Guiri Guest Courtney is one of the co-founders of Guiri Guide in Madrid. While not having lived in Prague, she has visited on numerous occasions and therefore considers herself quite familiar with Prague 6 and the Old Town. Courtney, while loving Prague, has encountered more than a few things to share – from gems to hardships – that she feels would most benefit those without any knowledge of the Czech language (like her).
I have been fortunate enough to visit Prague and the Czech Republic many times. Its pretty easy when your very close friends from University live there and happen to be great hosts. Whether they are happy hosts is the question though…as I often just invite myself. In any case I visit a lot and each time I arrive for a visit it has been on a plane.
The Prague Airport - Ruzyne is a nice airport. It is decently small with a spattering of good duty free stores and mostly-on-time flights. I can’t complain about the waits I’ve had while checking into my flight or going through security. Its a rarity for me but Ruzyne is an airport that I really don’t mind traveling in or out of. That is, until they lose your luggage.
Last Christmas my husband and I spent the entire holiday in the Czech Republic. Due to winter storms we were lucky to have barely made our connecting flight. Upon arriving to Prague we went with a group of new friends who had also barely made the flight to the Lufthansa lost baggage counter to fill out our claim. This process was easy. The women working the counter spoke English and took us through the standard questions (describe your bag, what’s your address and phone number…etc). We gave over our friend’s local phone number and off we went…bagless.
We had been told our luggage would probably come on the next flight, which was a few hours later, and then immediately delivered to the place we were staying. At 10pm, we phoned the Lufthansa desk to check on the status of our bags and never got through. We tried again at 11pm and 12am. The next day, same thing…no answer. We verified the phone number and tried again. We tried the main Lufthansa number and they just redirected us to the no-answer number. Things began to get irritating. As mentioned, I was lucky enough to have a local call to speak in Czech and still we received no answers. Eventually we gave up and drove back to the airport.
Now listen close. I’ve heard of others having done this before with our same success so follow these steps if you find yourself in my same predicament.
- Try to reach someone on the phone from the hotel or home: Definiately try to call and reach someone in the airport before making the trek back out to Ruzyne. Here is a list of handling companies and their contact information, don’t be afriad to try various numbers and request they patch you through to the right person. And NOTE: All lost baggage claims go to the same desk, no matter your airline. Phone: +420 220 113 314, +420 220 113 321
- Call from within the airport: Once you arrive to the airport go to where passengers exit the baggage claim. As your facing the exit door you will see to the right, past the cafe, an assistance phone along the wall. This is the advised first point to attempt to reach someone to locate your luggage (which is more than likely sitting in baggage claim – not being delivered). Give them your claim number and story.
- Physically go to the airline office: If no one answers the phone, or you run into a language barrier, I’d advise you take the escalators upstairs to your designated airline offices. Employees in these offices will often speak English and can call the appropriate person to come meet you and [hopefully] take you into your bag or in the very least to an agent who can assist you with your situation.
For us, it took all three steps to get our things. Once we reached someone to let us into the baggage claim area we were able to locate and grab our bags (they had in fact arrived on the next flight, as promised. Just not delivered). I was so relieved and yet I thought about those people we came from Milan with…how would they get there things? I had no way of knowing. I have no doubt the baggage claim department was swamped that cold Christmas but I’ve heard of this happening other times and I want to let you know that you don’t have to give up. You just need to work a bit! There is no reason you have to begin your time in Prague without your things. The city is too great for those stresses.