Lost Luggage

Today I’d like to share with you a story about some of my recent travel adventures. As you might guess, my adventures have something to do with luggage. How many of you have travelled internationally recently?

Men have it easy. You can pack deodorant, a pair of pants, a t-shirt, and 7 pair of underwear into an overnight case for a week-long trip. You know that your hotel will have shampoo and soap and a comb. Not so with we women. Before the heavy duty restrictions on luggage, I used to travel with 3 suitcases: one for clothes, one for shoes, and one for toiletries (make up). Hah! Not any more. Now, I’ve had to learn to cram clothes, shoes, and make up into one small carry-on. I usually write out a list of everything I think I’m going to need on my trip, cut that in half, color coordinate my outfits, and select shoes and cosmetics that do double-duty.

For Chinese New Year, I planned a trip to Sri Lanka (a tiny island close to India). I knew it would be HOT and that I’d be changing hotels often, so I carefully packed summer clothes (shorts, t-shirts, sandals, swimsuit) and managed to fit everything, including my laptop, into a carry-on. Once in Sri Lanka, I started shopping. The gems and batik were easy to fit in my suitcase. The giant carved wooden masks, not so much. So, I purchased a duffle bag at the Kandy market and filled it up with exotic souvenirs. Two weeks later, I once again carefully packed most of my personal items into the carry-on and the masks, the laptop, and a few items of clothing into the duffle bag. Now, if you’ve never been to Sri Lanka, let me tell you, there is a lot of crime there. But, I was at an airport with armed guards everywhere, flying Srilankan airlines so I thought my luggage was safe. Think again. As I checked my one suitcase in, I had a strange feeling. Little did I know, watching my suitcase on the conveyer belt it was the last time I would see it.

My return flight stopped in Singapore where I changed planes to China Air. As I was checking in, something made me ask about my luggage; China Airlines could not find it on their system. It had disappeared. “It can’t really be gone”, I thought, “I just saw it a few hours ago.” China Airlines assured me they would do everything they could to find it. Now, 2 months, many, many phone calls and emails later, my luggage still has not been found. Apparently it grew legs and walked out of the Srilankan airlines cargo hold. The moral of this story? Do not check luggage if you can possibly help it, especially on an outbound flight from Sri Lanka!

Shanghai

If you think that my luggage adventures ended there, you’d be wrong. On a recent trip back to the US on China Eastern airlines, I had a 14-hour layover in Shanghai and the airline was paying for my hotel. Sounds like fun, right? It was, right up until it was time to leave to go back to the airport. My 2 bags (I guess I didn’t learn my lesson) were loaded into the very back of the hotel van. The driver got in and we headed to Pudong Airport. photo I was the only passenger that morning. The driver stopped by the China Eastern departures area and I went to get a cart for my luggage. And then it happened…the driver took off – with my luggage still in the back of the van!! I stood in disbelief and then thought “It can’t really be gone.” So, I was in a foreign country, at the airport with no luggage, and my flight was departing in 1.5 hours. It took me 10 minutes to find the right airline representative to explain my story to. Another 30 minutes for them to figure out the Chinese name and phone number of the OgOd hotel. (I knew the EN name, and the name of the street, but not the Chinese characters.) Finally, the airline representative called the hotel, and was put on hold. In the meantime, the airline was insisting that I check-in and board the plane. I checked-in (it’s easy with no luggage) but insisted I would not be leaving Shanghai without my luggage! Now what? Finally, the hotel talked with the airline rep but said they didn’t know when they could get the luggage back out to the airport. I asked the airline rep, as calmly as I could, to tell the hotel that I would go find a policeman and tell him that my luggage had been stolen. Within 15 minutes, my luggage was delivered to the airport and the airline had me RUN though the entire airport (it’s BIG) to my boarding gate. By some miracle, I made my flight! The moral of this story? Keep an eye on your luggage at all times, and do not check luggage if you can possibly help it.

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3 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Melisa
    May 19, 2013 @ 17:34:34

    Wow Monica! I’m glad you threatened to call the police in Shanghai.
    You rock!

    Reply

    • twgurl54
      May 19, 2013 @ 17:40:03

      Thanks! I was trying to be outwardly calm. Getting audibly upset in an Asian countries is not likely to help much. The other thing that I didn’t mention was the there is a strict time limit as to how long you can remain in China (24-hours on a layover) so I had visions of having to deal with the Chinese immigration people as a result of the “lost” luggage. Luckily, I never had to find out!

      Reply

  2. Weifeng
    Jan 17, 2014 @ 21:14:24

    I am glad you got your luggage back !

    Reply

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As for me, I will take the road less travelled…

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