There are many “first times” when you fly. Your actual first flight, your first long delay, your first missed connection, and of course, the first time your luggage doesn’t get to the destination.
You are waiting at the baggage claim, the other passengers spot their bags, pick them up and leave without any issue, but your bag doesn’t appear. You tell yourself “Relax, it’s going to appear really soon”, but there are less and less bags in the carousel… And all of the sudden, the carousel stops… “Dude, where’s my bag?” For a couple of moments, you keep hoping it will appear but the carousel doesn’t start again, so you start looking around to see what to do next.
If it’s your first time, you usually don’t know what exactly shall be done and what’s supposed to happen because the signs aren’t that clear around you. Somehow you get to the customer services counter of your airline, and the bored clerk hands you a form where you need to put your contact information and give details of your lost bag. “What kind of bag you lost, sir?”, the clerk asks. How do you describe a bag? They are all, well, just bags.
After you fill the form and get a tracking number, you leave the airport wondering what’s going to happen next because the clerk attitude wasn’t reassuring enough when he said that your bag will get there with the next flight, and you obviously have some things to do that require the clothes that were in that missing bag (unless you are going to some nudist beach or similar). Starting your day with the same clothes that you have been wearing for the past 16 hs is definitely a lousy way to start a trip.
There are not many good things about losing a bag when you fly. If you fly business, some airlines give you some cash when that happens so you can buy some clothes until you get it back, and that’s probably the only case when something good comes out of this unpleasant situation. The other thing isn’t immediate and it’s the fact that a lost bag is usually a nice story to tell afterwards.
I remember my first day in my current job. I flew from Argentina to Slovakia and i was supposed to go straight from the airport to the office for some important meetings. My bag didn’t arrive with me and i couldn’t have those meetings with the same t-shirt and jeans (ejem…) that i was wearing the whole trip so i needed to postpone the meetings so i could go and by some new, clean clothes to wear. My bag arrived two days later than expected and you can imagine those first couple of days weren’t a pleasant start of my new job.
The above is actually a quite common story: many frequent travelers go through something similar at some point of their life. What happened to a spanish friend of mine isn’t that usual. He was returning to Spain from another part of continental Europe that required him to connect through Paris. When he arrived to his final destination, his bag didn’t. He filed the report and the airline representative told him the bag will be arriving in the next flight. Of course, it didn’t. Many months and phone calls later, someone called and told him that his bag appeared in Heathrow airport, in London, a place his bag shouldn’t even supposed to be close to. If you are thinking now that lost bags are in a different dimension when missing, you are definitely not alone.
If you never lost your luggage when flying, it will eventually happen to you. And when it does, you will have a story to tell your friends. That’s what flying is all about: stories (and losing your bag from time to time) 😛