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ATW Editor's Blog

Second leg: Air France delivers my bag but loses 13 passengers

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Happy to report that I am in Barcelona and so is my bag.

Two flights completed from Hamburg to Barcelona, via Paris Charles de Gaulle, in Air France Airbus A319s.

Check in and security at Hamburg was efficient and painless. Arrival and transfer at CDG was a breeze; simply walked straight up the jetway from the plane directly into Terminal 2F, from where an escalator took me upstairs and my departure gate for Barcelona was right there. No secondary screening, zero hassle.

The Barcelona flight boarded on time and was scheduled to depart on time also, but just when it was looking good, the captain announced that a passenger who had checked a bag had failed to show, so there would be a short delay while that bag was located and unloaded. Some 15 minutes later the captain, sounding somewhat exasperated, gave us a follow-up. There were, in fact, 13 missing passengers and 18 bags to be unloaded. All told, this delayed our departure by just over one hour.

How 13 people manage to miss their flight after checking their bags is worthy of a short documentary. To paraphrase Oscar Wilde, to lose one passenger is unfortunate; to lose 13 smacks of carelessness (by the passengers, not the airline).

Nevertheless, those 18 bags were found and carted off, and we were on our way with a friendly cabin crew and for smooth flying south to Barcelona.

My first time to Barcelona and it’s an impressive airport. Again, just stepped directly off plane and right into the main terminal, which is essentially a huge, turquoise shopping mall. All sorts of distractions for the absent-minded passenger who might have checked a bag but who then goes shopping for the perfect Hermes scarf …

No security or immigration either; today I’ve traveled through three countries and it was no different than traveling between three states in the USA (except the lines were far shorter and the cabin crew uniforms far more chic).

Even better, my bag was one of the first off the carousel.

​By the way, take a look at this report on the SITA 2016 Passenger IT Trends Survey, which is co-sponsored by ATW and was released here in Barcelona this week at the SITA Air Transport IT Summit. The survey shows a very high repeat factor among passengers who use self-serve technologies as part of their booking or travel; and also that a strong 85% of people reported that their last air travel journey was a "positive experience", up from 80% the previous year,

​For all the negative press and airline-bashing, the numbers seem to indicate that the percentage of satisfied airline passengers far outweigh the disgruntled. So far on my journey, you can count me well inside the 85%.

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