Last week I signed up for a triathlon. I'm nervous about it. I took my stuff with me on the trip to Utah, so I could swim laps at least one morning. My plan was to get up early on Friday and swim at the local pool. But United or Frontier lost my luggage. They didn't really lose it, but it wasn't in Utah when I arrived. I got into Salt Lake City at 11:00 pm, made the rounds yelling at people until midnight, and then gave up and went to my mom's. She had been waiting in the car for me for that entire hour. Normally I wouldn't have been so upset about my luggage being misplaced, but I had big plans for the next morning.
And I didn't really yell at anyone. I just went to the United lost luggage counter and expressed my frustration. The girl seemed to want to tell me it was Frontier's fault for not transferring the luggage. So I went to the Frontier counter. But the only person there was the Jetblue guy. He told me he couldn't do anything about it, and said, "All I can tell you to do is to go over to that white telephone over there on the wall and ask to speak to someone at Frontier about lost luggage." Translation: "Go call someone who cares." So I did that. After being passed around a few more times, the people I called said they couldn't do anything about it, really, and the girl wanted to give me another number to call.
There's an idea, just keep giving angry customers different numbers to call.
All in all, it was frustrating, and I don't want to spend this entire entry complaining about the lost luggage. Clearly it's a big industry, the lost luggage industry, because they have a system in place to deal with it (as my mother pointed out on the drive to her house). The next day a guy called and said he would be dropping my luggage off soon. He didn't even need directions to the house because he had a GPS. I told my mom it's just AMAZING that they can't think of a more cost effective way to deal with it, like not losing luggage. She countered that she's just AMAZED they don’t lose MORE luggage than they do. And she claims that it's gotten worse over the years.
I think she's probably right, as the possibility for more airlines has grown, flight and international travel is less a pastime for the refined: we now share elbow room with chickens and the homeless looking for a place to sleep. One company is even called Airbus, which simply reinforces my feeling that an airplane is really nothing more than a glorified bus.
Not so insightful from where I sit right now, but on the plane itself you really wonder how you could have paid $400 for such a narrow space between two large men who smell like they ran several laps out on the tarmac and then ate a few chili dogs before hopping on the flight. Next time, you think to yourself, I'll just take a Greyhound. That way, instead of being trapped with a chicken in front of your face and smelly neighbors, when the bus pulls over for a pit stop, you can change your mind about the ride and reconsider your transportation options. Maybe a train with a private car?
I'm just waiting for the glorified flying train. When will airplanes look like flying caterpillars? Someday . . . preceded, of course, by the airplane with the stretchy middle.