Baggage Handling Surprise

Trip Start Apr 26, 2010
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Trip End May 06, 2010


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Flag of United States  , New Jersey
Monday, May 17, 2010

I arrived at the Philadelphia airport last night with an unsettling thought.  In the rush and my self-satisfaction of having caught yesterday's flight, I now had to face the possibility of my luggage being left behind in Detroit.  Good Lord, what would I do?

Hotels typically give away personal hygiene items, so I wasn't worried about that stuff.  I wondered, though, about my clothes.  It was Sunday evening, already most stores would be closed, and I still needed to rent a car and drive 90 minutes to Somerset.  Obviously, I'd have to wear my travel clothes.  I started imagining my arrival at my client's corporate building the following morning - my pants with the multiple cargo pouches and my casual shirt with several pockets and velcro-fastened flaps. I had flashbacks of when I worked as an employee at a company where they had a formal dress code.  Since I wasn't allowed to wear comfortable clothes, my form of rebellion was to go to the meetings with my cheap-looking pen molded in the shape of a fish and write on a plastic clipboard.  I sure showed them!  But tomorrow, I'd make an even bigger statement!

I strolled to the baggage claim area and found the carousel corresponding to my arrival flight.  I was certain that my bag had missed the flight.  There was no movement.  Time grew minute by minute as passengers from other flights came and went through the baggage claim area.  Finally after about 20 minutes, the alert buzzed and the carousel lurched into its rotation.  Two black bags slid down the conveyor belt followed by my red duffel bag.  I couldn't believe it.  One of the first bags off the plane even. 

In that one redeeming moment, I took back all those criticisms that I've ever expressed about airport baggage claims.  I didn't even think about the time when I arrived in Tokyo on a Sunday and my clothes arrived on the following Tuesday - after I had purchased Japanese-sized pants that did not fit me.  Or when after returning from one trip, I unpacked my bag to find a TSA notice of a search in my bag, but that my toiletry kit was missing.  Or when I flew to Buenos Aires and the airline gave my luggage a different destination.  The airline brought the luggage to my hotel three days later and I was never so happy to see a suitcase - it looked great on the outside, but my clothes on the inside were mysteriously wet.  

Okay, well, I guess it will take me a little longer to forgive and forget...
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