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Lost luggage problem

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  • Lost luggage problem

    hi there,

    so basically I have extremely bad luck. I have joined a vessel out in Trinidad and began my journey out in Aberdeen. When checking in, the woman informed me that my bag would be sent all the way to my final destination however I would have to collect my final ticket in Miami as it was unavailable there. When checking in my luggage, the belt that takes the luggage off wasn’t working so everyone had to manually give here luggage to be sorted out in the lost and found desk. On top of this commission I wasn’t given a receipt/ slip for my bag that they usually stick to your passport. I then flew via Paris and then onto Miami. My first flight from Aberdeen was delayed due to the flight arriving late the following light which gave me minimal time to get to my connecting flight to Miami which I just made on time. On arrival to Miami I ignored the belt for luggage as I was told it would go on to the final flight automatically (I was actually informed by another onsigner that they instructed all passengers to collect their luggage however as it was an Air France flight I don’t speak French and when speaking in English it was a complete mumble so did not pick it up. Surprise surprise when I landed in Trinidad my luggage was nowhere to be found. I informed the baggage desk that my luggage was missing however they informed me there wasn’t much they could do as I wasn’t given a receipt. I was then told to however fill out an unaccompanied baggage declaration form incase it did arrive. I informed my agent and got my parents to contact my personnel officer who supposedly has members of the office who have emailed the airlines responsible (Air France and American Airlines). My parents said they will also try to chase this up. Is there anything I can get them to do that people would recommend? They contacted Miami airport but they kept passing them over to someone else and then someone else so they didn’t have to deal with it. What sort of powers will the airlines have in terms of chasing it up?
    Phase 5 SPD engine cadet at city of Glasgow college. Doing a a combined motor and steam ticket.

  • #2
    Well that is pretty ****e! I had a similar experience once before, and it taught me to take all my important stuff and some comfort stuff (toothbrush, underwear, paracetamol etc) in my hand luggage. I hope you’ve got some stuff to see you through the week or two it’ll take to get your stuff.

    Airlines are normally fairly good at processing this stuff even though they seem useless when you talk to them in person and by phone, which often gives you a negative outlook for the solution. The bag has problably been found and they’ll be checking passenger manifests to locate you. For future travel I’d always recommend placing an A4 contact info paper at the top of your clothes in the bag so when customs open it (if it’s lost) they’ll see your name, company, ship name, numbers etc and they’ll get to you quicker. Sometimes ID tags fall off, especially in US airports which are notoriously useless at everything.

    Just ensure your airline, agent and HR are fully aware of the exact situation. They’ll work for you to get it sorted, otherwise I guess you’ll be flying back and restarting!

    Good luck, let us know. Chin up even though it’s incredibly annoying to be so far away without your stuff.


    • #3
      I feel your pain....... I was in a similar situation as a cadet many years ago. I joined a ship in Santander and no luggage appeared off the carousel.... I was eventually taken to join the ship by the agent and they said they would arrange to get my luggage to me. My luggage arrived in Santander 3 hours after we sailed, and that happened for the next 4 ports in the Med. It chased me for 2 weeks. Having only civvies that I was stood in was painful, so I blagged boilersuits, footwear etc and survived, washed skiddies and socks in my sink every night, but it changed what I did from then on.

      First of all make your bag distinctive... If it is a fabric type one get some brightly coloured nylon line and a big needle and stitch your initials onto the outside of the thing, or use Paint and a stencil, whatever to make it distinctive. Paint for a hard case... Don't use a brightly coloured belt with your name woven into it - they get lost.

      Secondly, take a picture of your case and keep it on your phone. That way, if it gets lost, you have something to show/email to someone, even if it has no tag on it. But if you have modified it then it will at least be distinctive.

      Finally, and this is the most important, pack your hold luggage as if you will never see it again. Put all your cadetship documents in your hand luggage, and everything else that is important as well as 2 pairs of socks, pants, a t-shirt and a toothbrush. That way you at least have clean underwear, and the rest is usually available from the slops chest, or you can blag some.

      I know this does not help you now, and if I am really honest I do feel that your luggage will now be near on impossible to trace as there is no baggage tag.... It will probably end up in lost luggage somewhere and one of those silly luggage auctions. The only hope is that the bag was distinctive enough and the full description and dates and times mean that someone somewhere will read the message and tie the 2 together. There is no point in ringing anyone - they just will not solve your problem. Get the email addresses of someone at every airport as well as every airline you flew with and send a generic email to everyone with clear information about your bag and how to get it to somewhere safe. You will need the details of the agent and the shipping company to put in the email as well, so you need to find out who the contact is at both.

      Make a list of everything in it and raise a baggage claim with the airlines as well.

      I am sorry if this leaves you with a sinking feeling, but it really is not pleasant when you are a thousand miles from home and everything has gone....

      I wish you luck.

      "Any damn fool can navigate the world sober. It takes a really good sailor to do it drunk." - Sir Francis Chichester.
      "Waves are not measured in feet or inches, they are measured in increments of fear." - Buzzy Trent

      "Careers at Sea" Ambassador - Experience of General Cargo, Combo ships, Tanker, Product Carrier, Gas Carrier, Ro-Ro, Reefer Container, Anchor Handlers.


      • #4
        Yep, I went through my cadetship smoothly with zero issues and now second trip qualified and this happens. I today put in a lost luggage claim with Miami airport stating bag make colour size etc along with information of the flights I was on. I also had my full name on my bag on a tag. So far as I’m aware my company are in touch with the shipping agent and both airlines.
        Phase 5 SPD engine cadet at city of Glasgow college. Doing a a combined motor and steam ticket.


        • #5
          Key Point here as a warning to others who haven’t flown via USA before: when arriving into USA you ALWAYS have to collect your bag at the first US airport and take it through customs - even if it’s tagged to the final destination. Usually once through customs you hand it straight over to baggage people and then continue on to your connection.

          as others said, it happens, the bag will eventually turn up and the airline will fly it to you at one of the upcoming ports it.

          For future reference you always want to ensure that inside your suitcase at the top is a sheet of paper or in my case a laminated card containing your contact details and home address.
          “Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.”

          – Mark Twain
          myBlog | @alistairuk | flickr | youtube Views and opinions expressed are those of myself and not representative of any employer or other associated party.