Thursday, April 8, 2010

Australian Adventure Begins Unexpectedly

I have been very excited about my trip to Australia, and I had all kinds of adventures planned: climbing the Sydney Bridge, snorkeling trip to the Great Barrier Reef, wine tasting in the Yara Valley... But I was not expecting to start my adventures so early, at O'Hare International Airport!

When I checked in, the agent couldn't get me a seat on the flight which I was confirmed. Once I traveled through security and made it to my gate, the gate agent assured me I would miss my connection. So she sent me to another gate agent to get me on an earlier flight. That gate agent insisted that she could not get me on the earlier flight, and requested that I call the platinum concierge desk to try to rebook me.

Lesson Learned: always use the rebooking centers. They have more power, patience, and are more helpful, than any gate agent.

However, once I was confirmed on the earlier flight, my bag was still on the later flight, and the same gate agent who wouldn't confirm me, had to put in a baggage change order. I waited thirty minutes while she clicked away on her computer, as she continued to tell me it would be another five minutes until she finished her duties and could help me. I was getting impatient.

Well,  fianlly walked away and luckily found a gate agent willing to stop what she was doing to help. But it was too late. No guarantee my bag would be on the earlier flight. So, he put in an order to pull my bag, and I rebooked for the following day, and traveled downstairs to try to get my bag. But the most ironic part? My bag was never pulled, instead it was on the earlier flight (which I was confirmed on) and was on it's merry way to LAX, without me.

Lesson Learned: the baggage guys are the most overworked, misunderstood people at the airport. They are also the funniest and will put the most amount of effort in to help you. They spent more time trying to help me than any of the gate agents combined.

After two hours waiting for them to pull my bag (and then discovering it was already on a plane to LAX), a long taxi ride home, a bottle of champagne, and a few hours of sleep, my bag is still nowhere to be found. The baggage agents on the phone believes it is on a flight to Sydney. But they can't be sure. The woman on the phone explained to me, "We're American Airlines ma'am, not FedEx. We don't know where your bag is located at all times." Well, maybe you should be.

Lesson Learned: If you can help it, always always carry on. And always keep a bottle of champagne in your refrigerator, just for occassions like this.

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