So we checked our two largest pieces of luggage, because we loathe passengers who not only carry on excessive numbers of items, but board out of turn and fill all nearby overhead compartments with the detritus of their travels. And we’re chronically early to the airport whenever we travel, which generally carries the disadvantage of burying our checked bags deep in the bowels of the aircraft.
This makes flight delays especially painful when one’s layover is whittled from a comfortable 90 minutes down to a panic-stricken 7 or 8… and of course it’s even worse when one is seated behind 40 rows of the sort of people who carried on five or six items and leap into the aisle to collect them as soon as the plane reaches the gate, the purser’s request to stay seated until those with tight connections can deplane ignored.
So, although we did make our connection (with, literally, 0 seconds to spare), our good luck did not: when we landed in Germany, we waited at the baggage carousel. We waited quite a long time.
And then a gracious clerk checked her computer. Good news, she said, your bags are safe. In Chicago.
We hope they’re enjoying a night off in the Windy City — dinner at The Berghoff, a view of the night skyline from the Sears Tower, a morning tour of the submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry. Perhaps our bags will even visit Michael Hayden’s light sculpture in the space tunnel between United’s B and C concourses at ORD.
But tomorrow I’d like to see my luggage again. I’d like to put on a fresh pair of socks, and perhaps change my pants.
And I’d like to remember never to fly to Europe via Chicago-O’Hare, for although I’ve now joined a huge community of international travelers, all of whom have had luggage delayed or lost outright in Chicago, I can’t say I value my membership in this particular group. I rank it right up there with my membership in the community of people who have had their septic system back up into the basement bathroom.
At least we had no trouble getting through customs… we had no bags to inspect.