The feeling isn’t good. You’re there watching everyone else collect their bags and walk away. Then there are none. No more are coming out. I had this feeling at Cagliari airport on the island of Sardinia. I was flying to see a friend I met in Mauritius. That trip I had my bike bag plus another full size bag because I was in the middle of relocating some things to the US.
It had all started earlier in the day when I was in the taxi to Nice airport. The driver commented that flights might be delayed because of strikes. Apparently a common occurence in France. He was correct. I sat at the airport watching the connection in Rome get tighter and tighter. Eventually I missed that connection. Rushed off the plane in Rome and found the first Alitalia service desk. They were great and I was on the next flight.
Then it happened. Arrived in Cagliari and no bags. Couldn’t leave the baggage collection area. Luckily my friend lived close by so I was able to tell her to go home and I’d call when I had my bags. I was still confident they would show up eventually.
One bag was found. As the customer service person came out with it, I said, “great, where’s the other one?” The look on her face was priceless. Luckily it came on the next flight, so no bikes or other belongings were lost. Only other time I’ve had a problem was flying into Penang, Malaysia. Turned up a day later.
I used to be the type of person who would arrive as close to the take off time as possible. My attitude to airport travel has changed a lot. Partly because of the extra security measures, or perceived security measures. A lot of it still seems to be theatre to make it look more secure. More important though, I changed how I deal with the inevitiable at airports.
It’s pointless getting frustrated. Airports are going to be stressful at times. It was either a Tony Robbins podcast or one of his books where I read that you shouldn’t get upset about thngs outside of your control. Those few words changed it all for me. Sure, I still get annoyed at incompetence and untruthful people making excuses pathetic excuses, however, on the whole, airport life is much easier these days.
The secret is to roll with the punches. Plenty of other people are doing it tougher. The families where the kids are so excited and running around. Those on their tenth day straight of work travel, those heading home to be with sick family, or worse. As a predominantly solo traveler, I have it easy. One of my biggest annoyances in having to drag all my luggage around when I need to go to the bathroom. Rather than just leave it with a traveling companion.
Be forceful if necessary. Just make sure you are polite and fair at the same time. Too many people forget that ranting and jumping up and down will not help the situation. In fact it might make it worse because the person on the other side of the counter will be less inclined to help. Often they are just the bearer of bad news. Because they are in a customer facing role, it doesn’t mean they are the cause of your problem.
If people just told the truth or stopped trying to hide the reason behind a bunch of other words it would help. Travellers get annoyed when flights keep getting delayed. It would be better to say at the outset it is going to be a significant delay rather than many half hourly updates. That way people can find something else to fill in the time. Instead they have to sit at the gate lounge just in case the latest update is true. Then there are the stupid statements such as the one I heard recently. They had to make a “necessary gate change” and people had to move to another gate lounge. Has anyone ever experienced an unnecessary gate change?
I now use this principle in almost every other area of my life. Airports are just one of the best places to be aware and deal with the problems accordingly. Next time you feel your temperature rising, have a think about why it is occuring and how to better deal with the situation. The outcome is dependent on how you interpret the situation. It doesn’t mean giving in to others, rather, making the situation work for you. This is the part you control.
Cagliari is a great place to visit. Plenty of history and cool buildings. Authentic home cooked Italian food was fantastic. Elsewhere on this site is a photo of a beach taken from the roof top balcony. That was not far from Cagliari.
Now if we can just get all the people to stand back a metre from the baggage carousels…