If you're currently waiting for your bags, because you flew sometime since the 4th of January 2015, and you came in via SFO: go to the airport they're there!
Customer service will tell you they're "with the delivery company" (they've been telling me this for three days). They'll tell you that "once it's with the delivery company, it goes to their warehouse" - there is no warehouse, at SFO it's ONE GUY as far as I can tell. They won't give you his name (it's Eddie - dial 650 652 5600 for an amusing full mailbox and "professional response" (it's been this way for over a year AFAICT - search around for the company name)). The company is called "Sterling Baggage" (not "whereismysuitcase.com", which is run by Bags Inc. who are similarly knowledge-less at all public phone numbers). If you call the SFO office, the lady there will tell you "it's on it's way" (which is also a lie).
I took the risk, given I'd been told by everyone that it was "on it's way, today" for the last three days, of driving up there. I'm glad I did, because what I saw was near 100 bags lined up for delivery. As above, I believe there's only ONE person delivering them, so 72hrs from now (the 7th) would even be a stretch. More than that, most of the bags are unlocked, so you don't even need someone to be present to collect your bag (sigh). I decided to let the lady in the office know that I was taking my bag, and handed her the delivery sheet. As you will observe in the image below, after I then drove all the way home from SFO, she still hasn't updated the system, so who knows when that will happen. I asked her to call/email central office and let them know to start letting customers know that the bags are at SFO, not "in the delivery companies warehouse" (seriously, that's a sick joke given the reality). She muttered something about "oh I should just call the customers", and I said "well please call central first, as that's all we, your customers, have a number for, and they can't reach you or the delivery company!" - she answered "oh well I've been struggling to get hold of central" - hang on a minute - I've made no less than 8 calls to central just in the last day and spoken to someone there each and every time. While most of them have tried to be helpful, they've been rendered useless by the fact that SFO don't answer the phone, and nor does the number for the delivery company above.
When I called central this morning, they told me "oh, well the bag was only picked up by the delivery company at 8am this morning" - this was a lie, wherever it came from, because no one picked up anything. I'd already explained to this agent that I wanted to pick up my bag. Had they communicated this to whoever they spoke to (although I have some doubt they spoke to anyone, given what all their colleagues told me, who seemed more honest), then I would have not wasted a second day at home waiting for my bag.
I'm obviously livid. I could have had my bag two days ago, and I could have avoided missing two days of "start of the year" kick off meetings with my team at work, among many other things.
I also took the time to call central office and explain the situation, to recommend to them that they actually communicate to customers that their bags are at the airport, not in some mysterious "warehouse" (maybe that's located here: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Sterling+Delivery+Servicesemail@example.com,-122.4695353,3a,52.5y,321h,90t/data=!3m4!1e1!3m2!1sevDLewMT3GeEUEyKLb6cSA!2e0!4m2!3m1!1s0x0:0x49ab14c1c62b52de!6m1!1e1 as I've seen reported by many services!).
What's happened here is that people (as in employees of these companies) have been made to believe that:
- there's a well defined process for handling lost baggage (not true)
- there's a professional and certified handling service for deliveries (not true)
- the cause of the current delivery delays is mere "excess" from the weather (not true)
- our bags are "secure" (not true)
- once bags have been "handed to the delivery company" (which means "entered into another system", not any physical action), there's "nothing the airline can do" (you guessed it, not true)
Now the lady at SFO I really feel for her. Even more so because of what I'm about to say, but let me precursor that with this: she's had a really shitty week so far. I mean really shitty. I'm not just saying this because my bags were lost, or the pile of luggage I witnessed surrounding here, but because she currently looks like a lifetime crack fiend on a hard come down. Harsh right? No I'm serious - if you're passing through SFO right now, go offer her some tea, or a hug, or whatever you can, she looks like death poor lady. The kicker though, is that she's WAY out of her depth here, and as far as I can see, there's no one around to help (or she hasn't asked for it). Now this isn't a "secured" part of the airport, and nor are the bags secured. Someone could be sent down there from any one of the company offices to help. Hell, some kids would be of assistance right now. In the very least though, anyone involved here should have realized after three days of the piles getting bigger, that something else could and should and needs to be done than this dead-end communication. Customers need to be told where their bags are, as they can relieve the pressure on this delivery guy (Eddie!) and help themselves be more happy.