This post is two things:
1. An open letter to the management of SWISS airlines (I'd try and talk to you but your frontline staff won't even connect you to their supervisor)
2. Anyone considering flying SWISS as a warning of what can happen.
Last Sunday I flew back from Nice to SFO via Zurich. It began as an eventful flight - delayed boarding on to a coach, then waiting on a coach with no AC and in the boiling sun for 15 mins by the plane waiting for it to be cleaned until we were allowed to be board. This made a tight connection very tight but we were promised by the staff, "I guarantee you and your luggage will make the connection".
Well after a jog through Zurich airport I did make the connection by the skin of my teeth as did one of my checked bags. But the other checked bag apparently got left in the unloading gate in Zurich. A great welcome back home not least because it was the bag with some gifts for my daughter that she was anticipating.
This was when the fun really began. I was told that my bag would arrive on the next flight 24 hours later and would be delivered that evening to home. Well, there was no sign. And that's when I dscovered two things: I wasn't given the luggage locator code by the desk agent who informed me of the delay and there was no number to be found for SWISS.
Lucklily, a wonderfully helpful person at United (I know, it's a miracle) gave me the reference code, a number for SWISS and the all important number for the baggage claim desk at SFO. I had, I thought, all I needed.
I then placed the first phone call to the baggage desk at SFO (I believe a joint Lufthansa/Swiss desk). No answer but I was told to leave a voice message and they would call back. In the last 36 hours, I have called 34 times and left 6 voice messages. No answer, no returned call. They appear to be as lost as the bags they apparently look after.
I then thought I'd try calling SWISS. Must have done this about seven times and been on the phone for a couple of hours. Each time they are unable to help. One person recommended I try their site mylostbag.com (suggests I'm far from unique) but after typing in the details I'm left with a blank results page. So at least the website is as broken as the rest of their experience. But here are the real kickers:
1. They can't tell me where the bag is. Most simply say they don't know. One claimed it was in SFO, another claimed it was flying out today. At least try and tell a consistent story. At least try and narrow down the search to a continent.
2. They won't put you through to a supervisor. They put you on hold and then tell you that the supervisor can't help.
3. Not one person has apologized or even appeared sympathetic.
It's been a remarkable 36 hours so far. In an age of total focus on customer service and you would think the ability to know where luggage and passengers are at any time, it becomes even more remarkable.
Sunday was the first time I flew SWISS. It'll also be the last. Now I just hope my bag turns up.