Flying Continental-United Airlines: A bag’s perspective

by cheri block

Here I am in Jordan. That’s right. Amman, Jordan. I’m wedged among others who don’t speak my language in the hanger of the Royal Jordanian Airlines.

My arduous odyssey began innocently enough in Quebec when The Judge lifted me up by my love handles and set me on a scale at “The Best Airport in North America,” or so its banners boasted. From my vantage point there, prostrate on that cold rubber conveyor belt, I saw his face express dismay at the weight I had gained while on our vacation. If I could have spoken to him at that moment, I would have reminded him that within me, were lovingly selected presents for the grandchildren.

He muttered out loud, wondering why Cheri could not pack her clothing, three pairs of high heels, lingerie, belts, sweaters, make-up, books, and wires into a smaller bag.

And then, just to keep me company, he reluctantly threw his small carry-on size bag onto the belt and off we went with a host of others into a breezy holding area.

In Chicago, Cheri greeted me with her usual smile and aplomb, shepherding me from Customs to the American baggage handlers who, not surprisingly, spoke English with Russian accents.

And off I went again, followed obediently by The Judge’s bag whom, for this story, I will call Wisenheimer.

The two of us bumped along the belt, where folks in jumpsuits were checking their Facebook accounts and just shooting the breeze. Occasionally, one of them would tug at my handle, studying the airport destination tag for a second. I watched the fellow in front of me, a handsome leather Samsonite, as he was yanked off the belt suddenly and heaved into a cart with others on their way to Detroit.

Wisenheimer and I traveled on, that cold night in Chicago, I ahead of him. In order to distinguish us from the others, Cheri had attached bright red rubber grips to our handles. From my zipper dangled an approved TSA lock, if truth be told, a useless gizmo, but one which makes her feel better when parting with me.

I could see the light at the end of the conveyor belt. There waiting for us was a metal cart, stacked with other bags whose tags read SFO. A melody struck up in my heart.

“San Fran-cis-co here I come,

Right back where I started from,

The bowers, of flowers, bloom in the spring,

One morn-ing, at dawn-ing,

Birdies sing and ev-ry-thing,

The sun says, ‘Mister don’t be late!’

That’s why I can hard-ly wait,

O-pen up your Golden Gate,

Cal-i-forn-ya, here I come!”

However, just before I made it to the cart, one of the baggage handlers pulled me from my SFO convoy. I screamed. Wisenheimer blew by me and winked in judgment. He was gone in the proverbial flash.

Vladimir said to his partner Yuri, “SFO, dude. Does that mean So Far, OK?”

No, Yuri answered. “It means RJA.”

And before I could protest, I found myself lying at the top of a heap of baggage all of whom were speaking Arabic and being loaded into the cold bowels of a Royal Jordanian Airlines 747.

And here I sit, waiting for a trip home.

Now, as an unaccompanied bag coming in from the Middle East and one who can only answer questions in English and Spanish, I will be subjected to a thorough search and maybe theft.

Only God knows if Cheri’s shoes will make it back to the Rancho.

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About Cheri

Writer, artist, cable television host, grandmother to four!
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18 Responses to Flying Continental-United Airlines: A bag’s perspective

  1. dafna says:

    poor Lost Bag, henceforth renamed Ahmed. He is in store for some serious inspecting.

    it’s amazing to me that an unattended bag was rerouted. this is some very bad security.
    we split our belongings between carry-on and checked, because we worry about bags getting lost.

    more stories about the actual trip, please. the one time i visited in Quebec was in the winter – who does that? it wasn’t pretty.

    • Cheri says:

      Hi dafna,
      I will be posting some photos with accompanying narration soon.
      Montreal is a gorgeous city, made all the more memorable by our visit with Paul and Therese.
      Quebec City is stunning, there on the river.
      We loved our side trip to a small rural island.

  2. Very clever! Good luck getting your stuff back.

  3. wkkortas says:

    This must be the lost episode from the BBC series “Come Fly With Me”.

  4. Poor Cheri, it’s amazing how much travel a bag can do even unattended. Had it been on the floor of the airport, the whole place would have been evacuated and the bag blown up. Lucky you, your bag will be flown back instead of being blown up…though, maybe, cleaned up?

    • dafna says:

      this is true Paul,

      i just heard someone telling a story. the main point; husband turns to wife after airport security comes to him and says, “honey, my french is a bit rusty, but i think they said they just blew up our bag”.

    • Cheri says:

      Now that you have met saucy Cheri in person, Paul, you know that my bag is capable of anything.

      I shutter to think about all of those shoes exploding, especially the turquoise Nike tennies.

  5. Richard says:

    Your luggage will bring her charm and heavyweight intelligence to bear on any peril she encounters. Soon she will be restored to her loving family and the beauties of California. Expect merrymaking, giving of gifts and recounting of her adventures far and wide.

  6. Cheri says:

    Aren’t you the Sage of England! She just arrived, lock in tact after five days of adventure in the Middle East.
    Lady Briggs and Meyer is mum, though. Perhaps traumatized, perhaps speechless (no way), perhaps a bit embarrassed.
    She doesn’t know that she will never travel with Cheri again.
    Cheri is never checking luggage again.
    Merrymaking has begun, several days ahead of your birthday.

  7. dafna says:

    Richard has a birthday coming up?

    Perhaps you should re-title “Flying Un-United”? Glad you’r re-united.

    • Cheri says:

      Great title, dafna! Maybe a post scripted title?
      Now, to haggle with United over the fees I paid to fly with baggage.

      I believe Richard’s birthday is on the Vernal Equinox. Does that make him a Virgo or a Libra?

      • dafna says:

        oh that’s an easy one. richard is definitely virgo. he has all the classic attributes.
        N’est pas?

        i am also on the cusp between capricorn and aquarius. all my life i thought of myself as capricorn, but now i think aquarius.

        one checked bag should only be $25. unless it was over 50 lbs.? best investment was a hand-held baggage weigher.

      • Cheri says:

        Richard corrected my error (thank you).
        His birthday is close to the *autumnal* equinox. I had my seasons turned around on the ecliptic…
        Happy Birthday to Richard on September 21!

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