Adventures In Lost Luggage

There is a red suitcase still traveling around the baggage carousel, it’s just not MY red suitcase.

Uh-Oh. This feels like deja vu, all over again.

O'Hare baggage Claim

Apparently the surveillance wasn’t that good…

Yesterday I flew to Chicago. When I got to baggage claim, most of my fellow passengers – and my suitcase – were gone. There was, however, one lone abandoned suitcase left on the carousel.

Let’s rewind to yesterday morning. Chatting with my cab driver, I mentioned that I ALWAYS check my bag because a) I have zero arm strength and b) I just don’t want to be bothered schlepping my bag on board. I went on to tell her that I have NEVER lost luggage.

Never, ever.


Peter believes that I have a super-human, cosmic ability to change the course of reality merely by my words. For instance, if we are cruising down the interstate and I say, “Gee, we are making great time. Traffic is really light.”, Peter thinks that my words make the seat belt enforcement roadblock (and two mile back-up) appear magically. Or if I say, “We really lucked out with the weather!” and moments later I cause the heavens to open up.  Apparently my words are just that powerful.

Back to the scene at O’Hare. I suggested to the United Airlines representative that perhaps someone had mistakenly taken my red suitcase instead of their own.

“Good thought.”, he said.

Actually, that scenario seemed pretty obvious. Plus, I’ve been through this before.

I know, I know. I said that I had NEVER lost luggage. I did, however, have a suitcase disappear.

This time the action took place in Boston. I was waiting to take the silver-line bus from Logan Airport to North Station and engaging in one of my very favorite pastimes: people watching.

One group in particular that caught my attention was a family made up of a couple of kids, a couple of moms and dads and a grandma. I was drawn to them because of the sweet way they all acted toward the grandma.

Finally the bus arrived and I hopped on along with hordes of other passengers.  Although standing near the back of the bus, I tried to keep a keen eye on my suitcase in the rack up front. Constant vigilance.  Until the nice old lady behind me tapped my shoulder and asked how many more stops she had before arriving at North Station. We were engaged in conversation for just a few minutes but when I turned back around I saw that my suitcase – the same red suitcase – was gone.

I rode to the end of the line trying to figure out a plan. After all the other passengers had exited the bus I noticed that there remained one unclaimed suitcase – a red one.

Although I had not seen them with a red suitcase (mine or theirs), I just had a feeling that the sweet family I noticed at the airport were the ones who had accidentally taken my bag. That feeling was the only thing I had to go on so I decided to try to find them, an outlandish plan that still seemed more promising than a trip to the MBTA lost and found.

lost and found

What I imagine the MBTA lost and found to look like.

I was pretty sure I knew which stop they got off at and I suspected they were staying at one of the two hotels near that T stop.

I rode the T back to the stop, dragging what I hoped was their suitcase with me. (Otherwise I was going to have to explain to someone why I stole a bag off the silver line bus.)

I entered the first hotel, walked up to the front desk and told my story.

“Has anyone checked in to your hotel and mentioned that they grabbed the wrong suitcase off of the T?”

“No, sorry.”

OK, maybe they were at the other hotel. That was going to be my last, best chance before admitting defeat in my first ever adventure in detective work.

But as I was about to leave the first hotel, I glanced to the right, into the hotel bar, and the family was THERE!

I kid you not.

The look on their collective faces as I strolled in with their suitcase was that of total confusion and delight. They asked how on earth I had found them.

I mumbled something about a lucky guess that the owner must be someone at the hotel, blah, blah, blah. I did not want to say that it was because I am hyper-observant, bordering on stalkerish, and had been watching them since leaving Logan Airport.

It was a happy ending all around. They were in town for a wedding and were thrilled to be reunited with their luggage, containing fancy attire for the festivities. I was delighted to have my hands on my suitcase and the two bottles of wine inside.

Plus I was pretty darn proud of my work as a sleuth.

Yesterday’s adventure also had a happy ending, thanks to the fine folks at United Airlines.

My precious red bag has come home.

red suitcase

How about you? Have you ever lost a suitcase? Or donned your detective hat to solve a case?

I’d love to hear about it!

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Thanks for stopping by!


  1. Color me impressed!! You are faster than the officials at finding a lost suitcase!!! If that had happened to me I would have just cried. Instead you went to sleuthing on foot to hotels and found your man…er….suitcase yourself. That is AWESOME!!

    I sometimes say things like “None of us has been sick all winter!” and then immediately try to find some wood to knock on because statements like that are always tempting fate. ALWAYS. (One year when I made that statement my two kids and I all got pneumonia in rapid succession. We had sickness in the house for a straight month. GAH! )

    In spite of your general good track record with suitcases, I’m thinking you need a new color. People seem too attracted to swiping the red!! –Lisa

    • I know! And the main reason we selected the snazzy red suitcase was so that it would stand out among the sea of black bags. I’m thinking a purple and pink zebra print….

  2. I’m the opposite of you–I NEVER check my suitcase. Lots of other travel issues, but no lost bags 🙂

    • You are smart, Kathy! I really should start carrying on. The first step would be to become a more efficient packer so I could bring a smaller bag. I’ll work on that!

  3. Oh boy. I hate to say this because my words also have the amazing power to alter the future, but I have never had my luggage lost or stolen. (Knock on wood, knock on wood! I am not tempting you Fate! Do you hear me? Definitely not tempting you!)

    On a family trip to Hawaii when I was in high school, we did have our luggage get delayed. We had a layover at LAX, and we got on the plane to go to Honolulu, but our luggage stayed in LA. Whomp-whomp.

    So, we had to spend one night without anything but the clothes on our backs and the books we had packed in our carry-ons. Thankfully, our luggage arrived at our hotel the next morning and everything went smoothly after that!

    • ARGH! What a rotten way to start a vacation! I’m so glad it was just one night that you were separated from your bags. Someone told me yesterday that her bag was lost on a trip to Mexico and never showed up. She had to buy a bathing suit at the resort gift shop ($$$$$) but all they had was something that was both low cut and high cut and suited for a 20 year old. She spent the whole time at the pool covered up by an XL t-shirt saying “Mexico”.

  4. i’ve traveled enough that my suitcases have gotten lost, but they’ve always found their way back to me! hallelujah!

    • Knock on wood! Fortunately I’ve always gotten mine back, too, and have been able to make do until they did. Still, it’s a bad feeling when you realize that all the bags have been loaded on the carousel and yours is nowhere to be seen!

  5. My little red bag was lost along with every other passenger from the United States connection a couple years ago on a flight home from Europe. We were delayed in Canada. It all had an eventual happy ending. I’m very impressed with your super sleuth abilities – and your power with the spoken word. Could you speak about how I have never been published – and see if you can get that editorial monkey off my back?

    • Hahaha! I’m afraid that my powerful words seem to only have the power to change good things into bad but I will see what I can do!

  6. Tell Peter to be nice as he is the king negative word magic. The dream house would never have been sliding off its foundation had he not uttered, “There must be something seriously wrong with that house if you can afford it.” XOXO

  7. As you well know, I am a firm believer in carry on. Yup, three weeks in Italy–carry on. It is liberating! Try it darling!

    • Remember that I have zero arm strength. I will carry on whenever I travel with you so you can lift my adorable bag into the overhead bin. Or, I guess I could do something to improve my arm strength….

      • Secret– let the guy who is impatiently waiting to get by you help you put your luggage overhead. Trust me he will be more than willing. Alternatively, buy on of those ultralight suitcases that you can lift up with your pinky. See, lots of options that aren’t so extreme like doing something nuts like exercising your arms! 😀

  8. I still travel with the luggage my parents gave me for high school graduation in 1979. Samsonite hard-sided in a unique shade I call watermelon. People rarely mistake it for their own!

    • They just don’t make suitcases like they used to, eh? Watermelon is surely a shade that would stand out! I’m thinking there might be a business idea here – design your own luggage, just like those places that let you paint your own ceramics!

  9. Oh boy. You have no idea how this post hits home. Yes, I have lost a bag, my mom has lost a bag and I have almost lost a bag.
    First case (sorry – pun unintended) – about 25 years ago I popped into the Cook Islands after a month with great pals in New Zealand. Bag wasn’t there but a very similar one was. Schlepped over to counter to explain strong possibility someone took mine. Met with “No worries you be on holiday” attitude. Long story short – Returned to me day later. Phewf.
    Second case – mom’s bag went missing from Heathrow for 3 months. Yes. 3 months. Turned up with a quick “it’s been in a very bad place Madame” explanation. So helpful and informative, no? We’re still all dying to know where it was. Missing from it: chocolates and pencil crayons. Go figure.
    Third case – just two weeks ago my children’s bags magically appeared in Montreal as they should. Mine not. Tad unnerving as other flights arrived but not my bag. Turned up a half hour later on a direct flight from Vancouver (we had stopped in Calgary).

    Great post Mo. So glad you got reunited.

  10. Kelly, we should never travel together! Or, if we do we must make a pact to carry our luggage on the plane!
    I love the mystery of “the very bad place” that your mom’s bag traveled to. I guess it’s amazing, given the millions of bags checked every day, that most of the time things go smoothly. Thanks for sharing your misadventures!


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