Am I sad that an airline lost my luggage? Hell yes!

I am (usually) the kind of person who does not dwell on the negative. Life is too short, right? And every cloud, silver lining, blah blah blah. (And in most cases that stuff is actually true.)

That’s why it has taken me six months to blog about the fact that Tiger Airways (the Singapore-based version) LOST MY BELOVED BACKPACK on my return flights from Penang via Singapore to Perth after my fortnight in Malaysia.

An airline lost my favourite backpack

The last known photo of my favourite backpack …

The tale of losing my baggage

The irony: I lamented on Facebook as I packed said backpack that I knew I should replace it (there were bits that were coming apart – fair enough after well over a decade of travelling across five continents I guess), but I was just too sentimental to part with it. Plus after about the first six years I’d finally got the straps to fit really comfortably so it felt like I wasn’t lifting anything at all, and I didn’t want to start again with a new backpack!

Anyway, when my well-loved backpack failed to appear on the carousel at Perth airport (where I waited for what felt like hours with my four-year-old who was very anxious to get out of there) I logged all the details at the lost luggage desk and went home almost fully expecting to get a call within a day or so that it had turned up. We’d had a long layover in Singapore (18 hours or so I think) and it didn’t surprise me that this had played havoc with our baggage. I was sure it would catch up with us eventually.

Days went by, all featuring my mid-afternoon phone call to the Tiger Air representatives at the airport (they had a “call us, we might not call you” policy, it seemed), yet none featuring the reappearance of my backpack. To cut a long story short: yep, it was fully lost.

On trying to really live my minimalist attitude

You might remembered my post about travelling helping me be more minimalist in my approach to life, and I tried to remember it too. Over the next week or two I listed all the items I recalled being in my backpack, ready for an insurance claim. I was pretty blase about this process (I surprised myself). My son’s clothes: he was about to grow out of them. His swimming floaties: it was about time he learnt to swim without them. My new jeans: I’d lost a couple of kilos and probably needed new ones anyway. The T-shirt and notepad souvenirs we’d bought in Penang (all adorned with pictures of the cool street art in Georgetown) – well, we’d only owned them five minutes and they hadn’t cost much, so we could definitely live without them. Technology stuff: all replaceable, and my “brain” (my smartphone) was safely in our hand luggage with us, of course.

So far, so good, right?

Yep, all good until my sentimental side hit. My lovely black sandals which had moulded themselves perfectly to my feet, the ones I’d lived in when pregnant with my son. Gone! (Well, they were probably nearly worn out, to be fair.) I still miss the toiletries bag I took on every trip since 2003 – it was a freebie from a gorgeous ryokan inn my Japanese friends took me to, and I smiled every time I took it out of my cupboard. And my backpack itself. Okay, I know it was starting to fall apart.

I can still live without all these things. I tell you one thing that really made quite sad: I had a notebook filled with scribbles and blog ideas and goals and notes and all kinds of important stuff. I would REALLY like that back.

But what else can you do when an airline loses your luggage?

What I would really like to do is to zoom back to Singapore and spend a day hunting around through whatever kind of halls or warehouses are filled with all the lost luggage of the world. I mean, my poor backpack must be somewhere, and I know better than anyone what it looks like, so couldn’t I just go and have a good search for it?

But anyway … I thought at first, and I still think now, that there’s no point getting all uptight about lost luggage. It’s just like spilt milk. I have been going through the insurance claim process (which out of necessity is quite wearisome … just listing all the items and finding receipts and/or replacement quotes is the kind of task which I really don’t enjoy). It will all work out in the end. And next time I will be putting massive extra labels all over my baggage and avoiding flying that particular airline again. (Any extra advice on avoiding lost luggage gladly taken.)

So … I hope your luggage never goes missing the way mine did – but if it does, I hope you also find a way through it 🙂



  1. Susan Dunn says

    Hi Amanda.
    I have never had my luggage go missing – touch wood – but would be so annoyed and upset if it did! I wonder, it sounds like you have very little luggage really. Could you not have carry on only? That is one way to avoid loss! And secondly, I always always keep my notebook with me! As for souvenirs, over the years I buy less and less. Perhaps post key items back home? Last time we travelled I used Cover Plus. Fortunately we did not need to claim, but they are very competitive.
    Good luck with keeping your luggage by your side. 🙂

    • Thanks Susan! I sometimes travel carry on only, but on that trip I was travelling alone with my then three-year-old and it is too much to juggle all luggage and him as well – plus we had a night to stopover in Singapore and I didn’t want to have to lug everything plus him in the middle of the night! And I would never make that notebook mistake again … I was just trying to optimise the stuff I did have in carry on so that I could keep my son entertained (his notebook/drawing book came home, of course!). …

  2. I usually travel with my dive gear, losing all my equipment on the way over would absolutely devastate my trip, on the way home, I would still be pretty annoyed as you get pretty attached to life support equipment. The plus is a trip down to Mountain Designs t plan your next trip.

  3. That sucks about your luggage. Lufthansa once lost mine. It was upsetting as it not only had my favorite bag, but we were attending a wedding and had the gifts for the groomsmen, pamphlets fr the service, and shoes for the bride’s mother (well, one shoe. It’s common practice for me with expensive shoes, if it gets stolen, then they only have 1). We had a mad scramble to replace the stuff. I got reimbursed by them for everything , but l was still pissed.

  4. Nobody lost something of ours recently but I had left it behind…. coming home from a recent cruise Miss 8 had a toilet bag full of all her flowery pretty headbands. About 10 of them for all occasions, she packed the whole lot. Upon returning home, the toilet bag in question it seems was left on the cruise ship. She was devastated that all of her pretty headbands were gone. How do things disappear into thin air? Apparently toilet bags disappear as well as backpacks. I also lost my swarovski Hello Kitty pen my mum bought for my birthday last year, also lost on the cruise ship at some point. Expensive pen but more sentimental value. Thinking about it now makes me annoyed lol.

    • Oh no, Nic! And yes thinking about this lost bag makes me annoyed too. Especially now that summer’s returning and I remember my two favourite pairs of sandals that were in it! Best not to think about it I suppose …

  5. Rae Hilhorst says

    I still think about your back pack xxx

  6. I’ve just clicked through from your more recent post and am devastated to read “I had a notebook filled with scribbles and blog ideas and goals and notes and all kinds of important stuff” separated from you 🙁
    On my last trip I invested in a sturdy hard shell cabin bag to collate all my ‘this is life’ type stuff as I was finding I had a hand bag, camera bag, computer bag and art bag all strung across me (making security a nightmare!)
    Nobody gives a toss about replaceable clothes, but sentimental gear…. and notebooks with ideas and scribbles… they’re priceless 🙂

    • Oh yes Linda, I still try hard not to think about what might have been lost with that notebook! It was actually Kelly’s lovely notebook from Problogger two years ago and it had all my notes from there plus other inspirational ideas (I guess – I don’t remember them!) from the following months …!! It has taught me to do something with my ideas sooner, if nothing else.

  7. Although I’m still sad for you over your beloved backpack – I am glad you wrote this post as it helped me get my travel insurance for our upcoming NZ trip sorted! As we haven’t gone overseas for awhile I wasn’t sure where to start with looking for a company so I came here…so thank you x

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