Friday, October 09, 2009

A tale about a jacket, an airline, and a forgetful passenger

easyJet logo

Travel frequently and you fall into a rhythm that keeps you right. You check in online the day before, set your alarm for the early start, pack your bag the same way with the same chargers, use one of those small resealable bags instead of a toilet bag. Even the route to and through the airport, efficiently getting to and through security, grabbing breakfast before the flight is called.

So now that there’s a lot less travel with work, I find myself missing beats in the travel waltz. I’ve got to make the calculation each time to figure out what time I get up at to catch the 0615 flight to Stansted. And I make mistakes. Like Wednesday when I left my rain coat behind on the plane.

I guess it was early in the morning, we’d been moved down from near the front of the flight to the back (low passenger numbers and practically no checked-in bags meant a bit of human load balancing was necessary to make sure EZY254 would actually take off), and my bag had slithered from one overhead locker into another during the flight. So I either left my blue coat in the locker, or sitting on the seat while I got my bag down. A stupid mistake.

EasyJet’s website is full of hope. Their FAQ enthusiastically proclaims:

We are sorry that you have lost an item inonboard [sic] one of our aircrafts. We will do everything we can to help find and trace your lost item and return it back to you.

Further on down there’s a number for Stansted airport. Except it’s the number for lost luggage (checked-in bags) not for lost property left behind on the flights.

And the lost property office doesn’t often answer the phone. Instead, their answering machine asks you to leave a message along with your number and they’ll call you back.

I did, and they didn’t.

Knowing that I was going home through Stansted on Thursday evening, I phoned again, got through to someone this time who said that they were based 5 miles outside the airport and only picked up lost property once a day, so they wouldn’t have my coat yet. Could I call back. I did, and it went to the answering machine.

So in the end, I’ve returned home minus a rain coat. If they ever phone me back, or if I ever get through to them and the coat is there, I’ll probably have to pay huge postage to get the coat back (rather than being able to pick it up yesterday on the way back to the airport). After ten or more years of use, the Berghaus jacket doesn’t owe me much. Maybe it’s a sign that it’s time for a new coat!

In the meantime, I’m not convinced the reality matches EasyJet’s customer service promise to “do everything we can to help find and trace your lost item and return it back to you.”

1 comment:

Norwin! said...

Having lost many a thing on many a plane, I feel your pain. I do seem to recall an adventure to the Heathrow lost property office once, but I no longer remember if it was successful or not.