The whole thing is quite useless if the bag is not on that earlier flight, doesn’t it?

And of course, while I’m waiting, I start worrying that maybe the bag won’t make it at all. It would be hard to do on that flight, but I wouldn’t put it pass the airline companies. So I go back to the desk, ask to the same grumpy Hawaiian Airlines employee if she can confirm that the bag is on the next flight: “We don’t scan bags.” Uh? Hawaiian Airlines don’t accept cash on their in-flight black market, only credit or debit: they swipe credit card to make a buck, but won’t scan bags for customer service. And what happened to that rule that the bags must travel with the traveler? How can they tell, if the bags are not scanned. Surely the technology is there, it is used daily by couriers.

Anyway, in the end my bag showed up in Honolulu, I re-checked it all the way to my final destination, went through security again, got to my gate with time to spare. Now as I am waiting in the DWF airport for my flight to Sao Paulo, the question is will my bag be there when I get there?

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.