Lost – As in Luggage, not the TV Show

last bagThe irony of this situation does not fail to rattle my chains. For the last two weeks before departing for Amsterdam, I have been reading travel articles on how to weigh the odds against having lost luggage.

Yesterday morning before leaving for the airport, I printed out a full A4 sheet of paper with enlarged lettering showing my name, address, and mobile phone number. I did the same for Ron and then laminated them. After all, we do travel a good deal, so we should be prepared. My suitcase is a distinctive black with a grey design. It has compartments at either end with the main one in the center. It looks like a large duffel on wheels with a retractable handle. Just for security, I took a picture of it with my phone. Better safe than sorry.

Taking one last look at our reservation, checking the luggage allowances, I noticed Expedia had issued a new warning. As of July 29, 2015, any tickets sold on Lufthansa flights starting October 1, 2015 would be subject to new luggage allowances. The first bag would no longer be free to check if you were in ordinary economy, but if you were in the overpriced, extended economy range, they will turn a blind eye. Furthermore, only one piece of carry-on will be permitted, so women or men, your purse or murse (man purse) counts as your carry-on item. Do not try to fudge a second piece. We will get you!

Looking at our tickets, bought in June, it gave me some solace, but paranoia set in; I printed out the new regulation with the date of our ticket purchase ready to do battle.

We arrived at the Budapest Airport more than two hours early to check-in. We were number eight and nine to check in for our flight. After an uneventful Lufthansa flight to Munich, we had a little over two hours to hang out before continuing on to Amsterdam.

While in Munich, I just happened to thing about my healthy back bag. Though it is less than three months since it has been in my possession, I packed it in the suitcase for fear they would have an issue with that and my backpack. The latter which is loaded with a laptop, cords, headset (lest we need to Skype), my wallet, travel information, adapters, camera, extra lens, cord for my mobile phone, mobile phone, current book I am reading, my eye drops and assorted other little things that bring the weight up to about twelve pounds. Having another bag was too much to keep track of.

Throwing caution to the wind, I put all of our vitamins, all of my toiletries, and my diabetic meds in the suitcase. Having to hassle with the liquids at the airport is dreadfully painful with having to separate my computer from its little nest. Keeping an eye on all of those bins, it is no wonder people leave things behind.

We arrived in Amsterdam 15 minutes early. The captain joked the airport was so surprised; they did not have the ramp ready for us. It was a long walk to the luggage area; it took us over 15 minutes walking at a swift pace using mobile walkways. It still took another 15 minutes once at the carousel before our flight’s suitcases starting appearing on the conveyor.

Within minutes, Ron’s small, non-descript black bag appeared. The identifying factor is a small yellow ribbon tied to one side of the handle. Minutes pass at a strenuously slow pace, dragging on, but my suitcase does not show up. We are the last two remaining at the carousel. It is like the opposite of survivor. Rather than being voted off the island, we were voted on it.

Naturally, the claim office had three employees who were taking claims and each had a victim describing their loss. When my turn arrived, I felt superior having a photo on my phone to show the young man assisting me. Although I expected a gold star for doing due diligence, all I received was a complementary kit with toiletries, a claim number and a phone number to call in 24 hours.

Lufthansa I want the suitcase I entrusted to you! Tag number LH589811 Claim number AMSLH11221 Flights LH1679 and LH2310!!

After completing my Ed.D., the frustration of finding a teaching position where I was willing to live, led to Ron and I leaving the country. We intended to travel for a year before settling somewhere in MA or RI. We left the US without any credit card debt, no car payments and our house mortgage paid by renters. We had $10,000 in the bank to make our way through a year.