It wasn’t that hard a trip. Frontier Airlines from Phoenix to Denver, United Airlines from Denver to DC. I’m running a training program tomorrow and the books are in the carry-on, along with notes. I arrive in Denver and switch carriers and concourses.
That creates some trouble, as I don’t have a boarding pass for the second part of the trip, although I have an itinerary from Orbitz. The gate attendant tells me there are no more seats, so I have to stay in the middle.
We board the plane, and the gate agent decides that my purse, my laptop and my carry-on is one item too many. The man ahead of me got through, and so did several others, but I was in trouble. I tried the carbon-exchange program, brightly pointing out that there are several people who only have one bag, and mine could make up for that. No dice.
I plead that all my class materials are in this suitcase, but the heart of the gate agent is hard. I have to give up the suitcase. I double check that it will be on the same plane. Sure. I give up the suitcase.
My suitcase is still traveling, although I arrived in DC seven hours ago. There are no clear answers, although I do know it went to Chicago when I did not. I’ve talked to automated voices, a heavily-accented woman who told me I should never send materials in a suitcase, I should have them with me, and another person who said that “they were doing their best” –obviously not quite enough, as I have nothing to wear except what I have on. The idea of teaching in slacks, a T-shirt and sneakers is not at the top of my favorites list.
But that’s where I stand. At the mercy of those who have a tiny bit of power and can use it all up on one suitcase.
–Quinn McDonald is a trainer and certified creativity coach. See her work at QuinnCreative.com