“At the baggage carousel, I waited patiently for my bag. little did I realize, the wait would be long and arduous.”
Yet again, the universe continues to throw signs my way that 2014 is definitely not my favorite traveling year.
I blame it all on Wordweb, the free dictionary program I have installed since my university days. It always asked, “how many times have you traveled this year?” and I always lied, for anything more than once instantly closes the app and asks you to pay for it.
It all started with the plane taking off as scheduled from Cairo and the captain informing us that we would be landing 40 minutes earlier than expected. Ofcourse you never arrive early when going TO your vacation, only when coming back. No matte, I digress.
As it was foretold, so did it unfold. We landed ahead of schedule and I was sure thankful for it. Little did I realize I should not count my chicken before they hatch.
side thought: I have been flying for decades, and I can honestly say that the following NEVER happened to me before. However, that statement has grown to encompass much fewer things this year than ever before, as I have crossed off 5 “NEVER happened before”s from my list.
At the baggage carousel, I waited patiently for my bag. little did I realize, the wait would be long and arduous.
What appeared to be my bag came around, however, as frequent flyers usually do, I checked for the name on the tags, after failing to find my own, I put the bag back on the carousel, amused at how on the first trip I chose to use that specific new piece of luggage I got as a replacement for my previous bag that was destroyed by an airline earlier this year (Thank you Gulf Air…), I happen to be on a flight with a passenger bearing the exact same one.
The minutes dredged on, and I silently lamented my terrible luck at losing the precious gift of the plane landing ahead of schedule as I waited for my luggage. It was then that an airline worked called the last piece of luggage delivery. Sure enough, my bag’s doppelganger stared blankly at me from the unclaimed luggage area. I instantly knew what had transpired; the hapless nitwit owner of the doppelganger had absent-mindedly grabbed my bag and left with it thinking it was his. I found this strangely amusing as I had just been silently ridiculing the folks that kept looking frantically at their luggage tags in hand and the ones on the actual pieces of luggage, wondering how on earth can you forget what your bag looks like?
I left the impostor bag and went straight for the Kuwait Airways counter on the far right side of the airport, where I was given a chance to shine in my chosen profession, the only silver lining to this cloud over my 2014 travel.
As always is the case, we are elated to be presented with situations where we get a chance to put our professions to practical use in real-life situations, much like a doctor thrills at hearing the line “is there a doctor in the house?!”, I pounced forth with my knowledge of policy and procedure in audit to assess the situation, make my observation and deliver a recommendation.
I told the employee that someone had taken my luggage by mistake, and that their bag looked exactly like mine. Please run the tags on the bag in your system, determine the passenger name, pull up their contact details and call them. And much like an auditee usually responds when being told what to do, their initial reaction was to protest and say “they sometimes put the number of the travel agent”. I insisted he do as I said. He asked me to bring the bag in question, which I was more than happy to do.
Sure enough, there was not only one but two mobile numbers entered for the passenger. Unfortunately, both were switched off. I made a mental note of one of them and quickly dialed it on my phone so that I can call them myself should the need arise.
After several attempts and no answer, I was asked to file a claim and wait for them to get back to me.
Fortunately, the employee decided to call one last time, and sure enough, the last time was the charm, as the phone was finally switched on! It took several minutes for them to try to explain to the passenger what had happened, at which point I jumped in and requested the phone, knowing that a language barrier was preventing the full understanding.
Luckily, he had yet to leave the airport, and I was told to meet him outside and exchange luggages. Of course I refused to walk out with his bag, not knowing what was in it. KA sent a porter with me.
I was delayed for over an hour, however it was good the story ended happily.
The thing I hate the most is that I was returning with my wedding album, and I had it placed on top of my luggage as I am always selected for “random testing” and wished to try out the theory of “I’m a newly wed, I am not threatening!”.
Maybe next time.
Suffice to say, I will not travel anymore in 2014. This year is cursed.