A bad luggage experience has the power to completely sour a trip. I totally understand that; I’ve been there myself! Yet I can’t stop laughing at some of these luggage nightmare stories (I’m sorry!). Some are just too insane.
Have a read, a laugh (in a sympathetic way of course), and try to focus on the lessons in the process. Would any of these stories affect the way you pack and view luggage handling when you travel?
>> Of course you can avoid many of these luggage nightmares by going carry-on only and packing smaller, lighter and smarter.
Run Over By a Truck
“On the way to Cancun once, my suitcase was actually run over by some kind of truck. It split the hard part of the suitcase and ripped up the soft part. Someone had tried to duct tape it together–and that’s how it arrived (very late) on the belt: A duct-taped, broken thing with clothes spilling out. I actually had to chase some of my underwear and a shoe on the conveyer since it had fallen out during the ride.”
Wine Drinking Thieves
“I was headed home from the south of France after a summer abroad studying. Flight on Delta/AirFrance Marseille To Jacksonville, Fl via CDG and ATL when none of my luggage made it on the flight from CDG to ATL. Bizarre at first because I had a 7hr layover. Plenty of time, one would think. I filed claims, made calls and nothing for 2 weeks until I received a voice mail from CDG baggage claim asking what they should do with my luggage. Of course the message was in French. Thankfully, I spent the summer improving my French. A few days later my luggage arrived at my door step. Well, parts of my luggage.
I originally checked 1 suitcase, 1 fully stuffed Hockey size duffle bag and 3 cases of red, white & sparkling wine. What showed up was 1 suitcase 1/2 filled, 1 duffle lacking in contents and 1 case of wine. The thieves were kind enough to put a few white, red and 2 bottles of sparkling wine in the one and only case delivered.
I had taken pictures and a detailed list of what I had packed. I had insured everything but somethings I cant replace like certain wine, clothes, paintings etc. That wasn’t the first time it happened and I’ve since documented everything that goes into my luggage.”
No Luggage Left Behind
“I was headed to Madrid for a 6 week backpacking trip, but I was on a shoe-string budget. I bought a 1-way ticket from Boston to New York and another 1-way ticket from New York to Madrid. My flight from Boston to New York was delayed and when I got to New York my bag was missing. Because I bought two 1-way tickets, the airlines were unable to help out, as the first one got me to my destination and the second one didn’t care that I was missing my bag. After lots of tears and begging, I spent the night at the airport and found out the next morning that my missing bag was still in Boston. Since my flight to Madrid was on a low cost carrier, their next flight to Madrid was 3 days later. So I flew back to Boston, picked up my bag, and my parents drove me to New York 3 days later so I could finally fly to Madrid! They were willing to get my bag to New York, they just couldn’t guarantee when.”
We Left the Messenger Bag
“After stocking up on a bunch of items, we arrived in Bali with 6 bags total. After getting through customs and finding our ride, we were finally headed home. But at least 30 minutes after we left the airport, my husband noticed his messenger bag was missing. This was the the bag that contained all the important stuff in it, like passports, credit cards, camera, MacBook, iPad. We turned around and went back to the airport, calling the airport and anyone else who might be able to help. We also realized that he left the messenger bag at the customs conveyor belts, which has to be the best place in the airport to lose something important. After running through the almost deserted airport, we finally found a customs officer who brought us to his office and had our bag, and luckily everything was still in it.”
Where’s my dog?
“One time on a layover in Atlanta, the airline somehow forgot to load my dog onto my next flight. When I got to Atlanta, my dog wasn’t there!”
I’m a great believer in having locks on my zips for my back pack… Then I go and lock myself out of my own bag! Doh! Luckily I had a pair of nail cutters and was able to cut a hole in one of the pockets and get my keys out! Haven’t done that one again… Yet!
Everything But the Dress
“My mom flew out to California to visit my brother back in the mid 80s. She brought along my homecoming dress that she was going to alter for me so I could wear when she got back. The luggage got ripped open on the flight home and everything was ruined except for my homecoming dress which was pure white lace.”
“My mother went on a trip with my sister and I, with a checked bag and a carry on. She shopped. When we went home, she had three checked and two carry on, my sister, who had started with a checked and a carry on, had three checked(two of which were Mom’s), and I had started with a carry on and had three checked (none of which were mine). This was when the first bag was free. I think Mom could have bought another ticket for what she paid in baggage fees, and it almost didn’t fit in the car when we got to our home airport. Moral of the story: watch your shopping!”
“Flying back to Spain with a budget carrier after visit to UK, with absolutely stuffed full hand luggage. Security screened my bag 3 times, supervisor called over and asked to open my case. Of course once unzipped everything burst out. Then security found the Y shaped item that showed on the screen which they were concerned about… a potato masher, the Y shape was the metal sides and the plastic mashing bit didn’t show on the security screen. They thought it was some sort of taser. Once found the security guy held it up for everyone to see… Then I had to try and cram everything back in the case.”
“I was traveling from Pennsylvania to Texas and had a suitcase packed for the two month stay. When I got to Texas I had to wait about 2 hours to get my luggage, it had fallen off one of the ramps outside and then again inside and burst open everywhere. I was underwear hunting for another good hour and an earring from a set my husband got me for our anniversary was lost forever.”
Cold, Sick & Nothing to Wear
“My bags got lost somewhere in between Indonesia and New Zealand for three days. I was very sick with malaria, it was winter in New Zealand, and the only warm thing I had to wear were the jeans I travelled in. Luckily, I eventually got the bags, and I learned a lesson in packing a spare outfit in my carry on!”
“My backpack once came off the belt absolutely soaked in someone else’s bottle of whisky. I smelt like an alcoholic for a while…”
“Left our suitcase in the parking lot at the hotel.”
Nowhere to Be Found
“American Airlines also once told me my luggage was completely lost and not in the back room full of lost luggage. After trying to convince them for a full 20 minutes to just let me look around they let me in – only to find that my luggage was literally right inside the door. Ugh.”
A Smaller Waistline
“I was flying with a really cheap airline in Europe and they didn’t have a plastic bag for me to put my hiking-type backpack in. When I met my poor bag on the other side the whole waistband had broken right off. Thankfully it was my second to last flight, we didn’t have a lot of walking to do, and it was repairable when I got home.”
Layers, Layers, Layers
“I had to wear 3 layers of each clothing item (think 3 bras, 3 underpants, 3 t-shirts, 3 pants) because I was 18kg over in my luggage allowance. Very hot and sweaty until I could strip off once on board!”
Something Smells Fishy
“My husband and I flew to Arizona for the weekend and when all the luggage started coming out on the belt I thought, “What is that smell?” Shrugged it aside and thought – let’s grab our bag and get out of here, but when we were rolling the bag away the smell was following us. Apparently, someone had checked in a box of fish they bought at Pike Place Market in Seattle and it leaked all over numerous pieces of luggage. It was AWFUL! We had to throw out our suitcase right there in the airport. Airline said it’s not the first time that this has happened on a flight from Seattle. They gave us a loaner suitcase, paid for a new bag and had all of our clothes cleaned.”
-Ossie Benitah Roycroft
“A group of teachers and students from my school traveled around Germany, Austria, etc. this spring break and 31 of their 32 bags were lost. They didn’t get them back until a week after they got back to GA.”
Jet Fuel on Everything
“Lufthansa poured jet fuel all over my backpack (which then got all over everything I was wearing when I tried to carry it) and their baggage company refused to replace it. After many phone calls, Lufthansa ended up replacing it themselves.”
Home With the Wrong Bag
“One time my daughter’s suitcase got claimed by someone else! The airlines don’t help with that and we finally found the person who had her suitcase – which I don’t remember how now- but we had to drive about 45 minutes to a stranger’s house and pick it up. Icky to think somebody else had her stuff!”
So what can we learn from [most of] these stories here? I think the biggest point is just realizing that luggage is pretty much never safe unless it’s with us. Every time you check is another chance that something might go missing, get broken, get picked up by the wrong person, or some other stressful event.
Do you have a luggage nightmare you’d be willing to share?