Travel is an adventure and sometimes the craziness starts right at the airport! My trip to France started perfectly normal. I had packed a selection of fun outfits and product for collaborations all edited carefully so it would fit in my carry on. I knew that I would be moving in between several cities over the week so wanted to pack light enough to make all the travel easier.
However I couldn't get around the weight limits imposed by Norweigan! Most low cost airlines have pretty strict requirements on size and weight for carry on bags, and even though my suitcase was fine size wise, it was about 4 pounds over the weight limit. Their weight limit is only 10kg, which equals around 22 pounds. And that has to include both your carry on and personal item! The gate agent made me check it and I wasn't too worried since it was a direct flight so less chance for it to get mixed up or delayed. Little did I know, there would be some major logistic issue with the baggage carousels. When I landed in Paris, an agent at baggage claim informed me that over 150 bags from the LA flight had been misplaced! Normally, if I plan to check luggage, I would have an extra outfit or 2 in my carry on. But since I was rushed and made to check last minute I didn't take anything out of the suitcase. Big mistake, I know! So there I was in Paris with the clothes on my back. Luckily I kept my toiletries and makeup in my carry on so I could still keep my face and hair together!
Making the situation even worse, our flight was an hour and a half late, which meant that by the time I could get from the airport to the city, all the stores would be closed. I only had one day in Paris before heading to Nice so my boyfriend helped with the missing baggage report and as soon as I landed in Nice I needed to shop! At that point I had spent 2 days in my airport leggings, crop top and dad sneaks and it was starting to get funky.
If you didnt know, airlines are responsible for reimbursing you if you need to purchase replacement items when your baggage is delayed or lost. The exact amount and procedure for filing a claim varies, but in the European Union, airlines can be liable for up to 1300 euros! At that point I assumed my bag would be retuned in 2 or 3 days, but I also knew this was my only chance to shop. After Nice I would be spending 3 days in the French countryside, with plenty of vineyards but no malls! I decided I needed to get clothes for 3 days and 1 dress that was glam enough for a night out in Monaco. And I hoped that my luggage would be sent to the residence in the countryside no problem.
Remember, just because the airline is liable for reimbursement, that doesnt mean you get to go crazy. Skip Gucci and shop sensibly! I opted for Zara, H&M and Mango. Check out some of the looks I pulled together below! I was able to find a lot of the exact items on the US site, luckily, and included some alternatives as well!
Pretty good choices right? I also picked up some basic undies from H&M and the tote bag was necessary to use for travelling the rest of the week, since I couldn't lug around shopping bags. However my luggage did not arrive in the country as expected since the Courier said it was too far from the main city and they needed a 3 to 4 day window for that region (which was 2.5 hours from Paris, 30 minutes from the local airport in Bordeaux so go figure). So I had to handwash and line dry a few pieces country style and wear them again as I headed back to Paris! My bag was finally delivered to my hotel on the last day of the trip!
So if you find yourself in a missing baggage situation here are my tips for getting through!
File your claim asap - the representative at the airport can give you the necessary paperwork so they can start tracking the lost luggage
Learn your rights - they vary depending on the origin/departure city but check out what the carrier says and go a quick Google search. Norwegian's website obviously wouldn't say the max they can be held liable for, but researching "delayed baggage compensation in Europe" turned up loads of info from European regulatory sites. If you file a claim and the airline tries to underpay or claim they arent responsible, you need to know your rights to fight for your money
Shop reasonably - remember it is time to purchase replacement items for your trip, not go on a luxury shopping spree
Save your receipts! And take photos just in case you lose the originals
Include all your expenses - i didn't have to buy toiletries since I had those in my carry on, but if you lost those include them as well. If you have to make international phone calls every day to follow up with customer service, add in the roaming charges! Think about the little things and make sure they are all included
Leverage social media - the Norweigan customer service center was so not responsive or helpful, even though they had English speaking representatives. But when I started blowing up their mentions on Twitter I got more attention. And not just me! I looked at their Tweets/Replies and saw different users airing their concerns and getting responses as well. Help your complaint stay stop of mind by making it visible!
I’ll keep you guys posted once my claim is processed on what the final result is, but let me know in the comments or on Instagram if you have questions in the meantime!