Thursday, August 18, 2011

Locked out

A man in a uniform tapped me on the shoulder.  "Are you still waiting?" he said, and pointed to the carousel.  "All the luggage is out."

I can't say I was surprised.  I rerouted my luggage in Istanbul so it would arrive in Sydney.  The delay of my whitewater rafting trip meant I had to fly from Sarajevo, Bosnia, to rendezvous with my Istanbul flight.  The Sarajevo to Istanbul leg was not included in my original itinerary, so my luggage had to be retagged for Sydney.  It was my oversight—I should have explained this when I checked in in Bosnia—but I thought I resolved it when I spoke to the Turkish Airlines flight transfer desk in Istanbul.  After all, both flights were with Turkish Air.

"Sir, you have two options," said the bloke at the transfer desk.  "You can go out passport control"—he gestured to a deep and wide drove of bodies being herded through the barrier ropes like cattle at a feedlot—"collect your luggage from the carousel and check it onto your next flight...."

"Or?" I interrupted, already deciding on option number two.

"Or I can do it for you."

These are my options?  Do I also have the choice to get my own meals on the plane?  "So, you'll go out and collect my luggage, which is right now on the conveyor belt, and put it on the plane for me?"

"Yes sir.  I'll take care of it myself."

"That's it?  Great!" I said, pleased with this efficiency.  "Teşekkür ederim!"

When I recounted this story to the lady at the lost baggage counter in Sydney, she said: "Don't believe them."  She looked up lost baggage in Istanbul and, sure enough, my backpack was still there, I imagine circulating alone on a carousel in a deserted terminal.  "It should get here in 48 hours."

All of this was really just a minor nuisance.  After all, I was home.  Except that when I got home, I realised my house keys were in my backpack.


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