I Was Stupid And They Saved Me

southwest_airlines_logoI bash the airline industry a lot on this blog. Firstly, I fly often so I get lots of opportunity; and secondly, they give me lots of examples. That being said, when they do a good job, I also like to make note of it.

While the heroes in this story were mostly airport people, my favorite US airline, Southwest, also played a key part.

For reasons unknown (though one of our team members suggests it is age related), I left my laptop on the work table at gate 20 at the Indianapolis airport. I did not discover this until I was on the plane and well into the flight. I checked my briefcase five times to make sure it really wasn’t there. I knew exactly where I had left it, but not really sure how.

Anyway, four hours later when we landed in LA, I asked a customer service agent if she could give me the phone number for Southwest at the Indianapolis airport so I could call them to see if anyone had turned in the laptop. It took her a couple of minutes and a phone call but she gave me the number, which I called

The Southwest woman in Indianapolis, after hearing my stupidity, told me that she believed a laptop had been turned in at the gate and if so it would have been turned over to the airport. She also told me she had enough iPads that had been left on planes to start a store, so I should not feel bad. She gave me the number for the people at the airport who handled lost items. I called them next.

Talked to a wonderful woman who went and found the laptop that had been turned in. After a few questions and powering up the laptop she confirmed it was indeed mine. I asked if I could pay to have it sent to me. She said sure, they use FedEx. When did I want it? I said tomorrow if possible. She told me that unless FedEx was late it would not likely go until tomorrow, and she would call me back if it went that night. She gave me my FedEx tracking number. I thanked her and hung up.

Since I did not hear back, I assumed it did not go that night. The next day I checked the FedEx site looking for my tracking number, which did not appear. I called back to confirm it had been picked up and that the tracking number was correct. I called FedEx and they had no record of the tracking number in their system. Our office manager noted that, in his experience, paper based FedEx packages often were not entered into the system by the driver even though they are supposed to be.

On Saturday morning I found the number in the system and the package was in route to me. It arrived as promised and in working condition.

Commendations to Southwest and the staff in lost and found at Indianapolis airport for saving me from myself. Congrats on a seamless process that made finding the solution quick and easy. As to FedEx, while you delivered on time as agreed, you become more like the USPS everyday … and not in a good way.

Mitch

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