Monday, January 17, 2011

Once Was Lost But Now It's Just Annoying

A recent trip to New Zealand and Australia made me realize two things:

 #1:  Vacations are not always fun.  I've been spoiled so far with amazing trips, great hotels, first class flights (that were on time), and kind, friendly people.

 #2:  The estimation that over 99% of all animal species that ever lived have gone extinct.  That's some pretty heavy stuff.  I've always known that most creatures used to roam this planet have been long gone, before we even came along.  But 99% is a bit steep.

 First I'm going go with realization #1.  I'll get into the disappearance of species later. 

 Before I'm letting out my anger on airline crews and people generally working at airports.  I just want to give a single handed advice to everyone traveling, and checking in with one person or more.
 Please check your bag tags before it goes down the conveyor belt, as you might never see it again.  Make sure that the kind but "annoyingly ignorant and careless" lady at the counter puts your name on YOUR bag.  Not on your partners' flying with you.  So in case a retarded airline (wild example: Qantas) loses your treasured belongings, at least they can search for it by YOUR name only.  Better yet, put both of the bags under one name.  Less confusing for the airlines, as they clearly can't handle a lot.

 I've never had an airline lose my bag.  For that I feel extremely fortunate.  I've heard horror stories of luggages circling around the globe before finding their beloved owners.  Or bags lost for good, never heard from again.  I think airlines have like a 50$ cover for lost belongings.  Huh!  Yeah, right.  That won't even cover half a shoe for me.  Basically airlines do not take responsibility for handling your luggage.  Even if it comes out half beat up from tossing and throwing it around, they do not care.  So here's another advice.  Don't buy any of those fancy designer bags.  Just choose the old fashioned duffel, or some cheap wheely you really don't care if it comes out cockeyed. 

 Me and my boyfriend have this thing when we travel.  We bet on something and the winner is the one who's luggage comes out first.  It's a silly thing, but after a 18 hour trip to Queenstown, New Zealand you need something to keep you sane. 
 Of course my red North Face duffel bag rolls out first, leaving his identical black one behind.  Turns out it is really behind, maybe somewhere in Sydney international, because it clearly didn't join us on our flight.  Upsetting of course, but shit happens, and we thought it will show up later that afternoon.  And as much as the lost baggage lady is trying to help and be nice, she is nothing but annoying.  I think positions like "check-in" lady, or "lost baggage" lady were filled by people, whom are 100% incapable of doing possibly anything else in this World.  So they shove them in there thinking, they will do just fine.  Guess what!  NO!  They are retarded and incapable of doing the smallest tasks given to them.  Like asking for our contact information, in case our wildest dream comes true, and they find his bag.  Or giving us the wrong form with which we could claim the luggage, once it is found.  Again our expectations are way too high.  Thankfully a "bag loader" guy sees the mistake and runs after us with the right form.  Seriously who hires these people?

 We did come across some unfriendly Qantas people at the Sydney airport when getting our boarding passes for the connecting flight to Queenstown.  And it might just be that the local "check-in" lady there held back his luggage for revenge.  I admit we got a little feisty, but we had our reasons.  I ask all of you now.  Please recall the last time you flew with a printed out paper ticket!  Not boarding pass, no.  The actual ticket you purchased online or through a travel agent.  Think for a second before you answer!

Exactly!  Forever ago.  According to the Sydney airport staff e-tickets didn't come into use just until a couple of years ago.  So they require a printed out itinerary.  Even though she has it front of her on the computer, and she is looking at it.  As we kindly provided a confirmation number.  Excuse me!  I flew to Tokyo on an e-ticket 8 years ago.  They of course don't believe me.  They even say that my statement is impossible.  By then I'm rolling in anger.  Needless to say we have the full itinerary on our iPads as well.  But noooo, that's not good enough either.  They need a PAPER TICKET!  At that point we seriously thought we had been transformed back 10 years in history.  All though I can almost remember flying with an e-ticket 10 years ago. 

 I just read that of June 1 of '09 International Air Transport Association (IATA) members, who make up 94% of all airlines, will use only e-tickets.  I guess Qantas didn't make the cut.

 Furious and frustrated we made our way to Fjordland, soaking in the beautiful scenery of the South Island, trying to leave stress behind.  I turned on my positive mindset and thought the bag will be with us tomorrow the latest.  And even though we were planning to do some hiking, we can postpone that until the bag arrives.  Another advice.  Put some of your stuff in your partners' bag, in case this happens.  So at least you have clean underwear.  And clean socks.  So when the weather is not co-operating with your trip and rains the whole time, you can change your soaking socks.

 Once I'm on the subject of lost bags.  I came across a little place called The Lost Luggage Capital of the World.  Amazingly it is not a joke.  And if you are wondering where your never seen again rare Tahitian gifts or illegally purchased camera from Hong Kong are.  You might just want to go to Scottsboro, Alabama.  You never know.  It could be a happy reunion of lost belongings.  And hey, you can even re-purchase everything for 75% off.

After 2 nights and numerous phone calls to the airport, we were ready to give up and go shopping for at least the basic necessities for my man.  When we got a promising phone call.  They found the bag, it's in Auckland, NZ.  Don't ask me how or why it got there.  But at that point we were just happy, they located it, wherever it was.  Only when we received the luggage we realized that indeed it was in Queenstown the same day we arrived, possibly came in with a later flight.  But because we were unaware of our bag tag flip, we were looking for a luggage named Jason Rubin, while this whole time his bag had a tag with my name on it. 

Live and learn they say.  And we surely did.  Obviously not enough though, as we were yet to concur some other travel problems that I wouldn't wish for anyone.  Next to come.

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