Well, we left off with flying to London via British Airways to connect to a flight to Athens via Aegean Airlines. As I’d mentioned last post, my new itinerary then had me arriving in Athens far to close to clear Immigration and Customs and board my last Aegean flight to Mykonos, Greece.
Arriving at Heathrow a good 2 hours ahead of my next flight gave me the impression I’d have plenty of time to find an Aegean agent and switch my ‘flex’ ticket for the later flight from Athens to Mykonos.
Heathrow is pretty big, so first I had to wait for a bus from whatever terminal I was at to Terminal 2. The bus ride made Atlanta’s 7 terminal train ride seem short. Then I had to clear 2 more screening points, with a now-amusing incident with an Indian family who had NO idea how to go through security (one older gentleman threw his bottle of water back through the x-ray machine as if it were some horrible contraband he didnt want them to be able to prove belonged to him).
I finally make it to the terminal, where there is a section of check-in/customer service desks for each airline. Um, each airline EXCEPT Aegean. I look through the row three times. I look down the hall, no more desks. I finally ask a United rep, could you please tell me where the Aegean desk is? Well, he says, Aegean won’t PAY Healthrow to have a customer service desk, so I will have to wait for an agent at my gate. Ohhhhhkay.
Although I have a boarding pass, I still have no idea what Gate. This airport like many international airports, has a main seating area with limited space at each gate. It has several screens to say what flight is at which gate. Mine is listed as “gate will open at 11:30”. I.e. I still don’t know the gate and my flight is scheduled to depart at 12:15. I wait to 11:30, 11:31 (minutes seem like eons) and position myself to the closest route for MOST the gates. Finally, gate A17!
I rush over, anxious to talk to the agent. Except the person there is NOT an Aegean agent. She says she can’t help me with any Aegean flight info, she’s just there to man the gate. She says MAYBE an agent will come up when the plane arrives (like a mobile agent??)
I wait, I go back to look on Aegean’s website (45 minutes free wifi at Heathrow) to check AGAIN if there’s any way I can do this from the site, I fail to write down the out-of-country phone number,which I regret later when my 45 minutes were up. Because a second guy comes to the gate, and I excitedly go see him- “Are you the Aegean agent?” (thinking this is starting to feel like a Dr. Suess book). No sorry, he’s just another airport helper there to man the gate. He says when the agent comes, he will point me out.
No such luck, a guy comes and he is bum rushed by an American couple who couldnt even get their boarding passes for THIS flight And were told it was standby only even though they bought their tickets last January, I found out later by the lady who sat next to me on the plane. The 2nd helper DID ask the guy questions, as I was not the only person headed for this Mykonos flight and its now 12:15 and we are clearly not leaving on time.
“You’ll just need to deal with this in Athens” was the answer. 2nd helper does add- make sure you use FastTrack to get through the checkpoints.
So, no changed ticket yet. Ok, my plan now is as soon as I get offthe plane, find someone who will change my ticket since surely I will be missing the Mykonos flight since our ETA is now well after the flight boards (and I’ll still need to collect my bag and clear Immigration and Customs).
So we depart about 30 minutes late with an ETA of 6:18pm. I’m exhausted. I did not sleep well on the Atlanta to London leg and its now almost 3 in the morning California time. I manage to get Some sleep around chatting with the American lady next to me and drink services. They announce that anyone scheduled to go to Mykonos should see ground crew when we land, which is just about exactly 6:18 when we hit the ground.
Of course, it takes several minutes to get to the gate and I’m way at the back of the plane so its about 6:35 when I eventually I make my way up the jetway. I stop at the first official looking person and say, “Are you the ground crew that can help me? I’m supposed to be on the Mykonos flight and I need to change to a later one.”. Apparently all she heard was Mykonos because she springs into action- “follow me, quickly! can I see your boarding pass?”. I forget that my boarding pass is actually in Passbook and just hand her my confirmation, she gets to a glass door, passes my sheet over to a girl behind a counter and 30 seconds later she’s handing her a boarding pass. Uh… Remember, I was expecting to CHANGE flights to the one later than night…
“Follow me, quickly!” and she darts down a hallway to the top of some stairs where there’s about 7 other people waiting (but for help with another tight connection, I find out later). “Quickly everyone, ” she motions to them as she and I are already 3 steps down the stairs. We dash through one large hall, getting to a door she keycards past. “Hurry, hurry” as she continues into Immigration, bypassing all the lines to a ‘priority’ agent. We get our passports stamped unceremoniously. She confirms we’re mostly all through and continues on, dodging and weaving through people in baggage claim. At this point, I’m really the only one keeping up… To another security door when I realize, we’re not stopping for bags. Since we have to wait for the others, I say, “but I need to claim my bag here. ” She replies, “we will transfer it to Mykonos.” “But my bag isn’t checked through Mykonos,” I add. “Well, it better to get you on the plane, we will work out the bag later- you can make a claim at Lost & Found in Mykonos,” is her reply as the last person finally gets through the security door. “I’m just supposed to LEAVE it,” I say incredulously. She is clearly annoyed with this discussion, “do what you want,” she says icily. The door is still open behind me when she continues on at a breakneck pace. Decision made, I follow. Again, the only one who keeps up as we go up an escalator, around a corner to a security screening. Bypassing again, the line- we put our things in the xray queue and she tells me, “once you’re through, Mykonos is B7, the first gate on your right.”. And she was gone.
At this point I don’t know WHAT time it is, so I run from security down to B7. Where there’s a crowd. I check my phone. 6:50. Well, clearly THIS flight isn’t leaving on time either!
Still, its not sitting easy with me that my bag is being left, unclaimed in between Immigration and Customs (which we bypassed altogether). So I get my best befuddled tourist face on and approach the gate agent. “I’m sorry, I’m hoping you can help me,” and I start to explain how although I came on one Aegean flight, my bag wasn’t actually CHECKED for this flight and the other woman suggested I leave it and claim Lost & Found in Mykonos. She doesn’t obviously understand the part about my bag not being checked THROUGH to Mykonos (since these were two seperate ticket purchases) and repeats the part about there being time for my bag to be transferred from my other flight. No, its NOT checked through from my other flight. “Well, if you left it you’re going to have to make a claim at Lost & Found, but they’ll probably even get it on the next flight tonight at 9:30.” Well, could we possibly start that process now.
Evil. Death. Stare.
“No, you will need to do that once you get to Mykonos.”
I’m resigned. My bag isn’t making it. Its probably lost forever, regardless of these agents feigned optimism. I have to take a few minutes to grumble about it. Then I have to change my attitude. Well, at least I have insurance. And thankfully, I packed my brush, toothbrush, contacts and glasses, as well as one change of clothes in my carryon. So all I have to do is trust the system and make a claim with Aegean in Mykonos.
I get to Mykonos. Other than passengers, there’s no one and nothing in the baggage claim area. The window marked “lost and found” is totally closed up. Oh goodie. Ok, go find the Aegean desk outside. Um, nooo. There’s a couple of other airline checkins but no Aegean. I see what’s clearly a lost baggage area (you know, 4–5 bags “securely” stored behind a roped off area in front of a closed up desk marked SwissAir) I ask a nearby official person, “where can I report lost baggage?” “hm, ask that guy,” she points to a sort of generic customer service type desk. I walk up to “that guy” who’s standing in front of his tiny office and say “Where can I find Aegean Lost and Found?”. He points down the row of tiny offices and says “Swiss Air”. I say, “Its closed”. He points again and says, “Swiss Air.” I walk ten steps down and pantomime “its. Closed.”. He walks down the ten steps to see thats its closed. “Ok, you might try the Aegean office down in departure area, out the building and down a bit.” in English that I didnt realize he could formulate based on his previous two word sentences. Ok, apparently there’s another section to this airport. Ok, out the door, to the right, just 50 steps away. Another area with offices and there it is, an Aegean office. I walk up and the girl there is clearly packing up to leave. Hi there, I need to report a lost bag. She points towards the direction I came from and starts to say something suspiciously like “Swiss Air” and I stop her…”There is no one there! Its closed up.”. She gives me the one second guesture and gets on a radio. “A couple minutes, go back and she will be there.”. Starting to feel like a ping pong ball and more than a little suspicious that she’s just trying to get rid of me so she can leave, I head back to the first area. And plant myself in front of the empty office. No sooner than a lock clicks, there’s suddently a hoard of people and even though I was sitting 3 feet away, I only manage to be third in line.
“ok, write down your address and where you are staying address,” I’m instructed when I finally get my turn. She takes the paper and starts entering on the computer. “How long are you staying?” she turns around and asks. “Two days,” I reply. She scowls a little and turns around. She comes back with the “describe your luggage codes”. Purple, No zippers, style 29 (backpack). She finishes up and gives me a print out, “We will give you a call when its here. Or you can call us and give us this reference number. It is possible it might be on the next flight.” “oh, should I wait- I could wait,” I say. “No, no, there is no need- we will call if it comes or tomorrow and we could send it by taxi.”
Ok, guessing there’s no way in hell they will find it, reclassify it and get it on a plane in the next hour (since its now past 8:30pm). And there’s no telling if THAT flight will be on time (my sample size of 2 says otherwise).
So I call my lodging host and he sends his wife to pick me up. “Oh no,” she says, “NEVER lose your bags between Athens and Mykonos!”.
On that discouraging note, I got my room, made the appropriate notifications of “I’m here” and totally crashed in bed for the night, a mere 24 hours after departing Sacramento and five airports total (a new record for me).

Did my bag come on the next flight, no. Did it come on the first flight the next day, no. Did they pick up the phone when my host called at 10am, nope.
They did pick up when we called at 2pm. But no, no bag. Maybe the next flight? Yeah, sure…
I started mentally shopping in my mind. I should make a list of everything I need to reacquire in the next 24 hours…
And then during my extended afternoon “siesta,” my host knocked on my door. “Kem-mi, ” he says in a cute Greek accent, “I am going to pick up your bag.”
What?! Hurray!
“You are VERY lucky,” he says to me as he hands me my bag a half hour later.
Very lucky indeed.