Cracker by Damian Christie

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Cracker: Being there is everything. Having your bags is a nice bonus

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  • Raymond A Francis,

    I really don't need to know this
    We are planning our first trip overseas, probably the first of many
    And you tell me I can lose my gear in Palmy, forget about ill paid baggage handlers far away

    The golden rule is (so my reading tells me) is never pack something that you might like to see again and try to use your carry on baggage for everything that you might need

    45' South • Since Nov 2006 • 578 posts Report

  • David Slack,

    Just last Friday morning in Wellington I was looking out the window of my homeward-bound jet and saw a baggage tag lying on the tarmac, unconnected to its baggage. It looked very forlorn.

    I feel I was educated by what I saw.

    Devonport • Since Nov 2006 • 599 posts Report

  • B Jones,


    My bags wandered off once between Wellington and Queenstown, probably during the connection at Christchurch. The whole sticker thing looked a bit wonky, which is where I think it all went wrong.

    Thing is, it was Christmas Eve on the second to last flight of the day into Queenstown, and the missing bag had all my Christmas pressies in it, not to mention the usual clean smallclothes. It was couriered to me by 8 or 9 that evening, and I barely had to rouse myself from the Coronas on the sundeck to retrieve it. I was very happy (after a brief worry) and didn't receive any re-education.

    I think the thing with that is that running a complex process involves assuming people and things behaving in predictable ways, and when the process has a rare failure, some people's first instinct is to blame the uncontrollable factors, ie the customer, rather than the assumptions being flawed. It's a bit like economics in that sense.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 976 posts Report

  • andrew llewellyn,

    Well because they're not on the communication network with the other airports, and wouldn't have got the APB about our bags

    Is she saying Timaru is the only airport not on the network? Surely then, that'd be the first place to try when things go missing. Do they have phones in Timaru yet? Fire? The wheel?

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report

  • andrew llewellyn,

    As we were taxiing for takeoff on our way to Whangarei for a family wedding, my mum pointed out that one of the luggage trolley things seemed to be chasing us. SHe mentioned it to the flight attendant who assured her that all our luggage was aboard.

    We waved out the window to the trolley driver. And our luggage. Which did turn up the next day, and they couriered it to us at our motel, but it must have been left out in the rain because the purple dye from the luggage tags had run & stained everything... the day of the wedding....

    Since Nov 2006 • 2075 posts Report

  • Sofie Bribiesca,

    Hmmm. Details and I see what I can do, at least, time and flight:)

    We are planning our first trip overseas....

    . Lost ours on way to London. Airport announced as soon as we got there, "Can, (insert several names here) please come to such and such counter". Nervously, then angrily, found we were luggageless. Consolation was, that we had an escort straight through to immediately find we were out as we were now looking at rail. 3 days and the Airport couriered our stuff to us (although some was wet and we figured it came from Brisbane and anything is possible)

    here and there. • Since Nov 2007 • 6796 posts Report

  • dc_red,

    I had a very different experience 18 months ago ... I was flying back from Vancouver to Auckland on an AirNZ ticket. In the absence of a direct flight (now redressed, thankfully) I had to fly first to San Francisco on Air Canada, and then an hour or so later board AirNZ.

    I checked in with Air Canada at Vancouver, and they tagged my bag, which I then had to take through US Customs (they pre-screen you on Canadian soil), before placing it on a conveyor belt for its trip to Auckland via San Fran.

    I did this ... only to have the bag's handle come clean off in my hand as I set it down. Attached to the handle was ... the only tag.

    AirNZ uses a supplementary bar code which they place elsewhere on the bag ... but Air Canada relies on the single piece of paper. Which I was now holding, along with the broken handle, while the otherwise unlabelled and generic suitcase had long since disappeared through the chute.

    The baggage handlers at Vancouver were no use in redressing the situation, and no one at San Fran had a clue. Long story short ... 10 days later AirNZ found my bag, by some minor miracle, got it to Auckland, and then had a taxi drive it out to Massey.

    The bag itself was smashed to pieces in the course of its whacky journey, but the contents were generally unharmed. I was incredibly impressed with AirNZ since the incident was (a) bizarre and (b) not their fault in any way.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    The golden rule is (so my reading tells me) is never pack something that you might like to see again

    I pack my luggage with crumpled newspaper and the occasional brick. But as far as my insurance company is concerned, it's all diamonds and rolled up Van Goghs.

    I'm going to be rich some day.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • Rich of Observationz,

    I've often thought of making an iPhone or similar app that does a rolling recording of everything said in your space over a 24 hour or so period.

    Do you think it would be immoral to have such a thing? What do you think people's reactions would be if you pulled out such recordings?

    Back in Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 5550 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    Do you think it would be immoral to have such a thing? What do you think people's reactions would be if you pulled out such recordings?

    A guy called Gordon Bell beat you to it. Google MyLifeBits for more info.
    He used to work for Microsoft, then he retired to pursue Gates' idea of the totally documented life. He spoke at Victoria a couple of years ago, in front of IT students mostly, and when it came to questions, none of them were interested in the technical aspects, but mostly in the ethical and existential ones. Which is too bad, because he was solely interested in the technical aspects.

    Seldom I have encountered a dullest person.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • Mark Thomas,

    Damian, my sympathies. Sometimes I don't know what's worse: losing your stuff, or dealing with the tossers afterwards. Good story, but.

    Raymond: you got it. (Although, touch wood, I've never had luggage go missing, and I've travelled quite a bit). But I reckon the main rule of travelling is always have money/credit cards on you. You can survive without all the other stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 317 posts Report

  • JohnAmiria,

    Either one of the airport staff nicked it when it was lying around at Palmerston North, or you accidentally shipped it off somewhere random, where someone else, a member of staff or member of public, decided to walk off with it.

    yes, that's it. exactly.

    Lucky for you tho' you're in the media so someone will be assessing your complaint, delivered via PAS. The rest of us are never so lucky. That said, someone in their PR dept is also running a check on your 'standing' to see just how fast they need to pull finger on this one. If you were Paul Henry they'd be 'round to your house by now.

    But yes, airline staff are a special breed. Their goal seems to be to get you to admit it's your fault really.

    hither and yon • Since Aug 2008 • 215 posts Report

  • Sue,

    We'll i think like DC said they are not all bad

    I rember when we were fogged in at auckland for 2 days and dad needed to be in wellington for an operation that afternoon. Their service was helpful and they got us on the first plane out and even rang later to see that he made it in time for his operation and how it went.

    that's some great customer service

    but that is such a spectacular screw up to be 'educating' you, what next reform school for errant travelers

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 527 posts Report

  • giovanni tiso,

    that's some great customer service

    I'm sorry, y'all, but my bad customer service story cannot be beat.

    My dad died suddnely when I was over here, in 1999. My partner and I were lucky enough to find two tickets to Italy via LA and Frankfurt that day (that's the good part - very helpful people there) and were treated in a lovely manner on the plane (another good part - thank you, crew members). But in LA it turned out that in the rush they hadn't printed the page of the ticket with the LA to Frankfurt flight, and the local Air New Zealand staff was determined not to let us on the flight.

    Note that we had paid proof of the fare paid, and that it's not as if you can even buy tickets for a trip like that without the middle bit. Unfortunately it was Saturday night by that point in New Zealand and there was nobody they could contact for confirmation. So we were trapped in the little, horrid transit lounge, and they were boarding the plane, and they wouldn't listen to any sort of argument - threatened to have me restrained in fact (to be fair, the most - er - volatile elements of my heritage had come to the surface by then). Finally some sort of supervisor arrived and let us on board, in what could only be described as the very nick of time.

    Had some nice experiences on Air New Zealand since, but not enough to make up for that particular time.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    I've worked next to a few Millys (not that I know this one) and as bad as it sounds, she is just repeating (like bad seafood) what her trainer told her & she'll be consistantly pissing punters off.
    I've been out of Air NZ for a few yrs now but I do recall some issues with the Auckland Baggage Systems (not Air NZ per se) of the type that plagued London Heathrow, so being a Christchurch lad I'll blame Auckland.
    It sounds odd that they found your bag at Palmy but you didn't see it or they didn't give it to you. I wonder if it was a case of my shift ends in 10mins.
    Bags can really get a seeing to as they're crammed on to a small flt or tags & straps get caught on other machinery - it falls into the shit happens zone.

    As for Timaru, well I don't know the baggage system but just after the telegram was invented Airlines adopted Teletype. A wonderful sucsinct jargon rich immediate communication system, it was txt on paper. As easy as email and as illiterate as txt, we all had to learn the specific jargon and not make our own shit up. Eco firendly too, the paper was on a roll and you just ripped off the short msg saving paper. I wonder if this beautifully simple system has been scrapped.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "and the local Air New Zealand staff was determined not to let us on the flight. "
    That would have been a United Airlines staffer in Air NZ drag - a real mixed bag. Remeber "Fly the Friendly Skys"? They canned the add when they found out no-one thinks UA are friendly.

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report

  • Shep Cheyenne,

    "what next reform school for errant travelers"

    There is a fear of flying school :)

    Since Oct 2007 • 927 posts Report

  • Michael Savidge,

    Theres an upside to all this of course. In most cases (boom-boom) it does us no harm at all to lose a bunch of things we think we need. It can open a portal to things like emancipation from those pesky possessions, sanguinity in the face of farce and even, if it's the third time in three years, moments of Zen.

    Somewhere near Wellington… • Since Nov 2006 • 324 posts Report

  • Anon,

    I'm glad that bad shit happens to you D...

    because if it didn't you would never blog.


    Since Sep 2008 • 2 posts Report

  • Lucy Stewart,

    This is just really appalling customer service. Here's hoping the fact that you have a well-read blog gets their arses into gear. I fear, as you probably do, that the most likely outcome is that someone has walked off with it - but that is really no excuse for not, you know, fixing the problem.

    (My only bag-loss experience was much less traumatic, as it happened when I was five - I went to see my grandmother in Turangi, flew to Taupo, and my bag went merrily on its way to Rotorua. Air NZ couriered it back and it arrived about nine pm the same day. I thought it was all ridiculously exciting, as I got to stay up until nine pm. That was practically midnight, after all.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2105 posts Report

  • Paul Campbell,

    I've only ever lost one bag and I travel a lot - it was ANZ at Chch airport - at the time (because we were in the process of shifting countries and most of our stuff was in a large container - at that point the subject of litigation between 2 freight forwarding companies) it contained all my available clothes on the planet - like someone else mentioned it was xmas eve and by the time I realised I might not be seeing it again all the shops had closed .... needless to say one could't buy men's underwear in Wanaka on xmas day, or sadly boxing day.

    I'd hand carried it to the domestic terminal and checked it myself - then it evaporated - I figure some light fingered someone lifted it off the conveyor

    I wish I'd known about the $100 thing - ANZ did do well paying up in the end - the full $1000 - the thing was full of xmas pressies from the US, my laptop power adaptor, lots of books, CDs, ..., ... it helped that I was carrying GST receipts from customs for some of it and credit card receipts for a bunch else - and luckily my laptops (yes 2 that day) were in my backpack

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 2623 posts Report

  • jb,

    Had open tickets AKL-WLG and WLG-NSN, tried to check in at Auckland for a direct flight to Nelson and the guy at check-in reckoned "No, you have to fly to Wellington and THEN to Nelson"

    I countered with "Look, I KNOW that's not the case"

    "LISTEN." he says "I'M the airline" and stomps off to talk to his supervisor.
    Comes back, checks us in - direct flight - not a word of apology.

    Then there was, which was so frustrating that I flagged it to the Executive Board and their airport manager. (No joy, obviously)

    Sometimes you'd really think that they're still state-owned.

    Oh, that's RIGHT. They ARE state-owned....

    There was the episode with the forge • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report

  • jb,

    And didn't you once leave your cellphone in the Koru Lounge somewhere?
    Damian, face it. You're accident-prone.. • Since Jan 2007 • 86 posts Report

  • Felix Marwick,

    ah dear old Air NZ. How does that slogan go again.

    Breakfast in Auckland.
    Lunch in Christchurch.
    Dinner in Queenstown.
    Luggage? Fuck knows where.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report

  • Peter Ashby,

    Yes, your bags go missing from a domestic flight to a provincial airport which means someone half inched them without doubt. General rule, don't leave stuff lying about and especially don't leave stuff lying about in the care of people who don't give a stuff. That's what left luggage lockers are for.

    Dundee, Scotland • Since May 2007 • 425 posts Report

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