I have to admit that I have traveled LOTS and LOTS in my life. I have traveled across the United States, throughout ASIA and even somewhat in Central America and Europe and Northern Africa. This was due to a promise I made to myself as a young girl that I would see as much of the world as I could, come hell or high water. And, after all of these trips, the airlines has lost my luggage only once. This was on my first trip to my new in-laws in Florida. I didn't panic too much because at 24 you can still look good in clothes that you have been wearing for 24 hours. With the luck of being young, the very next morning a van arrived at my new in-laws door and dropped off the suitcases intact and locked.
I was watching the Today Show a few weeks ago and they were talking about lost luggage. The guest expert was providing tips for when the airlines lost your luggage. He repeated the word "when" and emphasized that he did not say "if."
If you live and travel long enough the world changes and your luck changes. Upon our arrival at our airport in the early evening this past weekend, we noticed a large number of people waiting for their bags at one baggage claim. We lined up like penguins and waited and watched as the intermittent and sometimes static aluminum delivery belt went round and round. After 20 minutes my husband realized that our luggage had not made the transition from Phoenix to Denver to Columbus and to our final destination. (When you travel on 'points' you get to see a lot more of the country than you can imagine or actually want to see.) . Shortly after my husband's realization, there was an announcement on the loudspeaker system that the baggage officials (hiding behind the speakers) were very sorry but they did not know where the luggage from the Philadelphia flight was. They were working on it and they asked for patience. About 50% of the people moaned, groaned and wandered off. We were not on the Philadelphia flight and while wondering how an airline can lose all of the luggage on a flight, we became more concerned about our sweaty but well-packed clothes.
We were rewarded almost an hour later with a blue form to complete regarding our missing luggage. (One of the wives asked her husband if this meant they would get a free flight---she hasn't traveled much I was thinking.) I walked the length of the entire baggage claim area which is about two football fields and I hate to tell you that I saw hundreds and hundreds (not exaggerating) of suitcases and bags that sat on the floor forlornly alone next to baggage claim areas on that Sunday evening. The dozens of strollers alone made me sad for the aching arms of mothers and fathers in our nation.
The announcement that we had been recently moved from yellow to orange in our homeland security settings (much like the settings on your oven) did not assure me in any way as I saw all these potential lethal weapons of mass destruction sitting on the floor as far as the eye could see.
Thus, we went home and to bed.
Hubby got a call at 1:00 P.M. on Monday. "This is United. Are you going to be home for the next 4 hours? " When he answered "Yes." they hung up. They were either planning on delivering luggage or robbing us. So, he waited patiently.
Five hours later I was home and had eaten dinner and there is still no luggage. Hubby called the number that had called him at 1:00 and heard from a computer that they were too busy to answer the phone and to call back later. My guess is that the all-great office of baggage losers had been discovered and passengers were holding them hostage.
After this recent trip, I wondered if the wagon trains crossing the desert had it any easier? I really think that the good ole USA is getting to be more like a developing nation each and every day. It is a good thing I have traveled in the 'third' world or I would have said some of the things that were being said at the airport last night when people headed for their taxis empty handed.
Post Script at 6:00 P.M.
Hubby is currently talking to a computer.....
Now he is talking to someone who clearly lives in India or Pakistan...
Now he is listening to very irritating United Airlines music ...good choice on their part to continually remind us of the company that screwed up...
9:10 P.M. the phone rings. Our luggage has arrived and doesn't appear much the worse for the wear. I wonder where it got to travel?