“A Suspicious Package Has Been Discovered…”

September 27, 2009

in Delay/Cancellation Stories

I was flying back to San Francisco from Paris in April 2006. I was a senior in high school then, and being a French citizen I was in Paris taking admission exams for colleges during my 1 week spring break.

I was scheduled to fly back to SFO via Dallas on American Airlines. Little did I know that this would be the worst traveling experience I would ever experience. I arrive at the Paris Charles de Gaulle airport 2 hours in advance, and start waiting in line to check in at American Airlines; there was a long line, but I knew I had enough time to make it. After about an hour of waiting, a security agent announces on the intercom “Un colis suspect a ete decouvert, veuillez evacuer les lieux” — which translates to ” A suspicious package has been discovered, please evacuate the premises.” I thought to myself “F—————-ck!” Then all of a sudden, security people are yelling for passengers to back away from the check-in area except that no one would move because this meant losing their spot in the line. Security people got pissed off and and kept on yelling until everyone was WAAAY clear (I ended up like in a different gate area). People were very reluctantly moving back; it felt like a strange backward stampede.

After waiting about 30 minutes until they could identify and destroy the suspicious package, they let us all back in line – of course this meant that everyone was sprinting and running over people’s toes with massive suitcases and carts (I admit I was running too) – I had now less than 45 minutes until the plane was to depart. After finally checking in, I proceeded to the security checkpoint which, of course, had a HUGE line. I started to get worried and extremely antsy and impatient. Luckily a few people were in the same predicament as I was, and so they let the passengers headed to Dallas cut in the line and go through security. After putting my shoes, belt, jacket, and watch back on, I SPRINTED toward the gate where they were waiting for the last passengers to board. I sat down in my seat, and sighed a breath of relief. The flight to Dallas was uneventful, thank god.

When I arrived to Dallas, I found out I had to pick up my luggage and re-check it in; I was surprised as I wasn’t informed of this before. I also found out that my flight to San Francisco was delayed 2 hours. Anyway, so I get to the luggage carousel and wait… and wait… and wait… I thought to myself,  “Oh my god, those bastards lost my luggage!!” So I go to the Customer Service area for lost luggage and ask what the heck is going on. The guy asks to see my passport and boarding ticket, so I hand them over. Then he notices that I have a French passport and proceeds to speak to me in an incomprehensible accent. I tell him that he can just say it in English (since I am fluent) but he continues to explain how my luggage is probably in Chicago (remember, I am in Dallas) at the other American Airlines hub and that it will get to San Francisco ‘eventually’ and that I shouldn’t worry. I was already pretty tired from my flight from Paris so I gave up and said “OK fine.” So I head over to my gate and wait for my flight to board.

One hour later, I find out that my already delayed flight was to be delayed again by another hour! I was getting really pissed off, but there was nothing I could do. Finally, boarding time arrives (6PM instead of 3PM) and I get on the plane. No problem there. After waiting for about 45 minutes the captain announced that we would be even more delayed because there was a mechanical problem and that they were waiting for people to come fix it. So we’re all waiting and waiting (and maybe I was getting delusional) but the air conditioning was getting colder and colder! All I had was a sweater – I was freezing my ass off. After waiting some more, the captain announces that we would have to wait our turn to take off because there were about 15 planes before us scheduled to take off. Anyway, I was getting so frustrated and was so exhausted (and freezing) that I forced myself to sleep. It was already almost 9:30, I was so irritated, I couldn’t imagine what time I would be landing in SFO.

So the flight finally takes off, and nothing horrible happens during the flight, and we finally arrive in San Francisco. I head to the baggage claim and wait for my luggage; once again, I wait and wait and no red suitcase in sight. By that time, I just felt like crying, I couldn’t believe all this shit happened in just 1 trip! I go over to the baggage claim customer service and lo and behold! My red suitcase was waiting for me! Apparently, it got to SFO way before I did. Seeing my little red suitcase waiting for me was the only positive thing of my trip. I FINALLY get home in San Francisco at MIDNIGHT when I was scheduled to arrive at 7:30 PM. I just pass out in my bed, and sleeeeeep.

Might I add that I had exams that coming week, and that I had gotten really sick (cold and cough) from that stupid freezing flight! I couldn’t skip school that week because of exams, so I was practically dieing while taking a week of exams. Fun!

That weekend also happened to be my Senior Prom. During that whole week of exams I was practically overdosing myself on meds in order to get better. I was still sick at prom, but much less than at the beginning of the week.



{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

saw September 27, 2009 at 2:01 pm

Ok… couple of things here – first, I'm sure it was miserable for you – so I'm not going to minimize that. BUT… for your future flights, here's some things you could learn…

1) When you fly internationally, and you have a connection within the destination country, you ALWAYS have to bring your luggage through customs when you get off of the international flight, and you always have to re-check. Nobody told you this, because its considered general knowledge and written on just about everything you get.

2) If your luggage wasn't where it belonged on the FIRST flight, then it's never going to be where you think it's going to be on the NEXT one. Trick there is to ALWAYS go straight to the luggage office. If you don't see it in the "collection" then ask an agent. It's certainly NOT coming off of the carousel on your connection if it wasn't around at your origin…

3) Last but not least… if you're THAT uncomfortable with the temperature on the airplane, ask for a blanket. Look and see (or even ask) if others are uncomfortable, and if they are, ask a flight attendant to adjust the temperature. A cup of coffee or tea also helps.


blah blah September 27, 2009 at 5:04 pm

Your horrible international flight is pretty much my standard for every international flight i have ever had. I think you should have taken the money spent on the airplane tickets and bought a spelling book instead.


madachode September 28, 2009 at 10:30 am

You should have done us all a favor and just stayed in France, you are not welcome here, go kill yourself and be a man.


Luna August 10, 2015 at 7:12 pm

Do us all a favour and stay off the internet


Demotage September 28, 2009 at 2:10 pm

Funny, I assumed the writer to be a woman. One thing I don't have to assume however, is that Madachode is being an asshole.


Hugh September 29, 2009 at 12:35 am

So, basically, your luggage got there, and you were 4.5 hours late for a trip from Paris to San Francisco??? C'mon, where's the problem? 4.5 hours late is nothing nowadays. If this is your idea of hell, you are destined to be hugely dissapointed with life. Grow up.


saw September 29, 2009 at 2:00 am

It's a high-school student's story Hugh… They don't KNOW what suffering really is yet… The incident was likely highly traumatizing due to inexperience and teenage drama…


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