Lost and (Almost) Found

I have much to tell you about Seville, with many photos* but you will have to wait because – as regular readers of this blog know – I live my life trailing lost belongings, and yesterday the lost belonging in question was my laptop, which is a key part of the blogging-with-photos process. I had taken it out of my wheely bag because the airline was checking the bigger carry-ons, and slipped it under the seat in front of me, and then when we were getting off the plane I was focused on getting moving because the absolute last train to anywhere even close to Bigtown left at 8:15 and I wanted to make sure I was on it and now I’d have to wait for the luggage to come out of the hold.

So it wasn’t until we were through passport control, and I had spotted my bag on the carousel and grabbed it and was about to bolt for the tram (at this point, I actually had more than an hour before I caught my train** but after many hard years of London commuting I never consider that I’ve enough time to catch a train until I’m standing on the platform waiting for it) when I remembered my laptop. Which was still under the seat that had been in front of me, and was now – it turns out – locked on a plane bound for Bristol.

At this point, naively, I had thought that someone at the customer service desk would take my seat number, alert the crew or the staff at the other end, suggest that someone could retrieve the laptop and put it in a safe place until the plane returned to Edinburgh, and then it could be handed in to lost property. However, this isn’t how airline lost property works. If it hadn’t been handed in already, nobody seemed to think it was worth letting anyone on the plane know that it was there until someone stumbled upon it or the cleaners found it when the plane got cleaned wherever it was it ended up for the night.

So this morning was spent discovering that the world of airline lost property has become, like many other things, largely outsourced. Lost property at the airport is handled by a company (which charges an unspecified fee to reunite you with it). Lost property on the airlines is handled by a different company whose call centre only operates for a few hours in the morning. The airline customer service team feel that as there is a company handling that sort of thing for them, they don’t need to do anything further. The lost property companies just sit there waiting for things to be found and handed to them, and can’t access anything that’s on a plane. As the laptop had not apparently been handed in after the plane had presumably been cleaned for the night, I pictured it spending the next few days happily travelling from Bristol to Brno to Manchester and Madrid, until somebody finally noticed it and handed it in to the lost and found, which by then could be anywhere from Aberdeen or Zagreb, where nobody would know it was mine. This is the way of the world, I realised, and there seemed to be no way to talk to an actual person who might take pity on me and follow up with somebody who could actually track it down.

And then, just as I was ready to give up, I got an email from someone at Bristol Airport who had not only read the message I sent through the ‘contact us’ form (never the most confidence-inspiring means of communication), had also gone and followed up with their security team who run their lost and found, Bristol having not apparently caught the outsourcing bug. And, oh frabjous day, despite originally telling me last night that nothing had been found – the security team did after all have my laptop.

All I have to do now is get it from Bristol back to Bigtown but that is in hand and hopefully laptop and I will be reunited before we have to depart once again (family duty calls, sorry, I will plant more trees in penance) on a plane to the US. You can be certain I will be keeping a very close eye on it this time. While undoubtedly losing something else important (Passport? Head? Husband?)  that I ought to be hanging on to…
* It’s going to be a bit embarrassing if anyone who’s not a cycle campaigner wants to see my holiday snaps: ‘so yes, these bollards are interesting because look at the little pictures of bikes on them, and this is the tree in the middle of the cycle path, and this is a stop sign for bikes and … what, any actual historic sights? Wait, I did take a photo of the cathedral, because there was this nice bike parked in front of it, it’s here somewhere, I think just after the floating bus stops …’

** Which was anyway cancelled.

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8 Responses to Lost and (Almost) Found

  1. Paul M says:

    You might want to check whether you can still take it on as hand luggage – sure I read somewhere that UK is being added to the list of places where laptops have to go in the hold.
    Next time you could be calling Bangkok instead of Bristol.

  2. Charles says:

    Rule one , back up lap top.
    Rule two , no one in the aviation world likes customers.
    Having spent 25 years flying around the world I quit at the end of 2015. I have not flown since then or left the UK. It has been brilliant.

    Do not fly anywhere, ever it is the devil’s way of getting around, simply look at the people running security and you will see that I am correct.

    I understand the family thing, but when you sit in an aluminium (or aluminum as the Trumpists say) having been patronised and or abused by the security team do not say that you feel kindly towards to them.

    In spite of this enjoy yourself in warm Arizona and do not think that your garden will water itself. Your selfish and environmentally unjustifiable travel at least means the rest of us will enjoy brilliant sunshine while you are gone. Or we will get flooded and the hares will find the key to your veg patch…

  3. disgruntled says:

    @Paul – I only took the laptop out because it was my understanding that anything with a lithium battery shouldn’t go in the hold.
    @Charles – thanks to Dropbox, everything is backed up. I’ve learned that one the hard way. And if I never flew anywhere ever again, I would be very very happy, but I do not have the luxury of time and money needed to visit the in laws by boat and train

  4. I’m glad you got it back. I love the bit about your holiday snaps… I once had to interrupt a trip to the opera to take a few pics of a particularly nonsensical bit of bike infrastructure.

  5. Charles says:

    Boat and train! Do you know that it was how I got to the USA in 1966, the army sent my father , and his camp followers, out via the Queen Elizabeth, it was her last crossing as a passenger ship. My father claimed he saw a whale but we were not sure whether to believe him. Unfortunately we had to return on a VC10 belonging to BOAC in 1969. Are you familiar with Better on a canoe?

  6. ballsofwool says:

    The more I hear about Bristol, the more I want to move there.
    Also – when you find something someone lost and you hand it in, as an innocent layperson, you know that warm feeling you get? Well that is completely destroyed once you come into contact with the extortionate, badly-oiled machine that is 2017 lost property. Gnarrrh – and it’s just a microcosm of the putrid modern hell we’ve created.
    OMG comments on this post would suggest we’re all losing it.
    That’s why we *need* you and your hares.

  7. Find Your Gap says:

    As you’re a PC person with your stuff in the cloud … Then with Trump’s ‘no laptops on planes’ rule it might be better for you to buy a cheap laptop when you get there. Then that would be worth a blogpost on its own … B

  8. disgruntled says:

    Unfortunately US laptops will have US keyboards …

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