There are a million nightmare tales about lost airline luggage. Some become detective stories with happy endings; others remain unsolved mysteries. This one is different.
This is a story about how delightful it can actually be when you’re unable to reclaim your checked luggage – but maybe only if you’re flying Icelandair.
Last December, my family and I did experience the nightmare version of this kind of story. One of our bags, the only oversized one, did not make it on our flight to Munich, so for the first week, my wife washed her one outfit each night. And the rest of us — who were missing jackets and boots — were cold.
The second week, we expended precious sightseeing time in Austrian outlet malls shopping for replacements. That airline, a major US-based carrier, never picked up the lost baggage phone line and never replied to any of numerous emails I sent asking after our lost bag. It was returned to us a week after we got back home.
Luggage ready for Iceland
Having learned our lesson, I made two adjustments when we headed to Iceland for Thanksgiving this year.
First, I attached an AirTag to the inside of the only bag we checked — mine. Second, I packed a small carry-on bag with a hat, gloves, boots, one outfit and a couple of more layers. Just in case.
Before the trip, we were worried about the weather (Iceland in November is notoriously unpredictable) and the potential eruption of the Grindavik volcano. At the airport, those concerns were pushed aside by the worry we might not get there at all.
Our JetBlue (Icelandair partners with them domestically) flight from Atlanta to Boston was delayed 10 hours for mechanical reasons, they said. We sat in Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport as a daylong series of delays forced us to miss our connecting flight and threatened to make us also miss the last flight to Reykjavik that night.
With less than 30 minutes for the connection in Boston, we made the Icelandair flight by running from our arrival gate to another terminal. We were the last ones on the plane. And, my bag, which did not run with us, was left at Logan International.
An ocean between me and my luggage
In Reykjavik, bleary-eyed from a nearly sleepless four-hour redeye, I went to the lost baggage counter. I held up my phone screen showing the “Find My” app to share with the baggage service agent that my luggage was in Boston.
She nodded, apologized and had me fill out a short form. Then she efficiently handed me two items. The first was an overnight bag with toiletries, including a wooden comb, a deodorant the size of a champagne cork and a large white T-shirt with Icelandair’s logo on the tag.
The other item was a piece of paper with contact information on how to reach the baggage specialists and an address for a shop along Laugavegur, the capital’s main shopping street. “There,” the Icelandair agent explained, “you can rent whatever cold weather items you need, and they will charge the airline.”
I kept myself from rolling my eyes when she told me they would text me with an update on my baggage. I’d heard that one before.
From dubious to delighted
After catching up on sleep in our Airbnb, we headed to Laugavegur that afternoon where the very friendly staff found an industrial-grade parka for my wife that she later enumerated as one of the highlights of our fun and adventurous week in Iceland. I was given a pair of high-end, thick Nordic-patterned socks that I was instructed not to return.
Before the day was out, I got a text from Icelandair saying my bag would be on the redeye from Boston while I slept that night.
On a small tour bus the next morning, my phone pinged with an update that my bag was at the airport and scheduled to be delivered to me that day. I replied that we were out until the evening and asked if they could deliver it after we were back. They replied right away to say they would try.
When they emailed again that they would need to try the next morning, I explained we would again be out all day.
Helga, a baggage service agent, suggested asking whether the Airbnb owner would share the code with them to deliver the bag while we were out. “Our drivers are very safe and good people. They have done it many times for passenger,” Helga wrote, “If not we will try to schedule the bag on the time you are there.”
The Airbnb owner replied: “This is fine, Iceland is the safest country in the world.”
The next day we returned from visiting waterfalls and other sights to find my bag in the Airbnb dining room. But my wife kept the parka for the remainder of the trip.
I still have those socks and that wooden comb – unlikely souvenirs of the most unnightmarish luggage problem I’ve ever experienced. And, so, to Icelandair, I offer the only Icelandic word I learned on our trip: “Takk!” (“Thank you!”).
Text taken from: https://edition.cnn.com