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Soiled Luggage & Terrible Headache in the Plane

Just a quick one this week…

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(Things you do not want to see or worse, do when you are in a plane – trust me, you never know what will happen next. Having a terrible headache just when you are about to land for the first time is something else)

I was away on a short trip overseas for a meeting. Except for the idiot who keep bumping his trolley into me at the check-in counter, the flight itself was uneventful. The service from MAS was excellent as usual and the in-flight meal was good too but all that changed when I landed and walked to get my luggage.

First thing I noticed was part of the bag was damaged but it was not the end of it. Part of the bag was covered with some kind of oil. But since I had to rush for my meeting, I decided not to spend time claiming for the damage or arguing with the airport staff on the oil stain on the bag. I admit that it was my mistake, I should have packed my clothes into a smaller hand carry bag that I could have brought in the cabin instead of checking in a bigger bag.

After all, it was a short trip but sometimes as you know me, I like to do things the other way around. I gathered later that the oil could have come from another passengers’ bag – it smells like some kind of medicated oil instead of aircraft lubricating oil (which is a good thing, now I think about it). I guessed some idiot had not packed it well and the bottle must have broken when their luggage was thrown into the plane.

Thinking that the oil “damage” only limited to the outer rim of the bag, I decided forget about it and focus on the work at hand. Hours before I need to show my face at the meeting, I had checked in at the hotel and taken a quick shower.

I then opened my bag and got a shock of my life – the oil that was so evident on the outside of the bag had “leaked” into inside and had ruined my clothes (which I suppose to wear for the formal meeting). I regret not checking on this at the airport and make my case with the staff but there was no time to waste now.

I had no choice – I noticed my company T-shirt had escaped the damage and was still good to wear. I wore back my jeans and headed to the meeting. At the meeting, so as not to rise any eye-brows (which I know will happen since the rest was wearing formal), I apologized upfront for my inappropriate attire and explained what happened. The meeting went rather well and my “out of place” wardrobe did not make any issues.

After I came back from the meeting, I checked on the damage – it was not that bad. I managed to clean up the oil from the bag but the stain on the clothes had to wait until I go back and sent it for washing. It was an early flight the next morning, so I hardly sleep that night – I do not want to oversleep and rush to the airport the next day. Thankfully I did not wake up late the next morning and took my time to shower, pack up and head to the front office to check out and wait for my shuttle to the airport.

I was flying back on a “budget” – purely because it was the first flight out in the morning. Budget also means I need to be ready with my cash for the in flight meal and there is no in-flight entertainment. I just hoped that the plane would be on-time and without any other problems. There was quite number of foreigners on the flight back home – so most of them passed on the in-flight meals (perhaps it was still too early in the morning).

So I had a plenty of choice to pick when the flight attendant come over to ask me on the meals. The last time I flew on budget, the popular meals were all sold out and I had to settle to one of the less favorite choice on the menu and it was not that good. Having nothing else to do, I was asleep for rest of the journey though.

A sense of a sudden drop woke me up. I then realized that the plane had descended and the pilot had just announced that we will landing soon. Then it started. A sharp pain near my eye lids and side of my head and the headache only increased as the plane neared the airport. I was not wrong to imagine that something was moving in my head – you would have thought the same.

I actually thought there was something alien in my head, moving to and fro, drilling and probing into my brain. I looked around and noticed that all looked normal with other passengers – no one was holding their head in sharp pain. I did not want to cause any unnecessary panic, so I just held on, hoping that the headache would go away once we have come to lower altitude.

I somehow knew what was causing the pain and I kept trying to open my mouth to equalize the pressure in & out but after many years of flying (some spanning of flying 10 – 18 hours of flight per trip) and did not having the same headache, I was a bit concerned. Why now? Is age finally catching up with me?

Thankfully my head did not explode, although the headache remained even after I had reached home and taken a hot shower. A couple of painkillers and a good afternoon nap did the trick to reduce the headache.

I probably need to be more prepared next time I fly – last thing I need is to be the next “star” in YouTube.

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