AIRBORNE BETWEEN NEW CALEDONIA AND THE SOLOMON ISLANDS — So the trip was spectacular, beyond my wildest expectations (alright, maybe not my wildest) and possibly one of the top-ten moments of my life.
Until it all came crashing down right before takeoff.
After getting to the airport and checking in with plenty of time, I retreated to the Air New Zealand lounge at the Sydney airport, enjoying free food and drink and taking advantage of the opportunity to charge my laptop and iPhone. They announced my flight was boarding and I hurriedly disconnected all the cables and packed things up. Maybe too hurriedly.
On the plane, I reached into my sweater pocket (my sweater was hanging loose) to switch my phone to “airplane mode” and to my horror, couldn’t find it. I quickly looked around my seat area, in my carry on bag and the bin. No joy. I paged the flight attendant to ask if she could call the lounge, but she regretfully told me they had already closed the doors and no communication was possible.
A more thorough check of my bag and belongings didn’t reveal any trace, so I’m therefore forced to conclude it was lost. Most likely it was in the lounge by the TV (where I unplugged it and thought I repacked it), but possibly also in the lounge bathroom. Either place gives me a decent chance to get it back, as the folks who work the lounge are professionals and those who patronize it are generally businesspeople who will hopefully be less desperate (and maybe a bit more understanding) than your average traveler.
Of course, if I lost it in the general pathway between the lounge and gate 60, all bets are off.
The worst part is the helplessness I feel right now. If they had been able to reach the lounge before we departed, we might have made that “golden hour” where the lounge staff could have checked for — and possibly found the phone. Alternatively, while I’m on the plane, I can’t do things I would otherwise do in this situation: call the phone or text it. Crap.
I can’t even check if my credit card’s purchase protection will reimburse me for the phone, or what the terms are. (I think it might have 30-day coverage, the phone is 36 days old).
I’ve fallen for the iPhone as much as one could fall for a small electronic device. I’ve used it to store docs, text my family, look at stars, find my way about town with its GPS, convert currency, etc. It’ll be horrible if I can’t get reunited with the iPhone and — what’s worse — I’m out beaucoup bucks. At least the phone’s password-protected, so no one can call around on it. But of course, that also means they can’t access the address book and contact me. Sigh.
And now that I’m in L.A., I can’t find a number for the Air New Zealand lounge and United Customer Service only works Monday through Friday. Arrggh!
Update: 4 p.m. (PST) SAN LUIS OBISPO, Calif. — I finally got in touch with the Sydney lounge, but ... the iPhone has NOT been turned in. :-( I left my contact details in case it was, but I'm not hopeful. They gave me a general number for the airport lost and found, but I'm sure that's a madhouse, and it's not open Sundays. Hrrm. I did try calling (no answer) and texting the phone (it should display a preview without password) but it's a longshot.
I can't find any details about my credit card's purchase protection plan, and I'm scanning my travel insurance plan to see if it can help. Otherwise, I might need to buy a new, UN-subsidized phone!