Unfortunately on our recent trip to the Dominican Republic, my darling Mike's bag was "lost" as the airlines like to say. Here is my comical rendition of "How to Track Down Stolen Luggage".
First: Conveniently sit next to the person who will ultimately mistake your bag for his. This is a key element if you need to use face recognition.
Second: Get off the plane quickly and get to the luggage pick up area before the carousel starts moving.
Third: If you see someone walking away from the luggage carousel with a bag that looks oddly similar to yours, he is probably leaving with you bag. This would be a good time to run up to that person before they go through customs to avoid the following steps. If you don't run up to him (d'oh!) then make sure to get a good look at his face to realize he was the person sitting next to you on the flight.
Fourth (optional): Hope that customs does a search on them and that someone realizes the bag is not his!
Fifth: In the event that the fourth step doesn't occur, you will have to wait until all the luggage comes around the carousel and find the bag left behind that looks most like your bag. Note the name and address on the luggage tag.
Sixth: File a claim with the airline lost baggage people and make sure you mean business! Tell them you know the name and seat number of the person who took your bag because you are so observant. Also see if they can look through all the customs sheets for his name so they can contact the stealer instead of waiting for the stealer to contact the airport. Also, try your best to take the stealer's bag with you. You can use it as leverage in the future.
Seventh: Inform the people at your hotel about your lost luggage and have them call the airport and customs and if necessary the embassy and work their little behinds off to get your bag back.
Eighth: Meanwhile, go on Facebook and type in the name you noted from the luggage tag in the fifth step. Try to use face recognition and cross reference with their location (should be close to your departure airport). When you find the stealer, send them a message indicating the problem. Now they know you know they stole your luggage! Muahahahaha.
Ninth: When the airline finds your luggage only an hour after you have sent the Facebook message (and 6 hours after you landed), feel confident that your Facebook stalking skills were the reason of luggage return and not the good graces of the schmuck who didn't realize he had the wrong bag for 5 hours?! Yeah, I don't think so.
Tenth: After profusely thanking the people at your hotel for working so hard to find your luggage, take off those stinky clothes you've been wearing all day and change into your nice clean ones that were hanging out in someone else's hotel room for the entire day.
****Reminder**** Never pack valuables (jewelry, electronics, money, documents) in your checked luggage! Always put those in your carry on bag.
Thank you for tuning into this edition of "How To" on Tamara's Travels.