I know you probably haven’t been able to sleep thinking about the perils of my pajamas and how they are racking up more frequent flyer miles than I am.
A little background if you are just getting to this pj party, our group of Good to Go travelers left Jan. 2 to catch a flight to Miami, Florida to join a cruise ship.
Our connecting flight in Dallas was delayed 10 hours. I managed to convince an American Airlines employee to pull our bags off, but three that had been checked at the gate flew into Miami without us.
Since the delays came in 15 and 30 minute increments, we couldn’t get rebooked until it was too late. We missed the boat. We spent the night in Dallas (without pajamas) and flew through San Juan to Tortola, BVI to await our ship that had sailed. And, hopefully, our missing three bags would arrive.
It seems that there will be more people for me to deal with regarding this saga.
Upon our arrival in Tortola, I discovered that American Airlines doesn’t have a presence at the airport and their travel partner, Seabourne Airlines, isn’t present for their problems.
Stay with me here. I could only call AA and tell them the bags were missing. But when the missing bags got to Miami and we weren’t there to say they were missing, they couldn’t be considered missing until the paperwork had been completed.
Now I have missing bag claim numbers, but in this complicated black hole of lost bags, it may just be code number for “give this gal the run-around.” Lucas in Miami said the bags would be sent to San Juan.
That’s great, Lucas, but we won’t be there, send them to Tortola, that’s where we are. He can’t do that, I will have to call central baggage, and he transfers me. I’m 21st in the call back queue. Four days later I’m STILL waiting on that call back.
I check with Wendy at the hotel front desk, no bags have arrived overnight. Sigh. I replay the pajama tale and she promises to keep an eye out.
I decide to call American again and tell my story to Desmond. This is going nowhere after one hour and 15 minutes on very costly cell phone calls, so I firmly ask to speak to a supervisor.
I’m informed that all the supervisors are in a meeting. (Could they be looking at my pjs and wondering why no one has claimed them?!) Desmond says he will call me back. Four days later... I’m still waiting on THAT call back.
I call AA groups department, trying a different route. Groups Wendy asks me “to hold one second” so many times I lost count, she transfers me to Mary who I thought was going to be a supervisor.
Mary asks me “to hold one minute” so many times, well, you know where this is headed. Mary says she will transfer me to a supervisor, crushing my dreams that she was someone with power.
She signs off and the next recorded message I hear is “you have reached central baggage, blah, blah, blah.” I’m number 17 in the queue for a return call. I’m beginning to forget what my jammie’s even looked like.
Now my favorite part of this besides the retelling of the details over and over, is how along the way how many employees feel the need to chastise us for checking our carry-on bags.
Somehow when the boarding is taking places, with gate agents barking about “an on time departure” and taking bags because there “is no overhead space” I can hardly see us having the luxury to open our bags out on the floor and pull out our nightclothes, medications, and all the necessities. What would we carry it all on board in? Oh, that’s right, a carry-on.
Trust me, the travel tip in all of this is to make sure you carry on a carry on small enough to carry on. You can quote me.
Hotel Wendy reports that the flight from San Juan was cancelled. There is one more chance for the bags to arrive before we cruise. But there isn’t anyone at Seabourne Airlines baggage at the airport until 9 a.m. the next day.
Day 3, really our Day 4. Ishmael our airport driver, and Tortola tour guide, drives us to the pier.
He has suffered through this mess with me and shakes his head. We are waiting on the dock with our 10 big bags as the other passengers scamper off the ship. We look like castaways trying to get on as they stare our direction.
Once onboard, I meet Tudor, the concierge. I go through the story once again. He asks to see the paperwork for the lost bags. I’m about to lose it. He assures me he will take on this quest for me, maybe he is a Tudor. Go, Sir, go!
Midday, Ishmael calls me. He is at the airport. He asks about the names of my folks, as he remembers these names on some bags at the airport but it’s not the names on the tickets.
And if you are a Patricia that goes by Patti you will understand that confusion of never knowing who you are. Ishmael has our bags. He is my new best friend. He drives them to the ship pier and they are delivered to the staterooms.
Here’s a hoot, Day 6, really our Day 7 in Barbados, I got two calls within two hours from American Airlines... returning my calls. This Fearless Leader’s phone bill continues to soar.
I want to say the plight of the pjs ends there, but there is still some paperwork left to do.
Patti Beth Anderson has more than 20 years of experience in the group travel industry taking people all over the world. Her motto is "I return with the same number of people I left with… not necessarily the same people, but the same number nevertheless. So no 'crankpots' allowed" She may be reached at 918-786-3318 or firstname.lastname@example.org.