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The Longest Day

Dec 26, 2004  -  Comments

Hello everyone. It is Saturday and I am in Grenoble at Lauren's apt. However, my trip here was riddled with traverses. It all started on a misty Tuesday afternoon when I arrived at the Atlanta airport. I got there at 1:00 and was more that two hours early for my plane which left at 3:45. I proceeded to check-in with the airline and they took the bag that I needed to check. I went through security and then to my gate to wait it out. Well, I was getting a little hungry after a while so I decided to go check out the food court. As I was walking by the monitor with all of the flight information on it, I happened to look up and see that my connecting flight to Chicago had been canceled. "Holy shit," I thought. I went back through security to the American Airlines counter to inquire as to what the problem was. Keep in mind, I had been waiting for a while, so my canceled plane was scheduled to leave in less than an hour. The airline employee offered to book me on a Delta flight to Chicago that left even earlier than mine so that I would get there on time. Well, I had to go check in with Delta which was on the complete other side of the airport. By the time I trekked all the way over to their side and waited in the eternal line, it was only 15 minutes until their plane took off. The woman at the check-in counter informed me that there was no way I was going to make the plane and wouldn't even check me in. She then directed me BACK to the American Airlines counter for them to solve the problem.

So, I walk all the way back to the AA section of the airport and ask them what I should do. I kid you not, I stood in front of that woman for over an hour as she explored every possible route to get me to Paris. After several phone calls to other airlines and many failed attempts, she finally got me booked on the 9:40pm Air France flight direct from Atlanta to Paris. Remember now that I got to the airport at 1:00, and my plane didn't leave until 9:40! So, I had to sit in that place for over 8 hours before I even boarded my plane.

The only shining ray of hope in the whole process was that I was upgraded to business class because of the trouble. So, I sipped champagne before take-off, ate roasted duck hors d'oeuvres, and dined on the sweetest steak ever made by a man. Then I washed all of it down with some fine French wine.

The happiness was not meant to last though. Upon landing in France, I passed through customs and went to our baggage claim location. Well, as soon as the bags for our flight started coming onto the conveyor, an airport security officer informed us that there was a "security risk" and we needed to move down a very cautious 100 feet. Evidently, someone had left a suspicious bag near one of the gates. I'm sure that if it were a bomb, that extra 100 feet of buffer they gave us would have completely saved us from a fiery death. Well, we had to wait patiently for about 45 minutes. Then, all of a sudden, the silence of everyone's boredom was shattered by the loudest bang I've ever heard indoors. I still don't know what it was that boomed. It may have been the police blowing the bag up, or it may have been a bomb, who knows? Either way, they let us return to the baggage claim after another 15 minutes. So, I wasted an hour waiting to get back to claiming my bag. Once I returned to the baggage claim station, I waited patiently while half of the passengers got their luggage. I then watched more and more people claim their bags and leave. The group I was in dwindled down to 10, then five, then two, then just me. So, no bag. All that time for nothing. I then go to the office where these types of problems are handled. I file a claim and the lady tells me that, due to all of the shuffling of flights I went through, my bag was sitting in Chicago still. They promised me that I would have it back in 24 to 48 hours. Long story short, I have been in France now for a full five days and still no sign of my stuff. I've had to wear the same pants, shirt, and socks for four straight days. I bought some French underwear (not very comfortable), so that was OK. I finally got to wash my one outfit today, so it's good for a couple more days. We leave tomorrow morning to travel through the Loire Valley (wine country), so I will be stuck with no clothes for a little longer. Other than all that, I'm having a great time! I'll email in a few days with some specific travel info. I hope you guys are all doing good. Merry Christmas.