How many horror stories have you heard about airlines losing peoples’ luggage? Has it ever happened to you? If you are planning a trip, are you sure your checked bag will arrive at your destination at the same time you do?
In Calcutta, at the end of a fabulous 3-month trip, Leanne checked in for her flight. She checked her backpack and a bright red duffel bag. This was a few years ago before many people had switched to brightly colored luggage, so it was very easy to spot that red bag when it came along the carousel.
Where’s My Bag?
First stop was an overnight in Bangkok. Leanne waited and waited at the baggage carousel in the Bangkok airport, but her beautiful little red bag did not show up. She had been on a direct flight, so the problem obviously occurred in Calcutta.
Of course, the lost bag was not the one with her boring every day clothing. No, it was the one with all the special gifts and souvenirs she’d bought in Nepal and India.
Leanne sadly reported her missing bag and was told to report the delay after her connecting flight since she had to leave the next morning before the next flight from Calcutta arrived.
She consoled herself that a lost bag wasn’t as bad on the way home as at the beginning of a trip. The airlines had promised to search for her bag and forward it once they’d found it.
All Hope Gone
Leanne spent the next 10 days in frequent contact with the airlines, but the bag never appeared. Eventually, the airlines said that they’d given up hope. They sent forms for Leanne to fill out for reimbursement, but she let them sit on her desk – too depressed to worry about the money owed to her.
Yes, she’d get some money for her lost items. But as you can imagine, no amount of money could reimburse her for the special items in that bag that she’d picked out with loving care.
Don’t Give Up
Amazingly, just when all hope was gone, a totally different airline phoned Leanne and asked if she’d had a bag go missing on an international flight. Both the airline tag and her personal identification had come off the outside of the bag, but luckily, Leanne had one piece of identification inside the bag.
She immediately asked what color the bag was. When they said red, Leanne just about jumped for joy. They told her that they’d looked inside the bag and found a piece of paper with a phone number, so they called it. She was shocked and delighted.
The airline immediately overnighted the bag to her – she had all her treasures in her hands the very next day. Leanne vowed that in the future, she’d put so many pieces of identification in and on her bags that airline personnel would always be able to find her.
Leanne said that having a piece of identification inside that bag was just pure dumb luck. But it was a lesson learned.
Here’s What She Does Now
- She writes her last name and phone number in permanent marker on the outside of the bag in two places.
- If that’s not possible, she puts two stickers with that information on the outside of the bag and covers it with transparent packing tape.
- She writes her last name and phone number in permanent marker on the inside of the bag – either on the lining or on the cloth separator.
- She staples or glues her business card a couple of places inside the bag.
If you’re not comfortable putting your personal phone number in a visible location, then use your office phone number.
Having this information available in several places inside and on the outside of your bag gives the airline every possibility to recover your bag for you if it takes a detour! Don’t let a lost bag ruin your vacation!
Luggage is Often Found
An international tour director said that she occasionally has distraught tour members who arrive without one or more of their bags.
When that happens, the airline usually pinpoints the location of the bag within just a few hours – sometimes within minutes. Technology makes that possible. The airlines actually do an amazing job taking care of baggage on their flights.
The morale of the story is for passengers to make it as easy as possible for airline personnel to locate them if their bags go missing, so that everyone’s travels end happily.