The Great Missing Luggage Saga
Remember how I said in this post that I always pack only carry-on bags in order to avoid lost luggage?!
Well, let me just tell you how well that worked out for me. *angry face*
(Side note: I had planned on updating my original packing post because I have since replaced my broken suitcase & gotten a new carry-on bag & learned a few new tricks, but I never got around to taking new pictures and then my suitcase went MIA... so, maybe one day!)
Anyway, on our long flight from Dallas to London, there was no more room in the overhead storage bins on the plane so they made me check my rolling suitcase curbside and told me I could pick it up at our final destination in Venice. No problem, I thought. I have valet checked my bag plenty of times with no problems. Plus, I thought it would be nice not to have to worry about lugging it around the airport(s) during our layovers. Turns out having it would have actually made lugging my other bag around a lot easier because I was able to just sit it on top of my rolling suitcase... without the suitcase, my poor husband had to carry it for me because otherwise it was taking us for-ev-er to get anywhere! Normally I'm very self-sufficient with my bags, but pregnancy seriously changes everything!
Either way, that bag saved me after my suitcase went missing! This is my other bag:
It's the Stella & Dot Getaway Bag. I love it! As you can see, it unzips to expand and give you more room. Thankfully, the way I had originally packed I didn't have it expanded yet, which meant I was able to expand it to fit my new Italian wardrobe that I was forced to buy without having to also buy a new suitcase. I usually try not to expand it on the way to a vacation, that way I can unzip it for souvenirs on the way home, but sometimes I've had to go ahead and extend it on the way out (I may or may not be an over-packer, if you can consider someone who doesn't check a bag an over-packer?!)
Anywho. When we arrived in Venice, my suitcase was nowhere to be found! Apparently about half of the plane's luggage did not make the journey from London to Venice! I was originally told it would be put on the next plane and delivered to me in Venice within 24 hours.
Well, if you followed along on Instagram, you already know how this story ends. The suitcase never made an appearance. My poor husband was amazing and lugged my giant bag all around Italy!
Pictured above is all of our luggage (minus my small rolling suitcase obviously.) You think I am good for packing for 2 weeks in Europe in just a carry-on suitcase & tote bag, but he somehow manages to fit all of his stuff in just a backpack! Granted some of the stuff in the bag were things like the camera, toiletries, etc AKA things that are not just "mine." It's kind of like we have my bag, his bag, and "our" bag.
Anyway, to make an incredibly long story short, I had to battle with British Airways (who were less than helpful during the whole ordeal) to get any updates. Time and time again they told me they had no updates for me, then all of a sudden they called and said they were trying to deliver my suitcase to us in Venice, but by that point we had already left there -- 3 days earlier! Once we were half way through our trip, I finally told them to just send the bag home, because it obviously wasn't going to get delivered to us in the correct city anyway. I was then told it would be waiting for me upon our return to Louisville -- which, of course, it wasn't. The airport here had absolutely no record of it whatsoever, even with the tracking numbers British Airways had given me.
At this point, I assumed the bag was long gone -- especially considering it was a brand new suitcase and since it was supposed to be a carry-on item, I didn't even put my name tag or contact info on it (lesson learned there!)
Finally, two weeks after we got home, I got an update that said the bag would be delivered to SFD via Chicago.... but wait! SFD isn't our home airport, SDF is.... SFD is in VENEZUELA! I was sure at this point that I was being punked or something! By some miracle, I got a call from the airport the next day saying they thought they had a bag that belonged to me. And sure enough.. my brand new suitcase had returned home from its trip around the world!
Over all, the whole ordeal was not the end of the world (and makes a great story to tell our daughter one day!), but it did definitely put a damper on our vacation. It would have been one thing if I wasn't pregnant, but being 6 months pregnant without any of my maternity clothes was less than desirable. I couldn't find maternity clothes anywhere in Italy, so I was forced to buy over-sized regular clothes that didn't fit right. Not to mention the added expense of having to buy a whole new wardrobe in the first place -- I ended up spending close to $500 on stuff just to get me through the trip. Even if you stock up on cheap clothes, things add up quickly when you have to buy enough shirts, pants, pajamas, shoes, under garments, & toiletries for two weeks, not to mention other things that went missing like swimwear. ALL of my stuff was in that suitcase, so I landed in Italy with literally the clothes on my back, which meant I had to replace everything.
British Airways was less than helpful throughout the whole thing, and I have to say if I make another trip across the Atlantic I'll probably try to avoid flying with them, however the one good thing I can say is that they did reimburse me fully & quickly for my expenses, as well as expenses I incurred once I got home. Since I'm pregnant and had packed pretty much all of my maternity clothes in my suitcase (let's face it, it's not like you buy a ton of them since you don't need them very long!) I didn't have hardly anything to wear once I got home either. I think I had a couple shirts, but I had packed all of my jeans/shorts so I had no bottoms to wear! They said they don't normally reimburse for things you have to buy once you get home, but under the circumstances they did pay me for things I bought once I got home also. (Keep in mind I had no idea if or when my bag was going to make it home -- and honestly I thought it never would -- so I had to purchase a couple pairs of jeans and a few shirts to get me through.)
So anyway, I'm not sure there is a way to prevent this from happening.. it's just an unfortunate circumstance that sometimes comes with traveling. Luckily I got my stuff back, a little late, but better late than never?! :)