23 Aug 2014
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Don't Worry, Trust Me

Everything went fine on a recent trip—until the very end.

Don't Worry, Trust Me

Lost luggage is a traveler’s nightmare.

, my luggage and I were separated. Thankfully it happened at the end of my trip, not at the beginning.

I had checked my could-have-been carry-on because it was free. I had a connecting flight with a longish layover and after my getaway in the sun and sand I was feeling lazy. I wanted the mellowness of my trip to last; I didn’t want to haul my bag around.

At the end of my trip, I was home but my bag wasn’t. A potential nightmare. Although technically my luggage wasn’t lost or accidentally sent to the wrong destination, the tracking number on my claim ticket never showed up in the computer.

It happened something like this.

In Zihuatanejo the contents of my suitcase were unpacked and repacked by immigration. Let me say that my original packing job took some fancy tucking and stuffing to get everything in and get the bag closed. After their repacking the bag bulged and strained against the zipper. I had doubts as to whether or not it would burst open in transit and shuddered at the thought.

The first leg of my return went off without a hitch. Easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy as my grandkids would say. After going through customs, I retrieved my lumpy luggage and pulled it to the recheck station. Watching it disappear on the conveyor belt I was glad I had decided to check it.

That was the last time I saw my bag.

My connecting flight to San Jose was delayed. Updates on departure were sketchy resulting in many unhappy people in the waiting room, including me. I want to fly in a safe plane, but I’d been waiting almost four and a half hours. I just wanted to get home and to bed. There was mention the flight might be cancelled. I checked for another flight, but nothing was available. Cancellation meant a hotel. Not what I had in mind for the end of my vacation.

I heard the announcement that a flight on a different airline delayed because of weather had been "cleared for take off." The voice continued saying all passengers heading to SFO could begin boarding. SFO? That was doable.

I jumped up, grabbed my computer and purse and rushed to the gate to see if there were any empty seats. I wasn’t alone. Yes, there were available seats. All I had to do was go to the service desk and purchase a ticket. It seemed almost too easy.

I wondered why the gate personnel at my airline never mentioned this flight. No matter. It was a fleeting thought. I purchased a ticket just as they cancelled my original flight. Lucky me! I’d make it home after all.

Then it hit me. I didn’t have my luggage. It was at the other airline and would soon be on a conveyor belt circling and circling with no one there to claim it. I rushed back to the gate. A crush of people swarmed the desk – a rather long line of frustrated folks waiting for hotel vouchers. A woman announced that bags would be available downstairs at Carousel #3.

No! The departing flight was ready to close the door and leave. If I had to go get my bag I’d be too late. I had to figure something out fast. I stepped up to the desk, apologized to the person at the front of the line and asked if there was a supervisor.

He was pleasant and calm as I explained my plight. He assured me he would help and said, "Don’t worry I’ll take care of it. Trust me."

In that split second I decided to do just that. I wrote down my info and ran to the departing flight’s gate. Within minutes we were airborne. I couldn’t help thinking that a trip that had started with a quick decision now seemed to be ending with one.

I made it home—eventually. The plane sat on the tarmac awhile because there was no place to park and my rescheduled shuttle ride was late. But hey, I wasn’t in a hotel. At 3 a.m., home looked good.

No bag arrived the next day. I filed a missing bag claim and waited. My bag had a wide blue strip of painter's tape around it and a neon green ID tag. Easy to spot. I kept thinking about the chaos in the airport waiting room when I left and began to regret trusting Supervisor Guy. Just in case, I made a list of the things in my suitcase. As usual I had taken too much. Some things were favorites, two tops were borrowed and many items couldn’t be duplicated. But that was negative thinking. It would turn up.

It did—thirty-six hours later. It was never lost. Supervisor Dan sent it FedEx to my house. Thus it didn’t show up anywhere in the system. I hadn't needed to worry at all. Because of Dan there was no nightmare for this traveler.

While I waited I made another decision. In the future I’ll pack less and only do carry-on. Unless the flight has connections or my layovers are long or I’m feeling lazy or…

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