Trip to the Keys not quite paradise

Well, it looks like I picked the right time to go on vacation.

Sitting in various bars in the Florida Keys, I would see snowy images of home on the television screens. There were various texts coming to my phone providing me updates on how much snow was in people’s front yards or how they were going to have to spend the next morning shoveling out their cars.

I felt bad. In fact, I thought I had some kind of sympathetic sensation to the plight back home, as I would feel random cold shivers shoot through my body.

Then I realized that it was just my frozen rum drink going too quickly down my throat.

For the record, it is beautiful down here. Yes, there has been a lot of development in the Keys, and the locals somewhat bemoan it, but much of the area has remained untouched — allowing some breathtaking sights, as well as just some calming areas that have remained under the control of Mother Nature over the years.

It’s nice to see how beautiful a coastal area can remain when their county council doesn’t allow nearly every application to be approved without a second thought or ounce of...

But, even in the Keys, I digress.

Of course, nothing is ever perfect, and I did indeed hit a snag in my paradise vacation that once again showed how poor customer service can put a very sour taste in your mouth.

The airline lost my bag. I’m a big boy, and I understand that it just happens sometimes. I’ve had plenty of bags lost over the years, and the airline has always gotten it to me in a pretty timely manner, so I wasn’t overly upset about the hiccup in my vacation.

Well, to be fair, I was a little more upset than normal, because I had to pay an extra $40 to fly my bags to Florida. That still upsets me a bit. I mean, why don’t they just add it to your airfare and hide the fact that they’re charging us to take clean underpants with us when we fly their airlines? How about advertising that they’re charging us to use the bathrooms on the flight or...

Wow, lots of digressions this week. I’m truly in vacation mode, huh?

Regardless, though I was a little irked, I understood. The woman at the baggage counter was friendly, took down my information and told me that my bag would come in the next morning and they would bring it to the house. Again, I was frustrated, but not overly upset.

The next morning, I went to the Web site that she provided, typed in the information that she gave me and was greeted by a page telling me that my bag had still not been located. At that point, frustration grew a little, but I still wasn’t overly concerned.

Then I got a phone call from the airline that told me that they did find my bag, and it would be in on the noon flight. I told the woman that we were going to be near the airport, and I would just swing by and pick up the bag. She put it in the system, and life was good again.

As a little tip to my readers – let me let you in on something: There’s still over a quarter of the allotted space left in this column. That should let you know that the problem was not yet resolved.

I got to the airport at a little after noon and was told that my bag just went out the door to be delivered to the house. The mood ring that is my head began to change shades, and they called the delivery guy to turn around and come back with my bag. Calming down, my head turned back to its more natural shade of irritated pink.

The bag came back into the airport, and it only remotely resembled the bag that I had packed. Both handles were ripped off, and there was bad damage to the bag itself. The employee advised that it was not their fault, and, if I read the fine print, I would see that they were not accountable for any damage done to my bag. I was offered a voucher for my next flight so I wouldn’t have to pay for the privilege of them ruining my bags again. And I was basically told to go for a long walk off a short bridge.

I tell this story as an example of how poor customer service can lead to somebody never doing business with a particular company again, not to fire verbal bombs at a company. That’s why I won’t say who it was. But, trust me, I will never fly this airline again.

Had I even been apologized to, I would have probably been soothed. I’d have easily put it in my mind that it wasn’t this woman’s fault — it was just a mistake by an airline.

But now I blame her. I blame the airline. And I blame myself for doing business with this company in the first place.

And now the anger is gone — replaced by cold little rum drinks.