Updated on July 18, 2015
I’ll apologize in advance for this verbose write-up you’re about to encounter. I just finally need to get the story out!
We’re finally finishing this trip report (just one more summary post after this)! It was quite the adventure, and like every trip, had its ups and downs. As I previously mentioned in our first segment of the trip, I had quite my own adventure with my luggage. It’s finally time to discuss that!
Let’s flashback to the first day of our trip. I’ve arrived at my small local airport (OAJ) with plenty of time before my flight. I check my bag, go through security, and wait for the flight. I have a little over an hour layover in Charlotte and everything seemed to be on track. We begin to board about 10 minutes later than originally scheduled, but no worries, I thought, I’ll have plenty of time.
Then everything started to really go downhill (I go into detail of a little bit of this in my very first post of this report)!
I get to the stairs of the CRJ-200 where the off-going first officer greets me. He then asks me why I’m boarding, to which I naturally say because the gate agent told me to. He told me to go back to the terminal as they had to switch flight crews and they were not ready for us.
Okay, not a problem. I’ll be fine. I’ve taken this flight many times, and I know they can make up time in the air. Even with this delay, I’ll be fine…right?
After arriving back in the terminal and waiting a few minutes, the gate agent drops the bombshell, out of nowhere: mechanical problems – an indefinite delay!
Sh*t had officially hit the fan at this point. I’m already on the phone with the AA Platinum line, but no one is picking up. I think fast and leave the airside of the terminal, go back through security, and straight for the US Air ticket desk.
OAJ has two gates. Yes, TWO gates. One for U.S. Airways and one for Delta. Delta was boarding their flight to Atlanta (which luckily for me had been delayed over an hour) and about to close the flight. I frantically try to get on the flight and I succeed! My new booking to SFO now looks like this:
OAJ-ATL (Delta), ATL-LAX-SFO (AA/US)
All of the airline staff there were fantastic, and I literally saw them take my bag off the US flight and roll it over to my new Delta flight. Great!
Sweet. I got it all figured out, I’ll be set. I board my flight for Atlanta with renewed hopes that my entire trip wouldn’t be ruined!
As we’re taxiing, I look at all my new boarding passes. As of now, my connection in ATL is 20 minutes….WHAT???
Okay, I’m screwed. I go on my flight app, and I can’t find the ATL-LAX AA flight. What is going on? Oh wait, there it is, already delayed 3 hours. The plot thickens.
So as I’m flying to ATL, I know that when I land there I’m already going to need another set of flights. As soon as our wheels hit the ground, I dial the AA Platinum line and get new flights lined up, which actually work better, as I get to meet Kevin in DFW. Here’s what my 3rd itinerary of the day looks like:
Great! This will absolutely be fine, no problems. But wait, what about my bags?? I go up to the gate agent for my new flight, and tell him my issue. No lie, he pretty much tells me “If your bags make it, they make it”. Thanks bro!
Spoiler alert: They don’t make it.
Let us skip a few flights and go to Tokyo’s Haneda airport. Upon arrival, we headed over to the baggage carousel. With 3 different flight itineraries that were supposed to send me all around to different cities, I knew for a fact my bag wouldn’t make it. But, we needed to get Kev’s bag anyway, so over we went.
While waiting, a Japan Airlines baggage agent came up and approached me by name.
“Your bag is not here”
Fantastic! I mean I knew it wasn’t, but my fears were now officially confirmed.
We then continued to sort through this process with forms for about an hour. I had to explain my day to them, and show them all my different flights and flight numbers and baggage tags and whatnot. It was even confusing me at this point.
I’m so screwed. My bag could literally be in one of about 5 cities throughout the US and Asia. Oh, and I took three different airlines. I give myself about a 5% chance at this point.
I tell her how we are only in Tokyo for the day, and that we had a connecting flight to Seoul that evening. I asked them that if they found it to send it to the Park Hyatt Seoul, and gave them the hotel contact information.
Our parting instructions were to head to the JAL baggage desk in Seoul when we arrived that night. I figured that was codeword for “I’m passing your problem off to them”, but it turned out I couldn’t be more wrong!
Upon landing the Seoul, we heeded her instructions and headed to the JAL baggage desk. We were kind of in a hurry to catch the KAL bus Kev wrote about earlier, so there wasn’t time to mess around!
This is where the story turns from miserable to inspiring. The woman at the baggage desk asked for my name, and when I gave it to her, immediately found a hand-written note about my situation. She said, “Your bag will be delivered to the Park Hyatt Seoul tomorrow morning”. WHAT?!?! That is freaking amazing! I couldn’t believe it, and I remained skeptical until I got my eyes on my luggage.
Although the bag didn’t actually arrive until the next evening, it actually made it! It looks like it flew on a direct flight to Seoul from the U.S., so possibly on Singapore or Korean Air. I don’t know how they did it, but they really pulled off a baggage miracle!
So that’s the story. It had been a crazy first two days or so of the trip, and it was fantastic to finally be able to change my clothes!