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Friday the 13th lives up to its reputation

As a chronic sufferer of Paranoid Traveler’s Syndrome, it was almost a moment of triumph when the airline lost my bag. Finally I could say, “See? I told you something like this could happen!” It also led me to understand why everyone crowds around the boarding gate trying to be the first one on the plane. Before Friday, I thought these people were stupid. All the passengers are going to leave at the same time, so why spend more time crammed into the plane than you have to? The answer is: So you get space in the overhead bins to store your luggage.

I was one of the last ones to board my flight from Indianapolis to Minneapolis because my seat was towards the front of the plane. When I got to the door of the airplane, there was no room left in the bins, so they told me I’d have to check my bag. The flight attendant attached a tag to it and asked me what my final destination was. “I’m going to Los Angeles!” I said because that is the city I have been reading about in the guidebooks and that I have been arranging an itinerary to see. It was only five minutes later when I was in my seat and had time to look at my ticket that my blood pressure skyrocketed to astonishing heights. The flight attendant had written LAX on the ticket. I wasn’t going to LAX! I was going to Santa Ana! Aaaaaaaah!

I caught the attention of a flight attendant, but by then the bag was gone. She told me to talk to a gate agent in Minneapolis, which I did. The agent requested a reroute of the bag and when I boarded my connecting flight, the agent there said they thought the bag was aboard. Except it wasn’t. I arrived at Santa Ana, stood at the baggage carousel, and finally, the nightmare I’d always had came true. My bag was not there.

My driver was an extremely helpful man who knew where the baggage claim office was and also had the address of the hotel written down. Thank you Mr. Driver Man! He also speaks five languages and has a son studying to be a neurologist and another son studying to be a physicist. I filed a claim and hopefully my bag will turn up. My business card is on the bag label, so unless the staff is completely incompetent (which is still a possibility), someone will get it to the right place. It is probably at LAX or Minneapolis. Hopefully it will get to me before my clothes start to smell.

Luckily, I had the presence of mind to move my pill box out of my lost bag and into my backpack before sending my luggage into the abyss. Which was good because OH SWEET JESUS my head felt like a carved Butterball turkey. Stress = pain. I also have my purse, my cell phone, my laptop, and the items that are most valuable to me. Thankfully the only thing in that bag was my clothing, a book I own, and a library book. I can live with losing the clothes, but, man, the library’s going to be pissed if I don’t return that book.

Update: I wrote this post Friday night, but by Saturday morning, my bag and I were finally reunited! I guess you can never really lose your baggage.

Luggage hug

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Stephanie • November 14, 2009 at 10:53 pm

Glad you got it back so quickly! We once had our bags returned after two weeks of being missing. I was sure we’d never see them again.

They seem to be almost as good at finding bags as they are at losing them.


lg • November 14, 2009 at 11:30 pm

Glad you got your bag back and avoided nasty airline employees (who always blame the passengers for all the problems). Bad weather grounded my flight last year and airline agent complained about having to deal with us, reminding me how she had to work, as if they aren’t paying her? and to quit complaining, I was asking her to check flight availability elsewhere not just my original destination cause I hoped to rent a car and drive to destination). I understand its tough to work with people but if you don’t like it and aren’t good at it get another job!


Lainey • November 15, 2009 at 12:02 am

Pffft, at least you lost yours in your own country! On our honeymoon (a Mediterranean cruise), the airport lost our luggage in Italy at the beginning of our trip, and then again when we came home. Both times it appears it was the fault of the Frankfurt airport. Both times we, too, were reunited with our luggage. :)


Merry • November 15, 2009 at 12:17 am

Great picture! Your eyebrows look very happy. :)

When I was trained in CPR, the company flew a trainer up from California. Some silly woman at the baggage carousel took her luggage before the trainer got to it. Thankfully, it was eventually returned to the airport authorities, but I’d love to have seen the silly woman’s expression when she opened up “her” suitcase and found it stuffed full of CPR dummies.


Israel • November 15, 2009 at 1:20 am

Been there, done that. So glad you actually got it back. It was really cool to finally meet you after reading the site for so long.


cindy • November 15, 2009 at 6:48 am

This bugs me no end: The airlines don’t bother to enforce their own rules and people regularly bring far too much “carry-on” luggage. It shouldn’t happen that there is no overhead space left for the last few passengers. Instead of making YOU check yours, they should empty the plane and have everyone re-load until they discover the offenders. If airlines did this, the problem would quickly go away and people would begin to play by the rules. I regularly see passengers get on with a carry-on, a garment bag, and a brief case-type thing. WHO DO THEY THINK THEY ARE?!!! The air of entitlement in this country is sickening sometimes and this is one way it rears its ugly head…


PastaQueen • November 15, 2009 at 9:57 am

@cindy – When we got off the plane, I could see that several people had stuffed small bags into the bins which easily could have been placed under their seats, making room for my bag. It REALLY pissed me off. The flight attendants should have policed that and made them put those bags under the seats.


Jen • November 15, 2009 at 10:40 am

What a pretty photo!


Kari • November 15, 2009 at 11:15 am

When I’ve flown with both Delta and Southwest, when the bins start to fill up and there are still people waiting to board, the flight attendants always go through the bins looking for small bags that can be stowed under the seats to make room. That’s definitely what they should have done first. They did something very weird with your bag…every time I’ve had to ‘gate check” something (usually on a small plane with small overheads) it was waiting for me at the top of the ramp at my connection airport, then I take it with me to the next plane, and so on. I hate trusting the airport staff to make my bag’s connection so that’s why I always do that. I’m glad you got your bag back so quickly though!


Jean • November 15, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Great photo – you and your luggage are glowing!

I’m glad you got your luggage back- I am a paranoid traveller, too. I always pack 1 set of clothes and underwear in my backpack as a precautionary measure.


PurpleGirl • November 15, 2009 at 4:01 pm

PQ, that is an adorable picture. Glad your bag found its way home!


bisous • November 15, 2009 at 4:21 pm

I’ve had my bags lost a number of times, but I’ve always been reunited with them. One time I even got a brand new ski outfit out of the experience.


SP • November 15, 2009 at 8:09 pm


They lose and never reunite plenty. If you ever get down south again, check this place out.

Really fun place to shop! (They clean everything before they stock it.)


FitFunk • November 16, 2009 at 12:07 am

PQ, you are my fit weight loss hero! I am de-lurking after reading your thoroughly entertaining and uplifting book and many, many hours in your archives (partying like it’s 2008 – guess I should stop reading every single comment if I ever want to read you in real time) As someone who was once an obese teen who lost and maintained for years, but has gained the Moving In With BF 30 lbs, your blog is a tremendous source of inspiration. I’ve been scouring your (& DietGirl’s) links to find all the funny, honest tales out there on the interwebs. I need all the help I can get on this journey. Keep on keepin on! (Please.)


FitFunk • November 16, 2009 at 12:08 am

P.S. Lovely photo of you & luggage. Reunited and it feels so good…


boots • November 16, 2009 at 11:28 am

@cindy – I see your point, but the passengers who do this are generally such unrepentant dicks about it that they fight the flight attendant tooth and nail. I’ve seen at least four yelling fights on a plane between a flight attendant who was like, “You have too much stuff, you have to check that,” and the passenger, who was like, “OVER MY DEAD BODY, THIS WHOLE BIN IS MIIIIIIIIIIINE.” I figure if the flight attendants had to have this fight with everybody who carries on too much stuff, the plane would never take off. So I just check my stuff, which is way less stressful.


Quix • November 16, 2009 at 4:55 pm

As everyone else said, you look happy and glowy, and that is a super adorable picture! I hope you have fun in LA – it’s fun to visit but I always thank my lucky stars I picked San Diego, not LA to do my required “stint in So Cal” on the life list.

I have *knocks on wood* never lost my luggage. And I always check bags (now I’m reconsidering that they charge 300 bucks per bag) because I am a packrat. I had to check my wedding dress and a lot of wedding stuff last month and I was so nervous during the flight there that they were going to lose it. But they didn’t!


victoria • November 16, 2009 at 5:04 pm

My favorite lost bag story: the airline lost my bag when I went to college. I was alone in my dorm room, a single, no roommate, no sheets for my bed, and my period arrived. No fresh underwear, no tampons, nothing to sleep on, nothing to brush my teeth with. It was kind of the most gruesome lost lugge experience possible, and taught me to keep a few can’t-live-without essentials in my purse.


Karen • November 17, 2009 at 8:20 am

OMG Delta lost my husband’s and my luggage from New York to Istanbul in the summer and it SUCKED so so so soooo much! It sucked so much, I don’t even think I could express how much it sucks to be in Turkey with NO CLOTHES but the ones on your back. It was awful, but luckily everyone in Istanbul who doesn’t work for Delta was very helpful and we were reunited with our bags the day after we arrived. But still — for those 24 hours, it SUCKED. I’m glad you got yours!


Elizabeth • November 17, 2009 at 12:55 pm

Totally random, but you look super pretty in these photos!


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Jennette Fulda tells stories to the Internet about her life as a smartass, writer, weight-loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, and overall nice person (who is silently judging you). She does this at JennetteFulda.com now, but you can still have fun perusing her past here.

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