Happy New Year Everyone!
I know I’m technically a couple days late, but better late than never, right? I was flying back from my honeymoon in St. Lucia on the first of the year.
I’m sorry I’ve been MIA these past couple weeks, but I really relished the opportunity to take a few (much needed) breaths of fresh air with my husband in paradise. Here’s a sunset shot by the seashore–say that three times fast!
It was absolutely gorgeous and we had some wonderful experiences that I will remember forever. We jet skied, snorkeled, and snuba-ed. We sailed on a bobbie cat, drank Miami Vices to our hearts’ content. We met lots of fun couples and stuffed our faces with delicious Caribbean fare.
Unfortunately, however, there were two very unfortunate events that occurred during our trip.
First, St. Lucia was struck by a pretty bad tropical storm–on Christmas Eve no less–and the aftermath has been difficult for the islanders. Nearly 10 people lost their lives, there was extensive flooding, banana plantations were pummeled, entire roads were washed away, homes were destroyed, and parts of the island still don’t have running water.
According to locals, it was the worst Christmas and one of the worst storms on record…and a malfunctioning radar on the neighboring island of Martinique was partly to blame because there was no warning before the storm struck. We were safe and sound, but some of the staff we met at our resort lost homes, which was really heartbreaking. In the wake of the devastation, Jeff and I were absolutely amazed at the St. Lucians’ ability to rise above it all and still greet us with a smile and a cheerful “Merry Christmas”.
I hope the island is able to get the help it needs to repair the damage. Those living in the US who wish to offer assistance, can do so by contacting:
Permanent Mission of St. Lucia to the United Nations
800 Second Avenue, 9th Fl., New York, New York 10017
Tel.: (212) 697-9360 • Fax: (212) 697-4993 • E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
The second, albeit not so catastrophic, event that happened on our honeymoon was that United Airlines lost our baggage.
You read correctly. 10 days.
This was particularly strange because:
- We did not have a connecting flight, we flew a non-stop direct flight from Newark, NJ.
- Our departure was delayed by 2 hours–45 minutes of which we spent on the tarmac because they were loading our bags onto the plane. Does this sound as insane to you as it does to me? If they delayed us to load bags, you’d think they’d be on the plane.
Imagine our shock when we landed in St. Lucia with many other passengers, and learned that a large portion of the baggage never made it on the plane? We immediately filed a report with the United branch at the airport and were told our bags should arrive the next day.
My husband had absolutely no items to speak of with him and I had a very limited amount. We had no underwear, medication/birth control, shoes, sunscreen, razors, clothes, toiletries, etc and with each passing day the resort shopkeeper got to know us better and better as we bought practically every item in her store.
On Christmas Eve, 4 days later after we arrived in St. Lucia, there was still no word of our luggage. We spent hours on the phone that evening and over the next several days getting nowhere with United. Each representative we spoke with had a different story to tell us and no one could tell us where our luggage was. We were in disbelief–what was the use of the tags with the scannable bar codes we paid for when we checked our bags??
We followed their established procedure to file our claim, called their lost baggage department, established a reference number for our case, and did all the other things they asked us to do. Day after day we were told we would be contacted with follow-up information and they would enter a notification into their system, and day after day all they told us was they couldn’t get through to Newark and didn’t know where the bags were.
When we realized we were getting nowhere (and little sympathy from United), I reached out on Facebook and Twitter to try to get United to take some responsibility. As a marketing professional I hoped using social channels might enable me to gain some headway, but made little to no progress.
To our huge surprise this past Monday, without word, our luggage showed up in our room at the resort. We were so grateful they weren’t lost forever, though they didn’t do much good to use with only 1 more day left of our honeymoon.
We plan to file a formal claim with United and to submit the receipts for all expenses incurred during our honeymoon, and I hope that United will compensate us for the situation as they should (including refunding our $90 baggage check fee).
When it has been 10 days and your luggage is still missing, that to me is not only ridiculous but unacceptable. A honeymoon is such a special trip, one that you dream of, save for, take time off for, purchase special items for–when you spend a large portion of your trip making lengthy international calls, trying to communicate with unhelpful representatives, having to purchase over-priced apparel, filling out claim forms, missing formal dinners and excursions because you don’t have the proper attire, etc, it takes its toll.
Have you or has anyone you know ever had a similar experience? If so, how did you resolve the situation? I would be grateful for any advice or suggestions anyone may have.
But enough of that! One thing I DID have was my new camera Jeff and my mom gave me for my 30th birthday–here are a couple pics from St. Lucia. If you’ve never been, it’s really worth the trip.
I’ve got lots more to share with you in the coming days, including a honeymoon planning series, so be sure to check back in.
Enjoy the weekend 🙂