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A checked bag mistake on the airplane

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Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!): A checked bag mistake on the airplane

Life Lessons of a Military Wife (overseas in Europe!)

My goal here is to make your life easier, especially those who are in the unique situation of being a military spouse. Yes...I've been around...but in a good way...and hopefully can share those tips, tricks and shortcuts with you too. I've been on this military bus for over 40 years now. My goals in life are to have a well-run home, few money worries, well adjusted children, money socked away and whatever happiness I can scoop out of life.

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Location: United States

After life as an Army brat, being in the Army myself and marrying a soldier, I can honestly say I have a bucket full of life lessons I can share to help you make your everyday life easier and enlightening. Don't waste your time making unnecessary mistakes and benefit from others who have come before you on your journey through life.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

A checked bag mistake on the airplane

I just recently traveled from Belgium to the US and almost made a big boo-boo with my carry-on, which quickly became a valet-checked bag at the gate right before I boarded.  Why?  Cause I was getting ready to get on a commuter jet for my second leg and anything larger than a doughnut had to get checked gateside.  It turned out alright for me....not so good for "the other lady".  Here's what happened.

You know that when you buy a ticket on an airline, you are in effect signing your life away?  You are basically giving your consent to all their quirky baggage rules and regulations among other things as soon as you hit the purchase button.

Did you know that if the airline loses your luggage, there is a cap, or maximum amount you MAY get back that might not cover your collection of UGG boots you had packed in there?  Did you know that if there is pretty much anything but clothing in a camera, jewelry, anything electronic or whatever, you can kiss it good-bye just about when it leaves your sight?

Here's what United says on their "Contract of Carriage" as it is called.  All airlines have similar statements.

United will not be liable for loss of money, jewelry, cameras, negotiable papers/securities, electronic/video/photographic equipment, heirlooms, antiques, artifacts, works of art, silverware, irreplaceable books/publications/manuscripts/business documents, precious metals and other similar valuable and commercial effects. United prohibits the foregoing items being placed in checked baggage for travel wholly between points in the U.S. as well as for international transportation.

Most if not all airlines will only reimburse you for the value or perceived value of clothing that was in your suitcase.  It looks like most carriers only give about $3,000 at most back, and you'd better be ready to prove the value of what was in there to squeeze that out of them.  Again, it probably wouldn't cover those Chanel dresses you just bought in Paris.  I know I've blogged before about taking a photo of what's in your suitcase.  Also along with that, keep receipts of higher priced clothing items too....easier to do if you just bought them.

Back to the other lady....she had to gate-check her bag too and momentarily had a brain fart at the gate.  You know how they hustle you thru there right before boarding.  She left her very expensive camera inside its case in her, what was supposed to be, carry-on bag.  The commuter jet didn't have the room for larger carry-on bags.  After she got to her location, she did not open the bag right away (in hindsight, she should have).  When she got home and unpacked everything, she opened up her camera case and saw that her camera was missing.  She surmised it only could have gone missing between that gate check and when she got it back immediately after the flight, as she had the camera out at the security checkpoint at her departure location.  She tried to fight the airline to get her money back for that pricey camera...unfortunately, no luck.  She was out thousands of dollars:-(

I, not thinking either, had a larger size carry-on bag too, but quickly stepped off to the side and took out my Flip video camera, a digital camera, an MP3 player, a netbook and a case with an external drive in it.  Since I didn't have another smaller bag, I was lucky that each item had its own small case....obviously embarrassing, walking on the plane with wriststraps and loops hanging off every appendage, but I didn't want that stuff out of my sight and rightly so after hearing her story.  My hands were so full, I could not even bring all my reading material and was just thankful it was only an hour long flight.

I know one of these bags would have come in SO handy....

I usually have one in my purse, but I cleaned it out before traveling....never again not prepared!

Do you have any tips that others could use to prep themselves before getting on that flight?



Blogger Melby said...

The only real tip I can/will offer, is if you care about it being lost/broken, and/or it is irreplaceable, don't let it out of your sight. I pretty much ONLY stick clothes and bathroom bag in my checked bag, and if there's any favorite clothes coming with me, I try to wear them and/or bring them in my carryon. I've never actually lost a bag or items, but I do not trust them one iota to continue that trend. I worry every single time I check something that it will end up lost, as should everyone! The people who handle them are not saints, they're people, who have access to a wealth of bags, without many peeping eyes, and who don't really give a crud about your possessions and are just as likely to throw your stuff around, and others' on top of it, as they are to actually handle it with care.

Bottom line: if it matters, do not let it out of your sight, at all.

January 20, 2011 at 3:41 PM  

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