By now we should have been well on our way down our Swedish river as we were due to be undertaking a 7 day canoe trip with some other members of the Jersey Canoe Club. The first hint of a problem was landing at Stockholm Airport and I received a text to say that my luggage hadn’t arrived. Actually we were 3 bags missing, mine and Nicky’s main bags and John’s small one.
The agent at the airport seemed pretty confident that the bags were on the next flight and that they would be delivered to us by the following morning at the latest, this now seems like a ploy to get rid us from the airport.
So confidently we boarded the train into Stockholm and onwards to Karlstad feeling confident that we would be re-united with precious equipment by the following morning, how naive.
Saturday morning dawned sunny and warm but no luggage, we headed to the bus station but were unable to contact the baggage handlers until 09.00 when they opened, it seems like they will loose luggage 24 hours a day but only offer a restricted service when trying to find it.
After a 20 minute hold on a phone call from my mobile I finally got through to an agent who reliably informed me that 2 bags had already arrived and the 3rd was due on an aircraft just before 12.00. Happy days but we needed somewhere to stay as it was going to take about 4 hours to transfer to Karlstad. The other 5 members of the group had now headed north on the bus and we were hoping to be able to catch up later.
Then at 10.30 I received a text to say that my bag was on a flight arriving at 14.55, this meant that we were going to miss the last bus north so quickly find a hotel. It just happens that the Swedish 14 year old football championships are being held in Karlstad so rooms were at a premium. We eventually managed to book the last room, in a rather nice hotel and decided to head off on a boat tour around the city.
Just after 16.00 I called the baggage handlers convinced that the bags would be heading our way and we would be heading north to join the others on Sunday morning. To my utter dismay I was told that they thought 1 bag had arrived, but were still awaiting confirmation, and they were still trying to locate the other 2. Clearly we were going nowhere fast.
Sunday morning dawned to thunderstorms and at 09.00 I managed to contact the baggage handlers after being on hold for 10 minutes to be told it would be 2 hours before they could confirm if any bags had arrived. You can only take so much so we checked out of the hotel and headed to the railway station to go back to Stockholm Airport and see if we could collect any bags at all. We arrived at the station 45 minutes before the train to Stockholm and when we tried to purchase tickets all trains to Stockholm are sold out today.
Therefore we retreated to a very nice coffee shop, thank you “Expresso House, Karlstad”. After 30 minutes of being on hold as the recorded message from Menzies Aviation, Sweden told me that one of their agents would be with me shortly, I hung up. Clearly “shortly” has a different meaning in the world of Menzies Aviation as it does in the rest of the English speaking world.
So as I sit in Karlstad in the coffee shop and I cannot believe that it is so difficult for a bag to get from Heathrow to Sweden. A ruined canoeing trip and frustration with the wonders of modern technology.