Water-Logged Luggage

February 17, 2008

in Luggage Stories

This tale of frustration occurred back in the spring of 2005. I had flown from DC to Syracuse to visit family for Easter break, and my return flight had a layover in Philadelphia (where I’m originally from). I was frustrated, as Syracuse-DC is already a short flight, and Philadelphia-DC is literally less than 25 minutes from wheels up to wheels down, but it had been the cheapest option for a poor undergraduate, and I flew USAir because my miles were on the Star Alliance. My flight from Syracuse was slightly delayed due to storms up and down the East Coast, but I had a three-hour layover so it wasn’t a problem. We arrived in Philadelphia without incident, and I settled in to wait for the next flight.

About an hour later, it’s announced that our flight has been delayed, as the storms are closing in on Philly and air traffic has been severely affected. Being a frequent flyer, it was an annoyance but certainly not anything beyond what I’d come to expect. My fellow passengers and I kept checking periodically for updates, but the ticket counter had no information about when the flight was actually taking off. In the meantime, however, we all noticed that our luggage was being loaded onto the plane. It had also started raining at this point.

Three hours later, it was finally announced that the flight was cancelled, and that we needed to queue up to rebook. For the record, the flight was originally supposed to leave about 1:30 PM, and it was now around 3 PM. After standing in line for several minutes, I was able to get myself onto a flight around 5:30. There was no gate assignment yet so I and my fellow passengers waited at the same gate, and to our horror, noticed that our luggage that had previously been loaded onto the plane was now being taken off…and dumped unceremoniously in a giant pile on the tarmac. In what was now torrential rain. We notified the gate agents and tried to flag down a few baggage handlers that were in the terminal (it was an Express flight and so we were at tarmac level in the terminal). No one would respond, even though we were standing literally 30 feet from our bags, and I could actually see my suitcase being soaked through. At this point too, it had been announced that a ground stop had been placed on Philadelphia, and there were no planes in or out for an indefinite amount of time. I spent the next three–THREE!–hours simultaneously watching my bag remain in the luggage pile next to the plane in thunderstorm after thunderstorm, and trying to get myself onto more flights as they kept being cancelled one after another. At this point I had been at the airport for over eight hours.

I finally was able to catch a flight that left at 12:30 AM and got into Reagan at 1 AM (having spent a total of 14 hours in the airport), but I knew that my suitcase was not on the plane, having observed it STILL lying next to the original plane just before I went to the new gate. My suitcase did not get back to me until almost midnight the following day, having been very reluctantly delivered to me after much time spent on the phone with USAir. It was still soaked through when I received it.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

KKaden April 2, 2009 at 11:26 am

So…………you wasted 14 hours of your day in an airport when it would have been easier to drive the 6 1/2 hours to Syracuse? Smart use of your time there.


Liz April 2, 2009 at 3:16 pm

It's worse than that – he was going to DC. From PHL, you go down towards baggage claim and pick up the R1 train to 30th Street Station, where you can pick up Amtrak to Union Station in DC. It's a 2 hour train ride.

Or you hit the car rental kiosk and drive the 2.5 hours to DC. The airport is right on I95. I95 south will take you all the way there.

I sure as heck would've been at the USAir Customer Service Counter about my luggage sitting on the tarmac.


Troll Identifier April 2, 2009 at 4:19 pm

Ah yes, a couple more TROLLS show their ugly faces! If you don't like reading about it or only do so to criticize, troll somewhere else!! What a couple of maroons….


Anonymous May 19, 2009 at 6:56 am

he said he was a poor student, so he should just go buy bus tickets, rent a car, what? sometimes there is no other option but to wait.


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