The day Air France lost my Life

An online system designed to drive you nuts!

The carousel went round and round. It was empty. I was alone. Where is it? I asked myself for the thousandth time. The carousel finally comes to a grinding stop. No bag in sight. My heart sinks. It can’t be. The guard beckons me to the baggage counter. I can’t believe my luck… My bag is gone. I am lost.


No sir. Your bag is not lost. It is just late. Just call that number and they will tell you where it is. She made it sound so easy. Easy for her. Her life was not packed in a suitcase. A suitcase misplaced and probably feeling as lonely I am.


I called the number. It answered. She was an interactive voice system. Apparently she spoke only Arabic. English? She continued in Arabic! Click. I hung up. Now, I am in trouble…


5 days passed and I hit F5 again. For non-geeks, F5 is the refresh button for the Internet Explorer. It is usually located along the first line of buttons on your keyboard. Somewhere in the middle. For the past few days, I have come to know this button intimately….


The luggage claim status page stares back at me. Still tracing reads the message on screen. Where are thou my beautiful bag I wonder. My trusty tripod which my 30D pins for, my clean toothbrush and its minty flavored hubby, my freshly pressed office shirts who so lovingly hide away all my excesses? Where are you my shorts and undies who live only to protect and serve? My poor maggie mee packets always ready in 2 minutes to fight off famine on a cold day. Where are you guys? Who is holding you?!


Refresh! Still tracing. Refresh, refresh… Refresh! Still tracing. Son of a Camel!


This is unbearable. I need to speak to a human. This time I wait. She continues in French. That’s progress I think because before she only spoke Arabic. The IVR has flipped to another language. I wait a while longer with my fingers crossed. Toes as well. “Please wait a moment while we transfer your call to a call center”. What!? She speaks English now! No way…


Yes way! “Good evening Sir, how can we help you?”. “Well my bag is lost and here is my reference number” I stammer away. Finally a warm body to speak to. Someone with blood cursing through his veins as opposed to current. Silence. I am praying he is NOT hitting the same refresh button as  I am. “Is your name Vijaiiii sir?”. That’s right, my name is Vijay. That is with a Y at the end.


“Yes sir. Mr. Vijaiiiii, your bag is here with us.” I was smiling. Some people say you can hear a smile on the phone. I hope he heard mine. “You mean I can come and collect it now?” I was shouting but I didn’t care. “As you wish sir”. I felt like kissing him but only just controlled myself! I squeaked out a thank you instead.


The feeling of being adrift faded. My bag is found and along with it, my life…

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