This Week's View

by Deanna Lee Birkholm

November 24th, 2003

A Few Thoughts

I was complaining on the phone to Denny Conrad about our problems with airlines on the last trip and he told me if we didn't have any flight problems it would be boring. I'd probably take boring gladly. It amazes me that an airline, in this case Continental (who advertises they are owned by their employees,) just might take a little more care of the people they "serve."

Here's the rest of the story. We flew into Ft. Lauderdale to catch the flight to Nassau. It was raining, we were provided large umbrellas for the walk to the ramp (that was nice) - but because it was raining so hard we were not able to see someone take one of our two bags OFF the plane. None of our baggage should have been removed since we had declared our final destination - one of the 'out islands.' That is their rule they tell me. So the clothing bag was removed. Should have been a simple matter - put it on the next flight from Ft. Lauderdale to Nassau. That didn't happen either.

When it did arrive, some eight hours and several flights later, the lady at the 'lost baggage' desk for Continental in Nassau did take it to the airline we took to Mangrove Cay, Western Air. They refused it. She took it back to the Continental desk. A couple of phone calls, she took it back to Western Air.

They still refused it. At one point Western Air offered to send the bag for $50. (the cost of a one-way passenger ticket.) We said fine, send it. The General Manager of Emerald Palms, Brendan Foulkes, wasn't pleased with that and contacted the President of Western Air and our bag arrived at the Mangrove Cay the next morning. Western Air says they have no agreement with Continental to send any baggage not accompanying the passenger. Continental says that's a lie. Of course it was Continental who caused the problem by taking the bag OFF in the first place. Rather typical of today's business attitude, not my fault, I'm not responsible, and screw you.

That's not the end of the story - when it did arrive, a taxi driver, Patrick, picked up our lost bag at the Mangrove Cay airport and drove it to the ferry dock. Our guide, Jason took his boat over to the ferry dock, picked up the bag and brought it across the byte to the dock where the Emerald Palms van picked it up and delivered it to our door. Absolutely wonderful service! (All paid for by Emerald Palms!)

I called the customer service number listed on Continental's tickets and was told, "gee, that's too bad and it's not our fault, Western Air should have taken the bag." And "wow, how unfortunate that your bag was removed. That shouldn't have happened." Not once was "I'm sorry" mentioned, nor anything else to try and save the situation. It's obvious they don't care. Too bad.

Fair warning, if you are flying WESTERN AIR in the Bahamas (they 'serve' San Andros, Andros Town, Mangrove Cay, Congo Town, Bimini, Freeport and Nassau) insist your baggage accompany you - and if it doesn't make connections, make sure you know exactly how to contact them from your destination. Ask for the name of the person at the counter. Write it down. Make sure they know exactly what your destination is, and how are they going to get your luggage to you.

It is very frustrating and exasperating to be in bonefish heaven and not be able to fish for two days. Absolutely perfect, no wind days yet! It is unfair to the traveler and the guides who were booked and lost two days pay.

As far as flying Continental? Avoid it at all costs. They obviously don't give a damn. ~ The LadyFisher

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