E-lostbag; it’s my simple solution to prevent what happened to me the last time I was on my way to teach at a retreat. A little chip inside my suitcase, that will always tell me where it is.
The morning had been a rough one. I’m fine getting up before the sun does, as long as I can do some yoga and meditatione. Getting up and jumping in a taxi to race to an airport isn’t my thing. I should be used to it by now, because it’s a big part of my life, but still…. The taxi had brought us to Tenerife North, where we were suppose to take the plain to Madrid and from Madrid onward to Milan.
Suppose to take, because at the check in we were told that the plain was leaving from Tenerife Sur, the airport on the other side of the island. Due to too much wind the plane hadn’t been able to land in North the night before. Why it couldn’t come this morning, Iberia didn’t want to tell us. We had a bus waiting to get to South. But not to worry: our delay would only be an hour.
Early morning cold
The bus was indeed waiting in the early morning cold. With closed doors. The driver was standing next to it, smoking a cigarette. A few people asked him to open the door to shelter from the cold, early morning wind, but he didn’t move a fin. Service and Iberia don’t go hand in hand we would find out this day.
More than two hours after the planned take off, we were finally airborne. A bit worried about our connecting flight in Madrid. This would leave us only 30 minutes to switch planes. Those 30 minutes became one minute; simply because we had to stay in the plane in Madrid for ages; without the promised gate info for the connecting flights.
A lucky delay
After a big sprint over the airport, we found out we were ‘lucky’. Our next Iberia flight was delayed as well. So we had more than enough time to switch planes. We had, but our suitcases hadn’t. Staring at the ‘black hole’ of the conveyor belt for more than 15 minutes after almost everybody left we had to conclude that no more bags were coming. Not ours, not of the other three people who had switched planes in Madrid.
A little irritated – we had a train to catch – we went to the Iberia desk, were a bad-tempered looking lady with big, scary, fake nails was furious hacking away on her keyboard, while yelling in two phones at the same time. She clearly didn’t want to be there and didn’t want to see us. Not entirely her fault. Were she had to handle two phones and a counter, her colleagues of Emirates, were with two. And were they had nothing to do, she had her hands full.
She had no clue where our suitcases were. She couldn’t get in touch with Madrid and if they were there, they would come to Milan. When? She couldn’t say. We just had to fill in a form and wait. We tried to explain that all the material for the workshop was in the suitcase and we were suppose to travel on. In the mean time we had had found out there was a plane arriving from Madrid the same evening, maybe they could come with that plane. But she was already not listening anymore. Too busy hacking away on her keyboard and yelling in phones.
We stayed in Milan for the night and checked Iberia’s online system to trace lost suitcases. It couldn’t tell us where ours was. The next morning neither so we called the help-desk. A friendly girl could. They were found in Madrid and on their way to Milan. Probably. Probably? Yes; we had to wait till the plane was in Milan before we could inform again, because she couldn’t guarantee they would be on the afternoon flight.
With time running out, we took the gamble and went to the airport, although the online system of Iberia still told us that our suitcases hadn’t been traced yet. Despite what the friendly girl had told us. Before we walked in, we called the help-desk again. They confirmed what we hoped for: our bags where in Milan.
At the counter the same lady looked cranky again. In front of her was a big line of passengers who all lost their bags. Next to her were two fresh colleagues of the Emirates happily talking among each other. They had nothing to do. We felt sorry for the Iberia lady. Clearly being put there by a company director who is more interested in making money than costumer service. She greeted us with a painful smile, but couldn’t tell if our suitcase had arrived, like the help-desk had just said. No one had informed her.
She took us to a big room full of ‘lost’ suitcases. We looked around. Nothing there. “Maybe in the other room”, she sighted and let us to a room almost twice as big. Totally packed with lost suitcases as well. And there it stood. All alone in a little, dark corner. Waiting for us to pick it up and bring it and bring it to sun shiny Tuscany.
Just in time
Happily we walked out. A day too late to catch our train, but with our suitcase. To make up for time, we borrowed the car of Sara’s father, who lives close to Milan and made our way to Tuscany. Just in time to welcome our guest and teach our retreat. For fun we checked the Iberia site the next morning. According to their online database our suitcase still wasn’t found.
Almost two months have passed since. Iberia has sent me a lot of spam mails; informing me about all the deals they have. A email to say sorry wasn’t among them. Things like this can always happen. One little ‘sorry[ would have made a whole difference, but seemingly for Iberia it’s more normal to loose suitcases than to say sorry.
In the meantime I found a nice solution: E-lostbag. It’s a little ‘chip’ I have inside my suitcase from now on. E-Lostbag works with all airlines. An airline official can scan the chip on my bag with his mobile phone and his phone will sent a notification to my phone, so I know where my bag is.