Tuesday, March 15, 2022

"I told you not to check your bag"

HALLIE EPHRON: My flight back from Key West was memorable, but not in a good way. Without Jerry along to argue me out of it, I checked my bag, paying $35 to JetBlue so I wouldn’t have to worry about finding a space for it and hoisting it into an overhead bin.

When we were about to board in an airport so small and crowded that passengers were sitting on the floor (but fortunately all masked), they announced that there'd be a delay as excess weight was offloaded.

I imagined a crane lifting some passengers out of an escape hatch, or fuel being siphoned off.

But no. It turned out they offloaded about half of the checked luggage and queued it up to go to Tampa.

Which became apparent when a crowd of us were still waiting at Logan baggage claim 45 minutes after the flight came in. Our bags still hadn’t come down the chute, and the baggage carousel came to an ominous halt.

About 30 of us queued up to file our claims with one of the 4 baggage-claim officials. Fortunately I had my baggage receipt and even more miraculously, remembered where I'd put it.

My turn came and I was given a sheet with my claim number and instructions, including a web site to check for the status of our bag.

A web site which did not work.

 The information sheet also said to await an email update... which did not come.

There was a phone number which I called the next day and waited an hour on hold to talk to someone who was able to confirm that my bags had arrived at Logan that morning and would be delivered some time later in the day.

My bag got delivered... 26 hours after I did. And I’m still figuring out how to file a claim to get a checked baggage refund.

Is this any way to run an airline??

Here are some tips you know you know, but good to remember for your next flight, should you be foolhardy enough to check a bag.

WHAT NOT TO PACK IN YOUR CHECKED BAG
Cell phone (and a camera if your cell phone doesn't have one)
Computer
Power cords and chargers
Medication
Car and house keys
Glasses
Medication
Wallet, IDs, datebook, money and credit cards
Anything else you're going to need for the next 72 hours

And be sure to:
TAG your luggage, inside and out, with information that enables them to reach you. Include your itinerary so your luggage can catch up with you.
TIE A YELLOW RIBBON or pink pompon or some other identifying thingie to your luggage -- so yours will stand out as yours

They'll ask you what's inside that will identify it as yours, so pack something unique (like my straw hat) on top.

And
REMEMBER WHERE YOU PUT YOUR LUGGAGE RECEIPT AND JUST IN CASE, TAKE A PICTURE OF IT!

Have you sworn off checking your bags... ever... or are you still willing to tempt fate? And what have you learned the hard way?

80 comments:

  1. Aaahh, the continuing saga of air travel frustrations . . . .

    That excess weight issue surprises me, Hallie, especially since you weren’t flying in a little plane. But if it is any consolation, they’d have had the same problem if everyone had tried to take their bags aboard rather than checking them, and they’d still have taken them all away to address the excess weight issue. Nevertheless, it’s particularly annoying . . . and even worse when nothing works when you’re trying to get your bag [and that fee] returned.

    In the good old days when we [John, the children, and I] flew [every year] from California to Philadelphia, we always checked our bags [no extra charge] and always collected them when we arrived at our destination. Now we have to pay extra for every bag we check and hope they actually arrive. But if you want to take something with you that you can't put in your carry-on bag [like the scones your grandbaby asked you to bring], you have no choice other than to check the bag.

    But the bag-checking is not my main grumble about flying these days . . . it’s the far-smaller, uncomfortable, squished closer together seats that create rampant claustrophobia . . . .

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    1. I stopped flying United because they went too far with the smaller seats. And the snacks were dropped completely and then completely insulting (meager kibble). JetBlue is better in both regards. And the plane to Key West had no middle seats - two and two front to back. (A smaller plane, which probably accounts for the baggage offloads needed during spring break.)

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    2. John says your flight from Key West was probably a with regional airline and he guesses you did not fly direct from there to Logan. The baggage issue didn't surprise him at all [which goes to show that the pilot is far smarter than I am as a passenger . . . .]

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  2. Ugh, lost/delayed luggage is a PITA! Worst case was flying back from Seattle-Vancouver-Toronto. That luggage was "lost" for 6 weeks until a sharp-eyed Air Canada employee apparently saw my Aeroplan Elite (Gold) luggage tag in the mountain of unclaimed luggage and phoned me.

    For flights to the US, the Canadian airport system forces you to remain at the secure waiting point until your checked-in bag has been processed onto the next flight. You then proceed on to US customs, security and your gate. Years ago, I had been stuck in this holding pattern for over an hour (at Toronto or Vancouver airport) and missed my final connecting flight. I ended up buying a t-shirt for sleepwear at the airport kiosk since I would be arriving at my destination close to midnight with no luggage. The missing luggage was sent to the hotel 36-48 hours later.
    Lessons learned.

    So for my upcoming 11-day trip to Santa Fe/ABQ in early April, I will only take a carry-on (with an empty duffle bag inside) since I have to take 3 flights to get there. But I will check-in the full duffle bag (clothes from the carry-on and some books) on the flights back home. Eco-friendly laundry strips allow me to bring 3-4 days worth of clothes for the trip.


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    1. P.S. My retirement gift from Environment Canada friends 6 years ago was a gorgeous, hard-cased 28" Samsonite suitcase. I have been on more than 15 trips since retiring but have NEVER USED THAT SUITCASE since I refuse to check-in a bag on my departing flight(s).

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    2. Eco-friendy laundry strips??!! Please, enlighten us!

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    3. I have been using Tru-Earth laundry strips for 2 years. They are a B.C. company but I think they do international shipping.
      https://www.tru.earth/

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    4. I've been using those, too, Grace, ever since they were recommended--here, I think.

      Hallie, they're brilliant. Laundry detergent is mostly liquid, and these are small, concentrated 2" X 3 1/2" strips of what looks like nonwoven interfacing that reconstitute instantly in the washer. Cleans brilliantly, too, and takes up no space in the laundry room.

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    5. Had to laugh: "like nonwoven interfacing..." Spoken like a true seamstress.

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    6. That is very funny Hallie--once a seamstress, always a seamstress! I will go look them up too. In the past, I've carried travel packets of Woolite.

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    7. And Woolite, I learned when I was giving talks on luxury fabrics, is not actually good to use on silks and wool, ironically. It's a bleach, and bleach dissolves wool.

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    8. KAREN: Yes, I do remember now commenting on JRW about Tru-Earth last year.
      I think RHYS also uses them. Glad you are liking them.

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    9. The best part of this idea is that one strip would give you about six sink washings. It is that concentrated.

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    10. And bonus, it won't leak in your suitcase.

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    11. I love the tru-earth products. They also make a household detergent product using the same idea.

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  3. Glad you got your bag! Absolutely right about what NOT to check. It also matters if it gets lost going away or going home.

    I still sometimes check a bag - worth the $35. I have a couple of baggage stories. The first time I went to west Africa, I packed my toddler's clothes in with mine, including his cloth diapers. Bag didn't arrive for four days. We tore a towel into fourths and used that for diapers (it's HOT there, so they dried quickly). Then we went to the open market, bought cloth, took it to one of the many tailors, and two hours later picked up a spare dress for me and shirt and shorts for little guy. I probably bought some underwear, too.

    The same trip I was coming home alone with both little boys (husband stayed on to do more work). We went through New York and saw our bags there. One did not arrive at Logan with us. It was delivered two weeks later with Cyrillic tags! At least that time we were going home and had plenty of extra clothes there.

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    1. The home stretch is the one to lose your luggage on...

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    2. Don't you hate it when your luggage goes on a different trip than you do? Rogue suitcases!

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    3. Edith, my luggage has been way more places than I have :-)

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  4. I don't have any horror stories, but I do now use only a take-on case. While I dislike the crap shoot of 'will there/won't there' be room in the overhead bin by my seat for my case, I do love the always having it when I land payoff!

    Glad you got your bag, Hallie, and thanks for the important reminder about what not to pack in checked luggage. Whatever happened to the days when flying was considered glamorous and people dressed up for it?

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    1. AMANDA: If there is no more overhead storage for your carry-on, at least they gate-check your bag for free, and you know your checked bag is on the plane since you have to pick it up as you deplane.

      And yes, I remember the "glamorous" days when I flew charter to Europe on defunct WARDAIR in 1986. Good food served on china and using real cutlery and free booze!

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    2. I remember wearing a dress, pantyhose, and heels when flying. Now I feel lucky if my seat mate has bathed recently

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    3. Ha ha ha! The poor people who boarded the plane before mine were told the a/c wasn't working on the plane and wouldn't be until the plane was aloft. So they needed to board quickly. People actually clapped.

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    4. GRACE: I remember Wardair! And my flight to England way back in 1977 with food definitely worth eating...

      ANN: It boggles my mind what some people wear out in public, never mind on a plane these days!

      HALLIE: It sometimes feels like we, the passengers, are doing the airline a favour by being on the flight -- rather than being PAYING customers!

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  5. No personal horror stories here. I am always more worried going and take essentials in a back pack including: toothbrush and paste, underwear and shirts for 3 days, sample-sized toiletries, extra sweater or fleece, footwear if different from what I wore on the plane. If flying to a party, I pack a knit party dress that folds like a sweater. Plan ahead!

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    1. You are a wise woman... travel clothes would be a good blog topic. Do's and don'ts - I once brought cotton underwear, Ts and shorts to Costa Rica. There was only cold water in our tent platform room and I washed my clothes in the sink, but they couldn't dry because of the humidity.

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    2. Yeah, proper travel clothes for different climates is essential. And pack clothes that you are layer.

      I use Ex-officio underwear on overseas trips. You can hand-wash and it dries quickly.
      https://www.exofficio.com/women/underwear/

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  6. Not a travel story (except time travel), but I wanted to let everyone know that Rhys, Clare, and Jacqueline Winspear are my guests on the Wicked Authors today! Hope you can stop by. https://wickedauthors.com/2022/03/15/exciting-new-historical-novels/

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  7. Oh Hallie, sorry for your struggles! We haven't checked a bag in years after several unpleasant experiences. It's hard being short though to hoist those suckers overhead! That's why I keep doing my yoga and weights:).

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  8. At least you ended up with your own luggage, Hallie, but what a mess.

    On my first trip to Europe I went with a dear friend and her dear friend, who were leading six ladies who were also interested in sewing and fashion. We were going to Paris for a week, and then a week in Tuscany, based in Florence. Leading up to our departure, Jen sent us all her many excellent tips on what to take, and what not to take. My own inclination would have been to take everything I owned, so I learned a lot from her advice. She goes to Paris for several months a year and never takes anything but one carryon and a handbag!

    So when I went to Europe for three weeks I also took only a carryon and a handbag. And still had clothing I did not end up wearing. (Although I ended up having to buy warmer layers, since Italy was much colder than expected for May.)

    We had a houseguest a couple weeks ago who opted to get bumped off an overfull flight back to California. She waited them out, and in the end Southwest gave her a $500 travel voucher, a food voucher, and a hotel room, they had gotten so desperate to clear a seat. (Her checked luggage got home on time, though.) WHY do they get away with overbooking this way??? Almost nothing they do these days makes any sense, from squeezing human beings together with no food to booking three people to sit in the same seat. It's crazy pants.

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  9. When we take a 3-4 week trip, my husband and I each check a bag, which I cross-pack, half of his clothes in mine and half of mine in his. Because roller bags are banned on the "commuter flights" from Cincinnati, we've switched to small duffles for our carry-ons, packed with toiletries, electronics, pj's, a three day supply of clothes.

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  10. For me it is all situational. If it is a short trip and very timebound, I am likely to do everything I can to avoid checking a bag. If it a leisure trip with some time flexibility, I am more likely to check a bag to avoid schlepping it through the airport(s). I'm currently out of practice, of course, but I used to be quite good at knowing what NEEDS to go in the carry on. I have also become much more philosophical than i used to be about just buying an additional item or two if I need them.

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  11. I second Grace's comments about ExOfficio underwear! I literally pack two pair of undies and of course I am wearing one so I have two days of undies and a spare. Like Roberta I usually take Woolite packets or just use hotel face soap to wash them out. I haven't checked a bag in the last five plus years but agree that the gate checking of bags is best option if I am forced to relinquish my bag since I know it will get stowed on my plane.

    I guess my worst lost bag story is from about 30 years ago when I was traveling to Frankfurt meeting up with my sister before our annual trip to England. (My sister lived in Germany; we met there and took her car via the ferry from Calais to Dover.) I arrived in Frankfurt and my bag didn't appear on the carousel so I headed off to report it. My sister and brother-in-law couldn't find me (this was pre-cell phone days) for 45-60 minutes. They were on the verge of leaving the airport when we happened to pass each other in the concourse. I was so relieved to see them that my lost bag has become a minor detail in the story; not sure when it arrived in their little village an hour from the airport.

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  13. I would never ever, not ever, check a bag. Never never never. Once we were going to Nevis, and I packed and checked my bag, and it… Arrived three days later. I realized I needed almost nothing in it. I had my phone and computer and other things like that in my carry-on. I went out and bought a bathing suit, and a black floaty skirt. And flip-flops. I wore Jonathan‘s shorts and T-shirts. When my suitcase arrived, I had no idea what to do with all that stuff. I realized – – I just don’t need it.
    And when I go to conferences and things like that, I only take a carry-on and a shoulder bag. If it doesn’t fit, it doesn’t go. I would rather upgrade my seat to make sure I get overhead space than roll the dice for checked bags.
    I don’t mind that tarmac check in, where they do it just outside the plane, that seems pretty safe, and they make you do it when the plane is that small.
    But on a regular flight, never never never.
    I am so incredibly sad this happened to you.

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    1. In the middle of all of this, Hank, I kept thinking: What would Hank do? Now I know!

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    2. HANK, great minds think alike! I would never check a bag. Years of practice taught me how to pack light so that I have everything I need from a carry on bag.

      Diana

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    3. HANK: Yay, another carry-on bag traveller! And Plan B was to use the credit card to buy those essentials until your wayward luggage arrives.

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  14. I normally fly Southwest, an airline that is very good with its baggage policy. I don't think I've ever lost a bag. Maybe with American, which I swore off for other reasons (no, you may not randomly cancel my flight and book me on another one that stops in Philly and does not get in to Pittsburgh until tomorrow morning - when I'm coming from Raleigh, NC -but I digress).

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  15. Oh Hallie, what a hard lesson to learn! If I ever have a chance to fly again I will certainly remember your advice!

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  16. I try not to check a bag in the YS but if we are going to Europe of six weeks I need a bigger suitcase. My worst experience was flying to Madrid. My suitcase didn’t arrive. They couldn’t locate it AND we were due to embark on a 17 day tour of Spain and Morocco. I pictured 17 days with no clothes, no time to shop. I rushed out to buy essentials and the bag arrived the evening before we were due to start the tour

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  17. Irwin went to Germany on business back "in the day." His luggage never made it. He was put in the fanciest suite at the hotel, (his VP boss took the regular room lol) with no luggage. He went to all of these high level exec meetings in the clothes he'd flown in. I'd have shopped. 'Nuff said.

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    1. JUDY: I had a similar experience as Irwin when travelling for a conference we were organizing in Quebec City in February. My boss and I had an uneasy feeling that something would go wrong so we carried on all the workshop materials but had to check in our suitcases with clothes. I was wearing my one-of-a-kind wine colour boucle wool suit that my mom had made for me. Good thing I had one nice suit since my suitcase never arrived. I wore that same suit for 3 days straight. A few gentlemen remarked that I must really like that suit to wear it for the entire workshop. My suitcase arrived on the last day as we were flying back to Toronto.

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    2. Hallie;-)
      Grace, timing!

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  18. What an awful experience! Like you, I would rather check a bag and not have to deal with it on the plane. (I am short, no upper body strength) And like you, I learned - a long time
    ago - to carry everything I need overnight/cannot afford to lose - laptop, meds, clean shirt and undies,toiletries, etc. Between many weather-caused reroutings and a few random misplaced luggage situations -yeah. Work retreat at a posh hotel in Scottsdale...in the clothes I wore for the previous long day of travel? Because carefully packed suitcase "traveled" separately? Uh,no. I bought a fancy souvenir T-shirt at hotel.

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  19. I'm pretty good at packing really light (except for that first class trip to China, for which I could bring unlimited baggage, and for which I followed the advice of people who'd been to China in the Eighties who told me to bring things like a case of water bottles and my own chopsticks. Outdated advice made for interesting luggage contents in the Twenty-first Century). And I almost never check luggage, (I did when traveling with an unset broken shoulder, but that's another story).

    But back in the heyday of my frequent flyer days, I flew to San Francisco for my youngest sister's wedding, and then flew back to Milwaukee with one day to spare before leaving for a Bar convention at which I was speaking. Charged with bringing wedding hats and a chunk of the cake back to my parents' home, I made the ill-advised decision to hand carry the hats and the cake, and check my suitcase (which held my speaker suit). Of course, the suitcase went astray.

    How I got it delivered to my home in time involved my family owning a travel agency, and the manager of the agency knowing the name of the District Manager for then Northwest (now Delta) and my calling him at home at ten o'clock at night. Suitcase was at my door by eight the next morning, and I was on the road by nine. I probably made an enemy, but I gave my speech in the suit I was comfortable and confident in.

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    1. You're reminding me of the days when we were advised to pack some toilet paper... Some things have changed for the better.

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  20. The only time my bag didn't find me at our destination was when I flew to Phoenix to sit with my mom while my brother was on hospice. We didn't live in Phoenix, she did not have a cell phone, got lost trying to find the airport. My bag was not where I was AND I had no idea which hotel we were staying in. To be clear, the suitcase was in the airport but the conveyor belt used to move everything was stuck so the airline wanted to deliver the checked luggage which was great except had no idea where I was staying. I think the suitcase arrived before mom did.

    I usually fly with Alaska now and since I have an Alaska credit card, I haven't had a luggage charge. My rolling burgundy duffel has made it every time. The few suitcases I have used have either been red, or turquoise or green so they stand out more a black or blue suitcase or they have a key chain lanyard attached to the handle.

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    1. Yes, it does pay to get a suitcase that stands out from the pack.

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  21. HALLIE, I am so sorry about your experience. I hope that you got back your baggage.

    Yes, I have memories from my childhood of airlines losing our luggage. As an adult, I always flew with a carry on bag. I try to keep up to date regarding security stuff. Flying is difficult enough without having to worry about losing luggage. Once airport security tried to check through my carry on bag with my Cochlear Implant stuff and I said that I would file a lawsuit under Americans with Disabilities Act and they let me carry my CI stuff on the plane with me. I bring only the essentials with me when I travel. And I would mail other things that I need like a formal event dress and shoes ahead to wherever I'm travelling to.

    Diana

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    1. Go get 'em, Diana!

      As to formal event wear - I loved Rent the Runway, which enabled me to send a fancy dress in two sizes to my hotel room,wear it, stuff it into a prepaid UPS bag, and drop it off, without any further fuss. Sadly, they seemed to have moved into a membership mode, which means I'll have to find another trick, since even when I was going to conferences regularly, I didn't need four formal looks in three months.

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    2. Julia, thanks! I used to love Rent the Runaway until I had a bad experience twice. They sent me dresses that did NOT fit! I stopped using them. I was lucky the first time, though.

      Diana

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  22. So glad you finally got your luggage Hallie! The one time my luggage went astray it was my fault. We (husband and children and grandson) went on a cruise several years ago and I was so busy making sure everyone took their bags off the carousel at the port I forgot to grab mine. I filed a lost luggage form to the airline but the cruise line tracked me down and two days and twenty five dollars later UPS delivered my bag.

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    1. We once left our luggage in our bedroom at home, thinking the other had put it in the car.

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    2. That is hilarious! When did you realize it?

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    3. Not until we got off the car ferry and unloaded the car... We were on an island with virtually NO stores except a small grocery. Fortunately we were staying at the home of friends and borrowed their sheets - worn as togas. My daughter Molly was so humiliated, having to go swimming in the ocean in her underwear. Even if it was Wonder Woman underwear.

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  23. Oh, Hallie, what a nightmare. So glad the bag turned up!

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  24. And I keep reading your post, Hallie, bewildered at the process. Because clearly when they take the bags off, they know which bags they are. They are all numbered. So they could have told people in advance: your bag will arrive in three hours. Or whatever. I can’t understand why, with all the automation, they needed to leave some random people in an airport to face that ominous, as you so perfectly say, stoppage of the baggage carousel. Maybe it was a last minute thing, but… It seems like there would have been a better way to do that. Plus, if it was weight, everybody’s bags would never have been able to be on, is that right? Checked or in the overhead? Shaking head.

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    1. Hank, I once saw a cartoon showing gremlins tossing bags in the Denver Airport luggage handling center. I'm pretty sure that's the real story.

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    2. I was surprised since I've always had good experiences with JetBlue... when things break, as they do. The folks in the baggage claims office were as surprised as we were. And I had the strong impression it wasn't the first time (that day) that something like that had happened.

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  25. I had a bag of books from Malice that I was forced to check because "there was no room left" by the time I went to board. There was plenty of room for the size of my bag. When I changed planes in Chicago, it was raining. Yes, my bag was on top of the pile, so some of the books got ruined. And here, I was trying NOT to check my bag.

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    1. Oh, Mark, that would make me want to stab someone.

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  26. I learned my lesson years ago, when I went to Alabama for Murder in the Magic City, a terrific one-day conference in Homewood, outside of Birmingham. As ever, when going to the Yellowhammer State, I was planning on staying with relatives. Which turned out to be fortunate, since the airline lost my checked bag, which had EVERYTHING in it.

    My aunt was able to loan my a nightgown, clean underwear, and makeup, but I was forced to attend the conference in my travel clothes - stretchy leggings, sneakers, and an oversized leopard-print sweater. Those of you who have seen me at Malice or Bouchercon will know that is NOT my usual professional look.

    Lesson learned - if I have to check a bag I carry on all the items Hallie has on her helpful list, and I always travel wearing something I wouldn't be embarrassed to make a presentation in. Her tip to take a picture of the luggage claim is a new one, and I'm going to start doing that!

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  27. No. That is no way to run an airline. There doesn't seem to be a consumer-minded business model in the industry.

    I used to fly a lot but these day I tend to drive even when flying seems more reasonable. I have the time, prefer the ground journey, control my own food, and don't have to pack light. When forced to fly, I would prefer not to check bags but sometimes will. So far, I've been lucky.

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  28. As I commented yesterday, I do not fly. Greedy, usurious airlines care only that they are paid for the fanny in the seat, not any service, customer or otherwise. If I can’t drive there, I don’t go there, except a possible train trip.

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  29. On our way back from England with small children our bags took 2 hours to come up in Philadelphia. We had a connection we thought we could easily make. But we chose the wrong line back through security. We were behind an elderly gentleman who had packed a full sized shampoo and 5 pound hand weights in his carry on luggage. His bag had to be run back and forth through the scanner about 5 times and it took 10 minutes for them to explain to him what he could take through security. We missed our flight by 2 minutes. The plane was still there but the doors were closed. My husband was irate that they wouldn’t let us on and security was almost called! By the time we got on the next flight we had been traveling over 20 hours. Passengers refused to swap with us so we could sit by our small children and we were scattered throughout the plane. My son threw up on the man next to him who then decided he would trade seats with me. Next time we traveled internationally we didn’t check any luggage!

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  30. Well, a small world this is, Hallie. My dad and stepmother were on that flight (Friday, I think he said) from Key West to Logan. Their main issue was that no one was told about the lack of luggage, so like you and everyone else, they were standing around the carousel waiting for nothing. But, Dad was just so relieved he'd made the last minute decision to take his keys out of his checked bag! The bus to Hyannis would have been fine, but he and my stepmother are a bit too old to hitch hike to Harwich! My best luggage story happened years ago in Italy. Sweetie and I were on a bus from Florence to Sienna, and on an upward slope, the luggage compartment at the side/under the bus flew open. . . bags flew out. . . streaming down the hill. The driver didn't notice until all the teenagers on the but (and there were many, many) started shouting at him. No harm done, funny story all around.
    -Melanie

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  31. I always thought I was smart about making sure I packed my medications and everything else I needed for the immediate future in my carry-on or in my purse. I'd had a bag lost/delayed before, and I knew I needed to always prepare for that inconvenience. But then came Bouchercon New Orleans. I changed purses or carry bags from when I traveled to New Orleans. On the return flight home I had a different bag. Well, there was a delay on getting on our luggage in that night I flew into our regional airport. It would be the next day before the luggage arrived. Unfortunately, I had remembered too late that my car keys were in the bag that was inside my checked luggage. So, I was 45 minutes from home, with my car right outside in the parking lot, but no way to get into or start my car. I ended up calling a friend from where I lived, and her daughter and her daughter's husband went to my house and raised the kitchen window, not locked and retrieved my extra set of car keys on the kitchen table, and brought them to me. Good friends indeed. So, I learned that car and house keys (I had my house keys on a separate key chain and those were with me) were checked off the list of items accompanying me to my seat on the plane.

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  32. I don't check for shorter trips, but I haven't learned to manage three or so weeks in the UK without checking a bag. One of these days maybe I'll figure it out! But so far, my worst (or best) lost luggage is story is the time my daughter and flew to London. We arrived at Gatwick about nine in the morning, and she had booked us (months in advance) for afternoon tea at 2 p.m. at Gordon Ramsay's Claridge's. My bag came off the carousel at Gatwick, hers did not. (How can they lose your bag on an international direct flight??) Fortunately, Gatwick has a lot of shops, so by the time we finally determined that her bag wasn't coming, she was able to buy a dress and some shoes. We took a cab straight to Claridge's and changed in the ladies.

    Oh, and then there was the time I flew to Raleigh for Bouchercon and my bag went to California. Seriously.

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  33. Oh, my Hallie! Your experience with JetBlue and lost luggage is my experience stood on its head. Perhaps because Westchester NY airport is much smaller than Logan, but when all the luggage from our flight from Fort Lauderdale was left behind because the baggage truck broke down, meaning go without luggage or go with an hour delayed flight. 4 agents met us at the baggage carousel with claims forms in hand. Before I reached my home an hour later, there were two text messages and an email advising me where my bag was, an ETA for pick up at the airport and the ETA for delivery to my home. The next morning there was a text with a tracking link so that I could watch my luggage being driven to my home. And before that luggage arrived a $50.00 credit for future flight with over a year to use it. So sorry this did not happen for you.

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    1. You were treated so well! What was the airline?

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  34. I'm glad you made it home safely, but not that you dealt with what I term "airport hell' - we've traveled so much the last few years I've turned into a ninja warrior when it comes to packing, since I might end up sleeping overnight on the floor of LAX Terminal I (a particularly hellish airport hell in recent memory). I have tips:-))))

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  35. SO glad your bag found you! Like Annette, I have tips when it comes to packing. I am so proud of being able to travel to Europe for a three week trip with a carry-on and a tote.

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  36. Replies
    1. Whoops. My question is if you only carry on what you want to bring, does that mean you have to avoid normal sized things like shampoo? I check my bag mostly to avoid getting into a dispute with TSA over my stuff.

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    2. Yes, everything liquid or gel as to be 3 oz or less. It takes awhile to go through 3 ounces, and there will be stores wherever you're going. I keep hoping someone will come up with a descent tooth powder (instdad of paste)... see laundry strips.

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  37. OMG what a story…one that I imagine every time I check my bag. I have long since enacted the 72-hour rule. What I need now is instructions on packing light. It seems I am becoming to feeble for the overhead bins. Anyway, the story was very entertaining! Ellen in Key West

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