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Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Thu Apr 01, 2004 10:46 am

Ok, seriously

If you have ever flown more than 10 times or so, odds are, your checked-in luggage has been lost at least one time.

I have had my bags lost at times when you just don't need anything to go wrong, such as your bag when you are on vacation or when you are only staying a few days. It really becomes a hastle.

Last year, after a 14 hour flight LAX-SYD, Im waiting in Sydney for my bag to come, looking at that slow moving machine as it coughs up people bags. Of course, when yours never shows up, you get more anxious. You get the feeling oh no, they lost my bags. Well in this case, yes, Qantas did. After talking here and there, I couldnt really do much except wait in Sydney and give Qantas my number. The called me 2 days later and said it was still in LAX. There goes another day before I finally see my bags. That is one of a few stories I have.

So, for those of you out there, you know this has happened to you, tell us your story.......
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Thu Apr 01, 2004 11:04 am

I was on a flight from SFO to Shanghai via LAX. When we checked in, the lady told us to go screen our bag in the oversized luggage machine. There were so many bags in that place that I already sensed that our bag was going to get lost. When we finally arrived in China on MU (great airline and flight!), we understood that our bags were lost. But it wasn't MUs fault, since AA is the one who got us into LAX, they were taking care of the bags. As a result the bags ended up in Singapore. It was 2 days before we got our stuff.
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Thu Apr 01, 2004 5:28 pm

It has happened to me quite a number of times, unfortunately, and I am one of those unlucky guys who's luggage is always lost on the outbound flight, not on the flight home where it really wouldn't matter that much... but this is really the worst experience I've ever had... beware - this post is LONG:

On 18/19 April 1998 I flew as follows:
LH from HAJ to FRA (55 minutes)
UM from FRA to LCA and on to HRE (3:40, 1 hour stop, 7:45)
UM from HRE to VFA (1:00, after waiting a few hours in HRE for the connection)
BP from VFA to MUB (1:00, again after waiting a while)

In the end, I had flown about 24 hours to arrive in Botswana, and my suitcase had stayed with me up to Victoria Falls - but there it was, as I found out later, mis-labeled and sent to Johannesburg on SAA, with me flying to Maun on Air Botswana.

It took about 30 minutes for the guys in Maun to understand that I had not boarded the plane without a suitcase, and that I wanted them to call VFA to see if my suitcase had just stayed there... all they agreed to is putting the request into the computer system, stating that the message would be passed on to VFA by computer and that they'd respond if it was there - and I was asked to return the following day.

The following day, the day before I was scheduled to go on a 4 day safari into Moremi Game Reserve, I went back to the airport and got - nothing: they couldn't even find their copy of the "suitcase missing" form and couldn't find the request in the computer... I once again asked them to call VFA, but they again declined, but at least they gave me the phone number for VFA.

I went back to my hotel and called - and was, after describing the situation, forwarded to someone from SAA, who then told me that they had in fact had my suitcase on their flight to JNB and had been wondering when I'd call them: he'd try to get my suitcase back to VFA, but I might have to wait until I got to JNB the following week to get it - but he'd notify JNB so that they'd know that I'd be coming by.

So, I went on Safari with 2 t-shirts and 2 pairs of underwear and socks (the supply I keep in my on-board luggage, just for cases like this)...

When I came back to MUB on 25 April I, just for the "fun" in it, asked them if they had heard anything - but, once again, they hadn't.

So, I boarded my flight to BBK (Kasane, Botswana - about 55 minutes), got to my hotel there and took my first real shower in 5 days... and once again proceeded to wash my clothes in the normal basin (laundry service would never have gotten my things ready in time for my departure the next day... believe me... I asked...).

The next morning, I got on a minibus back to Victoria Falls, at the airport I found the guy from SAA who told me that they had not gotten the suitcase, but that it was in JNB: he gave me a description of where I should go on my arrival.

So, once again, I boarded a flight - this time on Air Zimbabwe to JNB, 1:45 length - without my suitcase. After arriving in JNB I went directly to the lost luggage counter and was, with a pleasant smile, informed that since my suitcase had a Voyager (SAA SA)">FF-Program) Luggage tag that corresponded to an address in Germany, they sent it to Frankfurt...

At this point, I was very close to asking for a switch from Hotel to Mental asylum for the next night...

When I arrived in my hotel room, I called a colleague and asked him to call SAA in Frankfurt, which he did - and they confirmed that my suitcase had been there for almost a week by then (although they had not sent out any notification of this). Then, they flat out refused to transport the suitcase, stating that there would be no passenger travelling with it and that that would be against their regulations: at this point, my colleague reminded them that they already had transported the suitcase without a passenger travelling with it (from JNB to FRA), and that since they had complete control over the suitcase for the whole week they should know that there is no danger in taking it back to JNB: after some lengthy discussions they agreed to take it back to JNB, but only after putting it into a decompression chamber for a while... just in case...

In any case, it would be on the flight to JNB the same evening, so I could pick it up the next morning.

If you're guessing that that would be a much too simple end to this, then you're right: when they were finished decompressing my suitcase, the flight to JNB was already gone (or at least quite close to leaving) - so my suitcase had to wait another 24 hours... something that I found out when I went to the airport the morning that my suitcase was supposed to come in (I actually called in advance and was told that it was on board).

Since I was, by then, on my way towards Kruger National Park I left a list of my hotels and contact details with SAA in JNB, so that they could inform me as soon as my suitcase arrived - and they agreed to send it to Skukuza airport in the park as soon as it had.

The next morning I called SAA and got the confirmation that my suitcase had, indeed, now arrived in JNB - and they'd be putting it on one of the three flights to Skukuza that day.

When I came into Skukuza, at that time the first two flights had already arrived, there was - you probably guessed it - no suitcase waiting for me, so I waited for the third one, which was already in the air and about to arrive: it arrived, all luggage was unloaded, my suitcase was not among the load.

So I went to the counter in the airport, told them my story, and one of the employees (who didn't even work for SAA, but for Comair) called JNB: there, she was told the following story:

"In the morning, SAA called Air Zimbabwe and asked them to send someone to pick up the suitcase, since AirZim had been responsible for the original mislabeling... when the guy from AirZim showed up, the first flight was already gone, but he was well in time for the second, so he took the suitcase from the SAA office and was supposed to bring it to the SA Express flight to Skukuza... unfortunately, he only arrived at the gate after the flight had already left. Then he must have gone to lunch, or whatever, because when he arrived back at the SAA office to ask what to do, the third flight had also already left."

She was absolutely speechless and asked me several times, why I was staying so calm... I told her that I had gotten over being angry the previous week, and that by now, I was only surprised by the fact that Murphy's law was so present in the world of aviation...

But what she did then actually surprised me: she called the Comair office in JNB and told them to send someone to SAA and pick up the suitcase and bring it to one of the SA Airlink flights into Nelspruit the following day (the city where I was going next)... they seemed a bit reluctant at first, but at some point they agreed.

The next day, after arriving in Nelspruit, I went straight to the airport: and my suitcase was there!!! About two weeks after I had checked it in at VFA for my flight to MUB, I finally had it back - and there were no damages to it or the contents...

When I was back in Germany the following week, I sent a letter to Air Zimbabwe and SAA, describing the whole thing - I never got any reply (and at some point I simply didn't care any more), nor any apology... but, at least, I got my suitcase back.

It was actually the same suitcase that missed my connection from FRA to VFA via WDH in November 2001, and it - once again - took about a week to get it back... but that's another story...

Happy contrails,
Smile - it confuses people!
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Thu Apr 01, 2004 6:21 pm

Wow, u guys writing a book or s'thing?  Smile

In 6 years of flying (western countries, no third-world), I've got maybe 2 delayed bags, but never once completely lost.

From this end, I just want you to know, YOUR BAGS ARE NOT TRACKED like UPS/FEDEX. The barcode DOESN'T DO ANYTHING.

You are wisely advised that your bags, at the most inopportune moment, is not going to arrive there. Never check in things you cannot do without: medications, keys etc. Never check in your presentation to the president. If you have a wedding dress for the ceremony, shipping before hand it via FEDEX is ALOT safer.

Treating delayed bags as something that you are expect it to happen saves you lots of aggravation and anxiety.
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 12:05 am

Only once, but now EVERYTHING goes in the cabin with me. F/A's be forwarned!
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:03 am

Thank God it has only happened once to me.  Big grin
Some a**hole took my 20" TUMI rollaway (F priority tagged) and left his 22" TUMI rollaway (C priority tagged) at the arrival luggage belt in BKK.

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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:12 am

StarG, LOL the same thing happened to me last wed. On my LHR-BOS flight. Some fool thought my case was his, and took off with it. After being delayed for ages in immigration, I finally reached the belt to find my bag was no where in sight. Needless to say, 33 hrs later, BA sent the bag to my house. Other than that, I almost never (knock on wood) loose my bag; I think it has happened once before........

Note to everyone with a roll-away bag....Personalize your case! Everyone has this style right now, and it is so easy to confuse your own for another. From now on, I will be putting a ugly-as-hell sticker on my handle to make mine stand out and hopefully avoid this mess in the future!


PS- If you ever lose you bags through BA at BOS, Yung is the lady to talk to, she is very kind and helpful!  Smile
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:23 am

Personlizing is a good idea. My wife has a roller bag that is khaki colored. It has a red cover on the handle and a Cutter & Buck ID tag.

A couple weeks ago, I was picking up my suitcase at ORD, coming in from LGA. I saw a bag with the most ugly green paisley pattern. But just to be safe, the owner tied a piece of purple ribbon on the handle. If that isn't overkill, I don't know what is.
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:37 am

This happened when I first travelled in Business Class.

My flight was started from HKG to SIN. However, while I was waiting to collect my suitcase, I found it didn't show up. About 10 minutes later, a airline staff approach me that my suitcase was sent to SGN (Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam) rather than SIN (Singapore). Luckily my suitcase was then send back to my hotel at night.

I think they wrongly read SIN as SGN, so my suitcase was not with me and flew to SGN itself!
Kai Tai - I missed you so much
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:38 am

In 2000 I travelled VIE-NRT via FRA on LH. Due to an instrument malfunction (we were told so) prior to takeoff our A-320 was sitting for about an hour or so on a taxiway in VIE, but finally we departed.
Upon arrival in FRA everybody including me scrambled to get to their connecting flights. Mine was of course from another terminal, so I had to hurry quite a lot. The waiting area was already empty, the plane however was, luckily for me, still there. Out of breath I asked the gate agent how high the chances are, that my luggage will also make it. After asking me, when my VIE flight arrived (20 minutes ago) he responded that everything should go OK.
And so I spent the FRA-NRT flight sitting there, asking myself for hours if he was right or wrong.
Well, after the conveyor belt in NRT was shut down, I knew that my suitcase was still in FRA  Sad
I immediately consulted the ANA staff, filled out a form with my temporary address in Tokyo and hoped for the best. Exactly one day later, I had the suitcase delivered to my room. That's what I call service!!!
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 10:44 am

YUL-YVR (connecting YYZ) on Dec 16, 2001 on Air Canada

Left YUL at 14:00) Bags didn't make flight between YUL and YYZ (despite check-in 2 hours prior).

Missed connecting flight in YYZ (15:15 hrs)- said bags would be delivered to my door within 24hrs. Was on stand-by until 17:45 Dec. 17. Couldn't locate my bags in all that time...found bags MYSELF at YVR more than 36 hrs later. What made it worse was that I had $2000 in snowboard gear, just left lying beside the carosel amongst hundreds of other bags for who knows how long.

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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 11:26 am

The only time my bags were missing was with British Airways between London & Dhaka, though it wasn't really BA's fault.
The following conversation took place at the BA check-in desk at Paddington
(after I load my suitcase into the belt and handover my ticket):

Check-in agent : I am sorry Sir, but I cannot accept your luggage, as you have to check in at least 3 hrs prior to your departure time if checking in thru Paddington. (I had about 1.5 hrs left for departure). This is because there may not be sufficient time to load you baggage into the aircraft. However, I will assign you a seat and issue you a boarding pass.

Me: That's fine.

Check-in agent: Ok then. (she prints out my boarding pass, and advises me to drop my luggage in the fast bag drop at LHR T4)

Suddenly, the check-in lady forgetfully pushes a button that pulls my lugagge into the luggage belt , and before she can retrieve it back, the suitcase is swept through and dissapears behind the black curtain (you know what I mean). She turns completely red, and I am shocked, as I immediately know my luggage will probably never reach DAC on the same flight as I would. However, she tries her best, and lies to me, telling me that my luggage would definitely be on the aircraft, and I had nothing to worry about. By that time, she had turned a deeper shade of red, and couldn't even look into my eyes! I felt sorry for her, and just rested the case.

My suitcase reached Dhaka four days after, by which time I was in Chittagong (a different city).

It took BA three more days to forward my bag to CGP(which is a mere 30 minute flight/ 250 mile distance from Dhaka). Customer Service of BA at DAC was terrible and utterly slow (took me about an hour just to file a missing baggage form), but at least they did return my luggage to me.
I still do check-in at Paddington, but make sure it is well before 3 hrs of departure time  Big grin.

P.S. BA no longer has check-in service at Paddington. Only Star Alliance carriers and a couple of others do.
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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:42 pm

From this end, I just want you to know, YOUR BAGS ARE NOT TRACKED like UPS/FEDEX. The barcode DOESN'T DO ANYTHING.

I think somebody needs to check their facts. UA, CO, AA all scan their bagtags and tract the bags.
JetBlue - Bringing humanity back to air travel
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Joined: Wed Oct 02, 2002 11:43 am

RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 1:55 pm

OK - I know I'm going to "mozz" myself here, but I can honestly say in 30 odd years of flying I've yet to lose a bag. Excellent record to all you handling agents, ramp rats etc out there.

Losing passport, tickets etc before leaving the terminal is an entirely different story!!

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Joined: Mon Sep 24, 2001 8:26 am

RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:21 pm

Done lots of flying have never lost a bag. I am still amazed that a bag gets put on a conveyor belt and the majority of the time it ends up at one's destination.

Obviously luggage from time to time goes astray, as the previous posts can attest, but I think people make more of an issue than it really is. People will bring steamer trunks as cabin baggage, because they think the airline will lose their luggage, and they have probably never lost their luggage before.

With all that said, I will probably ending up losing my luggage on my next flight.

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RE: Lost Baggage - What's Your Story

Fri Apr 02, 2004 4:29 pm

"UA, CO, AA all scan their bagtags and tract the bags."

If that's the case then the airline personel know about a missing bag even BEFORE the PAX gets to his destination (maybe even before takeoff). Because surely, the computer knows all the bags the counter checked-in, once the ramper loads the last bag and hit the DONE button, the computer would automatically do a reconciliation and either says CORRECT, or oops, 5 bags failed to load, and the ramper go and look for them bags right?

I don't think that's happening guy... As far as I know, the PAX gets to his destination, can't find his bag on the carr, goes into the office, asks, and the agent there goes "really? let me find out..." Why doesn't the computer already printed out a manifest of all the bags failed to load? and the agent apologizing profusely?

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