On our overnight stopover in LA, we stayed at the Radisson LAX to earn another 50K points on the Radisson “Bit Night Giveaway” promotion. As you probably recall, I completed and received my points a couple weeks ago for a stay at the same hotel, and now we’re doubling up on Chadsey’s account!
For years I have used the free hotel and rental car shuttles at airports all over the world and I have never experienced any issues with people taking the wrong bag and/or having my luggage stolen. I acknowledge that placing your bag on the shelves near the front of the shuttle requires a leap of faith, since it is almost impossible to keep your eye on your bag 100% of the time, especially when the shuttle is full, but more often than not you have no choice due to space constraints. In fact, since I’ve never had any problems, I don’t even think twice about leaving my bag on the shelves, much less monitor my bag at ever drop off point.
Well, this time I paid the price. When we arrived at the United terminal at LAX (which is the last stop at the airport), I went to the shelf to get my suitcase and it was gone! There were not other bags left on the shelf. Clearly someone had taken my bag. I immediately notified the driver and a flood of thoughts passed through my mind. Did I have anything important in my bag? Did someone take my bag by accident or was it stolen? If it was taken by accident would the leave it for me and where? If we looked for it would we still make our flight? After a quick conversation with the driver, describing my bag, he said he might know where to look and we proceeded to take an expedient spin around the airport to search for it. After passing through most of the airport I began to lose hope, but all of a sudden at the Delta terminal I saw a police officer standing next to a brown suitcase that looked similar to mine. The driver stopped next to him and I jumped out to see if it was my lost suitcase! Indeed it was, but the police officer seemed annoyed and wouldn’t let me take it unless I could prove it was mine. I suppose airport security doesn’t take too kindly to people leaving a suitcase unattended on an airport sidewalk. After describing a gift that was inside my bag and showing it to the officer, he allowed me to reclaim my bag. We managed to rush through security and arrived at the gate, just in time for our flight to Maui. All is now well in the world.
A few thoughts on this harrowing experience. First, it never ceases to amaze me how oblivious many travelers are. Clearly, the people who took my bag, did so by mistake and probably noticed their error when they proceeded to check in. It’s shocking to me to think that someone can board a shuttle with two bags and then leave with three. Lugging baggage around the airport is a hassle itself, but how do you not notice that you are lugging an extra bag around? Second, I should have been more aware of the status of my bag the entire time, I was sitting at the back of the bus, which makes it harder to monitor what’s going on, and of course my iPhone is a treasured, but occasionally detrimental distraction. Next time I plan to make a more concerted effort to sit closer to the front. Finally, this highlights the importance of having some sort of travel insurance. I know several credit cards provide baggage loss protection if you purchase your ticket using that credit card. I’m not sure if this situation applies, but knowing that your possessions are covered in case of a loss, can help reduce the stress associated with travel.