Mistakes were made

New York City meets Munich

December 21st, 2001 · No Comments · Uncategorized


The satisfaction of beating the odds and making it to a connecting flight under incredible time pressure is short-lived. Or it should be. For me, it wasn’t, because I was oblivious to the bigger picture. While I sat in the last row of the tiny twin-propeller plane sipping my Coke out of a diminutive euro-can as the fields of Bavaria rolled by, feeling pretty proud of myself, my luggage was sitting back on the ground in Frankfurt.

Such mishaps on connections are not unusual. If you should ever be so unlucky to have this happen to you, may you not be flying into Augsburg, or any other airstrips-masquerading-as-airports.

What one would think would happen is this:

Plane takes off and heads to the horizon. Luggage sits on tarmac.

BAGGAGE HANDLER: Oh my gosh, all this luggage from the Frankfurt flight did not make it!

Baggage handler runs to phone

BAGGAGE HANDLER: Hello, Augsburg? We have a situation here! The connection from Frankfurt was delayed, and I have a lot of luggage here. At least a dozen people will be without their luggage!

AUGSBURG STAFF: That is a problem! Well, we have an hour before they arrive. You make arrangements to get that luggage on the next flight. I’ll look up all the connecting passengers, and when they arrive I’ll be ready to make delivery arrangements.

BAGGAGE HANDLER: I’ll get right on it. Thank goodness we have procedures in place for when situations like this happen!

AUGSBURG STAFF: It’s all about good customer service!

What really happens is this:

Plane takes off and heads to the horizon. Luggage sits on tarmac.


BAGGAGE HANDLER 2: Getting cold.


BAGGAGE HANDLER 2: (Notices pile of luggage) Hey, where’s that going to?

BAGGAGE HANDLER 1: Who cares? Isn’t it break time?


An hour hence, plane langs in Augsburg

ME: (Gesturing to trolley with a very small load of luggage from the plane) Pardon me, is there more luggage coming?

BAGGAGE HANDLER: Go inside the terminal, take a right.

Enter terminal, which is like a bus depot

CONNY View definition in a new window: Hello!(Greeting smooching and hugging.) Where are your bags?

ME: The kind man outside said this-a-way. (Walk down narrow hall.) Oh dear, these are offices.

CONNY: (Reading the sign in German.) This is for lost luggage.

ME: My luggage isn’t lost. It’s in Frankfurt.

Waiting at closed door. Enter more irate passengers, who queue up in the cramped hallway.

AUGSBURG STAFF: (Door opens.) Next? (Much shoving and jostling in the hallway.)

CONNY: Alex, that’s you.

ME: (Struggling to squeeze through the mob.) Have you ruffians no sense of personal space? Aside, I say!

CONNY: (Grabbing Alex firmly.) In you go.

The office consists of two desks. At the other desk, sits another passenger, and another staff person slowly fills out a large set of forms.

AUGSBURG STAFF: We must now fill out a large set of forms describing the contents of your luggage, as well as an estimate of its value, and a detailed description of what your luggage looks like. We will give you a paper to make a sketch of your bags as well. I suggest you try to make it accurate.

ME: Crapity crap.

CONNY: Will you deliver the bags to us when you get them?

AUGSBURG STAFF: That’s an interesting idea.

ME: (Frantically filling out paperwork.) Will you call us to let us know when we can expect our bags?

AUGBURG STAFF: I’m really rather busy, and my shift ends soon.

We did end up getting the bags eventually, sometime after Midnight, though the delivery guy tried very hard to weasel out of it and deliver it the next day. Conny was rather good at convincing him otherwise. Thanks to her I had clean clothing to get into the following day, and that’s a good thing.

I feel bad for the rest of the people who were in line after me. I bet it took them two hours to deal with the dozen or so people who were in the same fix as I was.

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