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Your luggage is not lost-it is just not here!

26 Mar

I spent Christmas with my family in Canada. I had a fantastic time, but by December 26th I was ready to return to my tropical Island home—Roatan, Honduras. I was ready to leave my fleece lined coat and woolly sweaters behind. My toes were screaming to be released from confining winter boots, desperate to be wearing flip-flops again. I arrived at Pearson Airport, Toronto, Ontario three hours ahead of my scheduled departure time (which meant I was there at 4:30 AM.) Little did I realize that three hours wasn’t going to be enough time!

Apparently, the day before (Christmas Day) a passenger on a flight from Nigeria to the US had set his lap on fire! RED ALERT! RED ALERT! RED ALERT!

Before boarding the plane there was an extensive list of new security measures in place for all flights landing in the US that took a couple of extra hours to complete. So by the time my flight landed in Atlanta, my connecting flight to Roatan had already left. I strolled off the plane knowing there was no need to rush; I’d be spending the night in Atlanta. Oh well, but what about my luggage? It’s hit and miss at the best of times to have your bags arrive with you when you fly to Roatan; throw in a twist or two and…

The airline re-booked me with a different carrier for the next day. So when I arrived home to Roatan and stood at the baggage conveyor belt anticipating no luggage for me, I was pleasantly surprised to see one of my bags snaking along the belt. As for my second suitcase, no such luck.

A routine familiar to most of us who travel to and from Roatan was about to unfold. I sauntered over to the counter (where you report if your luggage didn’t arrive with you) ready to explain what happened to the clerk behind the counter. I knew it would be an absolute waste of time, but what the heck—I’d give it a try!

I told my story…and waited. She listened to my tale, peering at me through droopy eyelids. I realized she had lost interest so I start patting my sides, demonstrating being physically searched; as I was at the Toronto airport. Her eyelids rise a bit. Ah ha, she feels my pain—I’m going to get my second suitcase…

Without keying anything into the computer terminal, without even a glance at the room where unclaimed luggage is kept, without suggesting I fill-out a missing luggage report, she said, “Come back tomorrow, your bag will be here then.”

She knew that I knew. It wouldn’t be.

Let the games begin!

Day Two, I returned to the airport. Same clerk, different answer, “Our airline doesn’t have your bag—you flew with another airline.”

Silly me, Wagging my claim ticket in-front of her, I tried to again explain what happened.

“We’ll call you when it arrives.” Her expression as dull as it had been the previous day.

She knew that I knew. Nobody was going to call me.

She won this round, but I’ll be prepared when I return the next day.

Day three, I marched toward the counter. She’s ready with the blocker. “Your bag is still on the Mainland, in San Pedro Sula. It had a RUSH, Expedite sticker on it (with this airline that means don’t send it on.) They took it off the plane coming here today.” She waved me away. “Come back tomorrow.”

Man! She’s good, two excellent fake-outs in a row. We stare at each other. I was weak, I admit it. I meekly suggested she go look in the back room, just to confirm it’s not here yet. She shuffled away, returning a few minutes later, “Your bag’s not here. Come back tomorrow.”

Day four, I’m really ready this time! I’ve studied the game plan book. I’ve been coached, and got the pep talk from friends who had met the same opponent. I’m not leaving the airport without my suitcase. I slammed my claim ticket down on the counter, my nostrils flared, and my stance offensive. “Give me my bag!”

She hesitated… “Your bag’s not here.”

I pounced, “Get my suitcase from the back room or I’ll get it myself!”

“Your bag’s not here,” she foolishly tried to regain her position.

“I’ll get it myself!”

She stepped aside, her gaze averted.

She knew that I knew. She had won the first few rounds—but I was going to win the game!

I went around the counter, (you can get away with doing that at the Roatan airport.) I entered the room where “not here luggage” is held prisoner and there was my bag! A little tattered, the RUSH, Expedite sticker half torn off, but it was here on Roatan, and probably had been since the day I arrived.

I pushed the button to release the pop-up handle, and wheeled my suitcase along. Stomping past her, tossing my claim check tag on the counter, my chin held high—I had WON the game!

11 Responses to “Your luggage is not lost-it is just not here!”

  1. Bonnie 27. Mar, 2010 at 9:03 am #

    You know, for a millisecond you actually doubt if you had put your luggage on the scale and if was taken! Maybe you left it on the scale!!!!!!
    They’re excellent at making you feel it’s your fault. Yup..been there done that……..AND they don’t give you a t-shirt.

  2. Gennyca 27. Mar, 2010 at 9:36 am #

    Aren’t you glad I’m giving you this forum to get that out! Breath Bonnie, breath!

  3. Deborah Rowell 27. Mar, 2010 at 12:27 pm #

    Hi Bonnie,

    I love that story and could feel your nostrils flaring! How frustrating that is. I lost my luggage once but they delivered it to my home the next day, so I can’t compare that to your story.
    Do you think your suitcase was there on day two? Don’t you wish you had checked the back room then? Sorry, you probably have no way of knowing.
    I was delighted to see that you won the game. Great post.

  4. Karen McLean 27. Mar, 2010 at 2:57 pm #

    Hi Genny,

    I love that luggage tale. Reminded me of the lost luggage containing all the donations for The Morgan Jayne Project. My friend Michelle was kind enough to bring a suitcase loaded with baby supplies when she flew from Toronto-Atlanta-Roatan. The flight out of T.O. was late so the connection in Atlanta was only 15 min. I knew when she arrived in/on Roatan that there would be no luggage.
    We went through the fill out the forms procedure etc. They even said that they had tracked it to Houston and it would arrive by Continental within a day or two. SURE!!
    We returned to the airport in a couple days as directed but of course there was no luggage. I was assured they would call when the luggage arrived. I had no contact number at the time and gave Dave and his cell phone# for them to call when the luggage arrived.
    I totally forgot about the luggage completely as I never expected it to ever arrive. We partied on for the next few days with no thoughts of luggage.
    Then Dave was telling me about the strangest phone call he received. Someone was insisting that there was luggage to be picked up and his number was given to call. He didn’t know this person they were talking about and since I had never mentioned the lost luggage to him he had no idea it was mine.
    It was very funny as we screamed OH MY GOD THE LUGGAGE CAME! It was like winning the lottery.

    Gotta love flying to/from Roatan


  5. Gennyca 27. Mar, 2010 at 5:59 pm #

    I definitely think my suitcase was in the back room on day two!

    Thanks for all the great input, here and on Facebook. Monday’s Roatan Vortex Show on Roatan Radio is going to be a TON of FUN! Don’t miss it!

  6. Don Darsey 31. Mar, 2010 at 7:18 am #

    I feel great about my experience compared to some. I flew in on Continetal Monday March 22nd and my checked bag did not arrive. Luckily as I have flown for a living I had a carry on with a few things. I went to the Continental counter and reported my missing bag. A local friend was there to meet me and helped report the bag. We went for lunch, returned and found out Contonental sent my bag to Baton Rouge. No Continental flights on Tuesday so they said to check back on Wed. I arrived at the airport 15 minute before the plane arrived and met with one of the guys in the baggage claim area. I gave him my baggage claim number and after the carousel stopped he came up with my bag. What a great feeling. On another note my wife was flying in this morning from Nashville and the flight was cancelled due to no pilot. Maybe tomorrow.

  7. Gennyca 31. Mar, 2010 at 6:00 pm #

    Great attitude Don!

    …no pilot! That’s one I’ve never heard before.

  8. Trish 03. Apr, 2010 at 12:11 pm #

    My Carolines luggage from London to Roatan sat in the back room for 1 month before your hubby told us your “Back room” story.Sure enough it was in the friggin back room with 1 month old stinky rotten cheese and maggots.Seems they like their office being stinky at Continental.Oh and the lock was cut off and many articles of clothing were GONE.Shame on Continental.

  9. Penny 10. Apr, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    I enjoyed the “lost luggage” stories very much. Now I’m scared. I just booked tickets on Continental 2 days ago to go to Roatan. Wish me luck…

  10. Steve Cotten 11. Nov, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

    On our last trip to Roatan, our connecting flight in Atlanta (Delta) was rushed. We made the flight (Atl to RTB), but our luggage didn’t make it. They actually called the lady we were renting the home from in Sandy Bay (this was in Aug 2010), and Delta had shipped our luggage to Continental through Houston and was there the next day. I was very pleasantly surprised as I had heard horror stories similar to your original post from others that frequently travel to and from Roatan. I guess we got lucky.

  11. Gennyca 11. Nov, 2010 at 2:47 pm #

    You really do have the luck on your side Steve! Luggage woes can be quite the challenge here.

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