I was away in Inverness for New Year and had a great time. However, Loganair/Flybe did their very best to ruin the trip for me although they did redeem themselves just in the nick of time.
On check-in at Sumburgh I was told that my hand luggage was slightly too big and heavy to take into the cabin. The bag contained my camera equipment and laptop so I was obviously keen to ensure the bag didn’t go in the hold. I was informed that I could still take the bag as hand luggage but it would be marked as a ‘cabin bag’. This would mean I’d relinquish the bag for it to be stored but could collect it again on arrival at Inverness at the foot of the steps. Sounded simple!
The flight from Sumburgh to Inverness flies via Kirkwall in Orkney. We remained on the plane in Kirkwall while passengers disembarked and new people came onboard bound for Inverness.
Loganair/Flybe lose my bag – 1st time!
On arrival in Inverness things started to go wrong! I disembarked and waited at the foot of the steps. Ken, the friendly air steward, asked if he could help and I explained that I was waiting for my cabin bag which had been put in the plane’s storage. Ken said that he had no record of a cabin bag. I watched as all the luggage was removed from the plane and my camera bag was nowhere to be seen.
I immediately contacted the Flybe information desk on arrival in Inverness. Kat and Emma at the Flybe desk were very helpful. Kat contacted the handlers in Orkney and discovered that the bag had mistakenly been removed in Kirkwall. I was a bit frustrated but quite relieved to know where my bag was. Flybe were to arrange for the bag to come down on the same afternoon flight the next day and send it via courier to my chosen address.
Flybe/Loganair lose my bag – 2nd time
8pm the following day (30th December) I had heard nothing about the delivery of my bag. The flight was in the afternoon so I felt that I’d allowed plenty of time. I contacted Inverness Airport and was told that there was nobody now left at the Flybe desk. I asked to speak to Dalcross Handling who are the baggage handlers at Inverness Airport. I queried as to why my bag had not been delivered quoting the lost baggage reference number I had received the previous day. The lady had no record of my bag and could not see it in their storage department. However, I was told I could phone back on the 4th January once all the staff were back after the holiday!
I awoke with renewed hope on New Year’s Eve determined to find out what had happened to my camera equipment/laptop bag. I had visions of my bag circling round a carousel in various Scottish Airports!
I had left a message with Loganair/Flybe lost baggage the night before explaining my situation but never got a reply. As a result, my first phone call was directly to Inverness Airport. I wanted to speak to Kat at the Flybe desk as she was the the last person who knew where my bag was. I called Inverness Airport but they claimed they couldn’t put through incoming calls. I explained my situation and was eventually put through to the Flybe desk where fortunately Kat was working.
After some persuasion, Kat kindly took it upon herself to contact the handlers to determine where my bag was – it had disappeared off everyone’s radar based on my call the previous night. To my relief, I was contacted within fifteen minutes and told that the bag was in fact in Inverness and would be sent via courier later that day.
I received a call later from Inverness Airport who warned me that the bag was a bit damp and they were placing the laptop into a carrier bag. I feared the worst at this stage wondering what state my gear was going to be in. Despite being a few hours later than promised, my bag FINALLY turned up around 5pm on New Year’s Eve!
Based on my experiences, I would recommend the following when travelling with expensive equipment on a flight:
- Ensure all your equipment is insured, whether it be your home policy or through a specialist agent. If you have travel insurance, check to see how much you are covered for in the event of a problem. Also check what instances are covered ie theft, loss/damage
- Place a name tag clearly on all baggage with contact information including mobile number
- Keep all receipts/documentation, especially the baggage receipt on the back of your boarding pass
- Try and get a direct contact number to the airline representative
- Try and remember names of check-in staff, air stewards etc.
- Each airline is different with regard to hand luggage capacities so check this beforehand. I didn’t do this admittedly but that doesn’t excuse the fact my bag was incorrectly taken off the plane in Kirkwall
- Ensure that your hand luggage/cabin bag is clearly marked with the destination airport.
- Pack your equipment very securely using the dividers to best effect
This maybe sounds simple but it’s so easy to overlook things sometimes and just presume travel plans will work out ok.
Thankfully for me I received my lost bag with contents undamaged. However, I know there will be many who have received their lost luggage damaged or have never seen it again.
Despite the problems I can count myself lucky in this case. It doesn’t excuse the fact that my bag was lost by the airline twice in two days. What I found most annoying was that nobody would take responsiblity for the mistake when I called on the evening of the 30th.
Hopefully this tale of woe will make you wary when you’re next travelling.
All the best