Wednesday, June 06, 2007

coincidence, or causality: lost luggage edition!

Regarding my lost luggage, I decided I couldn't count on Northwest anymore and decided to take matters into my own hands. So, I went to the mall and plunked down money for a razor to replace the one in my bag. Sure enough, shortly afterward I got the call that my bag had been located in Detroit. I received it this evening. The handle had come loose, taking the tags off with it. I'm not exactly sure how one goes about getting the handle to a piece of luggage repaired, although I suppose calling a shoe repair shop may be the obvious place to start (actually, a luggage repair shop would be the most obviously obvious place to start, but this does not seem to exist as a category of American small business).

13 comments:

Mary said...

You might want to take a look, and mechanically figure why the handle came off. If it's not a well built piece of luggage, even a leather repair person sewing it on twice may not pay. (assuming it's a leather handle)

Perhaps you'd be better off to invest in a better bag, so this doesn't happen again and cause such trouble? A good reminder to all to check out what we're checking. Those bags do get thrown by workers, so you want something that can take a beating. (remember the gorilla jumping on the sampsonites commercial?

Also, you might consider attaching a tag with your relevant information at two points on the bag. If the metal zipper tag has a hole in it, that's an excellent place to feed the elastic loop through to secure it.

I've never had lost baggage, though I don't travel all that much. But if you can be proactive -- thinking of all the ways something could go wrong -- you can sometimes avoid things like this. Losing the bag is a funny story the first time around. After that, well people in business settings don't much care, I've found. Academic settings might be more sympathetic, particularly if you know the people?

My friend's 50+ sister showed up to her mother's funeral last year in jeans. She couldn't cut her Europe trip short (or wouldn't) so the funeral was pushed back for over a week, 10 days I think, waiting for her. She had timed it so tight, and planned so poorly, that when the luggage bag didn't roll off right away, and she absolutely had to leave the airport for the afternoon funeral, she ended up showing up in jeans. Maybe it was the airlines to blame, but it showed a distinct lack of respect and not everyone knew the "missing luggage" story. (You think she would have packed good clothes in the carryon, not chance it on such an important occasion.)

Live and learn. Better that handle break now than cause you more trouble down the road, eh? Good luck in Evanston! (Betcha airlines don't lose purple luggage often!)

jeremy said...

It's a plastic handle, actually. Of a piece of luggage I've owned for less than a year. I agree that I need to put identifying information on a second point on the bag, although the bag itself is not well-suited for this so I need to figure something out.

It's very fortunate that I lost my baggage on the way home from Aspen than the way there.

DogOnTheInternet said...

You might also check at leather shops. They tend to have the heavy-duty equipment necessary to repair luggage more than a shoe-repair shop would.

dorotha said...

My dad travels for business quite frequently, sometimes every other week. I'm fairly certain that it is stil annoying to him when he loses his luggage. I can ask, as he is flying into Chicago on business today and coming to Madison (on the bus) to visit me this weekend.

Reading Jeremy's post I don't get the feeling that he is blaming the airline all that much. It doesn't say, for example, that baggage handlers handlers managed to treat his bag so roughly that a handle atttaced with a gallon of glue of many varieties came loose.

I also don't understand why, in previous posts, it has been hinted that Jeremy treats employees of various places poorly. Everyone sometimes gets irked by poor service, inconvenience, etc., which does not mean they are rude to someone's face. Not that the airline is responsible for what happened. Maybe it is time for Jeremy to invest in better luggage, although I have no idea how good his luggage is. I am sure that Jeremy is not the kind to yell at telemarketers.

As long as we are giving luggage tips: My mother writes her name and address with a permanent marker on a strip of duct tape and puts it on the inside of every piece of luggage. That way it doesn't matter what happens to tags, handles, etc.

jeremy said...

I don't blame Northwest for losing my luggage. However, I did not get into the details of my dealings with Northwest customer service, but it was poor and quite certainly worse than the other two times my luggage has been lost over the years (the other times were on non-Northwest airlines). That said, to address one of the many weird accusations of my recent troll in response to an earlier post, I was nothing but polite to NW representatives in my interactions with them.

Mary said...
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Mary said...
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Mary said...

Sorry for the double posts.


Talk to the shop you purchased at if since a recent purchase. The manufacturer is your best bet if it's worth repairing. Glue is not going to stand up to baggage handling, sorry dorotha :) The airline is to "blame". But my initial post was about it being worth it to avoid these customer service hassles in the first place. Hence the tips.

Really, don't you all remember these commercials?

http://youtube.com/results?search_query=samsonite+commercial

Kieran said...

My mother writes her name and address with a permanent marker on a strip of duct tape and puts it on the inside of every piece of luggage.

While waiting by a luggage carousel once, I saw a suitcase with the words "THIS DOESN"T BELONG TO YOU" stenciled on it in big letters.

Daniel said...

Happily, given your new home, "luggage repair" is a Yellow Pages category in the Evanston phone book. (I can recommend Old Orchard Shoe and Luggage Repair.)

jeremy said...

Daniel: Rock on! I am going to Evanston next week. I wonder if my luggage would make it there so I could just get it fixed there. Probably too risky, I suppose.

nina said...

In Madison, Cecil's (on Odana now) can fix any piece of luggage. In the alternative, call Ed (who fixed my broken suitcase handle).

dorotha said...

just to be clear, i meant "gallons of glue" to be approximately the same level of ridiculousness as bubblegum in ability to hold a handle on luggage.