Thursday, October 22, 2015


I flew to Houston today for School House, Quilt Market, and International Quilt Festival.  I think I'll be here for 10 days.  Maybe 14 years.  I'm not really sure at this point.

Let's talk about my stuff.

  • I packed six huge cartons of quilt kits for my students at Festival and they are arriving at my hotel.  I will transport them to the convention center for classes next week.
  • I packed one small suitcase with 39 pounds of notions and supplies for my classes.  It is heavy and I could have carried it on the plane if necessary.  It wasn't necessary.  Thank you free first-class upgrade.  Phew.
  • I packed one large suitcase with 41 pounds of quilts and supplies for School House, Market, and my classes at Festival.  
  • I packed one large suitcase with 51 pounds of clothes and a dolly (for the above-mentioned cartons).  
  • I packed one extremely heavy backpack with a laptop and projector for my presentations.

I feel like a pack mule.  It was difficult getting these bags into the airport and checked in, but I was able to move freely through the airport with just my heavy backpack.  Not bad at all.


I tried to reclaim my luggage in Houston.  My little suitcase came out just fine.  My big suitcase of quilts was just fine.  Phew!  Then my clothing suitcase arrived and, um.... not fine.  I picked it up off the carousel and the baggage handlers had ripped the suitcase open.  My clothes flew EVERYWHERE.  I was running along the carousel, shoving my clothes back into my suitcase (still on the carousel) hoping to pick it up in mostly one piece.  Alas, several strangers handed me pieces of clothing.  Underclothing, naturally.  Fortunately, I'm old enough not to embarrass easily.

I knew one of the quilter/passengers on the plane and she packed cellophane tape in her luggage.  She let me use a few pieces so I could at least get my luggage to the luggage office.  Linda, you are my hero!

I met the man in the luggage office.  That poor man.  I tried to be gentle with him, but strangers had just fondled my drawers causing me to lose my cherub-like demeanor.  He didn't call security on me, so I must have reined it in, just a bit.

Me:  "Hi.  The baggage handlers ripped my bag open and threw it on the belt.  My clothes flew everywhere and strangers were handing me my undies."  (Yes, I said undies to a man I've never met.)  He just stared at me, gearing up for the battle to come so I continued.  "I can't get my luggage to the rental car let alone home.  And I have no idea what is missing."

He hustled behind the counter and pulled out a carry-on size suitcase.  "Well, I can replace your suitcase with this."

Me again:  "Sir, if you can figure out how to get all of the contents from my bag into that one, it will be a miracle."

Him:  "I can give you two bags"

Me:  "That would work, but how am I going to check four bags going home?  I get three with a first class upgrade, but that hasn't been confirmed yet.  I don't want to pay hundreds of dollars in baggage fees because the baggage handlers ripped my luggage."

Him:  "I'll see if I can get a voucher for the baggage fees, but I'll have to upstairs.  Only management can approve this."

He ran upstairs and the other passengers in the office were staring at me.  "Did he just give you a suitcase?"

Me:  "Yes, and he'll give me another one before I leave."

Them:  "They can do that?"

Me:  "Yes.  They have a room full of brand new suitcases to hand out in situations just like this one."

Them:  "Are they really going to give you two new suitcases and pay your baggage fees?"

Me:  "Yep."

Them:  (mouthing) "wow"

Me:  "Watch and learn."

The outcome of today is that I own two new small suitcases.  One doesn't have 360* wheels (grrr -- Princess Problems) and the other does.  Shuttling 4 suitcases with mismatched wheels through the airport to the rental car shuttle and then to the counter and then to the car was a bit of a nightmare, but it worked.  I will  check all of these bags going home and it won't cost me a penny.

I am doing a careful inventory of my clothing.  I don't think anything is missing, but I order most of my clothes from Lands End.  Receipts will be super-easy to get if necessary.

Postives:  This happened on the way here so all of those clothes were clean.  Imagine if they were all dirty and smelly?  Also, I have 4 suitcases which equal 200 pounds of checked luggage.  I can actually shop while I am here.  Mmmmmmmmmm.......... fabric. Mmmmmmmmmmmm.... thread.

Negative:  I need to buy another large suitcase when I get home.

I could demand they replace my large suitcase, but I'm letting this matter drop.  The baggage handlers were wrong.  The agent did what he could to make it right.  The end.

So, how was your trip to Houston?


Mary said...

What a nightmare. I'm glad they tried to make it right for you.

Kim said...

UGH....and now you get to experience a Hurricane.....
stay safe please.