More than a third of international students in the UK have had their bags lost by airlines, a survey for door-to-door luggage delivery service Send My Bag has found.
The nightmare of travelling to and from university for the 139,000 international students studying in Britain was laid bare by the research.
It showed that 37% of students – equivalent to a staggering 51,430 undergraduates and postgrads – had suffered the misery of lost luggage. Some of those surveyed shared their woes:
- One student told how a friend was left without his suitcase for the whole of a four-week placement in Greece to work on a conservation project.
- Another revealed how he lost his British bank card before flying back to the UK after a year in the US, wasn’t allowed to pay for excess baggage any other way – and had to ditch half his possessions.
- A particularly unlucky student went to a summer camp in Singapore and was without his luggage for the full 12 days – and had to wear lost and found clothes the whole time.
- Several suitcases were misplaced by an airline when one student started their degree overseas. Their freshers experience was tainted by the fact they had no clothes except the outfit they landed in… or bed linen!
More than half of international students have paid excess baggage fees to an airline and nearly all of them (93%) view excess baggage charges as a rip off.
More than four fifths (82%) of international students find the experience of travelling to and from college stressful, with 53% enlisting the help of a parent to combat its challenges.
Those whose luggage wasn’t lost spoke of the nightmare of carrying their worldly goods across continents.
- One woman dragged her suitcase to the top of the steps in a Parisian Metro station but dropped it at the top – and watched in horror as her knickers flew out of the suitcase
- A suitcase handle snapped as one student lifted it up the steps in a train station; while another watched her suitcase come out from a luggage carousel minus one of its wheels
- Another young student nearly knocked himself out as he ran with heavy luggage to catch a Metro in Paris and delayed the train by five minutes.
- Arriving in the UK with limited cash for a cab, one woman lugged her suitcase from Birmingham to Coventry University along a bumpy road.
International students are by no means alone in their poor travel experiences. The rise of budget travel has led to low cost and low customer value experiences across the board, whether the traveller is an international student, expat, holiday-maker, or one of the 50 million people who buy self-connecting flights.
Adam Ewart, Founder and CEO of Send My Bag, commented: “In the last few years most people on budget airlines are choosing to travel with hand luggage to avoid lengthy drop-off queues, time waiting at baggage reclaim and extortionate checked baggage prices.
This ease is unfortunately unattainable for those travelling for longer periods, especially international students, who require anything from a 12-week term to a year’s worth of wardrobe, studying resources and everything else to establish a life abroad.
Our survey findings highlight how difficult it can be for international students to get their belongings to university. Airlines might be catering for profit but they are certainly not prioritising customers, a risky move for any business strategy”