I am no longer a frequent flier by the airlines definition but I am a frequent Traveler. I make an overseas trip at lease once a year and usually more often. Last year I was literally homeless and so my belongings moved with me (except for a storage unit). I have never had a lost bag. Most of my travels are carry on only. Physical limitations keep me from being a “back packer” but my packing usually would qualify.
Beginning my current trip I resolved to rent a “base of operations” somewhere in Southeast Asia. I also resolved to take much of what I need for civilized long term living with me since I had a generous baggage allowance. I marked the bags well, both with multiple tags and permanent identification. I fully realize that the airlines only pay attention to a half inch by one inch bar-code sticker read by a computer as the bag flashes by at warp speed on a conveyor belt but I can’t control that.
So I checked my bags in Phoenix on Delta to Manila. My bags and I were going to change planes in Los Angeles to China Eastern and again in Shanghai before arrival in Manila.
I stood and watched everyone pick up their bags. I watched the last bag come off the carousel. I was alone. Jilted. My dreams shattered. I had no bags.
Some nefarious so-and-so convinced my bags that it would be more fun if they exerted their independence and went on an adventure of their own.
The customer service lady at Shanghai Eastern was very nice and helped me fill out the “missing” bags form. She said they would find the bags and I could come pick them up. “Not going to work says I, I am on my way to Olongapo. “OK sir, they will be delivered when we locate them”
Since I had checked bags my carry-on was used for important papers and the more expensive electronics. Duh, no clothes. Not just no clothes but I had chosen to travel in heavy cotton jeans and a cotton shirt, not my dry overnight Columbia so i couldn’t wash my clothes before I went to bed and wear them the next day.
An email from the nice lady at China Eastern. We have located your bags. They were left in Los Angeles. they will arrive here tomorrow morning and be delivered to the address you gave during the day tomorrow. YIPPEE
Upon their arrival, I had to sign for the bags before I could touch them. if there was anything wrong I could go to the airport and submit another discrepancy report. What I did notice immediately was the zip ties I had used instead of locks to tie the zippers together were gone and multiple wraps of sticky wrap had been used to secure them.
Inside there was one of the nice little cards that the TSA uses to let you know they have been visiting. Something in the x-ray as my bag whizzed by caught their eye. Since I don’t keep a list as I pack and since this was a move not a vacation type of pack.
In this case I did remember a few things. I am an electronics nut (not expert, NUT). I had so much stuff in my carry-on that I had packed my Microsoft Surface and it docking station. Quick Check, there they were. Next AA and AAA rechargeable batteries for all the carp, along with dual voltage chargers. Uhhhhh – Uhuuuu not there. We cooperative Americans apparently flag things that the country they are passing through don’t like. I guess rechargeable batteries are a no no in China. I do remember this nice lady in Shanghai that kept saying “power bank, power bank” as I dug through my stuff. At least she shrugged her shoulders and waved me on as I was holding up the line, She could have arrested me since I did have a power bank I just couldn’t find it.
Something else to note. Stopping one bag caused both to be stopped and opened but only the one that took something from got the little note inside.
I am not complaining. A little inconvenience is worth the safe skies plus if I had checked a little better I would not have had banned articles in my bag.
NOTE: This blog is a little off my actual flight schedule. Moving, Christmas, and a horrendous gout attack have intervened. I will address the gout attack shortly as health issues are a really big deal with older travelers.