Back from the UK…..Scandinavian Airlines; oh dear, oh dear!

I arrived back from my visit to England late last night.  It was good to see some family and friends but the enjoyment of my visit was tainted by Scandinavian Airlines unfortunately.

It all began last Wednesday 29th December.  My flight from Lulea to Stockholm was slightly delayed which meant that I only had twenty minutes to get my connecting flight to Heathrow at Stockholm Arlanda.  There is a considerable distance between arrival and departure terminals and I had to run part way to be there on time.  Why do they allow such a short connection time???

I arrived safely at Heathrow twenty minutes ahead of  schedule…….but unfortunately my checked-in baggage (a 70 litre rucksac containing clothes, Christmas presents and other items) did not, as I later found out they had had insufficient time to transfer our bags at Arlanda.   There were many unclaimed bags laying around at baggage reclaim at Heathrow and a number of people from a variety of airlines for whom their baggage had not arrived.  The mis-handled baggage desk was being manned by just two people and I had to wait patiently as it seemed to be taking ten minutes to process each person.  Eventually my turn can and I had a young (Russian I think) girl to deal with who’s English was not so good.  There were many questions asked and details put on the computer, but she did not understand everything I was saying.  I told her I had a bus to catch in 10 minutes and was told SHE was very stressed and if I wanted my bag I must wait!!!  Eventually we were finished and she told me that my bag would arrive on the next flight from Stockholm and be delivered to my parents home in the next 24 hours.  I was provided with a reference number to enable me to track my bag on the internet via Worldtracer.aero.

My bag did indeed arrive on the next flight and was collected the next day at 2pm by a delivery company called Rico Logistics, Same day delivery (that’s a laugh!!!).  Initially it was to be delivered at 6pm the same day but at 9pm it was changed to 17:30 the following day (Friday, New Years Eve).  17:30 can and went and I in fact spent the whole of New Years Eve waiting in, but the bag never arrived!!!

Each day when I checked on the internet the delivery time and date did not change.  There was an 0844 number to call for help…..I rang and I rang and I rang but no one answered.  I then found a direct dial number to the logistics company and when I called the answerphone message informed me they were closed over the New Year!!!

I had only the set of clothes that I travelled in and by Monday they needed washing, so being the first day the shops had opened I decided to go and buy a change of clothes at SAS’s expense.  I was due to leave my parents on Tuesday evening and when my bag had not arrived at 4pm I went out and purchased a cheap bag to carry home my clothes and Christmas presents.  I had also contacted both SAS and the baggage company and told them I was leaving on 4th and not to deliver my bag but instead to return it to Sweden.

I arrived back at Heathrow at 3am and waited for SAS customer services desk to open.  At 05:15 they opened and I explained what had happened and how appalled I was with their service, but I was informed that SAS do not deal with customers baggage at Heathrow as they have contacted this work out and so they could not help.  One helpful member of staff told me that this is not working well and where before they could help customers trace their baggage, now they can do nothing!

I next went to the SAS check-in desk to check in my new bag and contents and explained what had happened and they MUST take care of this bag and not let it happen again.  The girl really wasn’t that interested but I had already decided to try to trace my baggage while there and after some questioning she told me I could go to “Airport Information” and ask them to call the baggage handling company, quote my reference number and they could then locate my bag if it was still at Heathrow.  Airport Information however, informed me that this is not something they do but they did at least give me the telephone number.  I rang and rang but no one answered.  I returned to the check-in desk and told them what had happened and was amazed at their response…..”You do realise that if you locate your bag we will charge you for excess baggage as you can only check-in one item of baggage on your economy ticket”…….I tried to plead my case for my original bag being checked in for free but was told “those are the rules”!!!!  So I decided it was not in my best interest to locate my bag and incur further costs, but better for SAS to do it and incur far greater cost in flying it back to Sweden and then delivering it to me in Lapland.

SO appalled and discussded  with SAS customer service I decided to talk with the staff on my flight back to Sweden.  Thankfully this met with a very different response and I am very grateful to the cabin crew of flight SK526 who were astonished at what had happened, very apologetic and immediately ungraded me to the front of the aircraft where I received a meal of salmon, potatoes, salad warm bread and butter and as much coffee and orange juice as I could drink.  They also arranged for me to visit customer services at Arlanda to get help and advice.

When I arrived at customer services they were expecting me.  As far as they were aware my bag had been delivered on the Friday but further investigation showed that others who had also lost baggage, had also not received them.  They were trying to blame the problems at Heathrow before Christmas but I was not having any of that as my bag had been mis-handled at Stockholm Arlanda.  I told them I have purchased a change of clothes and a bag and they said there should be no problem for SAS to reimburse me for these items and they were really concerned to trace my bag and resolve things.  However, when I informed them that my winter clothes were in my lost bag and that I had a three hour drive from Lulea to my home in temperatures between -20 to -40, they said I should purchase a winter coat at the airport but that SAS would only pay half the cost.  I explained that I would not need a new coat if SAS had not lost my bag, but they would not agree to pay more than 50%, so I did not purchase a coat, but instead had a cold drive home.

And so we come to the final twist in this saga…..when I called my parents to let them know I had arrived home safely, they told me that while they were out, my bag had been delivered to a neighbour in England!!!!!  I just find this whole saga quite unbelievable and as I have told SAS representatives…”We have just started a business in Lapland, but I no longer feel that I can recommend to our guests that they travel with SAS based on my experience”…..would you?

There is however something positive to end on…..On New Years Eve at one minute past mid-night Teres sent me a text message asking me to marry her!!  Of course I said yes :>)

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5 thoughts on “Back from the UK…..Scandinavian Airlines; oh dear, oh dear!

  1. If anything Kevin it will be a trip to remember but thankfully with the sweetest of endings.

    Good luck mate for the future.

    George

  2. Congratulations on the engagement!

    I detest travelling in the Christmas break – every year there’s a baggage problem or strike, snow, fog or some other problem.

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