July 14th, 2015
The late humorist Alan King published many a tale lamenting the problems of travelers parted from their possessions. The dearly departed luggage was often better travelled than the owner by the time a suitcase reappeared from orbiting the earth. In my own situation, my trusty hard case met with an accident that should rightfully be called manslaughter. I will never meet with my promised replacement because I, alas, am a tourist without a firm travel itinerary.
I’ve been lax in posting these past weeks while working on the edit of my novel, a saga posted some months ago. Leaving the hot summer sands of the Middle East before my body became an advertisement for intra-venous hydration, I grabbed an Easy Jet flight to London last week. Arriving in the cool midnight air of England, I was faced with the unfortunate discovery that my rolling hard case had met with a dreadful accident. The metal handles that rise from the luggage and allow it to be pulled along by Homo Erectus had been snapped on both sides in a challenging feat of mechanical derring-do. Fairly new, this was plainly not a case of metal fatigue but attempted murder.
Only five feet tall myself, I now stooped to conquer this new height discrepancy in order to move the 18 kg item along the floor on its two wheels by pushing against its sides. A luggage trolley that I’d tied to the case for just this type of incident, had also failed to arrive intact. That marvel of nineteenth century engineering now graces a British land-fill in some remote corner of the realm.
A tired, but understanding, arrivals clerk validated that the redesign of my luggage was just plain wrong. No plastic surgery had been requested. A replacement article was ordered to arrive within nine days.
“And where should this be delivered?”, he’d asked with a straight face.
That had also turned into a bit of a problem from an email that had arrived that morning. “My plans were altered by a mix-up in reservations at a B&B so I can’t say. I’d prefer to pick it up here at the airport.”
Wrong again. Some days later my return to sophisticated Gatwick airport revealed that this portal of international travel and shipping had no mechanism for a tourist to pick-up a promised replacement for damaged luggage. I shudder to think of how unaccompanied minors reach their parents when traveling home alone to London. Apparently no deliveries of property can be made but must be ‘dropped shipped’ to a home address instead. The offer to send the replacement to another continent where I had an address didn’t seem useful when my books were here in my considerably shortened suitcase. I don’t bother with clothes but only pack important items.
“Well what about a hotel then?”
“I can buy luggage for less than the charges of taking a place in London just to wait for a luggage delivery.”
It’s official – luggage cannot be delivered to Gatwick via Easy Jet Airlines customer disservice. Next time I’ll carry my case between my teeth like a toothpick.