Complaints

Lost Luggage: Part 1

Lost Luggage: Part 1 2

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In addition to being stranded in an airport terminal for the better part of three days, American Airlines managed to lose my luggage.

Like, really lose my luggage.

I’ve had this happen before, and I get it. The Dallas airport was essentially shut down, and hundreds if not thousands of people were displaced throughout various terminals. I realized my suitcase would most likely arrive a day or so behind me, and was perfectly content waiting 48 hours to have it delivered to my doorstep. Truth be told, I was relieved American would even bring me my bag, considering I live approximately 150 miles away.

As soon as we touched down in Minneapolis, Kayla and I made our way over to baggage claim to file a delayed luggage report. The man who assisted us was beyond frazzled, and didn’t seem to actually know what he was doing, but seemed nice enough. We departed fifteen minutes later, our delayed baggage receipts in hand.

After safely arriving home, I reexamined the receipt I’d been given. I noticed it didn’t have a tracking number for locating my baggage online, and seemed to be missing quite a bit of other significant information. It also described my black and cream DVF upright as being bright red, and hard shell. I decided to call customer service to clear things up.

Thirty minutes later, I was informed the claim I had allegedly filed at the airport never actually went through. The woman on the phone helped me set up a new claim, and assured me my bags would be on their way as soon as she was able to fly them out of Dallas. I hung up the phone, smiling smugly. “Good thing I followed up“, I thought to myself.

After two days, I still hadn’t heard an update on my luggage, nor was I able to track it online. I knew several flights had made it out of Dallas, and found it strange that no one had contacted me to set up a delivery. I decided to call customer service once more to pester them about the status of my bag.

Again, I was informed there was no record of me filing a claim at the airport or over the phone. Hmmm.

I tried to be as proactive (read: annoying) as possible, logging four hours on the phone with American Airlines not to mention five new claims over the next two days. Five claims. Needless to say, I was shocked when I received the following call from the Minneapolis airport.

AA Employee: Hello, Is Katrina Taylor available?

Me: This is Katrina.

AA Employee: Oh, good! I’ve got two bags here in Minneapolis that have been sitting around unclaimed for a couple of days. A black and white one, and a big red one.

Me: Oh, great! Yes, the black and white one is mine, and the red one belongs to my friend.

AA Employee: Wonderful. It’s a good thing you had a luggage tag with your phone number on it. That’s how I knew to call you here. Otherwise, these bags would have been gone for good.

Me: What? Really? I filed several claims for them. My friend Kayla did, too.

The woman punched in our tag numbers as well as the confirmation codes we’d been given over the phone. Imagine my surprise when none of the claims we had filed showed up. It didn’t matter. The woman confirmed our addresses and assured me the bags would be sent out with FedEx, arriving in Smalltown early the next day. After breathing a sight of relief, I thanked her and collected her name and contact info just in case I needed to reach her again.

Fast forward 24 hours. Kayla has received her luggage, but mine is still nowhere to be found. I decide to call the woman back, just to make sure it was still on its way.

AA Employee: Tell me your name again?

Me: Katrina Taylor. I spoke to you yesterday. You called me at this number after you found it written on my luggage tag. You had my suitcase and a bag for my friend Kayla. Her’s arrived already, and I just wanted to make sure mine was still scheduled for delivery?

AA Employee: I’m sorry ma’am…your bag was never here. I sent Kayla’s bag out yesterday, and one to a woman named Barbara, but I’ve never seen your bag. It must still be delayed.

Me: But…but…that’s…impossible! You called my cellphone, which was written on my bag tag. There’s no way you could have done that without my bag being there.

AA Employee: No, I got your phone number from your record…your bag was never here.

Me: Yesterday, when you called, you said I had no record! You literally read my luggage tag to me and perfectly described the appearance of my bag over the phone while it sat right in front of you. I know it was there.

AA Employee: Ma’am…I sincerely apologize, but your bag hasn’t arrived in Minneapolis yet. I just plugged your number into our system, and it can’t find the bag anywhere. It appears to still be lost. Let me make a few phone calls and I’ll give you a call back in a bit, okay?

I was confused. Baffled. Mystified, even. And I was angry. Particularly as the woman, who seemed to have been so helpful just one day before, never even called me back.

Bust most of all? Most of all I was sick to my stomach about the contents of my suitcase being lost forever. In a panic, I began creating a mental checklist of all the things I had packed that would be expensive, if not impossible to replace.

  • The kangaroo hide I had bought for Penny and Jolie. (Don’t judge.)
  • A jar of really expensive placenta cream I got talked into purchasing at a gift shop in Sydney’s China Town.
  • Pretty much every single pair of underwear I own. (What? One can never have enough extra pairs when traveling.)
  • All of my favorite shoes, including but not limited to: My Tory Burch sandals, a new pair of Chuck Taylors and two pairs of TOMS Cordones sneakers, one of which had only been worn once!
  • The $300 worth of clothes I picked up in Australia. (Fine….$600.) (I really hope Scott isn’t reading the blog today.)
  • Gifts purchased for Scott, friends, and my nieces and nephew.
  • My beloved DIMRS. (These are easily what I missed the most.)
  • A month’s supply of Tim Tams.
  • The only three bikinis that kind of don’t give me love handles. (All the more reason to dig into the month’s supply of Tim Tams.)
  • The best workout pants in the entire world. (Both pairs! The horror!)
  • A bag of spicy kangaroo jerky.
  • And last but not least, an 8×10 photo of yours truly, holding a koala!!!!

Fortunately, I did have the sense to pack three sleeves of Tim Tams in my carry-on. This was the point where I opened the dark chocolate package and started shoveling them down my pie-hole while crying “I just want my DIMRS baaaaaaacccckkkkk!!!!!”

Cut me some slack. My giant koala portrait was missing and my headlights were going to be on full blast during CrossFit that evening. I deserved those Tim Tams!

*******

To be continued…

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The 7 stages of layover

The 7 stages of layover 4

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After two weeks in the glorious Australian sunshine, I’ve finally made it back to ‘Sota! Unfortunately, in addition to 15 days down under, I also managed to log 3 days and 2 nights at the Dallas Fort Worth airport. So, while I’m sure you were hoping to hear about Kangaroos and Vegemite, I’ll first be making you suffer with me through a recap of what an entire weekend trapped in various American Airlines terminals feels like.

(If it’s any consolation, I promise there will be plenty of Kangaroos and Vegemite tomorrow.)

News of the impending layover arrived while my travel buddy Kayla and I were still at 15,000 feet on our 14 hours flight from Sydney. A terrible ice storm had hit Dallas earlier in the day, and while our plane would be landing, only ten flights were scheduled to leave the airport over the next 24 hours. Assuming a half-full plane to Minneapolis wasn’t a huge priority, I resigned to the fact that we would be spending a little bit of time at the airport.

I just didn’t realize how much time.

As soon as our aircraft landed we scurried off the plane and rushed through customs. Kayla and I knew the line for rebooking would be nothing short of hellacious, and wanted to secure a good spot in line. We did…but still had to wait an entire four hours before we were booked on a new flight home the following morning. That flight ended up being cancelled, as did the three other itineraries we would eventually be assigned. After two nights spent at the airport without so much as a hotel or meal voucher, we’d had enough. Some last-minute sleuthing revealed an early morning flight on Sunday that would have us back in ‘Sota by 9:00 am. Yes, it cost us $100 bucks each as it was a different carrier, and yes, it was one-hundred percent worth it. There are still over six hundred people stranded at DFW, and we likely wouldn’t have escaped until Tuesday if we had stayed with American Airlines.

Sure, our luggage is still in Dallas and it’s currently -10 degrees in Smalltown, but we’re home. When our airbus took off from Texas, it felt like a less life and death version of the scene in Argo where the Iranian hostages flight departs for America. I would have stood up and cheered had I not been passed out in my seat, enjoying the plush comforts of economy class. (After sleeping on a cot in an unheated terminal for two nights, seat 12F felt like a five star hotel.)

Somehow, we survived. Now that we’re home, I can even laugh at the situation. Truth be told, we were already laughing during the situation. (There’s something undeniably funny about wearing the same sweatpants for four consecutive days and lugging your airport issued cot from terminal to terminal like it’s your lifeline.)

Yet since arriving in ‘Sota I’ve been doing more than chuckling at my three days of airport homelessness. I’ve been reflecting. How did we do it? Will my sweatpants ever feel clean again? Did I really need all of those cocktails?

That’s when it hit me — enduring a long-term airport stay-cation is oddly similar to experiencing a major loss. Dare I say it, in those 40+ hours in Dallas, Kayla and I experienced our own version of the 7 stages of grief. Allow me to illustrate…

The 7 stages of layover

1. Shock and Denial

waiting in line at the dallas airport

Did that small Asian woman really just shove the group of Australians in front of her with her luggage cart to secure a better spot in line? Have we actually been standing here for four hours waiting for a new flight assignment? This can’t be Texas…we’re still in Australia! There’s no ice because it’s still ninety degrees outside! 

 

2. Pain and Guilt

sleeping on a cot at the airport

This cot hurts my back. I suppose that’s what I get for convincing those poor women from Portugal that their flight would totally be leaving in the next hour like the gate agent had assured them, and that they didn’t need them anymore. I’m a horrible person. I deserve to be stranded at gate D22 without so much as a blanket or charged iPhone.

 

3. Anger and Bargaining

airport neck pillow layover

I hate American Airlines! I hate Texas! I hate my life! I’ll never dishonestly convince someone to give me their cot again if I can just get out of this airport!

 

4. Depression, Reflection and Loneliness

drinking bloody marys at the airport

I’m going to drink three bloody mary’s, eat two giant fish tacos in less than three minutes, and then sleep the pain away.

After that, I’ll hit up Dunkin’ Donuts.

 

5. The Upward Turn

airport layover

No. I’m not going to Dunkin’ Donuts. I’m instead going to see this fiasco as an opportunity.  In fact, I’m going to use all of this free time to better myself!

(Translation? I’m going to read the latest issue of Martha Stewart Living cover to cover if it kills me.)

 

6. Reconstruction and Working Through

I will not let the absence of showers turn me into a victim!

(This is how I found myself washing my underwear in the bathroom with an anti-acne face wipe at approximately 11:30 pm.)

 

7. Acceptance and Hope

I don’t care what it costs, I’m going to pay for a new ticket to get me out of this place for good.

Also? I forgive American Airlines for keeping my luggage in Texas all week.

Even if it means Jolie and Penny will have to wait until Friday to enjoy their new, Kangaroo hide rug.

(If that’s not moving on, I don’t know what is.)

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Urine for a rude awakening

Urine for a rude awakening 9

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TMI ALERT: If the title didn’t give it away, this is a post about pee. If such a subject makes you uncomfortable, queasy, or generally  upset, I highly suggest you don’t read any further.

HIGHLY suggest.

*******

They say that you marry your father–something I find to be more and more true each day I spend with Scott. While my husband has yet to take up dumpster diving or collecting dead roadkill, he and Mark have more in common than either one of them would like to admit.

A prime example is their outright refusal to stop for bathroom breaks on road trips.

As men, Scott and my father lack some serious empathy in regards to “holding it” during a long car ride. While I thankfully never witnessed my dad do it, I vividly remember him making my younger brothers relieve themselves in various empty containers to avoid stopping. After what always seemed like hours of begging, Dad would finally agree to pull over to the side of the road so that Hayley and I might pee in the woods. That’s right…the woods. (Growing up in Alaska, indoor plumbing could be few and far between.)

Scott might be even worse. It simply isn’t a road trip without him whipping out a used Dasani bottle and insisting I hold onto the wheel so he might empty his bladder. I’ll never forget the time we were pulled over for speeding a few seconds in to his bathroom on-the-go ritual. He was literally still peeing as the officer was approaching the driver’s side window. Scott frantically secured the cap to the bottle and tossed it underneath the seat with approximately two seconds to spare. The most amazing part? The policemen let us off with a mere warning. I’ve never seen Scott so smug.

Needless to say, I’m no stranger to the caveman-like act of urinating in cups while driving. But this weekend? This weekend things crossed the line.

We were cruising through South Dakota on our way home from the Nebraska game. Scott was at the wheel, listening to a highly offensive podcast, while I was competing in twelve simultaneous Words with Friends games via my iPhone. I reached into the backseat for the mammoth bag of chocolate covered acai berries we had picked up for tailgating. While I wasn’t exactly hungry, I was definitely bored…and sugar is always a great way to pass the time.

After a few handfuls of berries, I found myself thirsty. Parched, even. I reached for the bottle of water in the cup holder next to me.

tjat

Black + white so you don’t have to see Scott’s pee in technicolor. You’re welcome.

Insert me, spitting a mouthful of urine all over our car and making the same noise Miss Piggy does when she’s really pissed at Kermey.

I was embarrassed, disgusted, and generally disappointed with myself. To make matters worse, I was behind in Words with Friends and we didn’t have any water to rinse my mouth out.

And so, I did what any other resourceful, resilient woman would do in the face of such tragedy.

(Ate the entire Costco packet of chocolate covered acai berries in silence while Scott tried to convince me the incident wasn’t his fault as I had technically seen him go in the bottle.)

I’d prefer not to go into any more detail, as recounting the incident in writing has been traumatic enough. But for the sake of closure, I will leave you with the answers to three questions I’m sure you’re dying to know the answers to.

***

Q. What type of person pees in a water bottle and then puts it back in the freaking cup holder?!

A. Scott.

***

Q. What type of person refuses to stop for a fresh bottle of water even after their wife accidentally took a swig of  urine?

A. Scott.

***

Q. What does pee taste like?

A. Lukewarm Gatorade without any sweetener in it. While I hope I never drink it again, it was honestly way less disgusting than I had imagined.

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My teeth may as well be made of gold at this point.

My teeth may as well be made of gold at this point. 2

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Scott and I have been dropping a lot of cash on our teeth as of late.

I’m due to replace both of the crowns on my back molars, which have been in place for twelve years. In order to maximize my dental insurance coverage, I’m only replacing one per year–but will still be paying over a grand out of pocket for each procedure. While I keep trying to put this unpleasant experience off, my dentist kindly reminds me that my right crown fell off five years ago, and is currently held in place with nothing but glue. (I didn’t have dental insurance at the time and was able convince a local dentist to glue it back on, praying it would hold. It has…but I think I’ve tempted dental fate long enough.)

So, phase one of that little party will be going down on Monday. I’ve been told it can take upwards of two and a half hours.

Then there’s Scott.  Inspired by Tom’s Cruise awkward endeavor of 2002, he’s getting braces this Thursday. Add another $1,300 to the ever growing oral health tab–and that’s just the down-payment. The silver lining? At least we’ll get a few funny pictures out of the deal. (I may or may not be cooking up a braces-themed Christmas card.)

And let’s not forget the girls. One of the downsides of owning small dogs is that they have terrible, terrible teeth. Jolie’s already had eight pulled. Both girls are long overdue for a cleaning, which will undoubtedly require anesthesia on account of their fear-induced squirliness.  I’m sure the vet will also find a petrified piece of underwear back there or something, which will probably set us back an additional several hundred dollars. There goes Scott’s Christmas bonus!

As if these three expenses weren’t enough of a hit to our wallet, this happened on Wednesday:

teeth-status

 

Where do I even begin?

It was approximately 3:00, and Jolie and Penny needed to be taken outside for a bathroom break. While I typically allow them to roam leash-free in the yard, I had spotted a bald eagle earlier in the day and didn’t want one of them to get snatched up. Leashes and harnesses it was.

Being that I was in the midst of a heated game of Words With Friends, my iPhone had to come with as well. Picture two leashes with wriggling dogs who are surprisingly strong for their size and a smartphone in only two hands.

And then, it happened.

I noticed my shoe was untied. Under normal circumstances I would have set the leashes down, but our neighbor’s hunting dogs were out, and both of the girls were ready to rumble. I suppose I could have rested the phone gently on the grass…but it was damp, and I didn’t want to risk losing my phone to water damage…again.

status

Yeah…I have a history with this sort of thing.

But back to last Wednesday. In a pathetic attempt to juggle all of my belongings, I shoved both leashes into the crook of my armpit, held the phone between my teeth, and bent down to fasten my shoelace. As I stood up to collect myself, the phone fell from my mouth, face down into the grass. When I picked it up, this is what I saw:

phone

The iPhone couldn’t have fallen more than a foot and a half…and the patch of grass it landed on was free of any sharp, or even slightly hard objects. The only logical explanation?

My teeth are so incredibly strong, they cracked the screen due to their bionic strength and supernatural sharpness.

In other words, I have to buy a new phone tomorrow.

(And no…it won’t be covered under dental insurance. I already checked.)

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