The connecting flight was a nightmare. I felt like a sprinter in the airport, running from one end to the other. Knuckles white, I clutched my purse in one hand. My carry-on dragged behind me, barely touching the floor at times, just to make my connection. My coordinator had a tight schedule, and didn’t account for the time it took to get from one gate to the next, especially when they were at opposite ends of the airport.
Sweating and out of breath, I reached the gate. I uncurled my hands and fumbled to present my ticket and passport. Time was ticking away. If they didn’t hurry, I’d miss my flight. Success, I made it through, got to my gate and boarded the plane.
The eleven hour flight was uneventful. We ate, drank, watched a movie or two, and slept. After we landed, and cleared the first gate, we could pick up our luggage.
I stood at the carousel and waited, along with the rest of the passengers. The carousel came to life, spitting bags out for their final ride. Tired passengers grabbed their bags before they traveled out of sight, but several of us just stood there. Waiting. The carousel made its rounds a few more times, but nothing more came out. Disbelief. We walked up and looked into the carousel opening, like we could magically make our bags appear. Nothing. We made it back from Italy, our luggage didn’t.
Great. Now I get to file a missing bag report. At least I don’t have to wait forty-eight hours. Like cattle to the slaughter, we make our way to the missing baggage claim. The line is long and there is only one person working. It figures. Forty-five minutes tick by before I get my turn.
The woman behind the desk looks irritated and unhappy. I hand her my form and ask a few questions. Does your computer tell you where my bags are? When will I get them back? What happens if you don’t find them?
She just looks at me. I press for answers. In her irritated voice she tells me that my bag will be delivered if it’s found. If found? What do you mean, if found? It got on the plane. I open my mouth to protest, but she already called for the next person in line.
Receipt in hand, I leave the missing baggage claim and head home.
Days pass. Still no bag. I called the number on the claim form. Shocker, a recorded message. I leave my name and number, but don’t expect a return call.
The next morning, I notice my luggage on the front porch. It wasn’t there last night? When did it get here? I pick up the bag and notice the tag. FRANCE.
My luggage went to France without me. While I waited in line at the airport missing baggage claim, my bag was living it up in France. Did it go to the Eiffel Tower to take in the view from the top? Or rent a boat and float down the Seine. Maybe it went to see the Mona Lisa at The Louvre. It didn’t call to keep me from worrying. Perhaps it visited the historic cathedral of Notre Dame? Was it lucky enough to sunbathe on the French Riviera?
While I sat home worried about my precious bag, it was living it up in France. It returned battered, filthy, zipper broken, ripped in the back with a missing front wheel. I hope it had fun.
Hopefully its contents were unharmed. That bag contained souvenirs of my trip, cherished memories. I opened it and my tennis shoes fell out. Maybe my bag needed them to do some sightseeing. Inside was a mess. The neatly folded clothes were wrinkled and just thrown in there. The souvenirs were out of their bags. What was my bag doing? Did someone search it?
I went through the contents, and fortunately, nothing was missing. I’ve always wanted to visit France, but still haven’t made it. However, my luggage did. I hope it had a great time.
For those of us that travel, lost luggage can be very frustrating. Has this happened to you? Do you wonder how this happens? Share your story; we’d love to hear it.
When you’re writing, how do you challenge your characters? What do you do to throw them off their game? Sometimes the little things can make all the difference. Take a minute and share with us. Inquiring minds want to know.