We lost our luggage in Cairns, but not in the airport! A misfortuned accident that we learned from!

15 May 2017

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How to fit 2 adults and 2 kids with 2 big luggage and 2 cabin luggage in one taxi? That’s the problem we were facing right there, in the airport, just arrived in sunny Cairns.

As travel professionals, we always make prearrangements concerning hotels, some tours, airport transfers etc. But this kind of an adventure needs lots of backpacks, bags and suitcases, so we changed our minds about taking a taxi from the airport to the hotel. This time, our chosen hotel for the 2 nights stay in Cairns, DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cairns, was rather close (8 km, a 10 minutes drive). More than one good reason to take the shuttle bus to the hotel, as someone from our party suggested.

Bad, bad decision, as we were about to find out soon.


Now I just want to ask you this:

Do you usually buy a travel insurance when you travel? Yep, us too.
Does this travel insurance cover the delay or loss of your luggage by the airlines? Some of the it does, ours certainly did.
Does it cover the loss of your luggage on the street by the shuttle company??? No, I do not think any kind of travel insurance does that. Is just that we’ve learn that the very very hard way.



So here we are, our party of 7 (our family of 4 plus 3 more adults) booked directly at Sun Palm Transport counter in the Arrivals airport terminal a round trip transfer to and from the hotel. The operations went smoothly, in 10 minutes we were heading for the minibus, loading our luggage in a sort of tow attached to the minibus. But the driver was busy talking over his phone, so a fellow Polish guest that we shared the minibus with helped us with the luggage.

When we booked our beautiful experience – Cruising through Australia and New Zealand, we planned for a big ending to our family travel with children: a special Great Barrier Reef family tour, to swim and snorkel with the fish, see the corals and be amazed. And indeed, we were! Gateway to all Great Barrier Reef tours, tropical islands and the ancient Daintree Rainforest, is city of Cairns, a dynamic and chic seaside town that we will talk about later on. But the adventure went further than we expected.

So this shared transportation stopped first at the Polish man’s hotel, the driver helped him with his luggage, close the tow and start driving again. But no more than 2 or 3 minutes later, looking at the rear window of the minibus, we realized that all the luggage is falling from the tow, directly on the streets of Cairns. We started to shout, the driver stopped the car, we got off.


What do you know? 4 of 6 luggage from our party were missing, along with others. Trouble is we couldn’t see the missing pieces on the street. My husband, our brother-in-low and the bus driver run to locate the lost pieces with the driver, but they couldn’t find anything. Meanwhile, another bus driver informed us that he saw some lost suitcases, and our driver ran towards the direction the man pointed.

My brother-in-law came back empty-handed, of course, my husband did not. Pretty concerned already, I left the kids with my sister-in-law and run in the same direction as the driver. And there he was, my husband, hardly trying to carry all lost luggage, as a real life superhero. I helped him get everything back. It wasn’t about the value, there were just clothes and personal items, small souvenirs we bought from our family trip, but we would have been very upset if we had lost it for good.


So the big boys made sure that the tow was now well closed and the luggage horizontally fixed. Thing was that at first, the luggage was placed on the wheels and easily slide down when the tow door opened by accident.

We arrived soon at our hotel, and made some pictures of the car plate, as we were angry and wanted to make a complaint to the company, in spite of the continuous excuses of the bus driver. He was sorry and that was the first time such thing happened to him, he said. No tip for him this time!

The foresaid minibus

After the check in (the helpful staff in Reception of DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel tried to ease our angry feeling by checking us in quickly and also gave us their Signature chocolate chip cookies) and a good shower, we took a walk to the city center and Cairns Esplanade and had something to in order to chill a little. Oh, a big tank of beer did the trick!

And at the end of the day, we decided not to make a complaint after all, as we figured that we had better concentrate on our upcoming wonderful experience at the Great Barrier Reef rather then loosing time and patience and not solving anything by complaining. Although, I am pretty sure the driver did report the incident. All the bags found, with little damage, although upset and angry, we agreed it was only a stupid accident. We are all humans, we all make mistakes. So we just relaxed over a beer (a big one!!) and enjoyed beautiful views of Cairns Esplanade.

We cool off with a beer. OK, two, but who’s counting?


Has something similar happened to you? How did you react? We would like to know, so please share with us your story.



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