James Cridland

Trip report: lost bags, old logos, and American lounges

My luggage

“Hello. You’ve been loooking for my luggage for three days. Can I tell you where it is?”

Not really the conversation I was expecting to have with the fiercely efficient Lufthansa, but there we are, it was the conversation I was apparently having. And they did want to know.

“It’s at gate D6 in Oslo airport,” I told them. They seemed grateful.

And, fiercely efficient that they are, it was just ten minutes later that I got an email that they’d found my bag.

Let’s rewind a bit.


Brisbane is a fine international airport, but the downside is that sometimes it doesn’t quite manage to give you very good connections. As it is, if you’re flying to Europe via Singapore, you have six hours to kill at Changi airport. It’s not the worst place to kill time.

The Jewel train

I go out of the airport to The Jewel, mooch about for a bit, then work out how to get this train - the one that goes through the centre of the shopping complex, right next to the big waterfall. This involves a lot of walking to terminals I don’t normally use, but you can do it, and that train is landside. It’s not quite as exciting as I hoped it would be.

My trip to SIN was on a wifi-equipped Qantas plane, so I was able to finish some work I had to do. The wifi is free and only works over Australia, but that’s most of the journey anyway. I had a spare seat next to me, which was nice.

My onward journey to LHR was fine: everyone was very polite and the captain on the tannoy was particularly friendly. It turns out, as we got off, that Qantas’s CEO was on the flight (flying in first). I dare say she should do the trip in economy to get a view that most of her customers get. The plane was about 60% full, something she might have spotted.

The O2

I then had nine hours in LHR before an onward flight to Oslo. I went into the city for a few meetings, and back - the Elizabeth Line making that easy. Then, a BA flight to OSL, followed by the airport train and a bus (I found the app to buy a ticket).

Oslo airport in the snow

The train to the airport broke down. We sat in a station for a bit, with announcements in Norwegian and in English. I wasn’t too worried - I’d given myself plenty of time, but also, and get this, the train service promises that if it breaks down and you miss your flight, it will pay for a replacement flight. Seriously.

We hop onto the following train, and get to the airport in plenty of time. I check my bag in. It had been snowing on the train ride but, by the looks of the view outside, the snow was getting worse and worse. We got close to takeoff time. And then I got a text - and as I started reading it, so did the attendants at the gate. The airport was closed, and my flight was cancelled.

I opened the Lufthansa app, where it told me my flight was cancelled and offered me a seat on the flight later that day. I got another text, saying I’d been booked on that flight. And another text - show your original boarding pass and get $30 of free food. I ended up going for a moose burger. No, really. And watched the snow come down.

A very snowy plane

All very efficient, and had Oslo’s airport wifi actually worked properly, I’d have been okay with the delay, to be honest. We took off an hour late.

On landing at Munich, a text apologising that they didn’t get my bag onto the flight, and saying they’d send it on. I wasn’t overly concerned. They’ll not lose my bag, would they?

Lufthansa text


After they found my bag with my assistance, I was leaving the next morning, so updated my hotel details to my hotel in Los Angeles. (I was only in London for one day and was a bit worried it would take time to get to me).

Lufthansa then said they had got my bag and I changed the website again to say that I’d pick it up in Munich airport instead, so I could take it to London after all. And I duly got a text and an email saying my bag was ready for picking up in Munich airport.

Trouble is, Lufthansa had lost my bag again. The bag wasn’t ready for picking up. Nobody really knew where it was. I had to go through security to get into the baggage hall.

“I’ve been told to come here to collect my bag.”

“It is going to Los Angeles.”

“But you said I can pick it up here.”

“You wanted it to go to Los Angeles.”

“I changed it to say I’d pick it up here.”

“No you didn’t.”

“Yes I did.”

After a little negotiation, it was pulled off the flight to LA and put on a flight to LHR. Possibly my flight. I go and check in. “Ah, you’re the one with the other bag,” said the BA person, giving me an extra luggage tag.

But in the end, the Airtag showed me that it hadn’t made it onto my flight. Again. And instead, Lufthansa sent it to Heathrow, where I had to fill a customs form, and wait for a day - it went to what looks like someone’s house in Slough first, followed by a long pause and then eventually arrived in my hotel. Phew.


I was on American Airlines for this trip. The AA lounge in LHR is surprisingly awful: very crowded, not very pleasant, and I wasn’t a fan. I tiptoed over to the British Airways lounge which is much nicer.

I wasn’t much looking forward to the long flight. But, the two people next to me moved seats just before takeoff, so I had a row to myself - and AA offers decent-ish wifi so I was able to do a fair bit of work on the way. It’s surprising how much wifi helps a long flight pass by.

Eat conscious

The meals were decent, and everything was just fine. The cutlery for the meals was wood, rather than single-use plastic. It was marked with wording saying “EAT CONSCIOUS”. I wasn’t planning on being unconscious, certainly while eating, but it’s good to be told what to do every once in a while.

Los Angeles

LA skyline

Downtown Los Angeles is not a pleasant place. Every second building is empty or derelict. A country without any safety nets means homeless people on every street corner. There’s an all-pervading smell of piss.

However, Los Angeles public transport is brilliant. Amazingly good. I’ve said this to people who live here and they think I’m joking, but I really mean it. Next to the hotel was the light rail which would take me down to Santa Monica or anywhere in an hour for just $1.75. It’s excellently connected to the subway system, and uses the same payment as the buses. You can’t pay more than $5 a day. It makes it cheaper than London’s transport system and just as comprehensive. And while it still uses its own Tap card, Apple wallet offers you a Tap card and the means to top it up.

I popped up to the Griffith Observatory for some views of the city. Lovely spot. There’s a free bus from one of the subway stops - free, every ten minutes, laid on by the city. Yes. To a tourist spot. Capitalism hasn’t killed public transport, even here.

Union Station

I also went to Union Station (always a good idea to visit the railway station in a major US city, since you get impressive architecture that people still maintain).

And then I did some work. I don’t think my name was anywhere near large enough behind me as I was speaking, if you ask me.

Doing some work


You appear to be able to check in relatively early if you have status, which is nice.

Boarding pass

I was given this as a boarding pass. It uses an old Qantas logo that was refreshed in 2016: so it’s eight years out of date.

Look, I understand why the Qantas First Lounge in LAX is still using this logo: the whole lounge was opened in 2014 and still uses the old fonts and logos. Those cost money to replace.

But did Qantas really order more than eight years of printed boarding-passes which they’re still using up? Or are people re-ordering boarding pass stock with this logo on in 2024? Either way, it looks a little like a lack of attention to detail.

I care about logos much too much.

I then had a lovely time in the plane on the way home which wasn’t delayed in any way and was half empty and everything was excellent (I hope, since I’m writing this in the LAX lounge).