Saturday, September 21, 2013

Carry-On Vs. Carousel: No Contest

We made that tight connection flying from Providence to Newark to Seattle the other day but there was one complication.

By the time we'd picked up our gate-checked bags from the PVD-EWR express flight, and then walked from the very end of one concourse corridor to the very end of another (upwards of 10 minutes), there was no room for our roll-aboards in the overhead bins - Grrr...

We reluctantly handed them over to a baggage handler on the jetway and took our seats in the first row of Economy for the 5 1/2 hour flight to SEA.

The SEA baggage claim area was a zoo when we arrived. Three UA flights were listed on our carousel when we first glimpsed it, and ours was added shortly thereafter.

Still, we were lucky or fortunate or whatever. Kathy stood at one end where bags emerged and Brian at the other. Brian retrieved one of our bags quickly and Kathy grabbed the other within three minutes or so.

We made our escape to the shuttle pickup area in the garage, only getting delayed once as we looked for an escalator up to the floor with the walkways. UA has moved to the main terminal from the N Gates and we're not quite sure where everything is. Actually, there seems to be a lack of proper directional signage - alas, poor tourists who don't know their way around at all.

All the luggage hassle - overhead room, bag charges, etc. - is one of UA's marketing tools to sell its credit cards to customers: "Enjoy priority boarding privileges." We're pretty sure we saw a sign in EWR that added something like "in time to store your carry-on."

It's ironic and amusing to watch UA (or Chase Bank) advertise the premium credit cards as a way for passengers to bypass an otherwise lousy customer experience.

As for us, we'll hope to maintain our place in UA's early boarding groups so as to keep our roll-aboards within reach, rather than at the mercy of baggage handlers, belts, and carousels.

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