Today I checked my claim online and Delta still had no record of the bags, so I headed to the airport for a tete-a-tete with the U.S. Airways desk.  It went a little something like this:

U.S. Airways guy: I’m sorry Delta didn’t take care of this.  They shouldn’t make you do their job, and I shouldn’t have to do their job either.  I don’t send people to them to do my job.  But I will take care of this for you.
me (to self): YOUR airline screwed me over in innumerable ways yesterday.  YOUR airline LOST MY CARRY-ONS.  YOUR airline is responsible for this mess.
me (to him): Well, Delta is saying they haven’t gotten the bags from you guys yet.  Could you please check with the desk in Atlanta to see if they’re still there?
USAG: Yeah, I’ll do that. (asks other lady to handle it)

That lady got off the phone and told me they said they didn’t have it, which means they didn’t scan it.  I will not expound upon their lax scanning habits.  I told her they are very distinctive bags (my theory of luggage purchases is that they should be sturdy and DISTINCTIVE) and if someone would just look for them they would be easy to spot, and got a lecture about how their “system” works and how Delta should haul their tail ends down to the U.S. Air counter and find the bags and how I shouldn’t have surrendered a bag containing medication and irreplaceable items to be checked, and how this should be handled with Delta from here on out.

me (to self): YOUR airline forcibly took my bags away.  YOUR airline gave me no choice.  YOUR airline’s competency level is lower than a snake’s belly.

So I left empty-handed and hopping mad.  I called Delta later, after seeing no record of my bags online, and was told they were on a flight to Dallas.  I arrived at the bag claim carousel before all the passengers disembarked and claimed the prime real estate at the mouth of the conveyor belt.  Excitement mounted.  Some kid kept encroaching on my personal space so I stuck out an elbow.  Finally, luggage appeared on the conveyor belt.  I shouted, “BIG MONEY, BIG MONEY!” and was hopping with anticipation.  One of the early bags was ours!  I did the arms in the air Rocky type thing while jumping up and down and fell over (apparently the carousel in my peripheral vision makes me dizzy).  Bag after bag fell onto the carousel and person after person left.  Jake got in line at the claim desk while I waited, dejected, in my place of prior joy.  Finally they started taking the leftover bags off the carousel and I knew that was the death knell of my hopes for my red bag – which contained my anti-inflammatory patches for my knee, my charger for my laptop, my wall charger and any necessary cords for my ipod, my journal (which isn’t monetarily important but embarrassing if found by someone else), my Chacos, my medicine, and all our important papers like bank information and medical records.  I joined Jake in the now long line at the claim counter and thankfully we were next in line.  The guy looked at our bag ticket and said there was no record of it, but it would probably come in on one of the later flights from Atlanta.  I am usually not much of a worrier but at this point I am starting to get concerned, because that is the bag that I don’t think has any address information on it, because it was never intended to be checked luggage.  The guy at the counter made a note that they should call me when it came in and I would come get it.

We came back home and talked for a while, and finally I called the Delta claim line to see if my bag had popped up somewhere, anywhere yet.  She said, “Oh!  It just got checked in at Dallas, at 11:52.”  The clock had just announced midnight.  She told me they were open until 2:30 so I had plenty of time to go get it.  We hopped in the car with my sister and zoomed to the airport, to be greeted by a deserted claim desk with no red bag in sight.  A Delta guy finally came around the corner and asked if we needed something and we told him our bag was supposed to have just been checked in but we didn’t see it anywhere.  “You’re lucky,” he said.  “We usually close up at 12:30.”  I handed him the bag ticket and told him it was a bright red wheeled backpack, and he headed into the back storage room.  He came out a few minutes later to inform me that there was only one bag back there, not two like on the claim paper.  I told him we picked one up earlier.  He went to look again and returned with my lovely red bag, a bit more dirty for its voyages but otherwise unharmed.

me:  OH!  My bag!
me (to self):  Could you not have just looked for a bright red backpack when you went back there?

And thus my bag with my medicine and chargers and bank papers and embarrassing journal was returned safely to me, and thus I have sworn to drive on any trips in or across the lower 48.