The luggage problem video got me to thinking about some of my own luggage experiences.
My worst experience was the summer I flew home from Rome and never saw one of my suitcases again. Although it was the smaller of my two bags with mostly dirty clothes inside, it did contain a few of my favorite travel clothing items that I have still not been able to replace to this day. I was an Elite member on Continental that year and so the customer service help to be reimbursed was a pain but not torture.
The one other time I stood at the baggage carousel watching all the bags spin around until the last one came out with my bag still missing was a few summers ago when departing from Venice. My bag was eventually found two weeks later and delivered to my door. A frustrating experience with a happy ending.
This past summer, my wheelie bag came off the carousel with a big dent in the handle. This prevented me from raising the handle more than a couple of inches. Not a fun way to attempt to pull your bag through the streets of Venice. Continental of course was proud to show me their sign that said that they are not responsible for baggage damage. They even gave me a little slip of paper with the same wording highlighted in pink in case I needed a reminder. It cost me about $50.00 in shipping to have Eagle Creek repair it for free.
My most memorable experience however was the time I waited for my luggage to come out after flying from Catania to Rome. I have had to wait quite a while for my luggage to come out many times, but this experience was one I will never forget.
After landing in Rome, I walked with my fellow passengers to the baggage area. When we arrived, five bags were going round and round the carousel. We all stood around and watched the five bags as well as the one other bag that was stuck, but not really holding up any of the other bags.
At one point, a woman pushed the red button. I assume she pushed it because she thought that none of the other bags would come out if the one bag was stuck. The carousel came to a stop. That was NOT a good idea. Everyone around her started speaking to her loudly and rapidly in Italian, with hands flying everywhere. Although I could not understand exactly what was being said, it was pretty obvious that this woman should not have pushed that red button.
After a few minutes of the lively red button discussion, someone found a guy to start the carousel again. We then proceeded to wait, and wait, and wait. After about 20 minutes, six or seven more bags came out and then nothing. Two or three people were lucky enough to find their bags and leave. This meant that at least we were at the correct carousel. The rest of us sat around and watched the same three bags go round and round, again, and again, and again.
People were starting to become upset. A man must have sensed the frustration level. He came over and told us that it would only be about five more minutes. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes and still no bags!
By this time, a few people were so fed up, they just left. The faces on the rest of the people were priceless. What expressions. If only I was brave enough to take my camera out and capture some of the expressions, but I knew quite well the mood everyone was in and did not dare.
About this time, a new group of people came off their flight. They waited with us for just a few minutes and then bags began to come out that little hole onto the carousel. All the people from my flight sat. No one moved, as we all knew deep down, those bags would not be our bags. The people from Palermo went over to the carousel. They picked up their bags and left. And then the same three bags continued to around, and around, and around. Mama mia! You should have seen the expressions!
FINALLY, 56 minutes after we landed, our bags came out…on a different carousel.