After my last book signing on Monday I went to the airport, where US Airways totally hosed me. Originally I was on a different return flight, but because of a scheduling conflict I had to cancel it and book this one last week. That last minute booking put me into the wonderful world of BOARDING ZONE 4. It also meant that I had to switch planes in Charlotte. Keep those facts in mind, because I’m sure they contributed to the resulting screw ups.
Apparently, since US Airways likes to overbook their flights, there would be no overhead storage for ZONE 4. So we all had to check our carry ons. See all that stuff above about fans giving me gifts? Yep. Most of them were in this carry on. Also, since I had DragonCon Day 4 Brain, my car keys were in that carry on too, and I didn’t think to pull them out just in case. So I checked my bag at the gate.
And then waited, and waited, and waited, oh yeah, because the US Airways flight crew was an hour late for their own flight. We started boarding when we were supposed to be taking off.
Remember that thing about the connecting flight in Charlotte? Yeah. My one hour layover turned into an awesome 5 minute layover. Plus, Zone 4, I get to be one of the last people off the plane (really, jackasses up front who have plenty of time or this is your final destination, you couldn’t bother to stay seated for a few more minutes? Or hey, maybe our one hour late flight crew could be bothered to make an announcement saying please let the poor dumb schmucks in back trying to catch a connection go first)
And since we landed at terminal A and my connection was in terminal D I had five whole minutes to make it across the entire airport. So if you were in the crowded Charlotte airport Monday night, yes, I was the 300 hundred pound 6’5” man sprinting through there bellowing MAKE A HOLE, COMING THROUGH, and SORRY. I caught my flight to Salt Lake as they were doing final call and closing the door.
Big men hate running. I’m actually a far better sprinter than you’d guess by looking at me, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Oh hey, other passengers crammed next to the giant panting man, sorry I’m suddenly drenched in sweat. Nice to meet you too.
But I made it. Yay! Only when I landed in Salt Lake, I discovered that my bag didn’t make it. Oh, it had time to make it to the right plane, because it didn’t need to run across four crowded terminals, so should have made it, and probably would have made it, except for—according to the US Airways luggage employee in SLC—they shipped the item with that tag to Pittsburgh instead…
And nobody is answering in Pittsburgh, because apparently that is where luggage goes to die.
Did I mention I left my car keys in that carry on? So my car is in long term parking but my keys are in the Twilight Zone. Oh, by the way. I don’t live in Salt Lake. I live in the mountains an hour and a half from the airport. So now that it is 11:30 at night and you guys are just now figuring out that you sent my bag to Pittsburgh and nobody there is answering the phone, let me call my wife and wake her up, so that she can drive an hour and a half to Salt Lake international to give me the extra car key.
But I didn’t have it the worst. Of the other DOZEN people standing in line because US Airways lost their bags on other flights, one poor bastard plugged his phone in to charge at a wall socket, and while the US Airways employee was helpfully explaining they had no clue where his luggage ended up, some asshole stole his phone too. Holy shit, just pile it on. There’s theft, and then there’s theft with added dickery.
US Airways didn’t call me yesterday. I called their help number this morning, and the automated system basically said WE DON’T KNOW WHERE YOUR BAG IS GO TO HELL AND DIE (I might have added that last part, I think it was actually something about checking back again later).
I wrote the above at the end of my DragonCon AAR, but figured I’d save it until I saw how the situation resolved.
Wednesday they called me, but I missed it. When I called them back I got no answer and left a message. But then at about 9:30 Wednesday night I got a knock on the door. It was my luggage!
I got all my autographed books, ARCs, and fan presents back. I wasn’t worried about the other stuff because that’s all replaceable, but I hate losing fan gifts. That’s the part that really irked me. When fans make stuff for authors, that’s like the ultimate compliment. When other authors you’ve inspired give you signed copies of their books, that’s the kind of thing you always want to keep.
So US Airways has been spared from the wrath of the International Lord of Hate. Wendell has ordered the horde of orcs to stand down.