Have you ever experienced this scenario wherein you are very excited with your trip, you are already in the airport and then suddenly, your flight was delayed twice and then eventually cancelled? And then when you finally arrived at your destination, you found out that your luggage was left on the airport where you came from? But, you better stop there, I’ve been hearing that these circumstances are usual in the Philippines (the country where I am from), but these did not ever happened to us yet in there (hoping not ever).
It was last August 2015, when Tep and I were very excited for our Euro trip. We booked a tour thru a travel agency for 10 days, so there’s a strict schedule that we need to follow. It was 1:00 am when we arrived at the airport in Doha, since our flight will be at 3:00 am going to Dubai, then from Dubai to Venice at 8:30 am. Boarding time came, and it was announced that the flight will be delayed to 5:00 am, so we’re still good. Then it got further delayed to 7:00 am, and then after a while, they cancelled the flight.
It was chaos, the crews didn’t know how to accommodate everyone and all of the us, the passengers, were already angry and arguing with them (You cannot blame us; we didn’t get enough sleep, we wanted to go and we’re hungry). This was the scene from 5 – 8 am. Good thing, Tep was able to learn that there was another flight leaving Doha at 8:40 am going directly to Venice. After a lot of disputes and discussions, they were able to transfer us, since if not, there won’t be any other flights that would bring us there and we need to leave that day. We were actually considered lucky, as there were some whose flights were moved the following day.
They informed us about the transfer around 8:15am, so we have to hurry up because the flight was already boarding. We made it to the plane, dead tired and hungry, and before we knew it, we were already in Venice. The dilemma didn’t end there, since after minutes of waiting in the luggage belt, we didn’t found our bags. We reported this and they promised that everything will be delivered to our hotel the following day, yes you heard it right, we will get it the next day. I only have my hand bag with important stuff (no clothes nor any toiletries) while Tep only have his camera bag. Anyway, we survived our first day and they indeed delivered everything to our hotel the following day, after our constant follow-ups.
Due to this not so good incident that we have experienced, I have listed down below some ways that we did to survive this dilemma, as well as some of the things, which I realized we should have done.
1. Keep your cool and be patient. I know this will be a hard thing to do, especially in situations like this, but this will help you to think properly of your next steps, as well as for the airline crews to accommodate you appropriately. Shouting and arguing with one another will only create commotion, thus sometimes not resolving anything.
2. Always have a set of clothing on your hand carry. This will help you survive the first day, just in case your luggage will go missing. Good thing our first stop then happened to be Venice, since there are a lot of tiangges and souvenir shops within the area where you can buy clothing and underwear.
3. Know your bag by heart. Keep in mind the exact color, shape and size of your bags, as well as some unique items inside it, since once you reported a lost / missing luggage, they will ask for these information.
4. Buy a travel insurance. I learned the worth of this when we experienced everything I narrated above. This will serve as a passenger protection just in case there are certain unavoidable incidents that may happen such as trip cancellation, baggage lost / delay, medical emergencies, accidents and others, you just have to know the coverage of your policy.
You can buy your travel insurance on the airline where you book your flights or to some insurance companies where you are residing. In the Philippines, I usually buy mine online from Malayan Insurance, while here in Qatar, I buy online from AXA Gulf. A lot of distinguished travel bloggers are recommending to buy travel insurance from World Nomads, I haven’t tried it though, but you may want to check it out.
5. Keep all receipts and supporting documents. Related to No. 4, keep all receipts and supporting documents (boarding pass, missing/lost baggage report, tickets, etc.) since these will be presented once you request for a claim or reimbursement from your insurance agency. Too bad, we were not able to keep all these, thus we were not able to claim anything (because we didn’t know that these are needed).
6. Know the policy of the airline. Each airline have different policies when it comes to delayed / cancelled flights, lost luggage and other carrier related problems. It is necessary that you visit their website or call their office so you will know your rights and claims as a passenger.
7. Just enjoy. Charge everything to experience; don’t let stuff like these ruin your vacation. Well, they say that if you are an adventure seeker, these incidents are unavoidable.
For missing luggages, one advice that I can give you is, you can demand from the airline to deliver your luggages to where you will be staying.
These are just some simple tips which I hope would help you in case you will experience these inevitable incidents with airlines.
So there you go. Have a happy and safe trip to everyone.
P.S.: We were booked with Emirates, but eventually transferred to Qatar Airways. These dilemmas does not only happen in budget / cheap airlines, you can experience it even in the world’s best airlines.