Monday, October 05, 2009

Cancelled Flights and Lost Luggage

Oh the joys of business travel. I returned late Friday (make that early Saturday) from a brief trip to Charlotte, NC.

It started out fun on Thursday afternoon when I was interviewed by a Star Tribune reporter for a story she was writing about the one year anniversary of the Delta-Northwest merger. She and a photographer were standing outside the security line trying to get folks to talk but most wouldn’t even make eye contact. [Haven't seen the story yet - I'll be sure to post a link when (and if) it comes up.]

I was friendly enough to make eye contact and answer a few questions. My only complaint – if it was even serious enough to call it a “complaint” was the confusion I encountered trying to check my one suitcase.

I had booked my travel using my employer’s online travel planning tool. The itinerary that printed showed the following, “Airline – Delta Air Lines; Flight 3377, OPERATED BY COMPASS AIRLINES”. No reference to NWA. I had checked into my flight the day before and printed a boarding pass – the boarding pass was for NWA. Hmmm.

At the airport, all the signs behind the ticketing agent say Delta (there is no reference to good old Norwest Airlines – or NWA.) I approach the ticketing agents and notice that the computer screen at check in presents me with a choice for logging in – Delta or NWA, KLM, etc. I choose Delta, and walk though the steps only to have it stop short and tell me there was no record of me, and that I should see a ticketing agent. The ticketing agent sees my boarding pass and says, “Go ahead, and do it again – but check NWA this time.” Success – and I’m off. It was right after this that I was stopped by the reporter. I relayed my story of my 30 second delay – and that was that.

As an aside – I favor checking luggage – I hate schlepping around both my laptop bag (which I carry on) and my luggage small as it is. Security is a pain since you have to remove the laptop from the bag and run each through separately – not to mention, shoes, watch, etc. It really comes down to not wanting to deal with my liquids – so I check the darn bag.

On the way home, Friday night (I wish the reporter was there), my flight was delayed once, then twice, then three times, then was cancelled outright. I was able to work my way onto a different (and direct !!) flight on Mesaba/NWA/Delta – but my luggage was going to be going through Detroit – on Saturday. Made it home about 1:30 AM, and crawled into bed for about 5 hours of sleep – we had a busy Saturday morning. My bag arrived about 4:00 PM that afternoon.

I am rethinking my checked-luggage philosophy. This makes two times, in two trips, that I arrive a day ahead of my luggage. Next time, I’m carrying it on – better make sure I have the appropriate 3 oz. bottles.

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