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Luggage Blues Will it Be There or Not

During the late 1980s to early 1990s I did quite a bit of traveling overseas. I spent several vacations in the tropical area of the Philippine Islands. I flew on various airlines, over the years. Often I was haunted by those nagging thoughts, on the way to the tropics, will my luggage be there at the airport when I arrive. This is not a small thing when traveling abroad.It is not like at a North American airport, where you just take a cab back to the airport the next day, walk into the airport, and ask for your bag.

It became a major production in 1990 and 1991. Because of the tension of the Gulf War, airport security was heightened in the Philippines.To pick up your luggage that arrived a day or so late, you had to get a pass to enter the airport building. That meant proving, that you had a reason to go into the airport to pick up your bag. You had to show your ticket stub and passport. Of course there were line ups at each step of the process.

There was a line up to get the pass. There was a line up to show the pass to the guards at the airport doors. Then you needed to find where the lost luggage department was and have them check your documentation for the lost piece of luggage. The big search came next, and yes at last, your suitcase was produced.Most likely this happened because the connections between the arriving and departing flight were not as smooth a they could have been. There were several occasions when our plane arrived late at Hong Kong and there was a mad rush to make the connection, to the next plane, which would make the short hop to the Manila International Airport.

It is very likely that at that late point in time, either the cargo hold was full, closed already, or there just wasn't time to transfer the luggage before the plane had to leave the departure gate.When I received my luggage, another problem presented itself. During times when security was not quite so tight I could slip up the stairs, quietly from the ground floor, where the baggage area was, to the top main floor, with no problem. At the ground floor exit and taxi area, it was always difficult to get a reasonably priced taxi ride back into the city.

Some drivers wanted as much as $100.00 U.S. to take a drive that should have cost $5.

00 Canadian from the top arrival floor. So it took some time to make a deal for the ride back to the city.In the end you tell yourself, that it is just one of the hassles of traveling. You just put up with the inconvenience for a couple of hours. You let the stifling tropical heat sink into your body, as you contemplate the fact that at home in Canada, it's 25 below zero.

It is so much better being warm in your tropical paradise.

Michael Russell
Your Independent guide to Luggage

By: Michael Russell

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