Airline Baggage Handling

Once again, I’m sitting in Brisbane and my luggage is *somewhere*. After spending the last day trying to deal with the airline baggage folk, I’m struck by the unrealistic world in which they seem to live.


I was on an Alaska flight from Seattle to LAX on Wednesday night, then connecting with a Qantas flight to Brisbane. Previously when I’ve had a bag missing, they already know it’s missing by the time you land and I’ve been handed a note that asks me to see the baggage services folk. This time, the Qantas people didn’t think my bag was missing because the lady at Qantas in LA, entered my bag count as zero, instead of one. That meant I got to spend an hour waiting for the bag to come off, when it wasn’t going to. So, they don’t actually know where it is at all.


When I spoke to the baggage services people in Brisbane, they said they had no advice on it, that it would probably be on tomorrow’s flight and that they’d get a list of bags around 5pm and to call them after 6pm. All sounded good. However, my bag wasn’t on the list at 5pm and the phone number they gave me to call was simply diverted to an answering service from 6pm till they “closed” at 9pm. That service promised that if you left a number, they’d call, which of course they didn’t. And, just to make it more entertaining, there wasn’t another flight today anyway. <sigh>


They told me today that they’d send a TELEX to LA to ask about it. I didn’t know anyone still used TELEX.


So, today I thought I’d try my luck at calling Alaska Airlines instead. They have a phone number for you to call. The good part is that is only operates 10am – 3pm Monday to Friday. How does anyone get to work those hours?


At least they had an email address I could write to, so I did. I just got the automated response that told me their average turnaround time for responding to emails was seven weeks. It also mentioned that you get a quicker response by phoning. But of course, they won’t take a call till Tuesday next week, my time. <double-sigh>


While reading the baggage claim details on their site, I also noticed that it’s your fault if anything goes missing if you haven’t locked your bag. That’s pretty funny given the signs all over the airport telling you that you *mustn’t* lock your bag.

RD Program at TechEd

I can’t describe how much of an honour it has been this year to have joined the MSDN Regional Director program. This has really been brought home to me at TechEd where so many of the RDs are present.


Getting to spend time with “older hands” in the RD program like Kim Tripp, Stephen Forte, Juval Lowy, Carl Franklin, Richard Campbell, Jackie Goldstein, John Alexander, Ken Spencer,  Barry Gervin, Scott Hanselman, Tim Huckaby, Dongbum Lee, Joe Homnick, Rocky Lhotka, Richard Hundhausen, Scott Golightly, Fernando Guerrero, Adam Cogan, Michele Leroux Bustamante (and many many more of the people I admire in the industry that I haven’t mentioned here) along with fellow “newbies” like Brian Noyes and Mark Dunn and to be made to feel so welcome in the group, has been outstanding.


A few things need special mention though. At the RD function on Tuesday night, there was an award ceremony. A number of RD’s were received bronze, silver and gold awards for “global reach” and there is an RD of the year. This year saw Mauro Sant’Anna handed the RD of the Year title from last year’s winner Kate Gregory, along with a gold award. Richard Campbell also received a gold award. I was a little stunned and humbled to receive a silver award, given the other few silver recipients included people like Carl Franklin.


While any award is never the focus of anyone’s efforts, it certainly prompts me to increase my efforts yet again. Thank you to Kevin Schuler (RD lead) and to all those involved!


I can’t close this post without mentioning the “talent” show that was run after dinner. I thoroughly enjoyed Ken Spencer’s efforts in playing guitar and singing. Carl Franklin also performed with his guitar. (Kevin noted that he missed the idea about the show involving “real” talent).


But the feature of the night for me was Michele Leroux Bustamante’s rendition of “Smelly Cat”. (as previouly done by Phoebie in Friends). That’s burned in my memory forever.

ReadiFridays

I will be delivering seminars on Upgrading to SQL Server 2005 in Melbourne (30 Jun), Brisbane (7 Jul), Sydney (14 Jul) and Canberra (21 Jul).  This is part of ReadiFridays. At our web site, we describe ReadiFridays as “a series of free half day events, that connect SME and Enterprise decision makers and managers with experts, resources and information that can help them stay competitive and maximize their technology.” 


Go to www.readify.net to find out more and register.

Good luck Rocky & Joseph

It’s public news today that two of my colleagues are moving on. Rocky Heckman was an MVP in the developer security area and has drunk the Koolaide. He’s joining Microsoft in the next few weeks. Joseph Cooney is also moving on shortly.


Both these guys are outstanding and talented individuals and have been great to work with. I hope their new endeavours work out well for them.

TechEd Boston – Speaker Training

I had the pleasure of spending an hour today with Richard Klees. Richard is the speaker trainer provided by Microsoft here at TechEd in Boston. All speakers had an option to sign up for a 1 on 1 session with Richard or for a group session. What amazes me is the number of speakers that don’t take advantage of the offer. Spending an hour with him 1 on 1 was pretty intense but I have no doubt he helps produce a much higher quality outcome for the event. Thanks Richard!

The Short Straw

A number of sessions at TechEd Boston have to draw the short straw. I got one of them :-) I’ll be presenting my “A SQL Server DBA’s Guide To CLR Integration” as DAT329 at 8:00AM Thursday June 15th. Yes, that’s 8AM in the morning. It’ll be good to see how many die-hard attendees there are.


For locals, if you haven’t seen that session, it is one of the sessions selected for simulcast. So, if you tune in via the TechEd site, you’ll be able to see the session live at: 1:00AM June 16th (Brisbane/Sydney/Melbourne time). So, the locals will need to be even more die-hard.