I guess I was due. I’d been floating along for far too long on an idyllic travel cloud, without a care or a problem. Then, something finally did happen. My luggage was lost. Or, as the airport agent assured me, it was just delayed. Still, her reassurance didn’t dissuade me from watching the carousel spin endlessly, hoping that my suitcase would miraculously show. I snapped out of my dream when she said “follow me” and led me to the airline’s lost luggage office.
I’d never had such an experience before, and I didn’t know what to expect. The agent was kind and helpful, and I was kind of not so helpful. I was not prepared to lose my luggage, and therefore I wasn’t prepared to help find it, either. I learned a lot from this process, so I thought that I’d share.
To help the airline find and reclaim your lost luggage, you’ll have to be able to describe your lost luggage (and fill out a Missing Baggage form). You should know the following:
- Know your airline ticket number. This was me being lazy and careless. I take photos of my park ticket media, but didn’t think to take photos of my airplane tickets. Therefore, when I was asked for it, I panicked, because I’d lost my damn boarding pass.
- Know your baggage claim number. Same lesson as the boarding pass. This is crucial information. Keep it on hand.
TIP 1: Take a photo of both your boarding pass and baggage claim ticket.
- Know your suitcase, the brand, the type (two wheel, four wheel, spinner), and the color. Know the material (hard sided, soft sided). Know if it’s zippered or not. (I confess, I don’t know the difference.)
TIP 2: Take a photo of your luggage.
- Know your home address (hopefully!) and the address where you’ll be staying. This is so they know where to ship your luggage when they find it.
- Know your itinerary. They’ll want to know where you’ll be, and when, especially if they’re trying to reconnect you with your luggage.
- Know at least a few distinctive objects (nothing too racy) in your luggage which can help with identifying it.
TIP 3: Tie something distinctive to the handle. This helps not only the airline with identifying your bag, but it also helps you at the luggage carousel (when your luggage successfully makes it). Nobody knows that the plaid fabric tied to my luggage handle used to be boxer shorts. That’s my fun little secret.
- Know that it’s not completely delusional to think that you might get your luggage back. Despite not knowing my ticket and boarding pass numbers, and having to look up the flight number, my luggage did eventually catch up with me at Cabana Bay. The next day.
Tip 4: Always, always include contact information in your luggage. This is the first thing I thought of when I realized my luggage was missing…I hadn’t filled out that darn information card (it was new luggage). You can bet that I filled that out first thing when I got my luggage back.
- Know how to read your boarding pass so you know if you have to pick up your luggage before you transfer to your next flight, or if your luggage will be forwarded through to your final destination. When I got to my stopover, I realized that I didn’t know if my luggage was going through, or if I had to pick it up to transfer to my next flight.
Tip 5: Ask an agent at the airport to help you understand the ticket codes regarding your luggage.
My story had a happy ending. The airline found my luggage, and it caught up with me the following day. The staff at Cabana Bay were more than helpful, and were very sympathetic and responsive. I was lucky this time, and I hope that I’ve learned enough to either prevent it from happening again in the future, or at least to be better prepared if it does happen again. And I hope that you can learn from my experience, too.
Ever since his first visit to Disneyland when he was 6 years old, Rob Klettke has been a fan of Disney, theme parks, and Imagineering. He is inspired by the way Imagineering brings together disparate disciplines and talents together to tell stories, amaze, and amuse.