Lost Luggage

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Until 2005 I had never had a missing bag when traveling overseas. In 2005 we had 2 bags come two days later. In 2006, 5 bags came two days later. Our 2007 team arrived at Entebbe Airport with 1 of our 12 checked bags. The wisdom gained from these experiences compels me to offer the following not just as advice, but as a "you will be sorry if you do not heed this."

Things you should do:

  • If all your bags do not arrive, report this to the proper office at Entebbe once it is clear no more bags are on the carousel
  • They will have you fill out a standard form for missing bags, be as complete as possible and if you know a local cellular phone number where they can contact you, include that in the report
  • They will show you a chart of the common styles of luggage and ask you identify yours. Pick the one as close as possible to yours
  • Do not just say, "we did not get three bags" but compare your bag tag receipts with the bags you have so you can give them the exact numbers of missing bags.
  • Tell them you want to authorize a Ugandan to pickup all your teams bags. Give them his name, cellular number, and make sure that information is on every form your team completes
  • Get the phone number of the missing bag office so in case of need you can call and check on your bags
  • If you can read the name badge of the person helping you, note that also. I would not make a big deal of this as they may think you are unhappy with theml. But if you have to call it helps to be able to say "Mary helped me"
  • Be nice, everyone else in the room will be fussing and the office staff will find you pleasant to do business with and perhaps grant you favor. Also remember, the person you are dealing with at the delayed baggage desk IS NOT the person who failed to put your bags on the plane.
  • Do not discard your bag tag receipts I keep mine until I return home and any travel issues are resolved.
Some airlines remove the section at the bottom and stick it on the ticket jacket, others staple this whole sheet to the jacket.

The example above contains the following information: PFN = the old airport code for Panama City, Florida, the airport of original departure, DL 4128 = originating flight, Delta 4128, the DL644307 is the unique number for the bag it was attached to. I have blacked out the name of the bag owner for privacy reason, but the tag will contain the owner's name so bags are tagged correctly. We always check in as a team and the ticket agents sometimes print all our tags and then just put them on the bags at random. In the past this did not matter. Now that so many bags get separated from the traveler, it causes confusion in the claims process if the person's name on the claim form is different from the name on the bag tag itself. I do not know the significance of the number 9006. The bar code allows the airport to glean this information with a hand held scanner.

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