Monday, October 22, 2007

Who said, “Third Time’s a Charm”?

“Why me? Why is it always me?” I flew Airtran for the first time on vacation two weeks ago – a connection flight out of Philadelphia to LA through Atlanta. Now I have experienced lost and/or delayed luggage before. I will admit…I go psycho! There is nothing worse than standing at the baggage claim belt….alone…then witnessing the luggage conveyor belt suddenly stop!

First, let us go back in time. I have lost my luggage twice before while flying U.S. Airways from Philadelphia to Indianapolis. Both times U.S. Airways delivered my 65 pound suitcase a day later to my door. Both times I went on a tirade of hysterics about my “stuff”. Please understand... to a single woman, her suitcase and her belongings are her life…Kind of like a mother and her child. So you see, when my suitcase gets…“kidnapped”, I panic. Waiting at the conveyor belt is like a mother anxiously awaiting for her child to come off the school bus. I’m sorry but that’s my best analogy.

Sunday’s return trip out of LAX began on a bad note. My $7.00 bottle of Banana Boat After Sun Lotion was confiscated by the TSA at the airport. The TSA woman opened my bag, pulled out the large pumped bottle and asked me. “Aren’t you aware of the carry-on rules? A little annoyed I replied, “It has a pump which doesn’t lock and I didn’t want to put it in my suitcase, so I carefully put it in my carry-on so that the lotion wouldn’t go all over my clothes” (looking for a little understanding – you know, woman to woman). She took my $7.00 bottle and re-zipped my bag shut. Ugh! I left thinking, oh yeah, I’m a real threat…me and my brand new, hardly used, Banana Boat lotion could somehow be part of a terrorist plot!...Why do they only make that lotion in a freaking pump? I was furious!

Standing alone at Airtran’s Conveyor Belt in Philadelphia, I realized my karma was undeniably bad when it comes to air travel. I immediately walked over to the Airtran lost luggage area to report a claim. Since there were 4 others there already, I made a major attempt to control my frustration. When it was my turn, the luggage lady didn’t have to say a word. I walked up and said, “Hi, I was on a connection flight from LAX through Atlanta and my luggage didn’t arrive here in Philly!” The woman took down all of the information off my luggage ticket and then showed me a piece of paper with 50 types of suitcases on it and asked me to pick which one was most like mine. (See, I told you it’s like missing a child…you have to identify both by a picture when lost). Then she asked, “What was inside the missing suitcase?” (Now this is like being asked what you’re child is wearing). I nervously tried to gather my emotional thoughts of my beloved suitcase and bolted out “tampons…., um, um….” (You might have thought I was on Family Feud answering "Things in a suitcase"!) Meanwhile my mother reacts because I said the word “Tampons” in public, and jumped in saying, “Tara, describe some of your identifiable clothes!” Finally focused I said “a bright blue dress is on top, and a black ¾ sleeve jacket”. Done. Later after 2-1/2 hours of waiting at the airport for the next flight in from Atlanta at 1 a.m., my 65 pound baby with the bright red ribbon came up the conveyor belt finding its way home and into my arms. I was so happy and so relieved!


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