The REAL price you pay for lost luggage and cheap flights
Delayed Flights and Lost LuggageYears ago South Africans between the age of 20 and 30 flocked to the United Kingdom, for a working holiday. The promise of working there was not as much earning in pounds as it was that the rest of Europe was only 2 hours away on a cheap flight. 2 hours, how wonderful. With a direct flight, it is about 11 hours to your destination, when flying from South Africa.
My wife and I decided to go to Europe again this year. We decided to go running in the Alps (yes, running in the mountains IS a holiday) in July. We benefit from Discovery’s Vitality discounts and that means that the cheapest flights would be on Emirates. The airplanes are great, with touch screen displays and a variety of new movies, it keeps you busy on the long flights. We were in the Boeiing 777 on the first leg of our flight and the Airbus A380 (happy dance) on the second flight.
Unfortunately our trip started with quite a few hiccups. As we were heading out to the airport, we received a notification that our flight was delayed with 4+ hours. We killed some extra time at home due to the delay before heading out. We checked in our luggage and was aware of the fact that we would miss our connecting flight. Even though both us and the Emirates staff member at check in was aware of this, she decided to tag our luggage for the connecting flight (we would not even land before it departs). I questioned it but she guaranteed me that our luggage would be on the connecting flight (lie nr.1).
We arrived in Dubai after a bumpy ride. Staff member number two handed us the boarding passes for our new connecting flight. We checked if we weren’t supposed to get our luggage first, as there was plenty of time due to the delay and our initial flight had already left. She guaranteed us that our luggage would be on the new flight (lie nr. 2). We were handed meal vouchers, that we could use during our wait. These vouchers did not impress. It was not to the value of a certain amount of dirham. It was only for a select few restaurants’ basic meals (of which some did not exist anymore) and after walking to just about each one of them, we found The Mezzanine hidden on a different floor. If you are killing time on Dubai’s airport, I’ll recommend this one if you want to get away from all the airport noise.
We arrived in Milan late on the Saturday night. After 10pm we were standing at the empty carousel, staring, hoping and searching for our luggage. We reported to the Emirates staff that our luggage was not there. They made a few phone calls and said we should not worry. The luggage is in Dubai and would arrive the next morning at 8am (lie nr.3) and we should be able to pick it up by 9am. By 10am we were still not able to track down our luggage. The number they gave us was of the local delivery guy, who was not in possession of the luggage yet.
I’ve got to be honest, the local Emirates staff’s communication was beyond poor. I can only be thankful that I decided to communicate via Twitter myself and the @Emirates social media team tried their part to find out what the situation was. I was only informed by the Twitter team that my luggage would arrive at 14:22 on the EK205 flight. We could afford to kill more time in Milan anymore. Fortunately we knew people in Locarno, a mere hour and a half from Malpensa airport. We assumed that we should have our luggage by that evening at the latest. Still no communication from Emirates, and no luggage that night.
The next morning at 10AM I called the delivery guy again...he did not have our luggage and he was not on his way to Locarno. Half our Saturday was spoiled by delayed flights. Our Sunday was ruined by empty promises and a no-show of our luggage. Only after 12pm did I receive a call. The delivery guy (not a professional company like DHL) informed me that they were on their way. Our luggage only showed up on our doorstep after 4pm. My word, what did they do all this time? We had to make the call and cancel the two days we planned in Venice, as trying to squeeze in 3 days in the mountains and a 24 hour stopover in Venice would not have been possible.
So two days without luggage and never an offer by Emirates to replace our luggage. Never a call. No assistance whatsoever. But would they have replaced it? Fortunately we were able to change the dates of our Alps running. We had waterproof jackets, running shoes, bivvy bags and all sorts of gear in our bags, that would easily have cost 1500 euros to replace. Not to mention additional accommodation and travel costs.
The biggest price one can pay during a holiday is TIME. And that’s why I would like to encourage you to think twice before you book with Emirates or other flights that adds a day’s travel. You might save money on cheaper flights but most of us don’t have endless amounts of leave, so rather use direct flights. You will not onlly save time - shorter flights equals more energy and more time to enjoy your holiday.
*Tip: If you are going to fly with Emirates, make sure to use of their free hotel service if your stop is more than 9 hours. The hotel food is average but the beds are much better than having to kill time in duty free.