It must simply be an awful feeling when an airline loses your bag, especially a bag where you carry your personal belongings and most of the values you purchased on your trip. I’ve never had that problem. An airline has never lost my luggage; I lost it myself!
I don’t know how it happened to me, but one time, after living in Spain for a year, I was returning home with way more baggage than the arms could hold. My boyfriend, brother and a friend were helping out — one bag each — and all I had to hold was my carry-on luggage and another smaller shoulder bag. We took the train to the airport, which seating area was spacious and allowed us to keep our bags close. Meanwhile, our conversations and jokes, and the anxiety of flying, kept me distracted.
Thirty minutes later, when the train reached its final destination, we all got out, bags in hands, and we set off. At the check-in desk, the lady asked, “How many bags are you checking in?” We started counting bags and that’s when I noticed my carry-on was missing.
I was frantic.
From the train tracks to the ticketing zone, it was a long walk and a few minutes had already passed since. That meant that, if I had left the bag on the train, there was a chance that somebody had already taken it. Not necessarily stolen it, but perhaps taken it to lost and found, which I had hoped was at least the case. After all the terrorism cases worldwide, we all doubted anyone would want to touch an unidentified bag.
I didn’t have much time to go back and search, so my brother did. He retraced our steps, but came back with nothing. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to change my flight then, stay longer and look for my bag. After all, my life was in it; my laptop (with all my unbacked years of writing!), everyone’s souvenirs, all my jewelry (this was stupid), my awesome makeup…my privacy. But time was running out and I had to go. So I made the tough decision of leaving it in the hands of my brother and friend to locate it and UPS-it to me, if found.
It was one of the most depressing flights I’ve taken to this date. I literally cried the entire way home. I’ll never forget it. Just like I’ll never forget the moment my friend told me they had found the bag! She posted this picture of my carry-on on my Facebook when she got it and it was the greatest feeling of joy ever. I was so relieved.
Apparently, after a few unsuccessful back-and-forth messages with the staff at Barajas airport (from both my friend and I), my friend took matters into her own hands. She knew someone who worked at Barajas and with her help was able to trace it quick.
Losing a bag that carries so much is no fun, people. I was one of the lucky ones. And I’ll be so eternally grateful for my friend, for helping me. I also now back up my work all the time. I don’t ever want to go through that pain again.