I have atrociously bad luck when it comes to flying. Seriously atrocious. The number of issues I’ve had in the past 10 years are unbelievable. And the worst part? Pretty much every problem I’ve ever had could have been prevented by the airlines. I understand weather woes. We can’t control it, and being delayed or rerouted due to weather is not an issue. The issue is how the airlines deal with those delays and rerouting. Or booking my flight in the first place (OMG why is booking international travel so difficult?). Or mechanical issues. Or paperwork issues. Canceled flights. Gate changes. Being bumped off my flight and instead of being put on the next flight, being put on standby for the next 3 flights (I’m not kidding). I’ve dealt with them all and then some. I’ve spent an insane amount of time on the phone with customer service over the years trying to get re-booked on a different flight, find an alternate route, or file a complaint.
The worst issue to deal with? Baggage issues. And this time I had serious baggage issues.
First, the trip there on Thursday. I missed my connection. Why? Because they were given the wrong paperwork so we were delayed leaving the gate. So while I had 45 minutes between flights, when we landed I only had 20 minutes. Then we had to wait because there was a plane at our gate. By the time I got off the plane I had 10 minutes before my next flight was scheduled to leave. Yeah. Nevermind. They close the doors 10 minutes prior to departure, so after running to the other terminal, I spent 20 minutes at the customer service desk. They told me the next flight they could guarantee I’d be on was around 8pm, but I could go standby on the next two and would probably get on the 4pm flight. Eight pm was a little under 12! hours later. I was NOT spending my entire day in an airport, thankyouverymuch.
So thanks to some creativity, they booked me on a flight on another airline. My baggage was supposed to follow. Well, that didn’t quite happen. I arrived in Phoenix in one terminal on one airline, and my baggage arrived in a different terminal on my original airline. No joke. So it took me an extra 30 minutes to locate my bag. All because they didn’t actually tell me this, I had to speak to two different baggage agents to find this out. But my bag was located, and I finally made it to the resort about an hour before the conference started (cutting it a bit close for comfort). But I did make it. So I said my thanks and just let it go.
The trip home on Monday was even worse. This particular experience takes the cake. There were no flight issues. Everything was on time. But when I arrived to pick up my bag, it never appeared. Everyone else on the flight got their bags. And I was left standing by the baggage carousel wondering where my bag went. I never saw it come up the belt, and I was watching. So off to the baggage office I went, only to be informed that my bag had in fact arrived in Philly. It had been “scanned” on arrival, so it was in the airport. Only they had no idea where. It disappeared somewhere between when it came off the plane and when it was supposed to be put on the belt for delivery. It took everything in me to not demand they just let me go look for it myself, dammit. After an hour and a half of them looking everywhere, I finally left to go pick the dog up from the kennel and head home sans luggage.
They gave me a claim form and gave me the number of the main baggage office for the airline as a whole, as well as the direct line to the office at the Philly airport. So I made a point of checking in a couple of times a day. Monday…no luck in locating my bag. Tuesday…still looking. The Philly airport is NOT THAT BIG, people. Wednesday…nothing. Until 3pm. When I received a phone call at work from another airline. My bag had mysteriously turned up in their baggage office, sans tags. My big bright compression strap was gone. So was the airline luggage tag. I had fortunately put a business card in the little slot on the back of the bag, and that’s how they contacted me. They had no idea where the bag came from since the airline tracking tag had been removed, so I gave them my claim number and airline, and they send it back to my original airline for delivery. It arrived at my home Wednesday night a little after 7pm. That’s almost 60 hours after I first arrived back in Philly.
Fortunately, everything was intact. Nothing was missing. Even my jewelry was there (granted…all it consisted of was basic silver earrings, not worth much, but still). BUT obviously someone had gone through every corner of my bag. Everything was tossed around, even my toiletries bag had been rooted through. SO SOMEONE TOOK MY BAG FROM THE BAGGAGE AREA, WENT THROUGH IT, AND THEN, REALIZING THERE WAS NOTHING OF VALUE, RETURNED IT TO A DIFFERENT AIRLINE BAGGAGE OFFICE. And the airlines are worried about terrorists getting on their planes. Maybe it’s time to look at security within your own operations a bit closer, hm?! But don’t get me wrong, I’m very very grateful that I got everything back…even if I feel the need to wash every little thing in my bag whether it needs it or not ’cause some creep touched everything in it (seriously gross).
I’ve got to figure out who is the god/goddess of the airlines so I can sacrifice a goat and end this string of horrific luck when it comes to flying. And it needs to happen before I leave for ALA in Anaheim, CA in about a week and a half.