So, last fall I decided to return to San Diego for ETech again. I booked some tickets, reserved a hotel room, and set everything aside.
Then in December or January we were invited to a wedding reception in Orlando, FL the weekend before ETech, so I changed the tickets around to fly LGA–MCO–SAN–LGA.
Then in mid–January I added in a few days in Austin for SXSW.
On landing in Orlando on Saturday we learned that my grandmother was in the hospital. After thinking about it for a bit, I decided to make a side trip to Chicago Sunday to check–in on her.
Sunday morning Lisa and I arrived at Orlando (MCO) and checked–in for our respective flights, me to Chicago (ORD), her to New York (LGA). Other than the insanely long security line (~45 minutes in line, though it kept moving, mostly), and a ten-fifteen minute delay with boarding, my flight was uneventful.
Let's take a look at my twitter feed from Sunday:
- Waiting for AA789 to depart 12:31 PM March 02, 2008 from txt
- Stuck at american's baggage at ohare. The worst in the US. 03:57 PM March 02, 2008 from txt
- Don't check your bags to ORD if you want them in less than an hour. 04:00 PM March 02, 2008 from txt
- WTF? American's lost my bag again! 04:10 PM March 02, 2008 from txt
- Grumble, grumble, American Airlines has totally lost my bag. Should make a week of conference travel "interesting". 10:38 PM March 02, 2008 from web
- Contemplating a week with 1 pair of jeans, 1 grungy dress shirt, a pair of socks and a pair of boots thanks to American Airlines 08:08 AM March 03, 2008 from web
Ok, that spread into Monday. The story thus far:
- Initially I was told that the bag was in Orlando and had been held over from the flight because there were too many bags, and that it would definitely be on the next flight.
- Then I was told they couldn't locate it in Orlando.
- Then I was told it wasn't in the system.
- I was told to be patient and that it might take a shift to locate the bag
- Initially I left the address of my relatives who put me up for the night for delivery. As it got later into Sunday night I called American to ask for the bag to be held at O'Hare so it could be checked onto my San Diego flight on Monday.
- When I checked–in Monday morning there was no bag, nor any sightings of the bag. I gave the baggage staff my address in San Diego and was told I'd be called when the bag was located.
- I flew on to San Diego. On arrival I checked the baggage status page and there was no update. At this point it was mid–afternoon in San Diego, I'd been in the same clothes for two days, and so I headed into the Horton Plaza mall for a quick top–up of, well, everything.
- I bought a pair of pants, a couple of t–shirts, a couple of dress shirts, a very minimal set of toiletries, Kiehl's shaving cream (carried by Nordstrom's —handy to remember), a cell phone charger and miscellaneous other items. Also shopped for a replacement bag but held off buying one.
- On getting back to the room (maybe two hours later) I again checked the baggage status —of course it had been updated to say the bag had been found. After I'd bought a bunch of clothes.
- Investigating, the story gets rewritten. American alleges that someone mistakely took the bag as his own off the belt and drove home with it. This person has offered to return the bag on Tuesday morning.
- So, best case scenario is that the bag arrives Tuesday afternoon, so I did need at least one day's clothes.
- I spent today at ETech sessions. I returned to my room at 6:00 and called American Airlines to ask for status on the bag, sort of hoping it was at least en route to San Diego.
- The bag was allegedly returned, but due to snow they were not allowed to fly to San Diego.
- I've been told it will arrive some time Wednesday afternoon. Maybe.
- On Thursday afternoon I leave San Diego and head to Austin via Dallas.
- American may or may not be able to redirect the bag to Austin.
Initially I joked with Lisa that the bag overheard my complaints about it and that it had scurried off to a lonely conveyor belt, riding around and 'round with the other lonely, rejected bags.
Now I'm just really pissed at American.
Surprisingly not for losing the bag. When I made this trip last year I flew LGA–ORD-LAS-SAN. In Las Vegas (LAS) both of my bags were delayed because they apparently took a leisurely stroll from the end of the K gates at O'Hare to the end of the H gates. I'd run from K15 to H13 and just barely made that flight.
No, I'm not surprised about the lost bag, it happens. But I'm disappointed in American (I keep wanting to change that to "United'). I don't know whether to believe that they didn't/don't/can't scan the bags as they enter the system, ir if they really had no idea where the bag was. In a complaint I wrote to the AA staff and said that it was
Ok to say "I don't know" but not to keep creating stories about where the bag was.
Furthermore, oddly, I was standing in the baggage area right where the bags came out and never saw my bag, yet this guy allegedly walked off with it.
If you're stuck in San Diego without clothes I recommend the Nordstrom store in the Horton Plaza mall. My biggest disappointment in the frenzied shopping was discovering that San Diegan men are apparently shorter than "New York Men" as it was all but impossible to buy a shirt with anything more than an 18" collar.
So, no baggage, and two of three days of ETech are done.
ETech so far is perfectly fine, though it feels more low–key than lsat year. I'm heading to Austin on Thursday for SXSW Interactive, returning home to NYC on Monday. Most interesting pitch today was Saul Griffith on computing your personal energy use and challenging that use to get down to 2000 Watts per day (which is oddly close to what I'm suppose to be eating daily in calories).