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Coach Transfers - A Word of Warning..., snowHeads ski forum
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Coach Transfers - A Word of Warning...

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
I've just returned from a much needed Austrian break, and both myself and my partner now have the fun of Covid to deal with, but that's not why I'm putting pen to paper...

We loaded suitcases, skis and a holdall onto a Crystal coach for the return back to Innsbruck airport. I checked to make sure everything went on before jumping onto the coach, as I always do after an incident in Egypt one summer. When we got to the airport, we were one of the last people off because we ended up at the back. I collected the suitcases and skis, but the bag containing boots, jackets, etc was nowhere to be seen.

The airport was pandemonium, and Crystal showed very little interest in the disappearance (why would that surprise me though). The coach driver re-opened all of the doors, but it was completely empty. I spent 3 hours hunting round the airport giving people determined looks and getting quizzical ones back. Apologies if you were in Innsbruck airport last weekend!

The bag was fairly unique, so I'm now pretty convinced it was a pre-determined theft. The only people around the coach were Crystal customers (no locals or anything). We're now left with an insurance claim for £1000 worth of equipment because of someone's greed.

This will effect us every time we fly now, and possibly even force us to make our own way to resort in the future. I'd be interested in hearing how you might have done this differently, or if you've had a similar experience. Do we force the coach driver to let us chain our luggage to the coach or together for instance?

Rob.
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Miserable experience, @ratkinsonuk, and with Covid on top. Sympathies.
Quote:

force us to make our own way to resort in the future

Ditch Crystal - arrange holidays yourself and rent a car. You'll never look back.
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 Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
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Thanks Pam. After a bad experience with Crystal 10 years ago, I vowed never to use them again. This was the first time, but to be fair, maybe not their fault on this occasion. It's just the 'we've got your cash, so we're not interested' attitude most of them seem to have.

Rob.
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What @pam w, says, haven’t used tour operators for years.

Must admit the coach bag thing has always been at the back of my mind when I’ve used coaches not been able to rest easy knowing it’ll be there on arrival. We had to get out of St Anton by coach due to impending lockdown 13.03.20 and we all caught Covid on the bus, red hot, stuffy and no aircon, and overloaded but at least we got out!

Hope you get sorted with your claim @ratkinsonuk,
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@ratkinsonuk, Thankfully, I've not had this experience but it makes me think of a similar situation. If you go into a restaurant and the waiter takes your coat,then they take responsibility for returning them at the end of the evening, Plenty of lawyers on here who will say whether this is the law or just customary practice.
Now, most coach transfers I've been on the driver places the luggage into the cargo space in order to maximise utilisation. So, maybe that act makes him (and therefore Crystal) responsible for the safe delivery back to you of your luggage. Just a thought ...
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I've never had this happen but must say I am paranoid about busy coach pick ups at Airports - its a bun fight to the correct coach between the operators and unless your genuinely last on they encourage everyone to load up and then sit in the coach to get ready . . .as a (now ex) smoker I ALWAYS ensured I was last on (due to chain smoking before the journey) and had my eyes on the 'open' coach doors and my own / my families kit at all times. It would be so easy to discreetly remove a tasty looking bit of kit when your happily seated on the back seats with your feet up etc - feel for you - sue the mofos! Surely Crystal need to take greater care and the transfer reps do a check count based on the booking and customers on board?

I was on a public bus to Zell earlier in the season direct from Salzburg and was probably the only person to load up a large ski bag etc - made sure I kept my eyes open at every stop in readiness to leap out and thump someone however this never happened and all was good on arrival!
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DCG wrote:
So, maybe that act makes him (and therefore Crystal) responsible for the safe delivery back to you of your luggage. Just a thought ...


I haven't checked, as luckily my insurance company (Insure & Go) seem to be more than happy to pay out, but I'd have money there's a clause hidden deep in the contract that says luggage is carried at the owners risk or similar.

Rob.
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One other comment. I've only just returned to work, and had my fingers crossed that I'd see an email from Crystal saying that they'd found my bag. I have an incident number from them, so I know it's logged in their system.

Something like this must be fairly rare, so I'm pretty gob-smacked that we haven't had an email or even a phone call to apologise or discuss the problem. Is it worth me trying to contact them? I don't intend to ever use them again, so there's really nothing to be gained by dragging them over the coals.
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It always is at the back of my mind also, but thankfully never had anything misplaced or stolen.

Hope it all pans out ok.
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ratkinsonuk wrote:


The bag was fairly unique, so I'm now pretty convinced it was a pre-determined theft. The only people around the coach were Crystal customers (no locals or anything). We're now left with an insurance claim for £1000 worth of equipment because of someone's greed.



Seems unlikely that it was another Crystal customer on the same bus because of the fact that they'd have to do a hasty bag swap to make away with the contents. And you presumably marched up and down the check in queues looking. Not hard for a 3rd party to grab something on unload, if they look confident, as everyone else is focused on their own stuff. I struggle with the desirability of a random bag filled with potentially old ski boots and smelly skiwear unless the bag itself was somehow desirable like LV or something.
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Quote:

If you go into a restaurant and the waiter takes your coat,then they take responsibility for returning them at the end of the evening,

Dunno about that. I have visions of little plaques by the places you leave your coats, saying it's at your own risk. They no doubt have to take "reasonable care" but they could probably argue that they did.
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Last time I was on a tour op coach, a guy at the back of the coach shouted at the driver to stop as we left Chambery.

His skis were on the pavement..........where the driver had told him to leave them.........and hadnt made it on to the coach Laughing
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You've hit on my exact quandary Dave. Murphy's law says that it either never made it to the airport, or is still on the coach, but we managed to rule out those possibilities. Given that only passengers approached the coach after we arrived, you're then left with a mistake by someone or a deliberate action.

The steps we took whilst at the airport and the amount of time passed would really only leave one possible outcome, although even now I want to believe there's another explanation. Ultimately, we're very unlikely to ever know the truth, which is the thing that actually hurts the most as it will effect every single trip we ever take going forward.

Rob.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
Like others this is something I am very paranoid about, although it's been a long while since I did a coach journey with luggage - skiing or otherwise.

You have my sympathy.

The only way around the issue I can see is to have a check in/check out ticketing system but I guess that would be a lot of work for perhaps a rare event.
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 Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
Why anyone rents a car or gets a private coach transfer in a country with one of, if not the, best public transport systems in the world has always bemused me
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 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
That's bad luck.

When I used Greyhound buses a lot I would ensure I was awake and watching whenever the bus stopped, and that I eyeballed the stuff they were taking out of the baggage compartment at each stop. Once I load my bag, I keep an eye on it from that point until the bus is moving. I figure I can't cover all the angles, but I can ensure I'm the hardest target.

I think there's a limit to what you can expect a coach driver to do. Fancy bags would presumably be priority targets. I recently had to carry an expensive lens which comes in a pelican-style case with "it's well worth stealing me" logos on it. I taped those over and wrapped the case in charity shop bags, which I reckon makes it less obviously the first thing you'd want to steal.

Why did they pick your bag specifically, I wonder?
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 Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person
A long time ago I was on a Greyhound bus when I saw a guy confidently board, grab something off the rack and step off. I was further to the rear and not in a position to a intervene nor certain that this was not someone just grabbing their own item to put in the hold. Sure enough a minute or so later a lady starting frantically searching for her handbag...

I also had a laptop bag swiped once from the basket of a baggage trolley while I was bending down to put something in my hold case.

Thieves are fast and opportunist.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Thu 17-03-22 14:35; edited 1 time in total
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Ionizingskin wrote:
Why anyone rents a car or gets a private coach transfer in a country with one of, if not the, best public transport systems in the world has always bemused me

#1 Because they are travelling with a TO which includes a door to door transfer.

#2 Thieves also operate on public transport.
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Layne wrote:
#2 Thieves also operate on public transport.


Yep, probably far more prevalent on public transport than on a private transfer, plus there are probably more opportunities as you switch trains/buses etc. en route.
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@ratkinsonuk,
Have you considered asking the Airport Police to check their CCTV for the drop off point? Nowadays I would be amazed if there is no CCTV there.
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Years ago we arrived at Geneva with Mark Warner. The MW rep then told us that the flight was overbooked. I did not realise that could happen with charter flights. He asked for three volunteers to travel on another flight an hour later however our luggage would be sent ahead on the original flight. Myself and two friends volunteered.

When we got to the UK we found three ski bags put aside. Two were those of my two friends however the third, although the same as mine was obviously much older and therefore not mine. My bag was never returned.

I put in an insurance claim however the insurance company heavily depreciated the skis from the original purchase price. To their credit MW paid the difference after I contacted them.
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@ratkinsonuk, some years ago arrived Aberdeen airport, waiting for luggage return and someone otherside of carousel picked up MY bag and legged it towards exit. With an internationally recognized Oi shouted loudly managed to stop them. It was really my bag, fairly unique, not expensive but a odd green colour that I'd not seen another of before or after this incident.

Turns out they had exactly the same luggage when their one came through a little later Very Happy amusing when sorted, but we'd both have been surprised at the contents when opening later I guess. If not sorted then it probably wouldn't ever be as no real connection, perhaps returned to airport lost property would be only hope.

Since that, always put a laminated tab secured inside luggage with contact mobile number so any traceability could be acted on if honestly a mistake was made.

Also, often organized group travel, I'd put tape identification of loop on handles (like luggage tag) for all baggage in group so that we could all see and grab luggage from transfer etc, or see if bags from our group were being left anywhere and without having to remember/read luggage tag info first.
You'd easily see anyone mistakenly carrying group luggage too.

You could also see any of your group bags coming down carousel too for ease of retrieval.
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
Sorry to hear this @ratkinsonuk

Salzburg wouldn't have been the first place I would have thought of something like this occurring - was on a relatively full transfer bus to Turin recently, on arrival presumably well-meaning fellow passengers started unloading the hold, probably to get to their bags - frankly it was a fiasco, bags everywhere, if none were lost to theft in what is quite a public area, it was purely by luck.

Baggage is a bit of a TO lacuna - same holiday (won't say the hotel or resort for obvious reasons) the hotel and TO demanded that all bags to be transported to the coaches were in the ski room by 11pm the night before, to be taken down to the coaches by van in the morning. Had thieves overcome the wee wee-poor ski room lock, they would potentially have been away with a couple of hundred bags.
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ratkinsonuk, maybe best to avoid being at the back of the coach and so the last off.
In the days we used TOs and coach transfers we were 2 adults and 2 young kids.
I always mentioned to reps and coach driver that our kids were prone to travel sickness and best we sat in the front or there would be a nasty mess.
Worked every time. Best seats in the bus with the best views, and off first to collect the luggage.
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Nemisis wrote:
@ratkinsonuk,
Have you considered asking the Airport Police to check their CCTV for the drop off point? Nowadays I would be amazed if there is no CCTV there.


I spoke to the coach driver, Crystal Rep and Airport Police within minutes of finding out, as I could see time would be critical. None of them could offer anything apart from walking round and seeing if I could spot the bag. Given the number of coaches coming in at the time, they had bigger fish to fry....
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ski3 wrote:
Since that, always put a laminated tab secured inside luggage with contact mobile number so any traceability could be acted on if honestly a mistake was made.

Also, often organized group travel, I'd put tape identification of loop on handles (like luggage tag) for all baggage in group so that we could all see and grab luggage from transfer etc, or see if bags from our group were being left anywhere and without having to remember/read luggage tag info first.
You'd easily see anyone mistakenly carrying group luggage too.

You could also see any of your group bags coming down carousel too for ease of retrieval.


Thanks Ski3 - all good advice. We had personal straps on the suitcases, but not on the holdall. It's was relatively unique in that it had the British Ski Club and Dakine logos plastered all over it and was a fairly limited edition. That's one of the reasons I'm not convinced it was accidental.
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Jonpim wrote:
ratkinsonuk, maybe best to avoid being at the back of the coach and so the last off.
In the days we used TOs and coach transfers we were 2 adults and 2 young kids.
I always mentioned to reps and coach driver that our kids were prone to travel sickness and best we sat in the front or there would be a nasty mess.
Worked every time. Best seats in the bus with the best views, and off first to collect the luggage.


That's an interesting one, and something that put a smile on my face prior to the incident. The coach was half-empty when we got on, but the Mrs went trotting off towards the back seat. I stopped to chat with a guy on the coach, and asked him if she was going for a walk somewhere. Like every good bloke, I closed my mouth, and followed her silently up the aisle. Wives always know best...... rolling eyes
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Quote:

It's was relatively unique in that it had the British Ski Club

That'll be why TM Tony probably thought it was his and only realised his mistake after the event. Toofy Grin
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That's one of the reasons I'm not convinced it was accidental.

It can't have been accidental, as once whoever had lifted it met up with the rest of their party, they would have realised they had two of them.
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I once got to resort with my ski bag and when I opened it discovered it was someone else's bag identical to mine. Luckily it was a crystal holiday and the flight was operated by TUI and someone in another resort had my bag. Crystal were excellent and the chalet manager did a 6 hour round trip to swap the bags. (The other bag was much better packed than mine)
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 Poster: A snowHead
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Always customised my gear in some way to avoid anyone acedently lifting it by mistake.
Not something I have been aware of at Austrian airports but luggage steeling is a problem at some airports. Car rental areas is apparently a favorite area for it.
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Came back from Saas Fee on a Crystal holiday once. There was an arrangement whereby non-hand-luggage was collected directly from the hotel and you didn't see it again until baggage reclaim at LHR, which seemed attractive at the time. Bag arrived safely, but when I got home I realised a rather nice jacket was missing. Problem was that it could have been any of Crystal staff, Swiss PO, Swiss trains, GVA baggage, or LHR baggage - so couldn't do much about it.

If it was a decent jacket could the bag have been removed from the coach before leaving resort?
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So, a recommendation is hire a car.

Fine, unless the car is broken into whilst you stop for a bit of rest, lunch or the suchlike and the entire contents of said car are nicked (not skiing, Crete).

But then I also have the same problem with coaches - paranioa at each stop.

I also have the same problem with trains where you store your luggage on the racks outside the compartment and spend each stop craning nervously down the carriage and along the platform.

Sadly, crooks everywhere
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ecureuil wrote:
If it was a decent jacket could the bag have been removed from the coach before leaving resort?


I watched the bag go into the coach, and we only had a couple of stops afterwards. Unlikely, but possible I guess.
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countryman wrote:
So, a recommendation is hire a car.

Fine, unless the car is broken into whilst you stop for a bit of rest, lunch or the suchlike and the entire contents of said car are nicked (not skiing, Crete).


We had a thread a week or so back about that happening to someone en-route to the Alps.

countryman wrote:
Sadly, crooks everywhere


True - but worth remembering that they are by far the minority and the vast majority of people drive/coach to and from ski resorts without any issues. Doesn't help if you're one of the minority who are hit by them but not a risk to over inflate in your head either.
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Mjit wrote:
True - but worth remembering that they are by far the minority and the vast majority of people drive/coach to and from ski resorts without any issues.


I couldn't agree more. Over the last 15 years I've had the privilege to take hundreds of flights, some of them as package tours and others self-organised. This is the first time I've had a real problem. I've never even heard of anything similar, and it seemed to be quite a shock to the staff at the airport.

I guess my original reason for posting was to glean some common sense ideas on how I can better protect myself. Increased (more visible) marking on the luggage is definitely something I'll be doing. Having a go at organising my own self-drive trip is another. With the massive increase in costs, it was already on my radar, and I've been doing my summer trips for years now anyway.

I just hope this never happens to any of you, and might make you also think about one or two of these ideas the next time your luggage in sitting on your bed waiting to be packed with probably thousands of pounds worth of your personal possessions.

Rob.
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GPS bag trackers are available
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 After all it is free Go on u know u want to!
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My 'Luggage' story

Arriving in resort, the transfer bus stopped at its first drop off point. Luckily I was sat on the pavement side of the Bus, because I saw a chap striding up the road with my bag! (a very distinctive White one) : Turned out that my bag had been taken off by another passenger to get to theirs - The man who took mine had assumed that it belonged to one their group and had 'helpfully' picked it up. I did wonder if I had been sat anywhere else, how long it would take to get my bag back?!?
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