Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Travel Tip: Picture This

Like thousands of others, I'm determined to climb back up above the low-or-no income level.  Thanks to my wonderful flight attendant cousin and some travel passes, I've been able to fly out to audition and hustle up meetings for possible new gigs.  This has been my most hopeful year since things feel apart back during the Recession in 2010.  I've gotten meetings and a few days of freelance employment.

In the past when I've travelled for work purposes, also like thousands of others, I've arrived at my destination only to wonder "Hmmmm.  Where are my bags?"
If you're a traveler, you've probably asked the question too.  It's a wonderful feeling when you and your bags are one.  Like lovers.

On Twitter, I read one disgruntled traveler describe the letters in the name of a certain airline as standing for "Don't Expect Luggage To Arrive."

My cousin works for a competing airline, not the one that disgruntled the Twitter traveler.

Recently, while waiting to fly "stand-by" on a direct West Coast to East Coast flight, I was near a very sweet foreign married couple.  Our flight had such a long weather-related delay that they would not make their connection in New York.  They were connecting to Lisbon.  They decided to stay in California another night and fly out the next day.  The very helpful United Airlines desk agent asked them what their luggage looked like to help speed its retrieval off the delayed flight.  They knew the color but could not describe its specific size or tell a name brand on the luggage.  Eventually, their luggage was taken off the delayed plane but it took some time because all that was known was its color and that it had name tag.  The desk agent had to pull out a sheet with illustrations of baggage sizes and types and ask the couple to select which illustration looked like their bags.

Luggage is like relatives in families.  After a while, it's been with you for so long that you don't notice what makes it special anymore.  You just get used to it.  You get used to it being there and never consider how inconvenient things could be for you if it wasn't.

At some time, you will need more than two pieces.  Or you may be told to check a piece.
Life cannot always be a piece of carry-on luggage for the overhead bin.
Here is my travel tip -- and it's a simple one.  With your cellphone, take a photo of your luggage.  Store it on your phone.  If your luggage has a distinguishing name brand and/or logo, take a close-up photo of that too and store it in your cellphone.
Take a cellphone photo of anything that makes your checked luggage identifiable.  That way, if -- Heaven forbid -- you are separated from your luggage and an airline agent asks you to describe it, you have a photo on your phone.  That will help matters, I believe.

Trust me on this.  If  a representative at an airline counter asks you what your piece of absent luggage looks like and you say "It's black and has two handles," that's not much of a help.  That describes me when I stand arms akimbo.

One photo of your luggage is worth a thousand words to an overworked airline representative.

Have a good flight.

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