Yes it finally happened to me and to two other women on our India trip when British Airways had a computer meltdown. The lost luggage stages go like this and with a happy ending:
+++++Adrenolin rush to get the lost luggage claim and papers filled out correctly while navigating 250 others in the same situation. Don’t forget to take a photo or your luggage tag and any paperwork with your phone.
+++++Exhaustion follow up: once out of the airport with nothing to your name but a carry on ( this was the one time I did not bring a change of clothes in carry on!!!). But at least access to a bottle of cold water, keep your head and drink after a long flight.
+++++Frenzy when realizing that luggage might not come for a while; this was dumb as 99.99% of luggage is delivered within a day. Get your head back on and realize that each minute is a minute closer to resolution.
+++++Organizing: buying what one needs in terms of personal products and something to sleep in plus a change of shirts. Keep and notate receipts which the airline will want. Underwear can be washed and dried with the hairdryer and is hard to replace quickly. Just wash it immediately with hotel shampoo and hang to dry.
+++++Hotel check in: a thrill to see the clean robe, bathroom products, shower and bed. Revel in it and put your baggage worries aside for a few minutes. Cry if you need to. On all women trips everyone has something for you to borrow.
+++++Relief: First morning of tour with 8 hours of sleep in a clean bed and a hot shower. Then the happy computer message from British Airways, all 5,000 bags to be delivered by the next day (Day 2). The SITA office calls BA for us, and voila: there is our luggage that night Day 1. Christmas in October.
So what do we learn from this: it is not a tragedy, just an inconvenience and solvable by administrative measures. Don’t panic, fill out papers and keep copies, treat yourself to some nice personal products and wait. Borrow without feeling guilty or helpless; women are always there for each other. Solo women on our trips are not really alone.
And or course next time carry on a few clothing items just in case. Some encouragement from The Women’s Travel Group. PS already got $51 from BA direct deposit for the purchases. No need to claim on my insurance.