Lost bags & luggage delays

Lost bags & luggage delays

Lost bags & luggage delays 2560 1707 Chris West

In my previous article, I covered round-the-world tickets. And in my case, they were too expensive for the travel plans I’ve talked about in this run of articles. The way I booked my tickets eventually ended up causing me issues with my luggage too…

I booked my trip to South America and my trip to Asia as two completely separate trips. But the timing was tight, I needed to get from Bogota to Singapore quickly. The Bogota to London trip was a completely separate booking and different airline to my London to Singapore trip. If I had any major delays on my first flights it could have seriously impacted the rest of my trip. I allowed 6 hours at London Heathrow for my turnaround. As it happened that was almost not enough!

London to Bogata trip

For this part of my trip, I was flying Air France in Business class from Bogota to London. I’d be stopping in Paris (this was the return leg of my KLM trip out to Bogota mentioned before). I was then flying from London to Singapore in Premium Economy on British Airways. As mentioned previously I was very impressed with the Air France Business class product.

What I didn’t mention is that we were late departing Bogota because a tropical thunderstorm was passing over. It wasn’t a huge delay. If I remember rightly around 45 minutes. But I had a very short connection in Paris for my short hop over to London. When we arrived in Paris, I had no time to sample the Air France lounge. I had to run straight from one flight to the next.

Upon arriving at the gate I realised that my short turnaround time might have been ok for me, but not for my bags. I asked the member of staff at the gate if they knew if my bags were coming across. They did some checking and seemed to think it would be fine. So, I boarded the A320 for my short flight across to London.

Upon arrival, I waited at the baggage belt and nothing appeared. When I went to check with baggage services, the bag had not made my flight. But it shouldn’t be too much of a problem as it would be on the next flight which was only an hour behind. When I asked what I should do, I was told I should leave the area go landside, and wait until the next flight landed.

When it did land there is a telephone I could use on the wall right next to the exit. I could use that to request permission to re-enter the baggage collection area and collect my bag. The airline had offered to post it to my final destination, even though that was going to be Singapore.

Generally speaking, airlines have a policy that if they lose your bag they will post it to any address anywhere in the world. But as I was going on another trip I really wanted my bag with me. So I left the area and waited.

Waiting for the luggage

My upcoming trip to Asia was going to be a long one, plus I was visiting friends while there. So I’d stored an additional bag in the excess luggage company at Terminal 4.

I had the bright idea to go and remove this bag whilst waiting for me other bags to arrive. I thought this would save me some time. This turned out to not be such a good idea.

I collected my bag and waited for the flight from Paris to land with my other bag.

When the flight did land, I went to the phone, rang through and asked for permission to go back to the luggage area. I was then escorted to a security checkpoint, who of course wanted to scan all my bags. The bag I had been storing in T4 had a bottle of gin in it. This was a gift for my friend in Malaysia. Of course, I was not allowed to take that through security and they wouldn’t watch it for me even for a few minutes.

I had to leave the area go back to excess luggage, check it back in again, and then head back to security to go through with my hand luggage to finally collect my bag.

After a few minutes, I was reunited with both sets of luggage. Now I was ready to make my way to Terminal 5 and catch my flight to Singapore. Thankfully I still had a few hours to spare, but not the luxurious 5 or 6 hours I was hoping for.

Changing terminals

One thing Heathrow doesn’t do particularly well is help you transit between other terminals particularly terminal 4 to Terminal 5 when you are landside.

In hindsight, I now know I should have stepped outside and found the direct bus that goes there. But at the time I was tired, jet lagged and feeling a little rushed as my time had been clipped. So I went and found the trains instead. It took me ages to get one train back to Heathrow terminals 2 and 3, and then another train up Terminal 5.

Eventually, I arrived, checked in my 2 bags and made my way to the BA First class lounge to have a little bit of relaxing time before my flight to Singapore.

Heading to Singapore (finally!)

I booked myself in for a free shower to freshen up before getting on my second long haul, and 3rd flight of the day.

Eventually, it was time to board the A380 for my long 13-hour flight to Singapore. In London time it was an evening flight, however, I had just flown a night flight from South America and was on a completely different time zone. I knew I was going to land evening time in Singapore, it made sense for me to stay awake for the majority of the flight.

This did seem to confuse the crew somewhat as I was the only person wide awake, but I watched a lot of films and they kept bringing me regular drinks and snacks to keep me awake.

I eventually landed in Singapore after over 24 hours of flying to go around the world the long way. Whilst it is definitely an affordable approach compared to the round the world ticket, I’m not sure I’d recommend this particular route to someone else. As a fan of flying however I thoroughly enjoyed it.

Closing words

The moral of the story here is twofold. Firstly, flying around the world on multiple tickets is hard and arduous even for a very seasoned flyer. Secondly, always have a backup plan for what to do if your luggage gets lost.

I recommend carrying some essentials in your hand luggage specifically to cover you for this eventuality.

I would also caution you in trying to manage two different sets of luggage on two back-to-back trips.

Let’s plan your next trip…

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