Journal Reflection – I Lost My Laptop Traveling, Again

Opps I did it again. No, I’m not signing the catchy lyrics of Brittaney Spears. I’m talking about leaving my laptop in the seat pocket of the seat in front of me on an airplane. I usually fly around 160 flight segments a year. During this time, I pull out my laptop and work on school assignments, prep for my next work assignment, complete invoices, plan travel, and more. Airplanes have been a great office for me since starting this doctorate program. I have been able to use the hours in flight to focus on completing assignments because there isn’t much else to do besides watch moves, talk to neighbors, or listen to music. Out of all the flight segments I have taken over the last 2.5yrs I’ve only left my laptop 3-4 times.

The most recent time was this past Tuesday. I didn’t even realize I left it until Thursday. I had been using my phone to work on assignments and reading. Thursday came, and I went to transfer the work on my phone to my laptop. I grabbed my travel bookbag and went to its laptop storage section and it was not there. I normally would have immediately freaked out because, the end of the semester was the next day and I had to submit several assignments. Moreover, my entire collection of dissertation research was there and not backed up in the cloud. So, I should have been sick. However, I wasn’t because of my previous experiences going through this. Although, I’d be lying if I didn’t tell you I freaked out a little bit.

So, here’s what you do. In the event you leave your laptop on a flight (Delta), timing is key. Hopefully you can realize you left it before they mail it off to their corporate offices. The normal procedures are, the clean-up crew cleans the plane and submits all lost objects to the airlines lost baggage area. They normally keep lost baggage or items left on the plane for around 24-48hrs before the ship them to their corporate offices. I was lucky because I was teetering the line with the time. Once you realize you’ve left it, immediate retrieve all the information you can about it and feel out a missing items report. You’ll have to search the airlines sight for this form. Delta’s was relatively easy to find. The form is very detailed and provides a lot of information to help easily track the item. Do not short change yourself by excluding details. Submit the form and call the airlines customer service to get help.

The next part is where things may get tricky for the average flyer, I’m not sure, but I believe status helps. As a result of my status, I was transferred to the service rep immediately that was dedicated to work with people at my status level. I explained the situation, although I wasn’t quite sure that I didn’t leave it on the previous flight. The rep asked me the same questions on the form I filled out. It was a little annoying because he didn’t tell me why, and I already had a hunch it was at the airport in the lost baggage area. He put me on hold called lost baggage claim desk at the airport and shared them with the reps at the airport. Fortunately for me it was there and had not been sent out yet. When I arrived to pick it up they had a note on it that had my name and read do not send. This is why timing is key. Now if it were sent out before I could get to it then you’d be reading a totally different blog.

So, don’t fret if you leave something on a plane. Just act quickly and if you’re fortunate you can get it back with little to no hassle.