Published on Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Wow air passenger vents frustrations over baggage delay




A disgruntled Wow air passenger has charted his frustrations after his bags failed to make it to his destination.

Hector Taylor, who runs a marketing agency with travel clients, contacted TravelMole after he still hadn't received his bags three days later.

He and his family had been on the Friday 11.30 flight from Bristol to Toronto, stopping at Reykjavik, but 130 bags were left behind in the Icelandic capital.

"What kind of airline doesn't realise that literally half the plane doesn't have its luggage," he said. "Surely someone on the ground would have seen the hold was half as full as normal and would have asked the question."

Wow air blamed an error by its ground handling agent.

"These items were all sent on the next flight to Toronto, arriving on Saturday morning," a spokesman for the airline said yesterday.

"It is taking some time to return all items to their owners and Wow air is working with their ground team in Toronto to do so as quickly as possible. Mr Taylor should be receiving his luggage today."

In the meantime, Taylor decided to record what happened and has written the following account:

Wow!
- wowair have left our bags back in Iceland!
When we land half the plane get a text saying:
"Dear guest on flight WW213 KEF-YYZ. Unfortunately your luggage was not loaded on the aircraft. Please contact our lost and found department up on arrival. We are sorry for the inconvenience this might cost you. Kind regards, WOW air."

Wow!
- the text gives no details or contact numbers for Wow's lost and found department.

Wow!
- after an hour of asking I find there isn't a single Wow representative in Toronto airport.
I give our details to Swissport but no one can tell me what budget I have to clothe my kids and me for the next 24-48 hours. The one number anyone can track down for Wow is a call centre in India and the guy on the end of the line can't answer any of my questions on budget until I get my bags back and how long that will take.

I eventually get some help from Hamilton Vincent de Paul, the manager of Terminal Operations for Greater Toronto Airports Authority who at least gives us some food vouchers and pays for a cab to our accommodation for the night.

Wow!
- this really could ruin our holiday. We are due to catch the train to Detroit early Sunday morning to meet an old friend and his young son who lives there. Then early on Monday morning we are all due to drive to Porcupine State Park on the shore of Lake Superior to stay in a cabin in the wilderness. The cabin is completely off the grid - you have to hike to it - so no way bags can be delivered it.
We take our train to Detroit.

Wow!
- All the Wow Air directors are missing in action. I use LinkedIn to contact the CEO and Founder of Wow Skuli Mogensen. He doesn't respond - maybe he's too busy dying his beard to bother about his passenger's welfare. I also contact Wow Director of Communications, and Wow Director of Finance, Wow director of Operations. None of them respond.

Wow!
- We bought some new clothes as my jeans and long sleeve top was getting smelly after 36 hours wear and the 30' heat in Detroit. Also the kids needed swimming trucks to use the hotel pool. Two t shirts and one pair of shorts each for the kids and one pair of shorts and one t shirt for me. The bill comes to about $150.

Wow!
- someone from Wow responds over LinkedIn. It's an English guy called Andrew Pyne who is senior advisor strategy to who else but Skuli Mogensen. Skuli didn't get him to respond on his behalf though. I had contacted Andrew directly myself. Andrew tells me Skuli is very hands on (but maybe just not when his passengers need him). Andrew is trying his best and actually calls me directly after some email exchange. Unfortunately he says Wow can't access their own bag tracking system and no one can track down our bags. I ask Andrew about budget guidelines. He doesn't know how much I can spend but tells me to send all relevant receipts directly to him after the trip and he will present them to Skuli.

Wow! - our bags have made it to Toronto.
It is Sunday lunchtime and I still haven't heard from Swissport or Wow about the bags. So I call the Toronto airport contact Hamilton Vincent De Paul and ask him for help tracking them down. He steps up the plate and manages to speak to Swissport at Toronto airport who confirm the bags are now there. Hamilton says Swissport will call me in the next hour.

Wow! We realise we will not be leaving for the wilderness trip that day. I rebook a night in our hotel in Detroit for the night. We also have to forfeit our stopover hotel on the way up north. We book a different stop over hotel for the next night - total charge for these is over $600

Wow! Swissport don't call me for 3 hours.

Wow! Swissport don't have Google maps. I call Swissport myself. Once I establish who I am they ask me which is the closest airport to my address in Detroit. They have this address on the form I filled out when the plane lands so I wonder why they haven't worked this out themselves in the 20 hours since our bags arrived in Toronto. Like I say, maybe they don't have access to Google Maps? They say they will look into flying the bags there and call me back within the hour.

Wow! Swissport don't call me back within the hour.
I call them and ask what is going on and when we are likely to see the bags. They tell me that 130 bags didn't make it to Toronto on that flight and it is taking them a long time to work through them.

Wow! 130 bags didn't make it on the plane at Reykjavik. This may not sound a lot but Wow don't use big planes. There were probably 300 passengers on the plane so almost half the plane's hold luggage was missing. Clearly Wow have some catastrophic system faults. But more worryingly did no one from the Reykjavik baggage team notice the hold was half empty. Did no one have the gumption or even care enough to ask why this might be. What sort of culture has has Skuli engendered that no one took responsibility before the plane took off.

Wow! Our bags can't get to Detroit until 3pm on Monday afternoon!
I ask why they can't just drive the bags to Detroit - that would only take 5 hours. They say they can't take the bags over the US border at Detroit and they have to go to Buffalo first and then fly from there. I ask them just to drive them to the border and we will cross over and pick them up. No they can't do that either. So we arrived in Toronto at 17.30 on Friday 21st July. Our bags arrived in Toronto at 17.30 on Saturday 22nd July. But despite being only 5 hours drive away Swissport can't get the bags to us for another 44 hours.

Wow! Wow's guideline budget for expenses while waiting for luggage is $25 a day.
Andrew Pyne emails me with the Swissport numbers and Wow's guidelines on delayed luggage. According to the guidelines Wow only contact you when they know when the bags will be delivered. So no courtesy emails or texts to tell us they are on the case and how we should plan our travels in the meantime.

Wow! I am getting sick of wearing the same t shirt and shorts for 3 days straight!
So it's 10.15 on Monday morning. Hopefully the bags are at Buffalo airport and will be put on a plane to Detroit at 11.30. We are doing our best to enjoy everything as much as we can although I am starting to feel the effects of not having the daily prescription medicine that is in my suitcase and we have already lost 25% of our wilderness cabin stay (the whole reason we came here in the first place)

Touch wood we will get the bags at 3pm this afternoon and we can get on with the trip. Maybe Skuli and his senior team will respond at some point and make some face saving gesture; free food on the flight back? A free weekend in Iceland another time? Or maybe they will pay back the genuine expenses I've paid out rather than a derisory $25 dollars a day their guidelines suggest.

It is also worth putting out that I didn't choose Wow because it was cheaper than flying direct from Heathrow on Virgin or another big airline. It isn't cheaper and I chose it because I thought a two-hour stop off in Rekyvik was better than the two-hour drive from Bristol to Heathrow. Ah well, you live and learn!




 

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