Lessons learned from lost luggage

YOU’RE waiting and watching at the baggage carousel. And waiting. And watching. Until finally there are no bags going round and the carousel stops. That’s when you accept what has become increasingly obvious – you’ve arrived but your luggage hasn’t.

Our two bags went missing on a flight with Vueling from Dubrovnik to Barcelona (via Rome). Two short flights with just under three hours in Rome airport. We only had the clothes we travelled in. Fortunately our medications and cameras were in our carry-on luggage.

There was no joy from enquiries at the airport and no information available from Vueling over the next two days as to the whereabouts of our two pieces of luggage.

The website showed “still searching” and the staff at our hotel could not do any better with numerous phone calls.

We had only the clothes we travelled in to Barcelona so the next day we bought various essentials. With still no news by the following day we decided to purchase further items – including a suitcase and phone charger.

It was now becoming desperate because we were due to leave Barcelona the next day by train for Madrid. The ever helpful staff at our Barcelona hotel advised Vueling of our travel plans and the name of our Madrid hotel.

At 6am on the day of our departure  I received a text (in Spanish) advising that “Delivery Process Initiated” – our hotel staff were later able to get through to Vueling by phone about 8.45am and establish that the luggage was going to our Madrid hotel (Westin Palace) and was arriving in Madrid at 9.10am.

So we were in much better spirits when we caught the midday train to Madrid and arrived at the hotel about 3.30pm. Alas, our spirits were deflated when we discovered there was still no luggage! It seems that Madrid had a public holiday on that day. The helpful hotel staff advised that the luggage would probably come with an evening run.

And so it did. We came back after dinner and almost fell over the cases in our room.

The lessons learned?

  • Always (yes always) have some undies etc in your carry-on bag.
  • Try to fly direct rather than via a busy airport like Rome or try to use one of the major carriers.
  • Always have travel insurance.

Vic Dennis

Photo courtesy of Freepik.

Editor’s note:

The travel website Independent Traveller advises:

1. Put your name on the outside and inside of your bags. Even better, put a copy of your itinerary in each checked bag so the airline can locate you.

2. The most common causes of lost and delayed bags are late check-ins and tight connections. Avoid both when you can.

3. Pack all valuables in your carry-on bags. Cameras, computers, medication, wallets, heirlooms, jewellery, passports, as well as confirmation numbers, itineraries, contact information and other documents necessary to your travel should never be in your checked baggage.

4. Itemise. It sounds tedious, but when an airline asks what was in your bag, you don’t want to forget anything of value. If you make a packing list before you travel, hang on to it — this is an easy way to remember everything you put into your bags.

5. Make sure the person who checks your baggage attaches the correct destination ticket to every bag, and get a claim ticket for each.

6. Pack a change of clothes in your carry-on bag so that you’ll have something to wear if your checked bag is delayed. If you’re travelling with a partner, consider spreading each person’s clothes between your checked bags; this way if one of the bags is lost, you’ll each still have some of your belongings.

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