Lost Maker Faire Luggage

On the way back from Maker Faire Bay Area 2008, my luggage went missing. Because I was traveling with so many “suspicious” things like electronics kits, batteries, components, wires, etc., I chose to check these items in my luggage for a speedy experience through security. My luggage didn’t show up at the other end in Phoenix. US Airways flight 570 was direct from SFO to PHX. It should be noted that everyone I’ve spoke to has been very nice and polite to me. I have also been very polite; these people are just trying to do their jobs.

The most disturbing thing is list of “Items Excluded from Liability” on the US Airways Passenger Property Form if my luggage is ultimately lost. Here’s the list (you can read the form yourself here):

  • Currency
  • Spirits
  • Optics
  • Keys
  • Blueprints
  • Jewelry
  • Silverware
  • Precious Metals/Stones
  • Natural Fur Products
  • Antiques/Heirlooms/Collectible
  • Artistic Items
  • Lifesaving Medication
  • Negotiable Papers/Securities/Documents
  • Books/Manuscripts/Publications
  • Sound Reproduction Equipment & Related Items
  • Photographic/Cinematographic Audio/Video Equipment & Related Items
  • Computer Hardware/Software & Related Items
  • Electronic Components/Equipment & Related Items/Business Samples/Equipment/ Documents and Irreplaceable Items

What can you think of that is worth any money and not on this list (Besides expensive clothes)?

Now you may easily see why this list is very troubling. Almost everything of value in my suitcase is on that list. Copies of the new Maker’s Notebook (modded and not), electronics kits (boarduino and loud objects noise toy), power and data cables for phone, camera, and electronics, my travel case of electronics and embroidery components and supplies (chips, connectors, LEDs, etc.), my skeleton cardigan (which took at least 80 hours to construct), sample embroidery projects from my demo at the Faire, contact info from the nice people I met over the weekend, and my toy Thingamagoop robot by Bleep Labs.

The replaceable stuff: Embroidery supplies, 1 pair jeans, 1 velvet jacket, 5 shirts including a hand-printed souvenir from Bizarre Bazaar, a kitchen apron, also from Bizarre Bazaar, which I had purchased as a gift for my catsitter, 2 leathermen (juice s2 and squirt e4), socks and underwear, the suitcase itself, my toiletries bag and its contents, my boyfriend’s toiletries bag and its contents.

Here’s a chronology of events:
Monday, May 5, 8AM, SFO: Check in at US Airways counter and check bag at the same time and counter as travel companions.
Monday, May 5, 9:20AM, SFO: Board US Airways flight 570 direct to PHX.
Monday, May 5, 11:07AM, PHX: Arrive on time and proceed to baggage carousel 5.
Monday, May 5, 12PM, PHX: After baggage does not arrive (although checked bags for travel companions do arrive), proceed to US Airways baggage office.
Monday, May 5, 12:15PM, PHX: After baggage is not located, depart from airport with afile reference number and a lost baggage claim form (which can be mailed in if my bag doesn’t show in 5 days). Gave identifying details about appearance and contents of bag. Ronald suspected it would be in on the next flight from SFO, putting it out for delivery by 4pm.
Monday, May 5, 6:20pm: Called PHX office, since they had not called me. They said the bag was not on the next flight from SFO, but might be on the following one. Bag would then be out for delivery by 8pm.
Monday, May 5, 7:48pm: Called PHX office, line busy. Continue trying until finally get through at 7:53, no bag. Suspected it may have “overrode” (stayed on the plane), which was going to Tampa. Next flight from Tampa was due in the next morning.
Tuesday, May 6, 8:13AM: Called PHX office, they informed me that the Tampa flight would get in at 9:30 and they’d call me when it did.
Tuesday, May 6, 10:25AM: Called PHX office, got put on hold then disconnected, but they called me right back, said the bag was not on the flight coming in from Tampa. They “sent out messages” to SFO and Tampa, took more identifying details about bag.
Tuesday, May 6: 12:12PM: Called PHX office, got put on hold then disconnected, but they called me right back to say that SFO had not returned their message but that Tampa had, saying they did not have record of the bag. Asked if my name and address was on the bag, if there could be any other luggage tags on it, etc.
Tuesday, May 6, 1:25PM: Called PHX office, line busy.
Tuesday, May 6, 8:43PM: Called PHX office, line busy, got through at 8:47, no new information.
Wednesday, May 7, 9:27AM: Called PHX office, line busy, got through at 9:34, expressed concern over list of excluded liability items, no new information.
Wednesday, May 7, 2:10PM: Called PHX office, told them my cell phone battery was almost spent, so I’d have to get a new charger, asked if they provide coverage for this, they said no.
Wednesday, May 7, 3:30PM: Mimi at Main US Airways office calls (they, too, are located in Phoenix), asks me for a list of identifiable items inside the bag, tells me they’ll send out messages to many places and call tomorrow to check back in.
Thursday, May 8, 3:14PM: Called PHX office, they verified that messages have been sent out to many airports, they’re still waiting to hear back.
Thursday, May 8, 5:31PM: Mimi at Main US Airways office calls, says there’s no word yet and instructs me to start filling out the passenger property form.
Friday, May 9, 10:51AM: Main US Airways office calls, instructs me again to start filling out the passenger property form, I asked how long it would take to process my claim, they say 6 weeks.
Saturday, May 10: Gathered receipts, finalized claim paperwork, got it notarized (yes, it had to be notarized.)
Monday, May 12: Mailed claim.
Thursday, May 15: They called to let me know they got my claim and that it’s complete; they’re going to use it for their “secondary search” of the luggage warehouse. I’m imagining a scene from Raiders of the Lost Ark…
Thursday, June 19: They call to say they’ve stopped looking and I can expect a letter followed by a check in the mail.
Shortly after: I received a check from US Airways for close to the amount of my claim!

Currently learning to use a knitting machine, which could make for a much quicker replacement of my skeleton cardigan…

2 thoughts on “Lost Maker Faire Luggage

  1. So sorry to hear that! I hope it shows up eventually. That list is inconceivable. I guess it means you’re not supposed to take anything with you when you travel. I’m glad I got to see your embroidery at the Faire.

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