Here we are in England. Chilly, and a bit brisk, and perfect weather for bracing country walks, followed by tea and toast when we return to the warmth of my mother’s kitchen. Next week we will go to town (London).
Last year we came over in late spring. Fewer thick clothes to pack. Some of you, my faithful readers, may remember the fun and games we had with missed connections, long stays in unexpected airports, nights in hotels at the airline’s expense and a cumulative delay for over twenty-four hours. For those of you who missed it, the full story is right here.
Anyway, we crossed the Atlantic again last Thursday night and this time, with three connecting flights, everything went like clockwork. No late flights, no missed connections, not even any dashes through airport terminals to catch planes at the last minute. We got to Heathrow on time, collected our rental car and were on our way. Everything went well for us.
Not for our luggage though. Two of our three checked cases kept us company all the way to London, and they appeared on the carousel after we had been waiting only a few minutes. Then we waited for the third. It was one of those black rectangles with wheels and a telescopic handle. There were dozens of them on the moving belt, but none was ours. I had taken he precaution of putting a blue and grey luggage strap round it to make it easy to spot among all the others. However, it wasn’t there to spot. We waited hopefully until there were just a few bags left, going round and round, and maybe half a dozen passengers.
I had never had a bag lost before, in over two hundred journeys by commercial airlines. I was rather starting to think that it would never happen to me – only to other people. Serve me right! Anyway, I went to the United Airlines baggage desk, which I couldn’t help noticing was very busy, and told one of the clerks that one of our bags was missing. He took the baggage claim tag for the missing bag, scanned it under his barcode reader and tapped a few details into his computer. Then he was able to tell me that the bag had been located in Washington airport and would be sent over on the next flight and delivered to where we would be staying.
United Airlines were as good as their word, and a man in a white van showed up the following afternoon with the bag. I was grateful, of course, but the thought uppermost in my mind after the whole thing was: barcodes are amazing things!