If you are on our mailing list and getting my blog updates, you will know that we have been stuck in Dubai for several days without our luggage. The good news is that both bikes and all our gear have been located and delivered! What a huge relief!
With Alofa's tolerant patience and support, I had spent the previous four years obsessively preparing for another crack at the UCI Masters Cyclocross World Championships, to be held this year during the weekend of 2nd December in the UK.
Thank you, everyone, for the helpful advice, especially those who rolled up their sleeves to help reunite us with our precious luggage. I thought I had planned for every possibility but losing our luggage was never one of them. So, when it did not arrive with us at Dubai Airport, the alarm bells went off big time - no bike - no race! Along with the stress involved, this was the last thing we wanted! So, while we knew it was just a matter of waiting for them to turn up, no news after three days had us increasingly worried that they may not merely be delayed but lost. Then, with time running out, I decided we had to use every means possible to find the luggage and get it to us here in Dubai and to come up with Plan B.
Plan B quickly became borrowing a bike so generously offered by the organisers of the championships and buying a whole new lot of gear on arrival in the UK, but just a few days before the race. However, that was not wanted for a race where a few heartbeats separate the winners from the losers: my finely-tuned bike and familiar equipment are almost everything for winning at that level of competition.
So, fortunately, my world championships campaign is back on the road, although with a little catching up to do.
Again, thank you, everyone!
As an aside, looking at the consignment sheet that came with the baggage, up to nine other passengers on our Qantas flight from Wellington to Sydney, connecting to Emirates and onto Dubai, had their luggage delayed. Interestingly, during the trans-Tasman flight, we talked about our impressions that the Qantas plane looked a little shabby as if it needed a proper cleaning. The meals we were served were the most awful we have ever had for an international flight. Neither of us could eat it; it was like trying to eat cooked cardboard!
I was told that Qantas has been having more trouble than most airlines with making the rapid upscale in services required during this post-COVID era and delayed and lost luggage is symptomatic of their troubles. I'm told they fired most of their experienced ground staff, among many others, including baggage handlers, and now replacing them with inexperienced and low-paid workers who don't give a damn. Loading these modern planes is more of a skill than initially thought. Alofa's bike looked very shook-up when we unpacked it: there had been some rough handling.
So, I do not recommend Qantas as an airline, and Emirates should reconsider their partnership because Qantas is letting them down.
Alan sent me the video below (Thank you!). Qantas: you're on notice, and Emirates, take note as well.
As anybody in business knows, it can take just one case of bad service to ruin your reputation:
"Songwriter Dave Carroll wasn't the first person abused by an airline's customer service. But he was the first to show how one person, armed with creativity, some friends, $150, and the Internet, could turn an entire industry upside down. United Airlines had broken Dave's guitar in checked luggage. After eight months of pestering the company for compensation, he turned to his best tool-songwriting-and vowed to create a YouTube video about the incident that he hoped would garner a million views in one year.
Four days after its launching, the first million people had watched "United Breaks Guitars." United stock went down 10 percent, shedding $180 million in value; Dave appeared on outlets as diverse as CNN and The View. United relented. And throughout the business world, people began to realize that "efficient" but inhuman customer-service policies had an unseen cost-brand destruction by frustrated, creative, and socially connected customers. "United Breaks Guitars" has become a textbook example of the new relationship between companies and their customers, and has demonstrated the power of one voice in the age of social media. It has become a benchmark in the customer-service and music industries, as well as branding and social-media circles. Today, more than 150 million people are familiar with this story. In this book, you'll hear about how Dave developed the "just do it" philosophy that made him the ideal man to take on a big corporation, what it felt like to be in the center of the media frenzy, and how he's taken his talents and become a sought-after songwriter and public speaker.
And businesspeople will learn how companies should change their policies and address social-media uprisings. Since "United Breaks Guitars" emerged, nothing is the same-for consumers, for musicians, or for business.
Whether you are a guitarist, a baggage handler, or a boardroom executive, this book will entertain you and remind you that we are all connected, that each of us matters, and that we all have a voice worth hearing."