Nature of the Offense
We've covered shitty airport experiences before, but never specifically with the miserable slog that is baggage claim. I'm not sure it's fair to say that he set out to remedy that, but on a recent flight our good friend the Fast Food Warrior did just that. Apparently the airport in Birmingham made the experience even worse than usual. Speaking of "worse than usual," did you know that there's a black rom-com called Baggage Claim?
Working title: "People are stupid and will watch literally anything."
Anyway, back to something with more hatred for black people than the creators of Baggage Claim the movie...ladies and gentlemen, Alabama! Take it away, FFW...
Dear Birmingham Airport Authority,
Would it be possible to install a louder, more annoying warning siren for the baggage carousels? The Martian ray-gun sound that you have installed at present is almost, but not quite, enough to induce insanity in arriving passengers as they await their luggage. When it fails to stop sounding, it comes very close. Such as last night, when it went off for about 15 minutes straight (all the while the ground crew failed to push the "deliver bags" button to operate the conveyor.
However, I'm not sure you have fully plumbed the depths of annoying sounds. For example, if you had it set to sound like a combination of a European ambulance and a raspy-voiced cat that won't stop meowing, you might be able to actually liquefy our brains (or at least drive us to attempt self-lombotomization), thus saving you the trouble of actually returning our bags.
Just imagine it's playing this song over and over.
The downside, of course, is that this might result in a decline in business, and also make it much harder to collect parking fees now that passengers are unable to operate their cars. A more reasonable person would suggest that you simply replace the warning sound with something a little more bearable, or eliminate it entirely. When a flight gets in very late, say 11 pm (which I often end up on), all I want to do are get my bag, get home, and get to sleep, all with a minimum of siren/alarm sounds at this late hour. In the meantime, distributing earplugs to arriving passengers in the baggage claim area would be a much-welcomed gesture.
A frequent, and frequently annoyed customer
PS - Please ask the folks working the parking pay booths to get off their phones while on the job, so they can use BOTH hands while processing payments. I don't talk on the phone while teaching my students; they can show some courtesy and concern for their customers trying to get home after a day of travel.
Dear Mr. Warrior,
Thank you for your email to the Birmingham Airport Authority regarding your recent experience at the Birmingham-Shuttlesworth International Airport (BHM). We know your time is important and we appreciate you contacting us. The Birmingham Airport Authority and our airline partners work in cooperation to deliver a world-class travel experience to every passenger. Our priorities also include providing a strong positive impression as the gateway to the Magic City.
We are sorry to hear that you were not pleased with your experience last night. This lets us know we did not meet our goals. While the baggage notification alert is an important part of the baggage system that cannot be changed, we have forwarded your concern to the appropriate management with the Birmingham Airport Authority for review of the volume.
Also, each airline manages their own baggage handling and delivers their passengers bags to the belts. Some of the airlines may choose to contract the service to a third party. We would be happy to forward your comments to the airline that served you or you may also contact them directly. The contact information for each airline at BHM is listed on our website: http://www.flybirmingham.com/schedules-airlines.html
We have also forwarded your concern to the Parking Manager regarding the level of customer service you received from the parking cashiers.
Again, we thank you for your time and we appreciate you making us aware of your experience. We value your comments and use passenger feedback as a tool to improve. We appreciate the opportunity to serve your travel needs and we hope to have the opportunity again in the future.
Birmingham Airport Authority
Translation: "None of that is our fault, it's all these people we subcontract to! Get bent!" Also, I was enchanted by the idea of there being some "volume review board" for the airport to forward FFW's concerns to. So FFW sent this delightful follow-up letter:
The Follow-Up Letter
I would like to nominate Dr. Angry Customer, PhD for the Baggage Carousel Alert Volume Review Board. In addition to serving as a postdoctoral researcher at a top tier research university, he and his wife own three cats, and he has spent numerous hours in social interactions with Greek immigrants. For these reasons, he is well-qualified as an expert in annoying sounds and excessive volume levels.
Note: I pretty much just needed an excuse to post this.
Severity of the Offense: 5/10
I give this a pretty low score just because it has to be placed into the greater context of air travel, and the miasma of horrific customer service that comes along with it.
Corporate Care Level: 6/10
First off, FFW got a response at all, which is enough to get some points no matter what. FFW claims he's nicer to these guys than I am, which is why he gets stuff. I really don't know.
Adequacy of Response: 0/10
As far as I can tell, no changes were made. I tried to call FFW to confirm, but he couldn't hear the phone over the ringing in his own head.
This is about the highest score I could ever give an airport for any reason. Now if you'll excuse me, I've got to go one tab over to Netflix, where I have a date with Paula Patton at Baggage Claim...