Traveling by plane can be an unusual experience. The passenger often puts their life into the hands of two people, the pilots, who will steer and maneuver an expensive piece of equipment at 30,000 to 40,000 feet above ground. It is, therefore, not surprising that the landing of the plane and the end of a journey is met with delight and relief. In about 10-15 minutes, the passengers who shared the same flight will embark on different routes. The businessman will hurriedly make his way to the exit, where a personal limousine service will safely transport them to the business place for their meetings; the teenagers, who went away on a road-trip holiday, will leisurely make their way to the bus stop and the family, exhausted after their two-week holiday in the exotic destination, will have to settle with their back-to-reality routine as they make their way to collect their car at the parking lot.
However, before embarking of their different routes, those passengers will get the opportunity for another brief encounter, this time to collect their baggage from the designated space at each airport. The process is quite simple. Every time you fly with excessive baggage – mistakenly thinking that the stuff you brought with you are completely necessary - you will need to check it at the start of your journey. Your baggage is then transported, along with the baggage of your fellow travelers, at the aircraft hold. At the end of your journey, you will hopefully be reunited with your stuff, which are be delivered to you in a similar way that they were taken away. I said hopefully, because approximately 150 000 passengers left the airport without getting back their luggage last year. So, it is indeed a miracle each time you see your baggage at the revolving belt, knowing that it is only just a few seconds before you get reunited with it.
After you have exited the aircraft, then, you will need to follow the signs that will show you the route the the baggage claim area. But wait a moment! Is it a baggage claim area or baggage reclaim area? After all, this baggage belongs to you, you just gave it to the airline and they are giving it back to you. The British airports correctly define this area as the baggage reclaim area, but other european airports do not. Airports in Greece and in Germany for example, will designate this space as the baggage claim area. Occasionally, there are also non-typical signs, such as the “Baggage” sign at the Billbao airport, avoiding any mention of the word claim or reclaim.
After all, it does not really mind, as long as the passengers find the way to the area. But I think you will agree that it is the little details that count.
[all pictures © LambdaPhage]