The joy of travelling to a new or different city can easily be dissolved by getting your luggage lost in transit. Whether it’s a road trip, train trip or your travelling with one of your favourite airlines, the first thing you want to see when you arrive, is your luggage.
I can’t tell you how many times I get anxious after seeing the first 30 bags and mine is nowhere in sight. The first thing I do is get closer to the carousel (lol). Maybe it’s because I’ve been a victim before or maybe it’s just the anxiety of having everything right in my new location. Whatever it is, my bags are my babies while travelling. It’s so bad that I try to monitor the luggage checking process and if I have to go through it, I make sure that whoever is in charge handles my bags and keeps them in the right place.
With International flights, my fellow Nigerians can testify that one bag is always yours and the other one is for like the other 50 family members and friends that you will meet for the first time when you arrive. To avoid trouble, just make sure you land with both bags. There’s one wrapper for aunty Praise and one dry fish for that Tony’s uncle’s friend’s wife.
Before the Trip
Check in Early
One mistake I made was that I did not check the flight I was boarding. Usually, that route is fully booked especially during school opening periods – many students rushing to school. Our dear Annabel totally forgot about that. Please I beg you. Do not be like Annabel. Worst part of it was that I didn’t even come in early. Strolled in like 30 minutes to boarding time to see this really long line and wondering how I was going to make it in time. Airlines always have a check in rule so always look out for those while booking for your flight.
Check for Weight Limits
You know how you go to the airport all prepped and proud with your very cute bags and boxes and they disgrace you with the weight limits. It’s not funny because you’ll start adding and removing things until you get to the limit. Please don’t go and stress yourself. You can use those weight checkers or buy the travel sized ones. Remember to look on the Airline’s website as these weights are different with different airlines.
Mark Your Bags
My mum will always add pieces of African fabric (usually from one wrapper in the house). I used to laugh at this until I got to the airport one time and saw like 4 other people wheeling in the exact boxes. The point is to make sure you differentiate your luggage in your own unique way.
At the Airport
Flee from Ad Hoc Help
All those people that are hanging around the check in lobby telling you ‘madam/oga make I help you weigh your bag’ or ‘make I help you check in’. Flee from them! They are the main cause of all your airport problems. I highly recommend that you deal with and only with Airport Staff – preferably those that have name tags or the flight’s shirts on. I know we might want to cut corners and get ahead of that long line but this will give you better control over what is happening with your flight and boarding processes.
Confirm That Your Bags Are Tagged and Checked In
Don’t just assume that it is okay to walk away after you get your boarding ticket. Always ask questions concerning your luggage. Remember! You deserve to know! Find out what the next steps are and what the procedure is with your luggage. It really doesn’t matter if you’re dealing with a rude representative.
Crosscheck Before You Board
They may or may not ask you to check your bags upon boarding. If they do, don’t be too confident. Check again to make sure your bag or bags are all there waiting to be loaded on the airline.
Help! I Can’t Find My Bag!
Okay so it happened. You tried your best and you still can’t find your bags. Somehow, they ‘forgot’ to put your bag on your flight. You’re probably panicking right now. Please do! Yell for a bit if you can and then follow these steps…
Go Straight to the Airline
Walk to the nearest counter at the airport and report the case. Tell them all they need to know and also tell them what to expect in case the bag is found and needs clarification. Say what colour of lock you used. What they’ll see if the bag is opened. Answer every necessary question they ask you.
Make Sure They Call the Departure
Stand there and watch the representative finish his/her conversation with the departure counter. Stay there so they don’t get the details mixed up or forget to even say anything.
Check After 15 Minutes
They might tell you to come back in 30 minutes or 1 hour. Don’t do that! Come back in 15 minutes and ask about your luggage.
Sometimes, these folks act very relaxed. On your end, do your work. Call customer care. Let everybody be on your case. Better safe than sorry.