In which I regale you with tales of our traveling woes.

Yesterday, our day began after a refreshing 3 hours of sleep.  We were supposed to arrive in Dallas around 2 pm, so we anticipated a relaxed afternoon with family, a delicious home-cooked dinner, and an early bedtime, so we stayed up late watching a movie with our quadmates and cleaning our apartment.  We caught a bus to the airport at 6:30 and were pleased when they failed to put our one overweight bag on the scale and went ahead and tagged it.

It was our one stroke of luck for the entire day.

Our first flight was from Richmond to Philadelphia, and yes, that is in the wrong direction.  Thankfully our layover wasn’t too long and we lined up promptly at the gate as they started boarding.  As I handed my boarding pass to the attendant, they said I would be the last passenger allowed on and unfortunately, Jake was behind me.  Weight restrictions had been implemented due to visibility conditions in Dallas.  I stepped aside, inwardly grumbling about the lady I had just graciously allowed to shoulder me aside.  They let 2 more individuals on the plane anyway.  We trekked across the airport, which is the most poorly designed airport in the U.S., to find the service desk, where we waited in line for a long time and had the joy of seeing Santa walk by, and where they were eventually able to schedule us on a later flight to Atlanta and then a very late flight into Dallas arriving after 11 pm.  Visions of my delicious dinner evaporated.  We accepted it, as the lady claimed it was the best she could do.  They also gave us vouchers for a different trip, which we will most likely not be able to use since we are moving out of the country soon and even if we weren’t they’re for $200 each – and I don’t know if you’ve checked airfare recently but there’s not much in that price range.  Also they’re not transferable, so we can’t even give them to someone else.  We acquired lunch, although the place Jake wanted to get his lunch from wouldn’t accept the vouchers, and ate before boarding our plane to Atlanta – a regional jet, even though Pennsylvania and Georgia aren’t in the same region unless we are talking about hemispheres.  As we waited to find our seats, the announcement was made that the overhead bins were full and we would have to short-check our carry-ons.  We surrendered our two carry-ons – one for Jake, one for me – because they would be delivered to the gate.

They didn’t make it.

I always assumed that carry-ons were safe from the looming danger of being lost, but apparently it is possible.  The airline, by the way, with the abysmally low intelligence and competence that allowed them to LOSE CARRY-ONS was U.S. Airways, and also the same airline that bumped us and put 2 different people on instead.  Rather than delivering our bags to the gate as promised, they took them to the baggage claim in Atlanta.  Obviously we couldn’t go get them, because we had to stay behind security.  We were promised the bags would be delivered to Delta, the airline that saved the day by providing a way, any way, to Dallas.  We were supposed to have a 7 hour layover in Atlanta, but on the departure/arrival screens we noticed several earlier flights to Dallas so we checked in and asked for standby tickets, which were granted.  We could leave 2 whole hours earlier!  Maybe.  The Delta guy we talked to said our bags may be on the standby flight or possibly our scheduled flight, but they should arrive in DFW that evening.  We ran into a few people who had been at training with us, who got to have a leisurely morning and flew straight to Atlanta rather than the roundabout method we employed, and struck up conversations with people around who were having similar travel days.

Anxiously we waited and miraculously, we were assigned seats!  We made our way onto the plane and sat next to a slightly drunk, very disgruntled guy.  At least he was the funny drunk/disgruntled sort.  A while after we were seated the people standing in the aisle began murmuring and looking around for an attendant because there were no more empty seats.  I tightened my seat belt because THEY WERE NOT GOING TO TAKE ME OFF.  Two attendants came over and tried to figure out what was going on.  They kicked off some pilots but all the other passengers still standing after that had to leave.  All the hullabaloo over “We have a problem.  We have too many people and not enough seats” delayed us about half an hour, and by then the taxi-ing space was overcrowded and we got to sit around for another half hour.

Finally we took off.  Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, because almost everyone on that flight had experienced some of the same troubles.  We made it to Dallas and were greeted by my dad and sister, and no baggage.  Delta said they had no record of our carry-ons that got misplaced, and they also looked up our checked bags which made the flight from Philadelphia to Dallas and U.S. Airways didn’t have those checked in either.  Jake went with my dad to go look at their desk while my sister and I waited for the next Atlanta-DFW flight (the flight we were originally scheduled to be on) to come in – just 15 minutes later.  The carry-ons didn’t show up, which was totally awesome because everything we had with us that was irreplaceable was in those bags, but fortunately Dad & Jake located our checked bags, which U.S. Air had neglected to scan in.  We filed a claim with Delta, which didn’t make sense to me since they had nothing to do with the loss but said they would handle it.

It was after midnight at this point.  Hunger strikes around midnight, so we stopped at Whataburger for some tasty breakfast items.  Unfortunately they had to begin making a fresh, from scratch batch of gravy for Jake’s order so that took forever.  We got home, dragged the big heavy bags in, ate, and fell into bed exhausted.

And yes, we could have driven with all of our possessions intact in the amount of time it took us to fly and have all our really important stuff strewn about the country.