Bad Trip

Oh, the things I’ve seen — and done.

Started with “missing” the flight out of Denver. Only not really.  Oh, the things I’ll have to say about Norwegian airlines.

An obscene amount of money and five hours later, circa midnight on Tuesday, we got the flights we could get.  Note I’d never have come via Madrid otherwise, much less with a tight connection.  But I had to.

So we arrived here without luggage.  Because we’d paired our carry on till we had not even a change of clothes, we had to wash our travel clothes overnight.  Our bags remain MIA.  Which is a problem, since it includes not only Dan’s and my clothing to attend the weeding (Thank G-d the Bride and Groom have dress and suit) but also the converter to plug this laptop in, so I’m writing this on the dregs of battery.

We’re about to go out and try to find “clothing that looks like we should be at a wedding.”  Since my size was always outsized here, even when I was a seven, I’m going to end up dressed in the equivalent of “old fat lady” clothes.  For which we have to shop and burn half the day that Robert’s inlaws have free to see something of the country.

Calls to the lost luggage center get them to tell us they’re “endeavoring.”

ARGGGGGH.  There will be more about this when I have more battery.  And there will probably be a private sale (as in I collect them and sell them through here before/instead of putting on Amazon) of a book of essays which I’ll start rounding up as soon as I have a converter (we should try to buy one this morning.)  Because we’re over 10k down for new tickets before we start getting replacements for things, I don’t expect royalties for about a year, and the delivery payment is spoken for for younger kid’s tuition. And PJ is no longer relevant as a source of income.  Once I get indie out, we’ll be fine, but this is the worst possible year for financial hits, and the hits keep coming.

Pray/send good thoughts that the trip got the worst out ahead of time and it’s smooth from now on, because I’ve had just about enough.

84 responses to “Bad Trip

  1. Ouch. When I flew to Brazil for my cousin’s wedding the airline lost my luggage too. And there’s no time to shop, and you’re already frazzled and worn down by travel Hell. My deepest sympathies.

    If you think it would help, I’ve been building a reading file of My Fave Hoytian essays starting from day 1. It’s not too far in, but I’d be happy to send over the file. I’m really looking forward to owning the essay collection when you put it out.

    • I too, am looking forward to owning that essay collection.

      Loads of sympathies, Sarah. Hang in there, and definitely praying for you.

      • Technical question: will the essays include selected blog comments? Because sometimes the best parts (and some of Sarah’s best insights) occur below the line. If so, is there a general release that needs to be waived at the lawyers, or are all bloggy comments deemed property of the blogowner?

        Asking fr a friend.

  2. Much to be said for impalement, beheading, and keel hauling as means to encourage airline and airport personnel.
    Though not of a similar impact, I already have family trying to ‘handle’ my intended trip. If all goes as *I* intend, I’ll treat you and Dan to dinner at Pete’s.

  3. Yikes! 😦

  4. Christopher M. Chupik

    Aw, crap. 😦

  5. Paul (Drak Bibliophile) Howard

    Oh Sh*t!

    Take Care Sarah.

  6. Stupid paperwork tricks sense is tingling. 😦

  7. Sending good thoughts.

  8. William H. Stoddard

    What a goddamn mess. I hope that no further disasters follow and that the losses are made good without long delay.

  9. Better luck from here on, let’s hope.

  10. Aw man! Happy thoughts and prayers your way, and a sympathetic arm punch. Will you post a couple of cool pictures for us to look at?

  11. Carol Stoddard

    Whump Norwegian Airlines on the head for losing your luggage and I’ll help. Very best wishes for a better trip from here on out.

    • Targeting question: Would the Norwegian Airlines’ head be the COO, CEO or the Chair of the Board? I suppose their head could be the loo, as it appears to be stopped up and full of … something.

      I am renewed in my faith that Travel is evil and the whole point of having a home is so that one doesn’t have to travel. Perhaps I shall spend the afternoon reading Nero Wolfe.

      • Embrace the corrective power of “All Of The Above”.

      • Even Nero Wolfe has been known to leave his home, once even abandoning it for a time.

        • Acknowledged – once to (or so he thought) rescue Archie, to the extent of allowing a “madwoman” to drive him through New York’s streets, on another occasion to exhibit his orchids at a fair (in the story introducing recurring character Lily Rowan), to address a gathering of Les Quinze Maîtres at [the Greenbrier resort in White Sulphur Springs, WV.], to venture to Montenegro to avenge the murder of his friend, Marko Vukcic, and most notably to go undercover to eliminate the threat of his “Moriarity”, Arnold Zeck.

          In fact, “In 74 stories, Nero Wolfe leaves the brownstone 35 times and does NOT leave the Brownstone 39 times.” (Eight times in the first fourteen novels.) See http://www.nerowolfe.org/htm/tidbits/Wolfe_Leaves_the_Brownstone.htm for the list.

          But at no time does he not begrudge the exigency and seek to return as expeditiously as possible.

      • Mike Houst

        Travel is fine. It’s being at the mercy (or lack thereof) of the ID10T carriers.

      • Send me coordinates. All I need are coordinates, then I’ll do the rest. We may have to get a certain Sarah’s Diner dinnerzen to “borrow” a BUFF, but I”m sure that can be arranged. Along with the two in-flight refuelings we’ll need. Now the only question we need to answer is what do we use for weapons. Even concrete blocks from 40K and 350 knots leave a lasting impression.

    • Once upon a time you could really motivate Euro airlines by asking their rep for the police report number from your STOLEN luggage. I don’t know if that works still but it might be worth a try.

  12. If you wanted to write a revenge fic about a horde of avenging angels descending on Norwegian Airlines and destroying them all in righteous wrath, I would buy it.

    Oh, and if you wanted to write a sequel where the angels descend on USAir and smite them while crying, “This is for the passengers of Flight 92 from Stockholm to Philadelphia,” I would buy a copy for everyone I know.

    (Some people accuse me of holding grudges for too long. All I can say is that if you were on this particular flight, you would too.)

  13. Oh, jeese louise. This is why – for the last couple of times that I traveled by air, I took a carry-on only, and packed it very carefully (and also counted on efficient laundry facilities at the other end.)

    And stuff like your experience is why I no longer travel by air.

    • After many long distance motorcycle trips I hit upon a useful way to handle the clothing-and-stuff problem: mail clothes and “stuff” ahead, and buy new underwear and socks at Wal-Mart or K-Mart when necessary. A 3-pack of underwear was less than $10; in the greater expense of travel, throwing away $3.33 in dirty underwear than the tank bag overflowed was no big deal.

      • I learned that trick from through-hikers; it works great if you’re headed places that will hold mail for you. (Which some hotels will do!) – if it’s friends, you can even mail it a week ahead of time, so it’s not in the last-minute rush of things to do, and wondering if it’ll arrive on time.

        Thanks to a friend who travels overseas a lot, I also learned the (obvious in retrospect) trick of mailing my dirty laundry home in order to fit everything I’d bought into the checked luggage and not be overweight. Sometimes, this even involved mailing things home with dirty laundry as the packing material.

        • A good friend who enjoyed the occasional backpack holiday in Europe simply packed his oldest rattiest undergarments and discarded them when no longer wearable thus making room for the occasional souvenirs.

          • That seems like an excellent way to force yourself to get rid of the oldest undergarments, as well! Usually when I’m resorting to mailing things home, though, it’s the rain gear because the weather turned out to be sunny, the cold-weather gear because the forecast was 20 degrees too low, the nice dress after the one function that required it (especially if it’s full skirt and petticoat)…

            These days, though, I strive to travel by car instead of commercial air, which means my luggage has expanded in absence of oversize or overweight anything. Less mailing back, but it does mean it’s harder to pass up a good winery, and pick up a “few” bottles on the way home…

            • We tend to vacation with stuff the airline won’t take, even if we aren’t talking using the item that comes with a full kitchen and bathroom (trailer). Or are going places where you still have to travel 100 or more miles to finish the trip. Plus, short of driving to Portland, our local airport, plan on the roller coaster air ride, with plane changes, as a fact. So, in general, why bother.

              But even if your designation involves backpack sized tent camping (Philmont), getting some of the equipment there, at least in ’05, was a PIA (fuel stoves.) At that I’m amazed that all 12 backpacks, with tents and gear for 10 days, made it there as carry on, and back. Each also had carry on for the 2 days, before the trek, and the day after, before flying back. Any contingent going now, I’d recommend shipping the trek gear to Philmont* in advanced, not rely on airlines … * Or any of the high adventure camps relying on specialized gear.

              I’ve flown, less than a dozen times. Once internationally, although Canada counts, barely. Been lucky on luggage. The flight we were thinking that I was going to take this last February (plans changed) was going to be interesting, as I would have my SD with me. So, me, her, my carry on, my “purse”, and her carry on … no checked luggage.

              Really sorry to hear your flight was so bad. I hope they find your luggage, before the wedding. Prayers.

  14. TheOtherSean

    I’m sorry your travels were so frustrating and complicated, but glad you made it safely. Best wishes to you and your kin for Wedding Part 2: The Sequel.

  15. Hello, Building Maintenance? I just passed by a vent and I could swear I smelt Brimstone.

  16. I’ve vowed never to fly again; have set contingency plans for the inevitable family emergencies, but I just ain’t going by air.

    Yikes on the flight screwup. The only flight I missed was my own damned fault (note to self; when a passport is expired Get Rid Of It, so you don’t grab the wrong one.), but that was aggravation enough.

    • I love flying. Just not “commercial” and I detest, loathe, etc. what the TSA has done to airports. Why yes, I have been in planes where to start the engine, someone spins the prop.

    • I got spoiled for commercial travel. My agency maintained two turboprop business twin engine aircraft, later upgraded to business jets, that ran regular routes between headquarters and the field centers. Thirteen seats, each reminiscent of a lazy boy recliner, and at the time boarding was through the private aviation gate. No TSA, just show badge and orders.
      Only problem was that each flight was controlled by the senior passenger, always someone several levels above my pay grade. We peons were in effect hitchhikers, and had to conform to the senior passenger’s schedule. And if that changed midstream we could easily be left stranded. Sort of. Actually when that happened we simply had to present ourselves to the preferred carrier and get the next available flight home.

      • My first international flight was in December 2001, just as TSA was getting its security theater set up. Repeated the trip in March and June ’02, and you could see it getting worse. (French-TSA equivalent checking the grandmotherly type at DeGaulle airport, ignoring the more obvious people.)

        My employer had a fleet of jets, but the only business I had to fly on, we went via Alaska Air to Portland.

        If I wanted to fly anywhere, I’d have to drive 100 miles to get to the nearest commercial airport, then fly to Portland. Or, drive the 300 miles to there. It’s really easy to say no to flight. As last as 2014, I could drive the 2000+ miles to visit family in Illinois in 2.5 days. Not sure how long it would take now. Now, I’ll stay overnight for the medical trips. I can do the 200 miles in a day, but after they dilate my eyes, I’d rather not travel.

        • Technically we have the Eugene Airport, within 5 miles. But that flies to a main hub, which means connecting flights. Main hubs are either Portland, Seattle, SF, Denver, Phoenix, and more recently LA. Might have small flights to Vegas and Reno. Then you have to catch connecting flights (never near by gates, FWIW.) Even SF or Seattle, out of Eugene, it is not a “direct flight”, usually. The over all route is SF, Medford, Eugene, Portland, Seattle, and reverse. Don’t deplane if final destination is one of the end locations; but still up/down. A lot of those flights are actually based in Eugene. First flight out are crew flying to their station duties, interestingly enough.

          You want a direct flight anywhere, drive to Portland.

          Flying East. No connection waits, running to the next connection (in my limited experience.) Flying West … hurry up and wait roller coaster for next connection (again limited experience, but minimum of an hour wait at next gate.)

          • Shipping live freight from Los Angeles to somewhere in Flyover Country… routed by way of Atlanta. Er, no, let me try another airline…

            Best experience: Hughes Air West… they did on-demand stops at the podunk airports along their minor routes.

            [Image of someone pulling the plane’s stop cord…]

  17. Ouch! The airline gangs rip people off massively on last-minute fares.

    I learned long ago to pack at least a fresh shirt, pair of underwear, and pair of socks in my carry-on. Unless it was a nonstop flight. I had a trip to Florence, Italy, once. 2002 World Muzzle-Loading Championships. Traveling with a carry-on, a combined duffel bag and rifle case, and a pistol case. Alitalia lost everything….for the entire team. One-third of the luggage arrived with us, another third the next day, most of the rest the third day (including the rifle case). They didn’t find the pistol case until three weeks later…at another airport in Rome.

    I’m becoming convinced that the FAA needs to seriously re-regulate the airlines. At least bring them under control.

  18. Reminds me of a trip I took to Israel back in the ’70s. I went to Jerusalem; my luggage went to Detroit.

    • Probably better than the other way around. (I hate the feeling that my luggage is having a better time than I am).

  19. Worst case you can always borrow one of your mom’s dresses, or go old school and wear some hand-me-down suit from your brother. I know you used to once upon a time.

  20. Save your receipts for anything you purchase to replace items in your missing luggage. You can often (although it may take getting a manager involved, not the first-tier support rep) convince an airline to reimburse you for those costs, and also get a credit on a future flight, which you may or may not be able to apply to your return trip, depending on how the airline handles those vouchers.

    Also, if we were inclined to paypal some money your way, what’s the best address to use (since the donate link seems to still be missing)?

  21. As others have commented. Because of TSA tyranny, I’ve pretty much given up flying places. I just can’t abide being treated like a criminal in my own country, and “you can search me as soon as you can articulate a probable cause to search me asshole” probably would wind me up on a no-fly list (If I’m not already on one due to voicing political opinions).

    Even before the TSA, I had taken to traveling with only a carry-on. Not that that was an option in your case.

    Sorry to hear you’ve had travel trials. Hope things turn out better from here on out on your trip. 🙂

    • the best way is to fly into somewhere minuscule and transfer. Flying from Green Bay to DFW is much more pleasant than the reverse.
      DFW you got a huge long lines at the TSA Kabuki Dance, and at the Au Straubel TSA the longest portion is the pocket empty/fill and shoe off/on shuffle.

      • Aye. I recall that flying from Minneapolis was a pain, but flying from Sioux Falls was not. Even not long after 9/11 from Sioux Falls it was “Thanks for coming so early, but if you want we can get you on an earlier flight, it departs in only 20 minutes.”

        • My sister showed up at a few minutes before departure time for a flight in GB (her phone app gave her the times as Eastern not GB’s Central) and they got her on it without a delay.

  22. Update elsewhere that they’ve now got their luggage.

    • The image that provoked in me is evidence I may have read too much (assuming that is possible) Terry Pratchett.

      In other notable news:

      Noir Fatale is out next week!
      [By Larry Correia]
      This is an anthology that I edited with Kacey Ezell featuring all new noir themed sci-fi and fantasy stories. And it came out awesome.

      Some of the stories tie into existing franchisees. We’ve got a new Honor Harrington universe story from David Weber. There’s a new Anita Blake story by Laurell K. Hamilton. I wrote a Grimnoir story, set in 1954 to prep for the next Grimnoir trilogy. …

      … Sarah Hoyt’s missing person investigation takes some weird turns. I loved it.

    • Sweet! Baggage can be a good thing sometimes. ~:D

  23. makes me wonder exactly how the flight was missed because it sounds like the airline did something funky.

    • I flew from SFO to ORD in the ’70s on Capitol Airlines. Funky was their middle name. I suspect the (lack of) talent is readily available.

    • snelson134

      I had an American gate agent in LA tell us that the flight was cancelled in Dallas due to “bad weather” which meant that no one was getting reimbursed for hotel.

      As one, 50 people pulled out their smartphones and hauled up either current airport cams or Weather Service reports for the day showing that “the skies were not cloudy all day.” After a rather spirited back and forth, she realized she’d been busted and agreed we would get compensated.

      It’s amazing how the number of lies that can be instantly fact checked has expanded……

      • It’s amazing how slowly they change even when they know they can be busted at once.

        • My experience is that the gate agents calmly walk away before any evidence of the flight being canceled, and are simply never seen again.
          .
          Not that they canceled the flight. It was just “delayed”. The plane sitting on the tarmac, on another continent, at boarding time, wasn’t enough to cancel the flight.
          Maybe it would take place mañana.
          I recall the next 18 hours or so being unpleasant, with numerous tight connections, three trips through the TSA gauntlet with the clock ticking, and lots of uncertainty if there would even be room on the next leg for us.
          Seven years later, I still hate United.
          And it sounds like we got off easy compared to stay just happened to you.

          • Ah, United.
            The airline whose motto is “Don’t Make Me Come Back There.”

  24. Mark Alger

    I find myself somehow delighted that I refuse to fly since 9/11. No. I mean, subject myself to A Security Theater.

    • Joe in PNG

      Sadly, despite the best wishes of Occasional-Cortex, it’s still impossible to drive from the USA to Australasia… and it would take a really long time.
      Plus all that soap would get really, really slippery.

      • Mark Alger

        Is it possible to sail? I’d go for that — even on a tall ship.

        M

        • Joe in PNG

          I only get so much time to get from here to there, and while I like traveling, I don’t want to spend most of my time on the water.
          However, plan is to take a cruise ship back to the USA when I go finish.
          And on the gripping hand, you got to go through all the same sort of TSA/ foreign exact equivalents when you board a passenger ship. Except you don’t get to pack as much in your main bag.

  25. Joe in PNG

    Regular international traveler here- I fly halfway across the world a couple of time a year, and have for the past long count of years.
    Some things I’ve learned:
    -If at all possible (and it’s not always), break your trip up with an overnight (or two) between your big trip, and the little trip. I’ll do two nights in Brisbane after leaving the USA. This gives you a buffer in case of inevitable delays, a chance to get some rest before I get to PNG, and a chance to explore & have some fun.
    -Travel in a nice, but comfortable outfit- I’m partial to linen pants, a long sleeved linen shirt, and pocket t shirt underneath.
    -Minimize your carry-on, but carry enough to have a day or two of clothes without washing. I have found that I don’t need to carry any liquids at all (those little disposable single use toothbrushes are wonderful), and can get by with my essential meds, a couple of pairs of underwear, socks, a pair of shorts, and a set of travel clothes- all in a backpack with my laptop, and all under the usual 7kg/ space allowance.
    -Of all the carryon bags I’ve tried, I’ve found that backpacks are the best choice. Rolling bags are heavier (the handle & wheel mechanism is roughly a set of clothes), bulkier, and a bit of a pain when dealing with multiple suitcases.
    -Toiletries like shampoo, conditioner, toothpaste, and sundry are heavy, but very easy to replace when you get to your destination- and likely to leak out. Take as few as possible, and keep in your checked bag.
    -One can live indefinitely with what one can pack in a single, medium sized suitcase, if one plans accordingly and doesn’t fall into the “just in case” trap.

  26. Joe in PNG

    A few other things I’ve noticed during regular international travel:
    -one out of four flights is subject to SIGNIFICANT delays. Plan accordingly, as it will happen.
    -Polite, but firm works better. But sometimes you have to say “it is what it is”, and let it go.
    -The longer the flight, the more paying for extra legroom seats becomes worth the money.
    -I’ve never found those neck pillows to be very helpful. A comfortable sleep mask, on the other hand, is awesome.

    • On a trip from SFO to Atlanta (en route to Germany w/change of plane), I asked Delta for a bulkhead seat. That *used* to be a good way to get extra legroom. At least into the 1980s.

      Not with Delta; the total toilet-brushes set up the bulkhead row to have *less* legroom than a standard seat. Added to the fun of TSA, I was ready to spit nails by the time we got to Atlanta.

      • Joe in PNG

        On the jumbos, the trick is to get on the row facing the flight attendants, near the big exit door in the middle.
        Plus, you can get up without disturbing any of your seat mates.

        • Now, I prefer the driver’s seat of the Subie. (In our county, you don’t have to get the Bernie 2020 bumper sticker. 🙂 )

    • If anyone can find the bone-shaped pillow, those tend to be rather nice. The problem is they don’t stay in place.

      The neck pillows I liked the best were the ones made with little sifting balls inside. I think they’d work better though if made with cotton as opposed to some stretchy jersey fabric.

      • Joe in PNG

        I try to get a window seat (even though that row doesn’t have windows), so I can sleep against the side of the plane.
        Also, the headrest on Qantas aircraft can be raised up, and the sides curled in as a head support.

  27. Strange timing. My sister almost experienced a travel calamity today. Lost her purse while laid over in Atlanta on her way to Germany. The gate attendants were of little help, so she went to the medallion desk expecting better service. Alas, they were nearly as disinterested.

    After an hour or so of freaking out while waiting (No passport, No ID, No Wallet, No Cash, No Credit Cards stuck inside an airport is very similar to jail time, except without the free food), it turns out she’d left her purse on the plane and it had been found and turned in with all of its contents still in place. Crisis averted.

    I hope your experience ends as nearly as well as my sister’s.

    • I’ve read that some regular international travelers wear something like a photographer’s vest of pockets, where they carry anything small enough to fit right on their body.

      Seems useful, though I wonder what the gestapo would make of it…

      • Before my first trip to Germany, I got one of those over-the-shoulder packet pouches. Worn inside my clothing, it had a bit of cash and such, and IIRC, at times my passport.

        One of the other guys on the trip had a waistband arrangement (under the shirt) for similar use. It’s annoying if you have to get at something inside, but it’s relatively safe.

      • Joe in PNG

        I’d be more worried about the line of late people behind you waiting for you to dump all the junk in your pockets.
        The security people don’t really care, as long as you put it in the proper tray the first time.
        And, the fewer bags you have, the easier it is not to lose them.

  28. Joe in PNG

    TSA is nothing compared to flying Cathay Pacific out of Manila.
    At least I got dinner out of it.

  29. I thought about sending you a donation but I went to Amazon and bought the first 4 books of the Darkship series instead.

    • Thereby sending me about $2 a year from now…
      Not complaining, but it is important to know. I’m glad you bought the books, and I hope you enjoy them, though. That being, rather, the whole thing I do 😉