Friday, February 27, 2009

Baby Einstein - part 1

(written Thursday night)

This morning, I left for California. O’Hare seemed unusually empty today. I guess no one can afford a vacation and no one is traveling for business because no one has a job. It’s kinda scary. I made it through security and over to my gate with no problems. I accidentally ripped my earring out and it went flying across the aisle and hit some poor guy. I have no idea how I managed that and I couldn’t do it again if I tried. I sat next to a normal couple from Ohio on the plane. They didn’t breathe through their mouths or chew like water buffalo or do any other annoying things so it was a good flight. I watched The Secret Life of Bees. I’m not a fan. It was ok, but I wouldn’t go out and rent it.

I didn’t check my bag because I’m always afraid of losing it in transit. I prefer to keep my luggage with me. Now that airlines charge you to check even one bag, everyone wants to keep their suitcases with them instead of checking them. The problem with that is they run out of room on the plane. If you’re one of the last people on, you’ll be out of luck and will end up having to check your bag right there at the gate. That’s what happened to me today. The flight attendant said, “There’s no room. Just leave your suitcase here and I’ll tag it and check it. What seat are you in?”

“Umm 18D.”

“And what’s your final destination?”

I bit back my smart-aleck answer of “heaven” and answered her, “Burbank.”
She scribbled this information on a cocktail napkin and tucked it under the handle of my suitcase. I looked at her and said, “A cocktail napkin? Oh yeah, now I’m full of confidence.”

She insisted she’d put a real tag on it.

“I’m never going to see this again, am I?” I joked, looking at my fellow passengers for confirmation of my fears.

“Yes, you will! It’ll go right to Burbank with you!” she lied insisted.

I had a hard time stowing my carry-on under my seat, I held up a line of people as I messed around with it, I dropped my phone in the aisle, and after I finally sat down, I stuck my foot out and tripped a poor guy walking by. It wasn’t on purpose!
I made it to San Francisco and had 10 minutes to make my connecting flight so I pushed everyone out of my way, got off the plane, and ran to the gate for my flight to Burbank. Thankfully that flight was delayed 10 minutes which gave me time to run to the bathroom (and catch my breath from all the running!)

On the flight between San Francisco and Burbank, I sat by myself in the very last row on the plane. I could reach out and touch the cockpit from my seat. It was the size of my girls’ Barbie plane.

So I got off the plane and waited for my suitcase. And I waited. And waited. And guess what! THEY LOST IT! I KNEW THE COCKTAIL NAPKIN WOULDN’T WORK!!! After talking to some United reps and filling out some forms, they informed me that they hadn’t technically “lost” my luggage as they knew where it was – San Francisco.
“That’s nice, but I’m in Burbank!” ARGH!

I rushed to the hotel, dropped off my carry-on and went out to dinner at a fancy-schmancy restaurant (Crustacean) wearing the jeans and t-shirt that I’d traveled in all day. Lovely.

Now, I’m back at the hotel and it’s 12:00am Chicago time. United just called and said that my suitcase had arrived and they’d send it over within the next 3 hours. Ugh. I just want a shower and sleep, but I can’t take a shower and put my dirty ole clothes back on. Guess I’ll be staying up, waiting for my bag…

On the bright side, I have a very nice, big hotel room with a beautiful view of the mountains! The weather is gorgeous here! I had a delicious meal that I didn’t have to cook tonight! I met some great women and had some nice conversations! I love California!!!


Sarah said...

So did your luggage finally arrive, or are you going nekkid today?

Mom Taxi Julie said...

Too bad you aren't in SF I'd drive over to meet you!

MaBunny said...

wow, sorry they lost your luggage. Glad you have a nice hotel room and didn't have to cook!

Candi said...

Sounds like this is one trip you REALLY need. I couldn't help but notice how much of your appreciation of your circumstances was for the things you didn't have to do. I pray you have a great time and get all the relaxation you need!
Years ago when I had to do a lot of travelling to the West Coast I would opt to take one of my 2 preschool children with me occasionally just because I could and I was gone so much I missed them loads. My little girl had just received a new doll complete with wardrobe that was the "hot" toy item for the season. She was going to carry the doll with her, but grew tired and I knew she'd sleep on the plane. I was struggling with her and the doll and luggage, so just as reached the front of the check-in I asked for help to put the doll in the bag packed with her clothes. That's the only time I ever had a bag lost, and sure enough when they "found" the bag and delivered it to us, there was no doll or doll clothing in the bag. Even the doll's little toys were gone.
The joys of modern transportation. %}

mamadorsch said...

I am so sorry your bag was lost!! I hope you told them about the napkin! What ever happened to doing your job correctly? Anyway I hope you have a great trip!!

Feisty Irish Wench said...

My well traveled cousin always packs a broomstick skirt (cuz it's SUPPOSED to be wrinkled) and a lightweight thin sweater in her carry on just in case her suitcase gets to take the scenic tour. Sleep deprivation sucks, at least when you're at home there are things to occupy time when you are awake late at night.

Mama On The Move said...

I had a bag disappear and never turn up 10 years ago. At least you are getting yours back! I was moving from GA to Alaska and had all my favorite and newest clothes with me. I had to buy a whole new wardrobe (which sounds like fun, but really isn't $$$).

Anonymous said...

I learned that lesson with luggage too!!!
Needless to say, if you gate check a bag, it gets taken off and set next to the door of the airplane so you can pick it up as you get off the plane. No matter what they tell you, thats what happens. i've never herd of one going through like it should no matter what anyone tells you. Sigh.... if only it were like Star Trek with the teleports. Make things a whole lot easier.

jodi-mother of six said...

One time when I was traveling back and forth from California to Illinois to help care for my mother, my luggage got lost. Well it wasn't really LOST..they knew where it was; it just wasn't with me! It went on to Tampa with the extended flight, while I got off at O'Hare. I went on to Dubugue on a "puddle-jumper" where the pilot was about 12 and was also the ticket agent, gate attendant etc. I waited 4 days for the luggage while it traveled to Tampa, back to Chicago, up to Iron Mountain Michigan and back to Chicago, then to San Jose and back to Chicago and finally to my mother's house! I mostly wore my mother's cloths, but I did buy some new underwear! I have never flown with United since.
Incidentally, if you fly out of MidWay you can take Southwest Airlines and you don't pay for checked luggage and you can check TWO pieces...yes that's right two and they're free! I don't fly anywhere Southwest doesn't go!!! I love them! And they have never lost any of my luggage in the 30-some years of flying with them!

Mary Moore said...


Glad they found it so quickly.

I think in all the times I've flown, my luggage has been lost more times than not. For sure.

Shadowydreamer said...

Dawn - lesson #1 with carry on luggage.. always, always, have a spare change of clothes and three days worth of medication in your backpack you plan on shoving under your seat.

I don't know about United, but MOST airlines if they lose your luggage are supposed to give you a certificate so you can buy a change of clothing. You should bat your baby browns at the representative on your way back (or write a pointy letter) and mention you had to go to a *business meeting* in jeans and a t-shirt due to THEIR foul up.

Cheryl said...

Sorry!! How good of you to be able to point out the bright side.

SSO?-Areb you at all afraid of flying?

Anonymous said...

Although I sympathize with the luggage issue, if people just checked luggage rather than expect to find room in the plane life works better. I fly weekly, I check luggage when I arrive. NEVER has it been lost, or sent to the wrong place. BUT, on a flight recently that I am still fuming about there was to much carry on (imagine that with the new luggage fees). So they started taking stuff out of the overheads, my laptop was first to be THROWN with a "Who does this belong to??" I grabbed it with a few nasty words to the girl trying to fit her oversized carry on in the overhead.I also told her I checked my luggage, yet I was the one with the smaller carry on so I got to crunch my legs during the entire flight. Then, the man with the seat by me couldn't fit his "carryon" anywhere so shoved it under my feet.

Why not pay the few extra dollars for one suitcase??? If luggage is checked when the airline says it should be, there are very few errors. I do not get it. The sad part is those of us who do pay are the one suffering for those who don't trust the airlines. Grrrrrrrr sorry to vent, I love your blog but please look at the other side of this scenario.

Quality Chick said...

I had the same thing happen to me but it took two days to get my luggage to me - just in time to go home. What worked for me was finally taking a lesson from my four year old. When the airline told me they couldn't find my luggage (it was in Chicago while I was in Santa Maria CA) I finally started asking the rep on the phone over and over "Where is my luggage" just like a four year old asking "Mom can I have a cookie". After about fifteen times the rep finally decided to never have kids and passed me to someone else. My luggage was immediately located and in my hands within 8 hours. Im glad you didn't have to go to such lengths, but remember you are armed with the skills taught to you by your six kids.

Christy said...

It wouldn't be a Dawn trip without pictures of your hotel room and your view! I can't wait to see them.

Christy said...

SSO question - I'm still new to Twitter and I just have to ask, why do your Twitter posts talk about you in the third person? Does everyone do that on Twitter? I just find it a little strange when you say "She has a middle seat." rather than "I have a middle seat." It has been giving me flashblacks to Bob Dole! Just curious.

Abby*Lane said...

What is it about lost luggage? Sheesh! I was Going from LAX to Charlotte. First, I was bumped. They put me on a plane 12 hours later. Um, no. Put me on an earlier one! So I asked to get on the plane that was leaving in 30 minutes. They said there was NO WAY my luggage would make the plane, so they couldn't do it. When I got to North Carolina, my luggage wasn't there. So I go to the counter to fill out the paperwork, and guess what.... yep.... my luggage made the earlier flight. While I had to wait 12 hours for mine. I love to fly, but boy do I hate airports. LOL

Hope you're in some clean clothes now!

Sunny Yukon said...

I totally understand your frustration, and this is the way to go:

Caution: there is a lot of info there, and it will take time to go through it, but believe me, it is sooo worth it!

One carry-on size bag that will fit under the seat, and you'll have everything you need, and it will always be with you.

Our family of four did it - one carryone bag each, including some heavier clothes for a cooler climate.

With all the travelling you're doing, please look into this - it will save your travel sanity!


Peldyn said...

Wow, you are in Sunny California! I would look you up but that would make me feel like a stalker (giggle) I am going to Disneyland tomorrow with the granddaughter for my non-birthday. I get in FREE! Yeah!

Michelle said...

Oh I've been on those little puddle jumpers where you have to take the bus to the tiny terminal and then walk outside to climb the stairs to your plane that seats all of three people. Do the flight attendants still offer earplugs to block out the noise of the engines? (I haven't had to fly to Fresno for awhile!)

Glad they found your luggage so quickly.... It's never fun to be stuck without it.

Anonymous said...

On most airlines when you're forced to check your carry-on bag at the gang plank (the plane door) you're supposed to wait at the same place when deboarding for your luggage. Did they say your luggage would go through or to wait for it? At least you got it. Have a friend who's luggage was never found and it was a non-stop they could lose luggage between check in and the plane is beyond me.

I wish airlines would not charge for the first bag under say 25# this way everyone wouldn't be carrying on and you could fit it.

Dr.L said...

The reason they "lost" your bag wasn't the cocktail napkin, it was the short connection. I had a checked bag that got to my final destination several hours after me because I had a 15-minute connection in Chicago. I knew that if I barely made the next plane, my luggage certainly wasn't going to make it out of the belly of plane 1 and get to plane 2 before it took off. Fortunately it was delivered the next day.

Enjoy Burbank! I love CA.

Yamato said...

Sometimes it is not the short connections, which are definately a big factor, but just neglegence on part of the airline (airport baggage handlers).
On a recent trip we had 3 occurrences with lost baggage for 3 different people travelling via different routes using different airlines. The connection times were better than the minimum times advertised by the airports.
In one occurrrence the suitcase was lost (without a trace) for a full week, in other cases it was delivered either in the middle of the night or next morning.
From now on, my team always carries a pressed shirt and underware in the computer case - just to be on the safe side. Toothbrush etc. you can get from the hotel, so you don't have to carry it.
Btw, is that standard now to pay for checked baggage?

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