You see a crack in their lines and you try to pass through it but you are not fast enough, and someone else has been quicker than you: an adorable old lady who give you a fierce stare you will never forget: “Back off!”, those eyes tell you. You desist and try to find another way to achive your goal: your luggage, that eventually will appear in the baggage claim.
Above introduction is just a simple example of many of the different awkward moments you are going to experience when trying to find a way to reach for your bag in the baggage claim area. If there’s a travel experience that shows the actual true nature of humans is this, what I like to call the Battle of Baggage Claim.
Imagine this: you finally arrive at your destination in a foreign country after a very long journey, sitting in a middle seat. You finally exit the plane and you try to understand how to pick up your luggage. Not an easy task. You are tired, a little grumpy, and those signs never are the same. You finally find the sign when a business class traveler pretty much runs you over (those guys are always trying to be the first ones everywhere!).
You shake off the bad mood his or her rudeness have produced to you, finally find the baggage claim area and you see that your bag is going to be available in the belt number 7. You pray it’s not the one that’s already full of people but no god was listening to you at that moment. “All that people was in my plane? Really?”, you think, not being able to understand how physics allow all that people to get into a plane in an “orderly manner” but now became a sort of disorganized mass of airport zombies looking for human brains, or in this case, bags.
When you finally get there, to the baggage claim, you see that everyone else is also tired and grumpy so no matter if it’s a little kid, a young surfer or a businessman, all of them are pushing each other somehow to get a place in front of the belt and be the first to pick up their bags.
Of course, the bags don’t come in the order people wants: they appear randomly, not even in the expected order (priority ones first, the rest after). All luggage looks pretty much the same after a 10 hs flight, so two different people try to reach for the same bag and they have a sort of non-verbal argument over it: “it’s mine”, “no, no, it’s mine”. Check the tag number! “Oh, sorry, it’s yours” says one of them.
Then, you finally see your own bag. You smile but then you realize there’s a lot of people between you and your bag. You take a deep breath, close your eyes and charge.
It’s madness. It’s insane. It’s the Battle of Baggage Claim. The worst designed part of the traveling process, and you are lucky if you are not pushed by a person, or hit by bag in the process of retrieving your own. Those that lost their luggage are left behind. You leave the airport proud(?) of your victory: it was tough, but you got your bag!