Monday, November 20, 2006

Color Me Annoyed

I can't sleep on planes but always get sucked into taking red eyes, so I've been up since Sunday morning. I was doing great until I got to work and saw the hundreds of emails I had to categorize and discover that, naturally, Outlook is totally effed up and backwards again. That thing has got to be the shittiest program of all time.

My flight was a bit late, too, but then came the fun part. I weave my way through the airport moseyers, down to carousel 6. There are, oh, three other people down there and two lonely bags going around and around. I look at the monitor, but yeah, this is where our flight is supposed to be. A few minutes later the carousel stops. Okay, so maybe everyone just got lost on their way from the plane? And the luggage tractor broke down? The other three folks kind of look around mystified, as do I, and finally they wander off one by one. After waiting awhile I walk to the other end of the terminal to check the monitors again, but yeah, again, I was in the right place, but when I get back to the 6, the monitors have changed and my flight is no longer showing.

Well, fuck.

I walk into the American Airlines office and notice some luggage scattered about, but none of its mine. I consulted the customer representative and, picking up a nearby bag, tell her my bag looks "almost exactly like this one," to which she cocks her eyebrow and asks all superiorly, "Well, is that one it?" The fact I didn't claw her face off even at this point is only by nearly three decades of finely honed sheer willpower in the face of the utter stupidity of the human race. No, ma'am, this here is not my suitcase. Toothless McLiarface (seriously, does AA not carry dental?) supposedly checks into it and tells me my suitcase is on the next flight from O'Hare, and will land at 11am, so they'll deliver it to my office. Alright, totally lame, but fine. I catch the metro home.

While I'm in the shower, struggling to find enough spare toiletries to not make my efforts totally pointless (I mostly succeeded. But I promise not to do any jogging today.), and trying to get warm because my roommate turned the heat completely off despite the fact I told him NOT to do that, I get a couple missed calls and a voicemail.
Hi Heather, this is [another suffering American Airlines passenger] and I've got your bag here, which means you've probably got a suitcase full of baby clothes. Give me a call so we can work this out, thanks.
I groan with the force of a thousand ... groaners. Someone fucking took my bag off the carousel! And the first thing I think is: No, you ho, I don't have your bag because I look at the tag before I take one home with me! ARG!

So I call her back, and it turns out the situation is even worse. She didn't take my bag. She's in fucking Atlanta. As she was searching for her third suitcase down in ol' ATL, the American Airlines employees insisted that this bag was hers, despite the fact that hers was a large black suitcase, while this bag was a small green suitcase with a tag on it that said, you know, MY NAME AND ADDRESS. Why did they insist it was hers? Because this lady had been in front of me in the check-in line, but while she grabbed her last suitcase to take out a pair of tennis shoes, the check-in lady motioned for my bag...and mixed up the fucking tags. So off my bag went to ATL, and hers is probably sitting in the AA office at National.

If you think that getting your bag back from an airline (while the speaker continuously loops, "Our threat level is currently 'Orange'") when the bag isn't registered under your name is really fucking hard, well, you're not wrong. In fact, the only reason my bag wasn't lost forever in the sea of Abandoned Airport Luggage is that this lady had the common sense the AA employees lacked. While they were quite literally trying to force her to take the bag (once they attach you to a bag, they won't let you leave the airport without it), she actually looked at the personal tag I'd attached to it and called me. I'm lucky she was a decent human being, because she totally could have taken off with all my shit and I'd just be screwed in the pooch. And I bought some killer shoes that I would have been very upset about losing, let me tell you. Okay, I bought four pairs of killer shoes. I'd have been raging.

I'd love to know why AA thought my bags were on the 11am flight from O'Hare to National, when in fact they were sitting in a room in Atlanta. (Well, no, actually the bag with the tag was probably sitting three feet away from me.) Did Toothless McLiarface not look up the tag at all? I'd be totally shocked. Or did they not only put the wrong tag on ATL lady's bag, but ALSO put it on the wrong flight? No, really. Shocked..

And apparently all the exciting things in my life happen around baggage carousels.


At 2:24 AM, November 21, 2006, Blogger Roonie said...

This is why I only ever travel with what I can carry with me. Airlines are totally incompetent; my mom worked at one and gave me all the behind-the-scenes gossip about baggage. And I think I'll hold onto mine, thank you!


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