Many years of waiting around baggage carousels with a desperate yearning to simply get to my destination and get to bed have taught me much about travelling. Let me introduce you to 10 different characters you will meet next time you are at a baggage claim – no doubt most of them you will already be familiar with.
1. The entrance hogs
These guys love to hang about right where the bags pop out. You can be almost certain they don’t have a priority tag, they’re in no rush to go any where but hell hath no fury they must get hold of their bag FIRST. They make up a surprisingly high percentage of total passengers in the baggage hall.
2. The close stander
No matter how far along the carousel you’ve moved (no doubt to get away from the entrance hogs) the close stander will stride in from no where and position themselves not just next to you, but immediately in front of you, completely blocking any view you had of the carousel, let alone space to actually remove your bag.
3. The touchers
They like to put their hand on every bag as it passes, just in case it’s theirs, just maybe. I really don’t get them, they’re almost a little creepy.
4. The bulldozers
They will come out of nowhere to claim their bag and hell hath no fury if you’re in their path. They will divide and conquer with all the eloquence of a buffalo stampede. No matter how tightly packed you’ve formed yourself around your personal square foot of baggage handling space, the bulldozer will sooner take out several small children than see their bag do an extra loop around the carousel.
5. The overexcited helper
Aged between about 3 to 8 years old. These kids might well grow up to be entrance hogs in older age. The pure excitement that your bag is about to spin around this metal object could quite possibly be their holiday highlight. They are no doubt not of sufficient muscle tone yet to be of any real help shifting the bags off the carousel but they will inquire whether every bag that looks remotely like yours is the right one (see touchers), running along the front of the carousel to chase them in necessarily (see bulldozer) and facing countless disappointments in the unrelenting search for ‘the right one’.
6. The disinterested teen
Yep, there you are slouched in the corner with your headphones in. Possibly recovering from many junior years as an overexcited helper you will now almost deliberately fain a complete disinterest in the process much to your parent’s despair and still seem to be missing any of the aforementioned muscle tone to actually help.
7. The sparing spouses
“Just stand here”
“We can’t see them coming out from here”
“Just wait for them to come around”
“But there’s no room to pull the bags off”
“Oh they’ll move out of the way”
“I don’t know why you don’t just stand here and wait”
“Well why don’t you stand there while I stand here and wave when you see them coming”
Come on you’ve been them, or you know them, don’t you?
8. The despondent family
No doubt all but one of the bags have come out straight away and they’re waiting on one item. One of them (usually mum) is holding the baby, the trolley, a whiny jet lagged toddler who wants to be a toucher while considering whether another feed will be needed in the middle of the arrivals hall. The other is searching all over the baggage hall for the mystery missing item. Then they start to doubt themselves, did they in fact check all their luggage? or is the bomb squad currently surrounding some abandoned item back at the origin airport with a detonator? Give them a wide berth, or your spot in the taxi queue. Just think, pay it forward.
9. The vagrant
Were you even on this flight? Hanging right towards the back of the crowd you have your suspicions they are actually a bag thief looking to take any unclaimed items. Your continual glares do nothing to promote their interest in the process. They magically disappear and you become convinced after about 20 minutes they really were a bag thief.
10. The lost baggage clerk
Now there surely must be some people who are being punished for wrong doing in another life. How on earth have you managed to find yourself manning the lost luggage complaints desk at 3am? In possibly the world’s most horrific customer service role, you are still required to smile, dress nicely and treat the world’s most irate pricks with a strip of dignity and respect for an action which is in no way your fault at all, but clearly you’re expected to take full responsibility and solve the ways of the world. To lost baggage clerks worldwide, I salute you.
PS – if you think having a priority tag on your baggage when travelling with a family makes the slightest bit of difference to the time it takes to get through an airport, think again. Even if your bags by some miracle do make a speedy exit you can be sure your strollers and car seats – despite any reassurances to the contrary – will be treated as oversized and will be delivered to a complete different, unidentified location in the baggage hall at least half an hour late.
So over to you now folks, have I missed anyone? Have you encountered any of these individuals?