Thursday, 5 December 2013

Lost luggage at Heathrow

I have been doing this a long time, this travelling lark. I've been from one end of the planet to the other, across sea and desert, on foot, in the air and on sea, but I have never and I repeat never ever lost my suitcase.

That was until yesterday.

I was travelling back from a truly epic cruise experience on the Crystal Serenity, Casablanca to Heathrow, which by and large went without a hitch apart from Royal Air Maroc's rather curious cabin service, but that's another story.

So, reaching the baggage carousel in record time and spotting my case slowly circling the belt all alone was an unusual but nevertheless pleasant surprise. Only it wasn't my case, it was a Mr Mahoud's case, bearing a distinctly familiar look to mine. Same colour, same model. Only real difference was mine was a lot bigger.

So after spending a few minutes pondering in that state of mental hiatus where you don't quite understand what is going on, just gazing into nothingness for a while while your brain works out the logistics - no other bags are here just this one,  therefore someone (Mr Mahmoud presumably) has taken mine thinking it is his.

Then indignation kicks in, followed by a demand for a solution to this crisis.

The baggage staff at Heathrow who have obviously seen and heard all this before look at me with resigned pity and silently slide across a form for me to complete.

This is what it has come to. My belongings, my worldly possessions filed onto a single sheet of A4.

"Don't worry sir" a soothing voice in my ear "it will all work out OK."
Easy for you to say I mumble, what if Mr Mahoud likes my case better than his? What if his case was merely a prop designed for him to look like a normal traveller when instead he is a man who spends his life collecting luggage from all over the world. That's it! I have unknowingly uncovered a world wide scam to steal goods and sell them on the black market. I must be the victim of a gang of global sky thieves.

I go home armed with my reference number.

I call the help line later that night for an update. Nothing. I am resigned to my fate, my goods and possessions must by now be somewhere far far away, portioned out and fed to the highest bidder.

Morning comes and the despair is hanging over me like a storm cloud. Another call brings no further news. lets be honest here, if Mr Mahmoud was on the straight and narrow he would have realised by now? How would he clean his teeth or shave or do anything else without his real case.

And then a call from Raymond. Raymond is the man in the baggage hall. My go to man for all things bag related. " I have your case here now sir." he chirps to me, " Mr Mahoud sent his driver back with it and we will deliver it to you this evening. As soon as possible."

My relief is audible. Raymond has my lifelong love and respect. Of course my compensation plans are all in tatters now, as is my theory of global sky robbers.Still, an apology from Mr Mahoud would have been nice. The decent thing to do.

Still at least i didn't have to lug my case home eh?