Friday, January 13, 2012

Flying is for the birds

The Great Southwest Lost Luggage Fiasco

Bleary-eyed from being up since 3:45 AM, we jostled to the edge of the baggage carousel watching the bags go around and around. It was almost hypnotic; the same bags making the circuit over and over. None of them seemed to belong to anybody. At semi-regular intervals another swarm of passengers joined the press. More bags tumbled down the chute to take their turn around the track. Once in a while a piece was pulled off the conveyor, but not often.

Finally a Southwest employee began pulling off the luggage and stacking it against the wall. I don’t know why it took so long for us to accept the obvious, but we finally began shuffling into line in front the baggage office. It was just a short counter with two clerks. The line stretched out the door and along the wall for miles. Somewhere, at some other airport, the owners of all those bags piled around us were doing the same.

Three days later, FedEx reached my sister’s remote mountain cabin with my suitcase. I suppose I should be grateful that only two things were broken and that I no longer had to wear my skinny sister’s skinny neighbor’s husband’s shirts (he was actually a mite too skinny, too) but instead I am thoroughly disgruntled.

You see, when my sister called for help after her surgery, I desperately wanted to make it a road trip. She had someone to take care of her over the weekend. If I’d left Houston early Saturday morning I could’ve made Sarah’s place in CA comfortably by Monday afternoon. Heck. Miranda, my publicist, made it from Houston to LA in 24 hours once. Of course, she’s quite a bit younger…

Why would I want to take on such a long, arduous trip? Because I love road trips! But that wasn’t a factor for my concerned husband, friends, and family. Anyway – one thing and another – I was pressured into doing the sensible thing. Flying. Arriving in 8 hours instead of three days. Sans luggage.

A few blogs back I did an article on intuition. I guess the lesson here is to use it. If you have time (and you want to), drive! See the country. Exercise at rest areas, not running down some endless concourse to your connecting flight.

Most important, you’ll arrive with your luggage.

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