Upload & Sell: On
*******Cross post from the wedding forum*****
U.S. Airways sucks so freaking bad. I HATE them. I HATE THEM!
I had a commercial gig in Mississippi the last few days. Flew there Wednesday, shot it without a hitch and got on the plane this morning from Memphis to Arizona to San Jose. The plane from Memphis to Arizona was small. Sat like 50-75. About 30 passanges had to have their carry-on bags placed in the plane cargo because the overhead bins on these smaller planes don't accomidate standard carry-on. (The over head bins barely fit a womens large purse). I tried to convince them I could place the bag inder my seat in front of me. (I've done this MANY times). I informed them of what was in the bags and wanted to try and use the under the seat metheod. The let me. It DIDN'T fit. I asked if we could place the bags in the flight attendants cubby. "this plane doesn't have one sir". I was nervous but what could I do. I gave them my bag.
Inside the camera bag, (Lowepro rolling bag) contained the following:
2 - 5dmk2 both gripped ($6,000)
85L - $1,500
50L - $1,300
24L - $1,200
45 T/S - $1,300
15 fish $600
100 macro $400
4 - 580ex2 - $1,400
5 - pocket wizards. $450
miscellaneous crap $1,000
I pulled my Macbook pro out and handed the baggage man at the mouth of the plane my bag.
2 hours later and in Arizona I am handed back my bag along with the other 20 or so passengers. I roll it out of the long passage way and into the terminal to catch the connecting flight. I have 15 minutes. I open the outside zipper area to place my laptop bag in and see that the bag is FREAKING SOAKED. DRENCHED. Nervously and in slow motion I open the zipper to the main compartment of my camera bag and there water all throughout my bag. EVERYUWHERE. Dead serious. A good 3 cups worth. My stomach is in knots. For a second I about ot puked. My head spins, I get light headed and then my wooziness is replaced with anger. I'm pissed. I immediately go to the lady at the gate from where I just exited. I tell her my story and she looks into my bag in shock. She is extremely apologetic but can do nothing. She leads me to where I need to go, U.S. Airways customer service.
I am greeted there by a women/behemoth/monster/creature/prawn/leviathan thing-person named Melissa. I am convinced of two things. One, Melissa is a man-hater. Two, Melissa also hates photographers. I unfortunately am a card carrying member of both of these groups. Melissa, you represent the worst of what humanity is. Your complete lack of sympathy for a passenger who fears losing $18,000 of gear that is his livelyhood is just........
You make me sick. You will die alone.
From the word go Melissa is the Devil incarnite. Snide. Rude. Matter-of-fact. Just an awful person to deal with in such a certfomstance. Made a DVM employee look like a saint. Melissa dosn't see any water on the exterior of my black camera bag. Melissa is convinced I must have left a water bottle in my camera bag and THAT'S where the water came from. I tell Melissa that YES, where normally I ALWAYS require my camera gear to be stowed with my Super Big Gulp, I decided that that day I wouldn't risk it. She rolls her eys and tells me there is nothing they, (Arizona) can do because they are not my final destination. She then tells me that I need to see customer service in San Jose after my flight. I tell her I fear the water will evaporate by then and the gear will not appear wet and I would be dismissed and if the gear is broken it's my word againsnt their. I SEE LONG LONG STREAMS OF RED TAPE IN MY FUTURE. I ask her to at least document what she sees and put it in the record that my equpminet is soaked. She does. I then ask her to print me a copy of what she just wrote. She hesitates and then says "fine!"
"items are not sitting in water. it more appears that moisture has accumulated on the items"
I read this out load for her and the other 2 women at customer service, (whom were MUCH more symathetic in a later interaction then Beowolf here) and when I've finished I lost it. I asked her when does $12 an hr. constitute her being lawyer for U.S. Airways. Are you seriously proud of what your doing? I tell her to have a nice day and storm off.
I then go back to the original gal I talked to that sent me to CS. Let her know what happened, she is sympathetic and writes down her name and employee ID on the statement made by the parasite. Light bulb goes off and I realize I should get the creatures ID as well. I go back and she's not there. Lady at the desk knew what I needed and said heffalump went on her lunch break feasting on babies. I tell her all I want is her employee ID. She goes into the back, I hear streaming and the note comers back with her ID number on the paper. The last number was a 1 and when it was written she tore through the paper.
One day Melissa......one day
I go to the bathroom and stuff my bag with a brick of paper towels. I make a made mad dash to my terminal and am the last one to board. Longest 2 hours of my life....
In San Jose, I go directly to U.S. Airways CS. Here we go again. I am convinced Melissa somehow has teleported from Arizona to San Jose and then taken over the body of a middle aged Indian Man named Parvez. Parvez heard my story and before I could finish he starts his back pedal about how it's impossible this was the fault of U.S. Airways. I must have had a water bottle in my bag and have now removed it to avoid fault. Oh god. I could barely understand him. Not trying to be mean it's just the truth. HOW U.S. Airways thought it a good idea to allow a man with an accent THIS bad, be head of the customer service department at an international airport is beyond me. He is literally accusing me of lying. We have a shout match. He treathens me with the police. I laugh, told him I didn't even steal his slurpee, (relax, I'm middle eastern a swell I can say that). He was completely green. Didn't know anything about their protocol and I am left feeling completely alone. Losing hope.
At this point I started to haze out and drift away thinking about how bad my gear was damaged. Parvez kept talking and all I was hearing was the adults in the Peanuts cartoon. I was going ot lose. There it was, I WILL LOSE. I was given an email address to contact and was told someone would look over my case and get back to me. He also noted that damaged electronics are not their responsibility. HOW. FREAKING. LAME.
After checking all my gear this evening most of it is fine. I hear squeaking in two lenses, the 50L and the 16-35L. The PW's are okay and the 4 speedlights, (580ex2's) minus one are working as they were.
My 100 macro, (1 of 3 non "L" lenses) is no good. There is heavy fogging inside the lense. I know of the sicilia packet trick amoung others but won't be relying on it. It will be sent to Canon for repair. Mildue will show up very soon. THANK GOD FOR "L" GLASS. They are all hermetically sealed and would be TOAST otherwise. The macro was furthest from the water damage and was affected the most. "L" saved the day. I am convinced more then ever.
My bag has wrinkled and shunk even. Am I insured? Of course I am. The hassle is just massive however. Plus there is a deductible. U.S. Airways is at fault and I'm going to have to pay for it. **shakes head**
During the flight to Arizona from Memphis is was unbelievably cold. So cold that passengers were asking for blankets. They only had about 30 for the 50-75 passengers on board. I'd guess the entire duration of the flight resulted in 55-60 degree cabin temperature. Everyone was talking about it. I've never been this cold on a flight before. At one point the captain came on the intercom and talked about what was going on. Malfunctions of some kind and that things would not change. About an hour into the flight there also appeared a mist along the floor of the plane from end to end.So strange. Like a morning fog. I've NEVER seen anything like it. Everyone was freaked out. It had a strange oder as well. Like a cleaning solvent. It stayed for about 10 minutes and the flight attendant didn't know exactly what it was but was assured by the pilot things were okay. I have no proof, evidence whatsoever of THIS being the cause of my wet gear but have a strong feeling it was indeed the culpirt. Sweaty refigerant lines, heavy condensation, a water leak, I dunno. SOMETHING happened. Will I ever be told the truth? No. I about guarantee however that there are others that walked away with wet bags. Probably none that felt they needed to see CS though. Wet clothes and wet camera gear are very different.
One thing is for sure. I will NEVER fly U.S. Airways again. Seat are always cramp. No media of any kind. Just a seat and a belt. So bad. What can I say? Never again.