This is a true horror story that could happen to any traveler. We have all heard of how a checked in luggage can end up the other side of earth, instead of arriving at the same place as we do. We are pretty much at the mercy of the hardworking staff and automated machines to transport our belongings. Have you ever lost your hand carry luggage? Many people keep valuable items like laptop, documents, cash, etc in their hand carry. Some even keep spare clothing in case their checked in luggage got lost or delayed. So what will you do if you your hand carry disappeared?
My companion and I were travelling on a domestic flight in USA. The plane overhead compartments were so small that a standard hand carry luggage would not fit. Most passengers were told to “check in” the hand carry at the plane entrance. It would be returned when we disembark the plane. The horror started upon reaching our destination and my friend’s luggage disappeared. After all the passengers were gone, there was a similar looking luggage left behind. We approached the ground staff and announcements were made. After 30 minutes of waiting, we end up going to the office to file a lost baggage. Imagine the frustration my friend went through and the unnecessary time wasted. I’m glad we did not have a tight schedule to follow.
After more than an hour wasted, we headed toward our hotel. The “smart” thing we did was bringing the similar looking luggage with us, assuming it belonged to the person who took our bag. Back at the hotel, we open the unlocked bag and found some documents. Luckily I could read Chinese and understood that it contained a name and cell phone number. We called the number and it was picked up by a frantic sounding lady who was on the way to the airport. She was just as desperate as us because the luggage contained documents she need for her appointment at the Chinese Embassy. A meet up was arranged to get back our luggage and it was a happy ending after 4 hours of ordeal.
My friend was lucky. There were many ifs, and he wouldn’t have gotten his bag back so quickly. The luggage could had been locked. The documents could have been in an alien language to me or no contacts at all! Thinking back, although we did the right thing taking the unknown luggage with us, what if it contain illegal goods like drugs? That would have made matter worse. I can’t imagine where would we be right now. Locked up abroad?
There are simply way too many similar looking luggage around. I highly doubt there are unique designs these days since most are mass produced, unless you’re willing to fork out tons of money. Even if you do, chances are someone else still have the same luggage as you. After this incident, I went home and bought a load of luggage tags, made sure every luggage I had were tagged and properly addressed with a contact number. I also sticked big and bright stickers all over so that it is obviously different. Yes, it looked ugly, but it’s unique!
So be smart, tag and personalize like crazy!