Sunday, April 10, 2011

My husband is home ...

... but his luggage is not.

I decided to surprise JB and ride the Base shuttle to Adana last night at 8pm. Once we finally found him (about an hour after he had arrived) I got to give him a big hug and find out that yes, in fact, he had been greatly surprised.

But travel frustrations dimmed reuniting excitement a bit.

Many of you may recall a post a few months ago where I detailed some of our frustrations with Turkish administration. The fact of the matter is, this is THEIR country. They are Turkish. They do it their way. I recognize that and do not expect them to conform to my standards. But you have no idea how much you rely on consistency and organization until you are in a place that seems to just "wing it" much of the time. Ask a question to a different person and you get a different answer. One time it's done this way. The next time it is done that way. I know there are places in the USA that do it the same, but overall, we do, as a people, rely on consistency and scheduling.

The bus driver, myself, and another gentleman there to pick up two colleagues, waited outside the Domestic terminal for our five guests (JB included) to arrive. From what we had all been able to gather from previous experience, most people get off in Domestic. At that point, they are sometimes turned around and taken via shuttle to International. This being the case, we figured our best bet was to wait for them in Domestic. (My Mom and Joan stayed in Domestic but flew Delta. Becky and Veronica were shuttled to International but flew Turkish. We thought this was a pattern.)

None of them came out in Domestic. (Some had flown Turkish. Some Delta. Some another airline altogether.)

So we headed to International.

All five came out, but JB came out without his luggage.

We would then spend then next hour trying to track down his luggage. During this time we were met with many frustrations, the biggest of which was the fact that no one would allow him to return to the Domestic terminal to check and see whether his bags had in fact been misrouted to the wrong terminal. We even enlisted a Turkish security guard to help defend our case -- to no avail. The guard said JB should definitely be let through. The colleague with us had been let through before. I, in fact, had been let through before. But this time, for some reason, JB was not allowed back through. When we finally left, a woman had agreed to help, after she saw to the 60+ guests waiting to be checked into line. We decided that was not going to cut it at 10pm at night.

So this post has two main points. This first point is to share the fact that I was so excited to have JB home. (Especially when he handed me a duty free box of Godiva chocolates he had bought in Paris.) He had left nearly 36 hours earlier and flown from California to Utah to Paris to Istanbul to Adana. He was exhausted. But he was the same old JB.

While I stayed cool during the interchange regarding the luggage, I think the fact that JB had come from the USA, left him feeling ultimate frustration at once again having our time wasted and facing inconsistency. The fact is, when a flight comes in through Istanbul from overseas, sometimes the person will be dropped off in Domestic. Sometimes they will be dropped off in International. Sometimes their luggage will come to Domestic. Sometimes it will come to International. And sometimes it won't come at all. We must accept that.

What is hard about this is that you just don't know. We thought we had figured out a pattern. We thought that it had to do with your origination city or what airline you flew or whether you checked your baggage all the way through. But last night, each of the five individuals we were picking up came a different way. Some came Turkish Airlines all the way (which usually goes to International.) Some switched airlines multiple times. (JB flew Delta, Air France, and Turkish.) All of them were brought to International.

These inconsistencies are hard for a people that are not used to them. This is where cultural shock can be one of your chief enemies in a foreign country.

So we push that all aside and celebrate that:



Unknown said...

I can totally relate- same thing happened to me. It felt so good to land in Chicago where people were there to help and it was clear where you were to go and what you were to do.

Anonymous said...

I'm super sorry to hear about the lost luggage... I hope you had less than $400 worth of goods in them John, because that's about all that Air France paid us when they lost our baggage. Hopefully it's sitting on the floor over at the airport right now.