Here's a letter I just sent off to the Hawaiian Airlines prez & ceo. Who the heck knows if it'll even get to him, but man, it felt good to get it off my chest.
May 20, 2008
Mr. Mark B. Dunkerley
President and Chief Executive Officer
P.O. Box 30008
Honolulu, HI 96820
Dear Mr. Dunkerley,
I thank you in advance for taking the time to read this letter.
I was a passenger on HA10 on May 13, 2008; HNL to LAX. I was seated in row 46—window seat. When the plane landed I had the opportunity to watch one of your baggage handlers unload the plane for a few minutes. During this time I was very disturbed to see your employee pick up a guitar off of the belt and THROW it into the baggage transport truck. And THEN, he proceeded to THROW 2-3 strollers ON TOP of the guitar case as well.
Was the guitar damaged? I have no idea. But that is irrelevant. The guitar should not have been thrown to begin with.
In the grand scheme of things, you may consider my concerns petty and minor, but they are real to me. I am a part-time musician. It took me 2 years to save up for my $2000.00 Martin guitar. I could not replace it at the drop of a dime if it got damaged. I have a gig on Maui in July. Hypothetically speaking, if my guitar is damaged before I play, what do you suggest I do? The thought of my guitar being subjected to such negligent and primitive behavior is frightening. I am disheartened that you actually employee people that don’t realize that a guitar = fragile. Look, we don’t have a choice. Guitars don’t fit in the overhead. We have to check them in. We have to entrust our revenue- generating instrument to you and your employees. Is there another option available that I am unaware of?
I watched the Makaha Sons video that plays during the flight. I certainly hope that their guitars are not being treated poorly. “Well, that’s the Makaha Sons. Of course, we don’t throw their guitars around!” you say? Should there even be a difference? No one’s guitar or any other musical instrument, or anything that is marked fragile or that looks fragile should be treated with such careless disregard.
I recently read an online article by an ex- baggage handler. It purportedly offered the truth about what really happens to people’s luggage- especially the fragile things. Not the most flattering representation. So, you’re not alone, you’re not the only ones, I get it. I can assure you that I expect my regular luggage to be thrown around like a rag doll. But, not any breakables that are so obviously breakable.
I am not sure whether you outsource your ramp services at LAX, but either way, as an associate of Hawaiian Airlines, anyone handling baggage for you should be held to a high performance standard… anyone representing you period.
I sincerely hope that because you are now the only real choice for interisland air transportation for the people of Hawaii that you remain vigilant about your commitment to exemplary service. Please don’t mess with us now, just because you can. Please don’t be that kind of company.
Again, thank you for your time. I thought my initial shock would blow over, but it hasn’t . That is why I am writing. Please consider regularly reminding your people to exercise some common sense and The Golden Rule: to treat other people’s belongings as they would treat their own.
Faith L. Geronimo