Where's my baby's suitcase?
Some people would say the difficulty we had with LO's passport as a sign that perhaps you should give up. And some people just see them as obstacles that you overcome to achieve your goal.
So when I was sitting in the lounge enjoying a quick hot chocolate with Connie before heading to the gate I was able to take a deep breath, relieved to be on the other side of check in and security.
At the departure gate we folded the stroller away and put LO in the baby carrier. The airline staff then asked to check my hand luggage in as it was on the larger side and the flight was full. We just wanted to walk off the plane and head straight to our hotel which was in another town. But as we had to wait for the stroller we thought it wouldn't make any difference so we even manage to check in Connie's luggage in too.
Just before the aircraft door we left our stroller with the two suitcases and settled in our seats. LO fell asleep and we 'enjoyed' the one hour flight delay! It wasn't so relaxed on the way down though. LO wasn't keen and made everybody aware of it!
Finally we landed and peace at last.
We collected our stroller just as we got out. I opened it and wheeled it along the jetbridge. About halfway along - somebody was running after us - and gave us a wheel. It was the wheel from our stroller. I was wheeling it along with only 3 wheels and hadn't even noticed.
Connie went ahead to the baggage belt as I wanted to change LO. I then made my way to the belt and Connie was still there. Bagless! The belt had stopped and she had already enquired that there were no more bags coming from the aircraft!
What may be the worse job in an airport - the assistant who deals with lost luggage was just - the best word I can use is - gormless. There was no sympathy, empathy, understanding in her voice. I suppose she hears the same story all day everyday.
She didn't know where our luggage was. And was just as surprised as we were that our stroller arrived but luggage didn't.
We had just the clothes we were wearing on one of the hottest day of the month. And a baby! The baby. Oh goodness we need baby supplies. Thank heavens he didn't need anything just as we got off the plane! I would have been fuming otherwise. I was actually finding this quite amusing as I did not imagine anything else that could stand in our way of this trip.
The information the assistant gave us was - no information. She didn't know where our bags were, when they will find out or when we would get them. Can we buy replacements? Will we get reimbursed? That depends she says. On what? Different circumstances? Seriously? What circumstances? Usually we can be reimbursed if the delay is more than 24 hours. But we have a young baby and business meetings to attend tomorrow morning!
Does she know when we will find out any more information. No.
We were just sent away with a reference and telephone number.
We had to get basic essentials and at least a change of clothes AND baby things. Nappies, clothes, baby wipes. Luckily LO is still exclusively breastfed so no need to worry about bottles, formula, steriliser etc.
But where can we get these things? It isn't London. Shops don't stay open late like London.
Do we go to the town where our hotel is (over an hour away) before it got dark and try to find something there? Or do we go into town here and get what we can before making our way to the hotel? Where are the shops? Is it like London that it takes an hour to get to the shops?
No internet. Phones low on battery - we need a phone charger! We need to act fast. Time is not on our side before the shops close in a couple of hours. We have no time for food just yet.
We decided to get as much as we could around the airport town then head to the hotel after.
Rushing to the train station we found it hard to decipher which train to get so actually missed the train that was sitting on the platform. So with 20 minutes until the next train we walked (Connie ran) back to the airport to see if there was anything we could get from the airport shops. It felt like supermarket sweep. The slowest queue at the tills didn't help us.
We made it back to the train with toiletries and nappies. Stopping in town we got off at the station and there were a few shops at the station where we found a supermarket and even managed to pick up breast pads. When we were queueing to pay we received a phone call. 7.15pm. They have located our suitcases. They will be on the 10.30pm flight and will be delivered to our hotel by taxi. They weren't sure at what time but some point before the morning!
So do we continue buying the essentials for the evening as I really wanted a clean set of clothes to sleep in? It depends said the assistant. You probably can. Regardless of reimbursement we needed a fresh set of clothes. Luckily for them LO did not explode in his nappy as we could not find any shops selling baby items nearby.
We grabbed some food and headed to the hotel as LO was fussy, hadn't fed properly - this isn't unusual when we're out and about - he's more interested in what's going on.
We gave LO a shower as there obviously wasn't a baby bath available and the sink was too small.
As LO slept we caught upon the day's events waiting for our suitcases.
10.15pm we received a phone call. It was the airline assistant.
I'm afraid all flights have been cancelled tonight and tomorrow morning. We're not sure when they'll be flying again. We will be in touch.
What?! OMG. We stopped buying things because you told us our suitcases would be with us tonight. It's too late now. We have no clothes for our business meeting tomorrow.
And you can't tell us when the suitcases will be with us.
With the use of google and emails to our kind host. We found out that the local shops only open at 10am. There are a few random shops by the station that open at 8am so we had to have an early start to see what was available. Dressing in our clothes from the day before was less than pleasant as we headed to the shops. We found one store that we had to choose all our clothes from and you know you can never find underwear when you want them but at the very last minute we popped in to a coffee bar and of all places they sold random piece of clothing and we found underwear. We also had to buy make-up, shoes, hosiery. But still no baby clothes.
At the end of the day - the airline called again and told us that we would get our suitcases that evening but again - were not sure what time it would arrive with us. So instead of spending the early evening enjoying some dinner and the town we had to go in search of baby clothes. We really couldn't let LO stay in his clothes wrapped in our cardigan for warmth for much longer. We had to go in search for baby shops. How much do we spend? There only seemed to be designer shops. I had already had enough baby clothes and didn't want to spend too much if we were not going to get reimbursed - so after finding what seems like the German equivalent to John Lewis I bought the cheapest items we could find. LO had fresh clothes and dry bib and other essentials. We could now relax after freshening up. Time for food. But LO was too tired for us to take out so poor Connie wondered the streets of Germany for take-out. Don't get us started on ordering take-out online! That may be another blog!
- Save all receipts on the essentials you buy whilst you wait for your suitcase
- The procedure to get reimbursement is relatively simple and quick for British Airways
- You don't need to claim this on your travel insurance
- There is no excess to pay
- Between the 3 of us we received back over £600 for the essentials we bought
- We didn't receive compensation for inconvenience
- Take the minimum baby essentials on the flight with you - just in case your suitcase is lost. Baby items are hard to find.