Travel

Life Lessons Learned when I Lost my Luggage

When I pack for vacation I tend to bring my favorite and very best clothing. It feels so good to have an entire week’s worth of outfits available that effortlessly flatter, and give the impression that I actually care. (Which I do, but is sometimes hard to convey in the morning while also trying to get two little ones up and at ’em.)

Isn’t it so telling what makes the packlist and what stays behind? I have purged my closet time and again in an effort to me more organized, streamlined, and in vogue. Yet, I still seem to have plenty of clothing hanging once the suitcase is zipped. I love organizing so this seems a perfect time to comb through the closet and reevaluate what items can be let go. Less is more and there are so many advantages! I didn’t have time to do this little exercise before my most recent trip, but just this once it turned out to be a good thing.

Upon return from Italy, my friend and I sailed through customs and proceeded to baggage claim. She grabbed her suitcase within moments and patiently waited while I still watched for mine. Other passengers grabbed their luggage just as quickly while I remained empty handed. There’s a certain moment when the realization hits you. Your suitcase isn’t coming. It’s a sinking feeling, watching that conveyer belt circle endlessly with the same four pieces of luggage…nothing new coming out the shoot.

The customs agent directed me to the lost baggage counter with advice not to wait around any longer. Little did I know, but it would be 8 days before my luggage and I would be reunited. A long, life-lesson-learning 8 days. As I mentioned, I tend to pack my best stuff when traveling. All my favorites, gone. This really tested my philosophy that material things don’t matter and the importance of not misdirecting my anger. I did my best to remain optimistic and zen with everyone around me. This lasted until the 6th day. Up until then I had been checking in daily with the airline to get a status update. There continued to be no real news, but I did learn that several bags, in addition to mine, had gotten lost. There was reason to remain optimistic. On that 6th day though, this is when I was advised to start filling out the lost baggage claim form. This felt like admitting defeat. When I pulled up the form and started actively thinking about all the items in my suitcase, as well as gathering receipt documentation (hello, two hours spent reviewing credit card statements from the last five years), I had to dig very deep to remain calm. I filled out the online form (it took about 1.5 hours), clicked submit, and the form FROZE! It was at this point that I finally dissolved into tears.

The agent on the phone was very empathetic. I must say I am totally impressed with the skillset of all the agents I spoke with. They must be screened well upon hire to ensure they can handle crying passengers who have lost hundreds to thousands of dollars worth of stuff. She emailed me a form I could complete and I started over the next day. I had the thought to call the airline just one more time before submitting the form, and on that 7th day is when I learned that my luggage had been located! It was scheduled to be returned to me the following day. Oh, to hear that Santa Claus is real.

My luggage was returned, as promised, and I’m really grateful for everyone at Delta who worked hard to make it happen. I spent one week wearing clothes that weren’t my favorite, but I still had options. First world problem. I spent one week practicing the discipline of detachment and repeated the mantra, “it’s just things.” I remained kind to the agents I interacted with and can only believe this contributed to the reunion with my bags. Karma. I also had a good week to think about keeping things simple from now and into the future. Less options in the closet really does help the morning run more smoothly. Finally, less options also make it easier to pack and take a carry-on! I hope nobody I know ever loses luggage when traveling, but if you do, I hope you lose it with Delta. They’re super nice about it.

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3 thoughts on “Life Lessons Learned when I Lost my Luggage

  1. Pingback: Four Packing Tips You’ll Want to Know should the Airline Lose Your Luggage | balloonsintheskyblog

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