Baggage is without a doubt the biggest problem I have. No matter where I go in the world I carry two bags. One very small travel bag that has all my personal items in it. When I arrive a the patients resort I donʼt want to turn up looking all disheveled and incomplete disarray. The other black bag is full of medical kit. This is the most important bag I own.

However when I have tight connection I donʼt want to check the medical kit in as I know from experience that it will not be transferred in time to the next flight.

That flight may only run once daily or if Iʼm going to an Island once every two days.

So you can imagine the problems that I face when I try and convince the airline representative that it is their best interests to let me carry it as hand luggage. One of the problems that I face is that there is no continuity between airline companies. Some say of course you can, not a problem. Whilst others are not even open to negotiation. Then you spend the next 10-15 hours worrying if the medical kit is in the hold. I have photographed my two bags and have the picture on my phone because when you are tired and in another country trying to explain what a black bag looks like, itʼs very difficult. A picture speaks for you.

The first time I took pictures of luggage was when I was escorting a patient from Edinburgh to South Africa and she had 13 suitcases and eight handbags. The thought of remembering what all the luggage looked like was to much so I came up with the idea of taking pictures of the luggage. This was a great help when we finally landed at our destination.

I once gave a bag to my parents who were going to London. When they landed and were waiting for their bag neither one could remember what the bag looked like so they waited until there was only one bag left going around on the belt and took that. Luckily for them it was the right one.

On occasion when I am just about to board the flight the ground staff will come around with the tags. You know the ones I mean. The one that goes on your bag to go under the seat in front of you and the one that everyone ignores.

I sometimes wonder how people get the bags on to the aircraft because they are so big and heavy. They must in some way have distracted the check in staff. There was one woman who was struggling to get her bag in the overhead locker so I helped her. Iʼm strong but I struggled and I reckon that the bag was 25-30kg. I got the bag in and said that she should wait until last to get the bag out in case she killed someone. I have had other passengers pick up my medical bag at the carousel and claim it for themselves. And, when I have challenged them they have denied any wrong doing.

My neighbour had a red case with a blue belt around it. The blue belt had their surname printed on it but they still managed to collect a black bag from the luggage belt. It was not until they got home that they discovered their error and this was because she knew she wasnʼt a size 10. The colour of the case and lack of name tag was then questioned and the wrong suitcase returned to its owner.

When people have rucksacks on their backs and are going down the aircraft aisle they forget that when they turn the person that is seated in the vicinity gets a smack in the face.

The worst item is the designer handbag with all the trinkets attached to the handle. I have had many cuts on my face as passengers have their bags over one arm and swipe you as they walk by. People forget to put the bag in front of them when they walk forward.

I love the flights to/from Asia as everything and anything gets put in a box and tied up with string. No matter what size or condition of the box itʼs going to travel.

When you arrive at your hotel having carried your bags along the miles of walkways, negotiating revolving doors whilst juggling the hand luggage and lifted the bags in and out of taxis. We arrive at the hotel and the staff at the hotels expect a tip for carrying your bags from the taxi to the waiting trolley thatʼs no more than three feet away. We give it to them and are truly grateful for their service!


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