Friday, January 8, 2016
It is Jan 4 and I am at Edmonton airport checking in for my West Jet flight to Toronto, planning to transfer to Air France to Paris. The Gate Agent jauntily tells me I won't see my bags in Toronto as they are checked all the way through to Paris.
Imagine my surprise four hours later to see one of my suitcases circling the Toronto airport on the designated baggage carousel. The other bag was nowhere in sight. I grab my bag off the belt and ask how I should make sure it accompanies me to Paris. I was told by Baggage Agent #1 to go to the West Jet counter and drop the located on a belt there so it could meet me Paris. West Jet Line Guarding Agent pretends to listen to my story and tells me to get in line.
Ticket checking agent gets me to repeat my story and says I have nothing to worry about - my bag is correctly tagged to go to Paris. Yes but since it is not on its way to Paris without our help (I know this because I am looking at it in Toronto) what should I do? "Put it on the belt" says Ticket Checking Agent.
Belt Checking Agent asks me to tell my story and says "oh no not this belt - you need to go to those West jet counters over there". But of course.
As I am leaving to go "over there" Random Child Agent asks me my story and looks concerned - just as concerned as his friend Random Child Agent #2. They both agree that I should not be at West Jet trying to ship my bag but at Air France. Although they work for West Jet at Toronto airport, they can not tell me in which terminal I might find Air France. I carry on my West Jet adventure anyway.
West jet Line Guarding Agent "over there" asks for my story and tells me to get in line. I know how to do that quite well by now.
Ticket checking agent "over there" asks for my story, acts concerned that I am at West Jet with my bag instead of Air France, reassures me that my bag is correctly tagged so there was no reason for it to have appeared on a baggage carousel in Toronto (but I didn't make it up) and tells me I can put it on the belt if that's what I think I should do.
Belt agent asks for my story and not very confidently tells me to put my bag on the belt.
If you are imagining that this story does not end well you are correct. I arrive in Paris. I wait for an hour and a half. The bag that I saw in Toronto I do see again in Paris. The other bag - well it took a trip to Vancouver and Amsterdam and arrived in Paris 4 days later.
The computer age has done very little for checked luggage it seems. Then again with such well trained airport staff perhaps I should be grateful the luggage arrived at all.