January 2, 2001

How I Spent the Holidays
   by stacy <>

Everybody experiences a little delirium during the holiday season. I was so tired last night when I finally got home, and it definitely qualified as a delirious state (or is that a delusional state?) It was good to be home.

For Christmas, I went to my In-laws' house way up north where the only neighbors are Santa and 8 reindeer. Seriously, they plug in the cars up there, it's so freaking cold. The things would never start without a little home electricity kick-start. I rode a snowmobile for the first time, that was kind of fun. I wore snowshoes for the first time. Try that the next time you want an alternative to the stairmaster. It was cold, but nice and toasty inside the house, and there was lots of food. I met new relatives and new friends and played cards and generally had a very pleasant vacation.

Let me stress generally. I should qualify that. The vacation itself was rather nice. Getting there was hell-on-a-stick.

To get to where we were going, it took 3 separate flights. We were supposed to leave on the first one at 10:30 AM. Because of mechanical difficulties, it didn't leave until nearly 2 hours later. The next flight was supposed to depart at 1:40 PM after a layover. We arrived at the airport right at 1:40. A quick check of the departures screen showed our flight was boarding about 10 terminals away. Run run run run run. Get to the terminal. No plane there. Damn. But wait, there's a Canadian Airlines plane sitting at the next terminal, maybe that's it? Dare we hope? I ran to the gate attendant and asked if it was headed to our destination, and indeed it was. I told her that was our flight, and gave her our boarding passes. It turned out we weren't the only late ones.

So we're sitting on the plane, thankful it hadn't left yet, and notice our luggage dropped off outside the plane on a cart. Just resting there. Then the plane starts to back up. And our luggage is on the runway. We interrupted the flight attendant during the oxygen mask speech to tell her about it. The plane stopped. It paused for maybe 10 minutes, and then she came back to tell us there was no more room in the plane's cargo hold. Sorry, nothing can be done, but they'll get the luggage on the next flight, no doubt about it. The plane takes off. The luggage is probably still just resting there.

So we get to the next airport and hope against hope that we were wrong and that wasn't our luggage. We watch the carousel turn, turn, turn. It's nice to be wrong once in a while, but it's not gonna happen today. OK, so we best go catch the next flight. It was scheduled to depart sometime while we were waiting at the carousel, and as it turns out, it didn't wait for us. It was late by this time, and I was exhausted. I was tired of airports, and I was sure I'd never see my luggage again. My husband talked to the airline person for at least half an hour, working out accomodations for the night (the next flight to our final destination was full, so we had to wait until the next morning). Fortunately the original reason we were late was that mechanical problem, which meant the airline had to pay for the hotel.

So we trekked back to the baggage area to file a report on our lost stuff and pick up their complimentary toiletries. We caught the hotel shuttle and spent the night in a really pretty nice place. That was the only good thing about it. The next morning, we went back to the airport and looked for the bags. We finally found them in the Customs area, still on the carousel from whatever flight had brought them. We caught the flight, and got to the family's place.

So that was the adventure. I was absolutely livid when we missed the plane that night, though, but as it turned out, it was probably for the best. If we hadn't noticed the plane about the take-off earlier, it would have been better because we probably could have gotten on the same flight as our luggage that evening, spent the night in the hotel, and everything would have been more or less the same. But, it was ok this way. But would it really be too much to ask of the airlines to use all their computers and databases for something useful, like realizing that these 2 people who are scheduled and confirmed(!) for this flight aren't here because the flight they are on just landed? Could they flag that people have lost their luggage, and keep track of it by actually scanning those little barcodes they put on checked bags? Why can't they tie all this together in some kind of cohesive way? There's no reason for employees of an airline to not know where their passengers are if they are on another plane of the same airline, or even another airline. It's ridiculous.

Oh, and I hope everyone had a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Published: January 2, 2001
Editor: stacy

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