Lost and found
15 February 2012
My recent travel to Paris and Rome taught me a big lesson – own your luggage. When you travel, you have to make sure that you have your luggage properly identified, either check-in or hand-carried pieces. How do you do that? A hand tag is not enough because as you travel those supposedly secured tags can get lost in ways you cannot imagine. Some of you do not like the idea of stickers on your luggage so you avoid any, but that might save you a lot of headache. A strap can be an additional identification. Knowing what your luggage has gone through in your many trips (change wheels, small cuts, lost logo) will also help create an identity for your luggage. Keep a snap shot of your luggage on your phone. Last, get an insurance for your luggage and also, most health travel insurance will cover lost/delay luggage. So why all the fuss about your luggage identity?
Eiffel tower at night, Paris
St. Peters Basilica, Roma
I lost my luggage for the second time. The first time was several years ago when I went to Prague from Paris and found out that I did not have the proper visa to enter Prague (blame it on my travel agency who thought it was automatically ok since it joined the EU group that year – 2004). It was the 9/11 anniversary and I do not even know why KLM/Air France allowed me to leave Manila and Paris without noticing that I have no Visa to Prague. So when I landed in Prague I was automatically asked to return to Paris and my luggage didn’t make it on time to Paris for my connecting flight back to Manila. After a few days, my luggage arrived and was partially opened and I lost some personal belongings. That was frustrating.
This time it happened again. I went to Rome with a companion for 3 days and decided to just share a luggage to save us the trouble of pulling more than one luggage in the subways of Rome. On our return to Paris, our luggage did not show up at Orly. Luckily, we left one luggage in Paris so we were able to change and save some of our personal belongings.
What was in the other luggage was some of the new stuff that were purchased in Rome. I was too tired to carry my MacBook Pro that I decided to check it in. The latch of my silver Rolex gave in and I do not know why I decided to check it in too. I know, it was a stupid move.
After reporting at Orly, my companion was very hopeful that it will be in our hotel the next day in time for our return to Manila. I was not because I have experienced it before. True enough, 10 days passed and my grey luggage was nowhere to be found. What made it worse was that every time you track the status you get the same reply, “tracking is ongoing”. After a few emails to Vueling (Spanish budget airline) showing our discontent, we got a reply saying call or snail mail their Madrid office describing the luggage and that it is not easy for them to communicate via email.
WTF! Here is the deal, upon checking their site, they have more than 10 offices in Europe and I called 3 and all I got were ringtones. So the next move is to snail mail them all the documents and I was really getting frustrated because with all the ways you can easily communicate now, I have to revert to sending a letter when sending a letter seems so obsolete now. So I asked a friend of mine who was a former K I S H staff and based in Rome to call the office. She complained about no one answering too.
Argh!!! finally after 2 days, I got an FB message from her telling us to fax the description and other info to a number in Madrid. So what I did was to check my file of any picture of my luggage and luckily found one and add more description to properly identify my luggage in a sea of lost luggage.
An old picture of my luggage on its way to Bali
The description of my luggage that was faxed to Madrid
Two days after, I was awakened by a call past 4 in the morning. I didn’t answer the call because it was a foreign number, I didn’t expect it to be about the luggage because I said I do not think they can trace it right away. I was more worried that the call might be a bearer of bad news or maybe I won something in a foreign land. I double checked the number and it was the country code of France. After less than an hour I decided to call back the number to find out that they found our luggage and they wanted to ask me where they can deliver. They asked what the airport nearest to me was and so I told them Ninoy Aquino airport. I had to spell the whole name and it was difficult for the French lady to keep up with what I was saying until I told her, it is in Manila and her immediate reply was oh Manila (can someone please change that name back to Manila International airport)!
Pieces of luggage waiting to be found
Got my luggage. Everything intact inside. Initially I was informed that the luggage will be delivered to my apartment but when I called the airline again they said I had to pick it up. That was confusing. When I got to the airport luggage section, they informed me the luggage is not with them. I had to insist that I was informed the night before that it arrived. I had to go inside the storage and easily identified my luggage less the red strap.
That was one experience. But imagine if you live in the province like Sagada or very difficult to reach locations? How will they deliver your luggage and you have to go to the nearest airport to collect your luggage. The sad part, you receive your luggage without any letter of apology from the airline. As if it was our fault our luggage got lost.
Vueling airline you need some major spanking!