Last Saturday night I flew non-stop from St. Louis to Seattle Tacoma International Airport with one piece of checked luggage. I arrived at the baggage pickup area and scanned the flight information board which said that my luggage would be on carousel 14.


Alaska Airline brags about their 20-minute delivery of luggage and once again Alaska has tarnished their brand by failing to meet their stated goal.

While waiting for my bag, I kept checking the information board and the Alaska Airlines app to see if the pickup location had changed. After waiting 30 minutes at carousel 14, I contacted an Alaska Airlines employee who told me that my luggage was still going to arrive at carousel 14. After 10 more minutes with no luggage, I asked the same agent who then told me to go to another line and file a lost luggage claim.

So, I stood behind 15 other people filing similar claims. After another 30 minutes, I finally arrived at the counter, and the representative informed me that she had just found out that the luggage was on carousel 12. She stated that she had walked down to carousel 15 and then was told by another employee that the bags might be at carousel 12. She said I needed to go to carousel 12 to see if my luggage was there and if it wasn’t, to come back to file an actual claim. The Alaska representative kept blaming the baggage handlers and when I asked who would take responsibility for the lack of communication, she told me that it was the baggage handlers’ fault, not hers. She handed me a coupon for 2,500 miles for missing the 20-minute luggage guarantee and asked for the next customer to step forward. No, “I’m sorry for the inconvenience.” No, “I hope you travel with us again.” No, “I’m sorry you’ve been waiting for your luggage for over 70 minutes.”

Well, I’m sorry that your coupon doesn’t substitute for a sincere, human-to-human “I’m sorry we let you down.”

Thankfully, the luggage was at carousel 12, and as I walked out, I noticed the information board persisted in miscommunicating that my luggage would be arriving on carousel 14.

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My 70-minute missing luggage experience is about poor communication between Alaska Airlines and its customers that started with poor communication between Alaska Airlines employees. During my wait there were no announcements about a carousel change, the board wasn’t correct, nor was there an Alaska Airline employee around the carousel updating travelers on what happened to the luggage. We’ve said it before: lost luggage happens. As customers, we get it and we get over it. What’s harder to get over, is how it’s handled.