travel & lifestyle blog by ruth dela cruz

How I Survived 4 Days in Athens Without a Luggage + Dealing with Delayed Baggage

January 21, 2018
delayed baggage compensation scoot

“Your luggage didn’t make it in Athens”

Said the baggage desk officer in her stoic expression. I wanted to make sure it was not a recording. 
A few minutes earlier before that dialogue, we were the last people to leave the Scoot plane and we were so excited to explore Athens. 

Read: Manila to Athens via Scoot: My Experience with Scoot 
When we lined up at the Immigration Line, I heard an announcement a “Passenger Dela Cruz needs to report to *inaudible*)”. I thought it could be me. I thought it could be our driver who probably paged me and was waiting for me at the Arrival Area.

We went straight to the Baggage Claim area after we got our Immigration Stamp. Rodel quickly spotted his luggage. I waited for mine. Until there was only one unclaimed baggage left. That wasn’t mine. I decided to go to the Baggage Claim Desk
I saw papers in the desk and a memo – with my name highlighted in yellow Stabilo. Something is not right.  I already knew the bad news before hearing it. The woman in the counter said to wait for the officer. When she came back, she asked for my name and told me:
 “Your luggage didn’t make it in Athens”
I am pretty sure that she had said the same thing to a thousand of visitors in Athens. I do not want to be part of that statistics. I don’t want to be part of that reporting!!! 
There were so many things running in my mind at that time:
“This could not happen to me!”

“No, I traveled 12 hours across the globe to be here – without my luggage?”

“This is not how I imagined our Winter Greek Holiday to start”

“What happened to my luggage? Was it held in the airport because of its contents? What did I pack in there?”

“I really want to take a shower and freshen up!!!” 
“Fudge! It is the first time I flew long-haul without an extra clothes in my hand carried!” 
(I always pack clothes whenever crossing timezones in case these things happen. It was my first time I didn’t pack extra clothes!)
I could ask a thousand question but I only needed one answer. 
What happened to my luggage?

I asked the desk officer what went wrong? I was worried that it was held because of an item inside my luggage. Well, I only packed lots of undies, coats, thermal wear, makeup, and a few items for review. I was paranoid that someone probably put drugs in my luggage. I wanted an RCA at that very moment why the hell my luggage didn’t make it in Athens.
 The desk officer told me – there is not enough time to transfer the luggage from one aircraft to the other. 
I thought, was it our fault that we went late to the boarding gate? Nah. Our luggage should follow us to Athens. Not our fault. 
At that moment, I refused to accept that these things do happen. It was even more painful when your luggage was the only one left in Singapore. 
The next dialogue was a lot more horrifying. 
“Your luggage should arrive on January 2nd”
“What? It is only December 30 (and Athens is 6 hours behind Singapore). It means 4 days without luggage?”
I saw the memo she was holding with a Scoot letter head and the announcement. She told me to wait for her so she can create an Irregularity Report. She asked for my passport, boarding pass and luggage tag and asked me to fill out a form. 
She specifically told me to input my home country address. 
“Home country address? Why? Are you sending back my luggage back home?! “
I complied anyway. She assured me that I would have my luggage on January 2nd. 
I found it hard to fill out a simple form. It asked for 3 items in my luggage. There is a list that I can tick off. I wrote “Maroon Wool Coat“, “Instax Camera” (they asked, what is Instax?), and “Black Box Bag”. They even asked for the brand “Charles and Keith”
I signed the report like it was a death sentence. 
I was so mad. 
It didn’t help that it was the time of the month! Ah, girls can relate. I really hate flying and traveling when it is the time (and then, this happened). All I wanted is a nice shower after the flight. I only got a spare underwear and my toothbrush set in my bag.
I cried. 
Not really the howling type of cry. But I shed a few tears out of anger. 
Fudge. I hate crying in public. And I look ugly when I cry because my nose becomes red. 😭
At this time, I received a call through my Whatsapp. It was our @welcomepickup driver Niko. He has been waiting for us outside. He actually sent an email checking on us. I told him that we had a problem because my luggage was delayed. He remained pleasant and optimistic.  
While we wait for the report, we exchanged our USD to Euro. We were charged 10 Euros for this but that didn’t bother me at that time. I was so occupied thinking of plan B. 
We got the Irregularity Report and the officer said that I must not lose it.
It felt like Hogwarts Acceptance Letter for me. 
Day 1: My luggage didn’t make it in Athens, but Greece is so beautiful
After almost an hour, we were finally out of the airport. But without my luggage. 
Niko welcomed us to Athens with gift bags and a nice smile! I apologized for keeping him but he told me that delayed luggage means a reason to shop. I love his optimism. But all I wanted at that time was to start exploring Greece!
He drove a Mercedez car which he converted into a Taxi. Inside his car, I immediately set up the SIM and WIFI (these are included in our Welcome Pickup Package). 
Welcome Pickups Athens
Niko of @welcomepickups 
I hated that moment when I had to stick my nose in the phone to contact and report the incident to the Manila Team and Greece Team. I wanted to just enjoy the ride en route to the hotel. But I had to send emails to concerned parties. 
When we arrived in the hotel and checked in, we started exploring the city. It was a good thing to be staying in a hotel that is just walking distance to the Acropolis and Ermou Street. It is a one and a half kilometer-long road in central Athens which has shopping and retail stores. 
Rodel let me borrowed his cardigan. It was nice that the weather was not really cold as we expected it. I am tolerant with the cold weather so I was still okay. 
While exploring, I was in constant communication with the team. I was hoping that they could fly my luggage before the new year. I checked the flights and there were still airlines flying to Athens from Singapore. 
Greece is so beautiful and the views distracted my worries about delayed luggage. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
Rodel let me borrow his cardigan 
Before the day ended, we checked out stores to buy clothes. I decided to buy just one piece of clothing and additional underwear because I didn’t want to spend too much on clothes. I was hoping I could get the luggage the following day. 
Rodel let me borrow his sleepwear he just bought from Uniqlo. 😀😀😀
Day 2:  Baggage is Found
The following day, I received a message informing me that my luggage has been found and it would be sent on the next available flight of Scoot. It should arrive on January 2nd. It was not the response I was expecting at that time. I wanted to escalate the matter. 
My Manila Contact has been very patient with my messages. I kept on bombarding him via Facebook messenger. He told me that Scoot wanted to call me and talk to me about the situation. I told him that it was not the best time because I was so mad and disappointed. Personally, I do not want to talk to anyone if I am mad because I wouldn’t want to say things that might hurt their feelings. I was not in my best state at that time especially that it was the time of the month and it was very uncomfortable for me. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
Quick shot after my worship service
When I went down to have breakfast, the hotel staff told me that Athens International Airport  called regarding my luggage. We called them and the gentleman who I got to talk to said that I could send him an email so he could push for the concerned people to make sure that my luggage would arrive earlier. I told him, I no longer want to spend time or effort for this. I have already received the report that the luggage would arrive on January 2nd. Too many people have already been involved. I just wanted to explore Greece and focus on the trip. 

He said that everyone in the Athens, Singapore and even Manila Airport was monitoring this Dela Cruz Baggage Delay. 🙄🙄🙄

delayed baggage compensation scoot
In the morning, I went to church and decided to swing by Ermou Street to buy more clothes. It was my first time to feel really unexcited about shopping. To tell you honestly, there were a lot of nice pieces in the shops. Some were even on sale. But I was not in the mood to shop. I hated falling in line. There were so many people because the stores would be closed on January 1st. 
While walking in Ermou Street, I wanted to cry. I hated the situation again.
 I was spending my time shopping so I have something to wear the following day. I personally hand-wash new clothes before I wear them because I do not want to wear anything that smell like a factory and I feel unwashed new clothes are bad for the skin. 

But there I was, buying new clothes, removing the tags and wearing them. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
I decided to buy from the same brands so there’s no need for me to fit clothes in the fitting room
At the end of the day, I had fully accepted that my luggage would arrive on January 2nd.  There was nothing I could do. I would just enjoy Greece. I chose to buy clothes that I can repeat. As much as I wanted to buy dresses, it would be impossible to wear a sleeveless white dress in a cold weather. 
dNew Year's Eve OOTD
New Year’s Eve OOTD 
Day 3: I badly needed my luggage!!! 
On our third day, Rodel and I explored the nearby sites as most of the attractions were closed for operation. 
Just when I thought I was okay about the whole Baggage incident, my camera battery died on me. I once again hated the situation. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
I feel naked without perfume and even if I only wear specific scents, I had to borrow scent from Rodel. I do want to be naked. 
It was also my third day without my normal skin care routine, and personal medicines and cotton buds. I use slimmer cotton buds as advised by EENT.  Just when I thought I could survive without my luggage, well I was wrong. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
I bought the coat from Stradivarius which is made with wool. 
Good buy!
Day 4: My Luggage Arrived! 
 The Electra Hotel already knew me (as Ms. Dela Cruz whose luggage was delayed) and everytime we go back to our hotel, they always update me about the airport’s call/advisory. 
Before we left for our Cruise Tour (we booked via Klook – will write separate post about that) , the hotel staff/concierge reconfirmed our room number. They advised me that the airport would deliver my luggage and they would send it straight to our room. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
I tried to stay minimalist and only buy items/clothes I could wear again and again. 
I bought pieces I can also wear in Manila. 

En route to Hydra, I received a note in my email from Athens International Airport – Lost & Found advising me to call about the luggage delivery. I couldn’t make a call because we were in a cruise tour. They updated me on the expected time of delivery of my luggage. 
delayed baggage compensation scoot
Hello there, welcome to Athens! 
True to everyone’s promise and commitment, I found my luggage waiting for me when we got home from our Cruise Tour. 
When I finally opened my luggage,  I realized I packed a lot! 🤣
What to do when your Baggage Got Delayed + Learnings 
1. Report the incident to the Baggage Claim Desk of the airport. Make sure that you receive a copy of the Irregularity Report. 

2. Always keep the Baggage Claim Stub (usually attached in your Boarding Pass). I didn’t give much attention to this because I thought security doesn’t check if you get the correct luggage. But it is needed to easily track down lost luggage. 
3. Consider non-stop flights. This will ensure that your baggage is flying with you on your destination. 

4.  Inform your carrier/airline about the delayed luggage so they can help you track it down and assist on any claims. Most airlines would reimburse expenses for necessities like clothing and toiletries.  You have to act immediately and inform contacts about the incident. 

5. Shop for basic pieces that you can easily mix and match. I always wear black which is easier to wear and style. 

6. Keep the receipts of your purchases. You will need them for claims and reimbursements. 

7.  Make sure that you pack an extra clothing and underwear in your hand-carried when flying especially long-haul flights. It was my first time to not carry extra clothing in my bag and this happened.  I only got an extra underwear and toothbrush set with me when we flew from Manila to Athens. 
8. Pack light if you can. I realized that I always bring a lot of underwear when traveling. Haha. Packing light would give you more space for additional emergency purchases. My sister and bro-in-law only bring one luggage each when traveling. No check-ins. This saves them time and ensures that they don’t get their baggage delayed (and well, they have expensive luggage) It was a challenge for us though because we were traveling to a cold country. 
9. Take advantage of the Tax Free Shopping or Tax Refund. For Greece, you can apply for it for a minimum purchase of 50 euros. I will write a separate post for this. 
10.  Get Travel Insurance. Schengen Visa requires a travel insurance coverage (claims still in process). But for those who are not traveling in Schengen Countries, I also suggest that you get a Travel Insurance. Or purchase your tickets using your credit card that also offers Free Travel Insurance. I got a BDO Gold Mastercard and it comes with Free Travel Insurance.  
11. Always travel with a credit card. I wouldn’t know how I would survive this without my credit card. My emergency purchases amounted to 5 figures. If not for my credit card, I would be left with no pocket money to spend on daily food and exploring. 
12. Try to shop smarter (even if you will get reimbursement for your purchases). Think how much luggage allowance you have en route back. 
Lastly, stay nice. Airport staff deal with the same problem everyday. It is very frustrating. But by experience, I can get what I want when I am nicer. 

Thank you to Scoot, Athens International Airport, Athens Lost and Found Department and Hotel Electra for helping me. 
As I write and tell this story, I am happy that my luggage just got delayed and was not stolen. I recently read a news about stolen contents of luggage.
Thank you for arranging it to be delivered in the hotel (instead of me picking it up in the airport)
I am lucky to have contacts who listened to my messages/frustrations and respond to me timely. There is nothing more frustrating than facing a challenging situation and no one to talk to.
Although it was not the perfect Winter Greek Holiday for us, I have accepted that these things really happen. I still want to thank  Scoot for taking care of my luggage. It welcomed the new year in Singapore (while we were in Athens) but that is okay. I know they may opt to have it flown via another airline, but the worry is, it might even get lost.  Thank you for taking care of it. 
Thank you also to Rodel for the patience and for understanding my moods.

Thank you to friends who messaged me and offered their help. ❤️

Thank you for following this story. This is a long post. But I felt like documenting this story as many are asking me about it too.  I know that after a year or so, I would come back here and read it again, and laugh at this little adventure. 

I hope you find this post helpful and my story-telling entertaining. 
Next post is about the Acropolis and other places we visited in Greece. 

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