While I avoid checking bags as much as I can, due to length of trip or various other requirements, sometimes I do have to check baggage. My typical trips are short domestic trips, and I never check a bag. I occasionally carry on on international trips too, but on the rare occasion that I need several suits, or have a lot of other clothing requirements, or even scuba gear I will check bags on occasion.
My usual carry-on bag, its ugly, but easily identifiable
On a past trip to Europe, my wife and I both checked a bag. She is not as adamant about carrying on bags as I am, but we had various stops, so we needed an array of clothing options, so we agreed to check bags. I discussed the trip before, but I did not provide much detail on the issues we had with our checked bags. Thanks to a delay on United, we had a very short connection in Dulles for our flight on Brussels Airlines. We made the connection, but not surprising, our bags did not. We then connected to Zürich, and spent a night at the wonderful Park Hyatt. Once on the ground in Zürich, we waited only briefly before lining up at the baggage office, where we reported our bags missing.
Since our last flight was on Swiss, they were responsible for helping us out. That the same in any lost baggage situation. The airline that flies you to your destination is responsible for baggage resolution, even if the delay is not their fault. Here is information from Swiss on delayed baggage. Swiss offers up to US$100/200/300 for Economy/Business/First passengers to pay for incidentals due to delayed baggage. We didn’t utilize this with the minimal expenses we accrued, but it was nice knowing it was there if we needed.
Once I reported the bags missing, the Swiss agent tracked them, and told us they were still at Dulles, and likely would be sent that evening on the nonstop United flight. We’d only be delayed a few hours, and could pick them up the next morning when we departed Zürich. Good plan, but unfortunately it didn’t play out that way. When we returned to the airport for our onward flight, we went to the baggage office. They came out with one bag (mine), but said that for whatever reason the other bag (my wife’s) did not make it. Further research showed it was still in Dulles. Thanks again United…
Overnight bag provided by Swiss after baggage was not delivered.
Knowing that our bags should be arriving the next morning, we didn’t really bother to buy much stuff. Plus, Swiss in Zürich provided a nice overnight bag. It was a Swiss Air Lines messenger bag containing typical toiletry kit items, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo, lotion. This was a ‘men’s’ version of the kit, since it also included a razor and shaving lotion, and the products were labeled as such, and I presume the scent is intended for male use. Additionally there was a packet of laundry detergent and a men’s undershirt. It was pretty nice, and a pleasant surprise after the lost bags. I didn’t even look at the bag until we were already heading into the city, but in retrospect I probably should have asked for a bag for my wife as well. We already had our own toiletries, so we didn’t use much of the kit that first night.
Once in Málaga, my wife’s bag finally arrived the first full day of our stay at the AC Hotel Málaga Palacio.
I continue to avoid checking bags for most of my trips. That said, knowing the rules can help make an annoying experience slightly less of a hassle.
Do you have any delayed or lost baggage experiences? Share your stories in the comments below.