Lost Luggage with Royal Jordanian
All kinds of things can happen while traveling. While many of these things can be quite positive and life-changing, there are also travel nightmares that everyone fears. One of the biggest fears among travelers is probably the issue of lost luggage. This has always been a fear of mine, and it came to fruition while flying on Royal Jordanian.
After an extended holiday in the United States, I was scheduled to fly back to my home in the Middle East via Royal Jordanian with a stopover in Amman. This was not problematic since I had made this same journey many times in the past. Aside from the fact that it takes two days for me to return to my home in the Middle East from the United States, the journey itself is not difficult nor complicated. In fact, when not in the air, most of the time is spent waiting at airports.
The journey back to the Middle East started in the United States when I realized that my flight was departing an hour earlier than I initially expected. This was because I had quickly read over the email and neglected to notice that 20:20 meant 8:20pm with the 24-hour clock. When my eyes had glanced over the email, I thought it said 21:20 (9:20pm). This was not a big deal though since by the time I noticed the error, I had still lots of time.
Upon arrival at the airport in the US, the check-in and security process went smoothly with no problems. To be honest, the entire experience of flying from the US to Amman was perfectly smooth with no issues. The flight left on time, I almost had a whole row to myself on the plane, and I was able to sleep (relatively well) for a majority of the flight. This was fortuitous since the movie selection on Royal Jordanian this time was less than stellar. I fell asleep shortly after takeoff. The next time I woke was while approaching Ireland, and the last time I woke was while flying over the Greek islands in the Aegean.
After an 11-hour flight, the plane finally arrived in Amman, Jordan. Admittedly, I was not looking forward to this next part. I was now facing a 9-hour layover. Throughout the flight, I had been mentally preparing myself for sitting in the Crown Lounge for the next several hours. However, when I got to the transfer desk, a guy told me to get into a transfer line even though I had an onward ticket. I found this strange, but then I realized that because I had a long layover, I was going to be put up in a hotel.
It is standard practice with Royal Jordanian that passengers with long layovers are put up at a hotel at the expense of the airline. In addition, dinner is provided. While most people would probably be elated at this, I was not. I had done this several times before, and I knew by now what would happen.
After being given a voucher for the hotel and dinner, I went over to another desk for transportation. After a period of waiting, myself and another family were taken to the immigration desk by a Royal Jordanian staff member where our passports were stamped, and then we headed downstairs to baggage claim. Once the family claimed their luggage (I did not since mine was scheduled to be picked up at the final destination), we got on a bus to the Amman Transit Hotel.
I had stayed here three times before and was not particularly keen on staying again. The hotel is aged, the rooms aren't in the best shape, and internet must be purchased. The only saving grace was that the free dinner is quite good since it always has a nice variety of hot and cold food that is very filling.
Since I still had approximately 6 hours (2 hours were spent in the airport with waiting), I opted to purchase internet usage to get some work done. In a way, I'm kind of surprised the time went by. The hotel is not near Amman, so it is not really possible to go anywhere to check out anything. Aside from messing around on the internet, I spent the time watching CNN and Liar, Liar with Jim Carrey.
Eventually, at 10pm, I headed to the check-out desk for transportation back to the airport. The clerk had originally told me that the shuttle would leave at 10 or 10:30. This did not happen. The shuttle did not leave until 11pm, so I spent an hour hanging out in the lobby watching people coming in to attend a wedding at one of the banquet halls in the hotel.
After what seemed like an eternity, I was on my way again. Getting to the airport and through immigration and security was a breeze. Since my flight was scheduled to board soon, I did not have time to crash in the Crown Lounge for a bit, so I headed directly to the gate.
The flight back to my home went smoothly and was sparsely populated. There were only about 35 passengers on the entire flight. While I was happy to be back, this was when my problems would start.
After getting through immigration, I went over to baggage claim and waited. Now, typically at this airport, bags tend to take a long time, and it did. However, as the bags started to come through, I noticed neither of my two bags were present. After waiting for about 45 minutes, I knew my bags were not on this flight. Royal Jordanian had lost my bags. Apparently, I was not the only one. After the belt stopped, myself and five other people went to the lost and found office and complained that our bags were not at the scheduled destination. The other people were lucky. Most of them had at least one bag show up. I had neither.
This was the last thing I needed. This whole trip had been successful until this happened. After giving my information to the attendant, I left the airport with only my carry on and got a taxi back to my apartment. Even though it was approaching 4:30am, and I had not properly slept in almost two days, I was not tired. Instead, my mind was racing about what I would do if I never got my bags back. While 90% of the items in there could be replaced in the US, it would not be easy to replace them in the country I live in. This particularly annoyed me since there were things that I had bought and packed specifically because I cannot find them here. In the event I never get the bags back, I will have to wait another year to get some of them.
While I am still awaiting word on my bags, I am hoping that they will arrive in the next couple of days. In retrospect, I guess it was only a matter of time before something like this happened. I travel frequently, and this has never happened before. However, this time it did. I'm certainly not happy about this, but I now have no choice but to wait for the call and hope for the best.