Left Behind Luggage; Perth & Jakarta Edition

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You’ll notice as time goes on that many stupid and ridiculous things happen to us. Don’t be alarmed! Most people don’t go through half the sh*t we do, we’re just blessed with the ability to attract mishaps. We’re practically pros at dealing with weirdness by now.

During my trip to Perth, I had to deal with not one – but two cases of having my luggage getting left behind.

Luggage Panic Attack

“So my luggage. Do I need to pick it up or will it be sent directly to my destination?” the lady smiled patiently at me and told me to enjoy my trip to Perth, where I can wait at the baggage claim area to pick up my one, tiny, cabin-sized case (filled with one too many liquids. Damn you, skin care routine!!)

Alas, it was not so. I waited and waited, till no one was left but the cleaning lady, who sympathetically pointed me to an AirAsia representative at Perth Airport. He explained that this has happened several times with passengers coming from Jakarta on an AirAsia flight, but he was quick to reassure me that my luggage will return to me safely. With that he took down my details and sent me on my way, still reeling with the experience and feeling slightly lost. Like a waif, I floated towards the exit sign.

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The brisk, cool air of autumn in Perth cooled me down somewhat, but I was still in a mild state of panic. I also felt sticky and gross after spending the night in transit at an airport in Bali. My overactive imagination went on overdrive as I started to imagine my trip sans luggage, and the brisk, cool air of autumn in Perth was starting to feel slightly more sinister by the second as I didn’t have adequate cover to shield me from winds I was not used to facing back home.

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Fortunately, the competent, friendly people over at AirAsia had my back. My luggage arrived within the day, intact and undisturbed. Delivered straight to my apartment by a polite, bearded employee who patiently stood in the cold for 10 minutes waiting for me.

Luggage Panic Attack, part II

A seven hour delay f*ck*d up my return plans. It also got me frantically running around the Bali airport to catch the last flight back to Jakarta. Learning from my previous experience, I made sure to ask the AirAsia representatives in Bali about my luggage, “RUN. CATCH THE PLANE. RUN MA’AM! We’ll deal with your luggage.” he somehow managed to still convey politeness, even as his eyes bugged out, with arms flapping urgently. “The plane is waiting for you!”

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I kinda figured my luggage would spend a night in Bali. All in all, that thing spent more time in Bali that year, than I did.

An old pro by now, I explained to the AirAsia representative in Jakarta what happened, she seemed confused that I was not angrily demanding an explanation. I was all ‘Honey, I know you guys are amazing at your job. I trust you’. She took down my details, this time also giving me several contact numbers that I can call the next day to check on my luggage.

I received an alarming call in the morning from the airline asking permission to open my luggage, she explained that it was standard procedure by immigration because my luggage came unattended, and therefore Must Go Through Security Checks. I hurriedly shared my lock combination so they wouldn’t have to tear my luggage apart by force. 

3 hours later (damn you, traffic if Jakarta!) I had my luggage, none the worse for wear.

TRAVEL TIP; Left Behind Luggage 

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1. Check for Airline Policies at Check-in

Luggage tends to go straight to your destination without having to be picked up and moved manually during transit – but just check to be sure! I’ve had exasperated looks directed at me before for asking, but I really would rather sound like a complete newbie rather than have to deal with lost luggage in the first place.

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If like me, you’re cursed with bad luck and are forced to endure delays, ask the airline representative about your checked in luggage. It shouldn’t be a problem, but I’m paranoid as f*ck, and if they want me to have the patience to wait, then they better have the patience to answer one quick question to reassure me.

2. Double lock your luggage.

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Built in locks are great, but an added padlock is better! In the unfortunate event of your luggage getting left behind, at least you can sleep well knowing flimsy locks easily picked are protecting your valuables (like the expensive lace-y underwear you unwisely splurged on).

3. Use combination locks.

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You can argue with me for the pros and cons with the level of safety provided by key locks vs. combination locks all you want, but if you’re forgetful and dumb things tend to happen to you – combination locks are a safer bet. This will also ensure that should any unpredictable, ridiculous thing happen to you (see the above, Luggage Panic Attack, part II) – you can still save your lock. While this may seem a trivial point, some of those sons of b*tch*s are expensive as f*ck. And I’m constantly broke.

But please note, this is definitely a personal preference. Just something that works for me!

4. BE NICE!

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I know not having your luggage arrive with you is a pain in the ass, and a huge stress factor, especially when you’re travelling long-haul or for long periods of time. But honestly you’re not the first unfortunate soul to have had this happen to you, and airline reps are just the poor, unfortunate souls who are tasked to deal with panicky, cranky passengers. They’re rarely at fault.

Explain to the airline reps what happened, describe your luggage clearly, and mention any defining characteristics (like the stupid My Little Pony sticker your niece stuck on the front) so they can track and identify your luggage accurately. Add a helpless smile to milk sympathy, and voila!

5. Keep a document of all communications regarding your luggage.

Hopefully your problems can be resolved without drama, but just in case – keep all receipts and document your communication! You never know when you need them.

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