I’ve Got Baggage

17 Oct

Photo courtesy of The Graphics Fairy

So, here I am, sitting at another airport. The day did not get off to a great start, what with the flood in my kitchen. Mopped up (mostly) and water shut off. Can someone please call a plumber so I don’t have to deal with that when I get home?

Twenty five minutes later I’ve pulled up to Phoenix Sky Harbor airport and, after a bit of searching found a great parking space, all the while thinking how great it will be to return with just my carry-on bag, hop into my conveniently located car and drive home on Tuesday. Yes, today is Friday. I am flying to Kuwait for 2 days. Someone that I work with posed the question, “Who flies to Kuwait for two days?” Uh, that would be me, ma’am. Then again, I once flew to Cancun for five hours. Long story.

I turn on the interior light in the car to do just a bit of rearranging and I’m off. I’ve gone online ahead of time to enter my frequent flyer number. People, if you don’t belong to these and hotel clubs you are a fool. I’m rackin’ up 17,000 miles on this trip (your mileage may vary) and choose my seats (I highly recommend www.seatguru.comto get benefits and drawbacks of the seat you have chosen).

Photo courtesy of Chris Gash

The only challenge is my domestic flights as the airline website won’t let me choose seats for these and I am just too busy to call. I wing it (pardon the pun) for the flight to Chicago and end up with a middle seat on a full flight. Woo-hoo! Worse yet, I’m boarding zone 7 which means the plane may already be taxiing to the runway by the time I start boarding. It also means that all of the overhead space will most likely be taken by the time I board.

I approach the gate agent to see if I might get the one seat that is still showing as available. It is an emergency exit and, unless you have status, there is a surcharge. Although I used to have status (aah, the good old days), once you lose it, you also seem to become invisible. I realize that, when seated in the emergency exit, you also get an earlier boarding number. This just might be worth it as, kind folks that they are, the airline has offered to check any carry-on to my final destination when they run out of overhead space, which the gate agent has assured me will most definitely happen. I have a small panic attack about this as I’m flying for two days and I have minimal carry-on. It would be great to have it with me and, with my many connections, not have it lost as I have all of my job interview clothes and make-up (yes, vanity rears its ugly head) in there. I ask the price of this emergency exit “upgrade” (although it bothers me on principle as, I’m 5’3″, I don’t need the extra leg room). From the price quoted, this seat is apparently made from gold and down feathers. And worse yet, the seat has now disappeared from the available column as I’m told that it was just given to somebody with status.

After I explain my situation again (I mean really, some of these people are just flying to Chicago and could check their bags), I ask if I might board with another group. I’m told no and madam gate agent says that I will most likely have to check my bag through to Kuwait City but, “we’ll hope that doesn’t happen.” Aah, hope springs eternal.

Finally, my flight starts boarding and, rebel that I am, I sneak my way into the Zone 6 line where the gate guy tells me I may have to check my bag if there’s no room. Really? I hadn’t heard this. I step on board and there is enough room in the overhead bins to store 3 Volvo’s and a Prius. People boarding after me were not pleased to see all of the open space when they had been made to check their bags. Honestly, if anyone from the airlines is reading this, wake up and stop charging for checked bags and start charging for carry-on.

So here I am, sitting in my middle seat fighting with that kid over the armrest and playing “Where’s My Water” on my iPad (strangely addictive), when a horrible thought pops into my head. I forgot to turn off the interior light in my car after I rearranged my luggage. Carry-on? Check. Car parked in a convenient location to make a quick airport exit on my return? Check. Dead battery requiring the kindness of a stranger to jump start it? Check.

I turn on the TV in the seat back in front of me in order to distract myself. Ooh, a little E! to not only take my mind off my dead battery but to actually turn my brain to mush. Just getting into E! News Daily and      hearing about the Kardashian’s latest escapades (I know, I lost your respect. Mine too) when a message is flashed on the screen telling me to swipe my credit card to continue. #$&@!!!!

A stop in Chicago where I share a pizza and wine with Mary Sue, who I met in the Phoenix airport. (To be more specific, we shared the pizza and we talked over wine. I don’t share my wine with anybody). She is heading to Florence to enjoy 10 days in a Villa with friends who have arranged wine tasting and a personal chef. I ask if she wants to trade trips. She politely declines.

Even before the flight is called people are lining up. As it’s a Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt there is a mix of nationalities amongst the passengers with many Germans and Americans. You can easily spot which are which because, apparently there are four lines and the Germans confidently step into place even though there are no signs or stanchions dividing the lines or indicating which lines are which. They are organized, orderly and on time. The Americans, well, not so much. We stand there in a clump asking each other what seat we’re in and trying to figure out which line we should stand in.

Despite our confusion we leave on time. Next stop Frankfurt and then on to Kuwait City. Read about it in Kuwait Just a Minute.


One Response to “I’ve Got Baggage”


  1. Hello, I Must Be Going | My Own Adventure - November 9, 2013

    […] This brings me to where I sit now. Seat 23B, fighting over the armrest with the kid next to me who doesn’t understand the unwritten rule that, whoever is in the middle seat gets the armrest. The flights add up to 22 hours going there and 28 hours returning. I will be in Kuwait for exactly 49 hours. During that time I will have 4 interviews (one a cultural interview), do 1 presentation and have a tour of Kuwait City. I have come with a carry-on suitcase (which United Airlines threatened to check. Uh, I don’t think so), a Kindle, an iPad (redundant?) and some Ambien. Coming up next, the flights in I’ve Got Baggage. […]

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