The Benefits of Lost Luggage

“Will passenger Sachtjen please come to the (name of airlines not really important) desk?”

Hearing your name over the loud speaker in baggage claim is never a positive thing. It doesn’t signify winning the lottery or random selection for an all-expense trip to the place of your dreams.

“The last time your luggage was scanned was in Shannon. We believe it made it to Heathrow, but it absolutely did not make it onto your plane.”


That was the situation Mike and I were in late Wednesday night when our nine-hour plane ride ended at Vancouver, BC. The plane had departed late due to eight customers “deciding not to ride with us” and the airport ground crew needing to sift through 500 people’s luggage for the right suitcases to take off the jet.

Mike and I were in danger of missing the last ferry home prior to the call to the airlines baggage claim desk. The paperwork the employee slide across the desk for our lost luggage guaranteed us an overnight stay in Vancouver.

Travel weary, up for over 24 hours, hungry and surrounded by people, it was the perfect recipe for a complete breakdown.

I picked up the pen and started writing in the details of the missing luggage, our address and contact information in the midst of swirling chaos as others discovered their baggage misfortune.

I figured it was in my best interest to tune them out. Mentally, I started a list of what could be gained with lost luggage:

  1. My plans were to haul the bag onto the Skytrain, a bus, the ferry and a second bus to get it home. Now, that is someone else’s job. I call that a bonus.
  2. I won’t make the ferry, but that means I can crash in less than two hours rather than a four hour commute home right after the 9-hour plane ride. Super.
  3. The bag that was lost was the dirty clothes bag. Without a bag full of dirty clothes, I didn’t have “laundry” on my immediate to-do list when I got home! Awesome.
  4. Spending the night in town meant a good night sleep rather than dealing with the cat and jet lag (the cat has had a king bed to himself and doesn’t do well with having his space downsized to a corner for the first two or three nights after we get home).

By the time I slid the stack of documents back to the employee, I was feeling pretty good at the random fortune that was bestowed upon me. In fact, I was starting to feel like perhaps I did win the lottery after all.

Lesson learned: Focusing on the misfortune will make your journey heavy with anger, resentment and blame. Focusing on the benefits or what can be gained in a situation allows you to journey with a light heart.

There are benefits in every situation.