Baggage blues

Delayed bag

P’s bag is “delayed”.

We’ve always been lucky with baggage. Apart from ripped handlebar tape and a twisted brake lever on my bike, courtesy of the conveyor belts at Charles de Gaulle several years ago, we’ve not had any trouble with our baggage.

This time, as we expected, the Delta representative in Paris tells us the bags are checked right through, Paris to Salt Lake City to Vancouver. But on the flight we hear a different story – the information video says we need to collect all our bags and take them through customs in Salt Lake. I guess In Transit doesn’t mean anything anymore.

Just to be sure, we check with the flight attendant – Do we really have to collect our bags? “Well,” he says. “It depends. Sometimes they put all the bags in a cart and take them directly to your next flight, but sometimes you have to collect them because they need to go through customs. Best idea is to check with the Delta representative at the gate.”

This sounds a bit dodgy, we think.

In Salt Lake, there is no Delta rep. The queues for immigration are so long that someone walks the line calling out flight destinations to fast-track people. I watch the minutes tick by until finally he calls out Vancouver, and we’re ushered to the front of the line. We find my bag circuiting the belt. But not P’s. We talk to the customs guy. He tells us we’ll have to make a claim at the destination airport, so we go upstairs to security for our next flight. At security, the woman pulls out my keys, small pocket knife attached. “You can’t take a knife,” she says. But this is my checked bag? “Well you should have checked it!”

By now I’m ready to have a meltdown. P’s bag is missing, and we’re going to miss our flight. P remembers we walked past a ticketing desk, so he runs back downstairs in his socks with my bag to re-check it. We get to the gate as they are paging us. And then the flight is delayed two hours while we wait for the flight crew to arrive from Dallas, Texas, which is in the midst of a blizzard.

In Vancouver we scour the belt for P’s bag, but it hasn’t arrived, so we make a claim at the desk. “We’ll deliver it to you tomorrow,” she tells us with confidence. Riiiight! By now we’ve missed the last ferry back to the island. Sigh.

Today, two days later, the online status of the “delayed” bag reads:

We have located this bag at Salt Lake City, UT (SLC) airport and are scheduling it to be on a flight to your final destination. Please check back again for the delivery date and time of your bag.

Sue – you were right. Next time we take only carry-on bags!


Update – 9:15pm – Bag arrived! Wahoo!


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