Monday, November 3, 2014

Always a Loophole

Flying back home to South Carolina for a couple of weeks was a long time coming for us, we used to go home every other year but due to circumstances beyond our control July 2006 was the last time we were there, it should be against the law to wait eight years between visits.

I have always enjoyed road trips, but a trip as far as California to Carolina goes without saying that an airplane should be involved, so we booked our flight two months in advance, also our car, and motel, win/win/win.

I bought Cindy a new suitcase for the trip, not a little suitcase but one big enough for her to carry all she needed and still have room for souvenirs, its made of lightweight material to make it easy to lift, and yet the size is impressive.

I got myself carried away and packed everything Cindy had laid out for the trip plus more, I threw in her laptop, my boots, all of her shoes and mine too, by the time I got finished, I had no idea what I had packed and I was proud of myself.

I called Cindy in and bragged “Hey look I got all our stuff in one suitcase” she looked at me shaking her head and asked, “How much does it weigh?” I reached down to pick it up and realized that I couldn’t, I slowly began to unpack.

From one suitcase we went to two and a couple of carry ons, and yes I had to take out some of the extra stuff that we really didn’t need, even though it did fit nicely in the big bag, all the tags with our information were attached, and even the cool locks that keep your stuff from falling out and disappearing, giving you the security that everything is going to arrive just fine.

Just before we left Cindy upgraded her smart phone to a new one that is virtually indestructible, you get it dirty and all you have to do is rinse it off, you run over it with a car and you just rinse it off, drop it off the roof and rinse it off, lose it accidentally in the toilet like a lot of people have done, and all you have to do is rinse it off, forget the rice just don’t forget to rinse.

I packed the chargers to our tablets and electronic devices into a leather bag, including Cindy’s new charger and cable which had yet to be opened and were still in the original packaging, I zipped this bag closed and packed it inside one of our suitcases, locked the fancy locks and checked our baggage at the airport, I was still under the weight limit so this was a good thing.

At our destination the first bag rolled down the ramp and hit the conveyor slowly making its way to us, the second bag finally rolled out and I grabbed it off the belt, everything looked good, we had the right information on the tags and the locks were still in place.

My Mom met us at the motel so we threw our luggage into our room, and had a mini Family reunion at a local restaurant with half of the family, we finally made it back to the motel around 11:30pm, and after a couple of delays at the motel we finally got a chance to unpack and unwind, I unlocked and opened the first suitcase and laying on top of our previously folded and neatly packed clothing was a note that said something like, “for your safety we randomly search luggage, and we chose you”

This kind of freaked me out, so I grabbed the other suitcase and among our obviously ransacked articles of clothing I found the bag containing our chargers unzipped and dumped, what I did not find was Cindy’s new charger and cable.

Telephone calls to the airport resulted in time wasted that I will never recover, that damned canned tune which played while I was on hold is still ringing in my head, finally getting through to the right person I was told to get on the website and email the link pertaining to pilfered luggage, which I did expecting a quick reply.

Two weeks later when we were getting ready to fly home I attempted to check in online, not happening, Cindy was sure it was due to my email, so I picked up the phone and felt a bit of my soul being sucked away again when the same canned tune began.

A real person finally answered and verified that the tickets were OK, I mentioned my email and inquired about when I may get a response, I had to explain the whole situation, then listen to a speech about how serious they were about the pilfering of baggage, I held on while she transferred me to the department which handles these claims.

Next person that answered gave me the same speech and told me it was TSA and not the airline, so I would be transferred again, this went on for what seemed like hours, and the last person who answered again gave me the speech and vowed to do everything in their power to help me, beginning with “When was your flight” and ending with “if you are serious about getting your stuff back you have to make a claim at your destination airport in person within twenty four hour of your arrival”

I was furious by then and asked how many people actually get their suitcases unpacked and can get back to their destination airport within twenty four hours to report a loss in person, I was informed that after twenty four hours they could not be responsible for a passengers supposed loss, I guess there is always a loophole.
On our return trip home I packed all of our important stuff in the carry ons, Cindy had some food and drinks that she knew was against the rules which she packed anyway, right on top of a full package of Oreo Cookies she attached a note, “A little something for you to snack on while you ransack our luggage”

Our luggage was untouched.

Have you ever lost anything from your baggage on a trip?

26 comments:

  1. I haven't flown in years but when I did, I always had my Bible on the top of my luggage; I never did get searched that I know of :)

    What a hassle for you though!

    Son's luggage twice didn't come with him when he flew some place. One time wasn't bad because it was coming home from a trip, another time when going on the trip. Thankfully both got delivered the next day by the airlines.

    Haven't really lost anything with luggage that I can remember, but have a nice story about an airline employee. We were checking in, luggage already checked when hubby realized he had forgotten to pack his pocket knife. He knew he couldn't carry it on board. It was one his dad had given him. The employee offered to mail it back to hubby, so he gave her the address. A few weeks later she indeed did mail it back. That was customer service I believe.

    betty

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    1. Hi Betty, there are indeed good people out there like the employee who mailed your husbands knife home for him, I had a similar situation once but was able to take mine back to the car, I asked what they did with the confiscated knives, I was told that they were destroyed.

      It's not so bad when the luggage is lost and they deliver it to you by the next day, it's not ideal but I would be OK with that.

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  2. Years ago, my Mom and Sister flew to NC and their bags were run over as they were being taken to the plane. When they arrived to baggage claim, there was duct tape around them. Not sure if anything was missing.

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    1. Ms. A, that is unacceptable in my opinion, how did they explain the tire tracks and duct tape or did they?

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  3. That sucks! I'm sorry you had to go through that. I've never had a problem with my luggage. Maybe that is because the only thing I put in my suitcase is clothing and I try not to take very much of that.
    I like Cindy's idea to put some Oreos right on top with a note. That was classic...

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    1. Hi Pat, I thought the note idea was a pretty slick too ha ha

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  4. Have you ever lost anything from your baggage on a trip?

    Flying is a rarity for my family. We went to Puerto Rico as part of a sixth-grade class trip with my daughter last April and everything turned out okay. We even got through the TSA checkpoints without any incidents, and that is saying a lot when you're part of a group containing twenty-two kids.

    Of course, all we had was carry-ons, which from everything I read tends to work far better these days. I have a army-type backpack made by a company called "Sandpiper or California" especially made to be expandable when needed but yet still fit in an overhead comparment.

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    1. Getting through the TSA checkpoints with a sixth grade class without any incidents, I'd say that is somewhat of a miracle :) you deserve a special award just for traveling with this many kids.

      If you can get by with just a carry-on I agree would be the way to go, will have to look into a bag like you described.

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    2. There are several nice ones at Sandpiper but mine is called the "Bug Out Bag." Be sure shop around I've found prices can vary widely.
      http://www.amazon.com/dp/B007VMOPRY/?tag=googhydr-20&hvadid=42569803610&hvpos=1t1&hvexid=&hvnetw=g&hvrand=14733686380334860246&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=e&hvdev=c&ref=pd_sl_2tqpc3kl19_e

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    3. Thank You, I'll definitely give it a look

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  5. I don't believe the baggage check is random. We had 5 out of 5 suitcases ransacked on one of our family vacations. This was the trip where our initial flight was canceled at the last minute, so we were routed to another airline. Even though none of that was our fault, they made a big deal of it in security and we had to get wanded individually, etc.

    I hate flying!

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    1. I still prefer a good road trip, at least I have never had the luggage in the trunk of my car ransacked while we were driving.

      Like yours both of our bags were completely gone through, only one note though.

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  6. What an awful experience, Jimmy. What did they do, pick the locks? I'm thankful that I never had such a problem when travelling. There is a remarkable difference in what we pack now to the way we did it years ago. Do you remember when the only technical thing taken was a camera... now it's the whole shooting match, phones, tablets, computers, oh and maybe a camera even though there are cameras on all technical gadgets.

    Don't you just hate canned music!

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    1. Hi Valerie, I was told that they have keys to fit most every lock, and for the ones they don't they can cut them off without being held responsible for any damage, I suppose they had a key that fit ours.

      Yes I do remember when the camera was the most technical thing I owned, as a matter of fact I had one in my carry-on ;)

      I can sure do without the canned music, I miss the days when a real person as opposed to a computer generated voice answered the phone.

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  7. terribly maddening!

    it's been about 8 yrs since i've flown home, too. amazing how life gets away...

    thanks for stopping by!

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    1. Life sure does quickly slip past us at times, I was always told that the older you get the faster time flies, I believe it now.

      Sure proud to have you stop by and hope to see you again, I stopped back by your place and decided to follow along.

      Delete
  8. "which she packed anyway, right on top of a full package of Oreo Cookies she attached a note, “A little something for you to snack on while you ransack our luggage”

    Our luggage was untouched."

    *cheering loudly*

    BRAVA, Cindy!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    Jimmy, I haven't ever lost anything from my luggage when flying, however, the last time I flew I noticed (when I opened my suitcase, once I got home) that it had definitely been rummaged through because everything was totally rearranged. But, unlike you, there was not a note about randomly searching bags. And I have to say that it was very unsettling.



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    1. Hey Ron, I had to laugh when she began packing the things that she knew would get flagged, like large bottles of shampoo, food and drinks, I about busted a gut when she attached the note, everything was just as she packed it when we got home Ha Ha

      Yes sir it did freak me out to actually unlock the suitcase and find everything rummaged through with a note on top, it unsettles you quite a bit.

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  9. No, but I've had luggage lost altogether. And I still believe it was on purpose because that lady at the Paris airport didn't like me and intentionally placed my luggage on the wrong plane, when I told her she was placing my luggage on the wrong plane.

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    1. Hey Stephen, it sounds like one of those things you knew was wrong but couldn't do anything to stop it, wonder how many other folks she did the same way?

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    2. I never take more than I can carry with me, but a few years ago I was in line with something called a "Cuttlebug". (ask Cindy)

      It makes decorations for making home made greeting cards, is very heavy, and has a handle on the side. I was pulled out of line for carrying a bomb! Men in uniforms surrounded me. I was asked to explain what it did, and what the handle was for.

      These were MEN. No way could they understand something like "I use it to make greeting cards". Finally, when they said they were calling in a female guard for a strip search, when she rounded the corner and saw the bomb, she said "OH, THAT'S A CUTTLEBUG!!"

      Then men walked away crestfallen. While they had been busy with me, at least thirty people were allowed through, probably with fuses sticking out of their shoes.

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    3. I can see that happening, I should do a post of airport security issues that Cindy and I have gone through, you have to sit back and laugh at the looks on their faces when the female guard said "OH, THAT'S A CUTTLEBUG!!"

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  10. That is an insane rule to have to complain in person within 24 hours...who has that kind of time when you're traveling? And most of the time your destination is not near the airport. Perhaps, they should have a room where one can examine their luggage before leaving the airport. How frustrating for you guys. I love Cindy's idea; too bad that bad wasn't searched on the return trip: they probably would have left an empty Oreo container with the note intact!

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    1. I agree that rule is completely insane, truth be known it was most likely just something said to end our conversation, I made the comment that this policy seemed like a coverup to allow them to ransack peoples luggage with no repercussions, this got me nowhere either.

      I would have loved to see the Oreo package empty with the note still attached, Cindy would have gotten a kick out of that.

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  11. Ah, the joys of aviation travel!!

    Although I've not yet had your experience with the luggage, I do feel your pain, brother, particularly those phone calls where you're put on hold. And your lady clearly has a dry sense of humor on the evidence of that message.

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    1. The extended waits on the phone and going through the menus listening to a computer generated voice is really frustrating to me, the Oreos in the bag I thought was hilarious, would have really been funny has a few disappeared.

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