The joys of air travel
Dec 28, 2007

For the week leading up to Christmas, Jessi and I were in New Mexico with my mom. Flying to New Mexico is a somewhat ridiculous affair, because there aren't all that many direct flights to Albuquerque. In general, the best bet has always been to fly Southwest. I've never been a particularly big fan of Southwest, but it wasn't that big a deal because I was only ever taking short flights (Oakland to San Diego, Oakland to Albuquerque, and Oakland to Los Angeles, were about it). Now, of course, I'm living on the East Coast again, so not only did I have to drive an hour to get to an airport that Southwest operates out of (they fly to Providence and Manchester, we chose Manchester for this trip), but there weren't any direct flights. It wasn't really all that bad though, as long as I have a book and an aisle seat so I can stretch my legs every so often I can deal with it. The real problem arose after we got back to Manchester. We came back with an extra suitcase that we hadn't taken with us, so had 3 checked bags instead of 2. Unfortunately, only 2 of them actually made it to Manchester—the two that had only my stuff in them. Jessi's bag was nowhere to be found. So we filed a claim in the baggage office and they assumed that it was just stuck in Chicago (where we had caught our connecting flight) and would come in the next day (yesterday) at which point they would send it to us by courier. So yesterday I spent the day waiting for the courier. He finally arrive in the early afternoon and brought in a suitcase. Unfortunately it wasn't ours. It wasn't even the right color, although someone had thoughtfully tagged it with our baggage claim number. The courier was very apologetic, although also very happy when I didn't blame him for the problem; apparently he gets yelled at a lot when that sort of thing happens even though all he does it take the bags where the airlines tell him to take them. We figured what probably had happened was that the tags on two bags got switched some how, so he had dropped our bag off at someone else's house (if it's not an apartment you can have them just leave the bag for you), so I figured we'd get a call about it that night when the people got home from work and discovered the mistake. No such luck. So last night I got a call from Southwest. They confirmed that the bag that had been delivered was the wrong one, and then basically just said that they have no idea where our bag is. I repeated the description of the bag that I had given them before and let them know that it had one of Jessi's business cards in the name tag holder and that all the contact information on it was valid. Now we're essentially just waiting for Southwest to conduct some sort of national search for our bag. Maybe it's still in Albuquerque, maybe it's still in Chicago, maybe it's still in Manchester somehow. Maybe it got put onto the wrong flight at some point and ended up somewhere altogether different. Maybe a baggage handler stole it. Maybe the TSA stole it. Who knows (although I'm leaning towards the TSA being to blame just because). I've never actually had a bag get lost on a flight before, it's not a very fun experience. It also does little to improve our perception of Southwest. We don't really plan on ever flying with them again, although New Mexico is the only destination of theirs that we'd even have considered them for anyway.
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