The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


The truth as I see it

Bag Party: A Tale of Travel and Remorse
The truth as I see it

My car is broken and so I ride the bus to school. Luckily, this story has nothing to do with that. You see, my grandmother decided to up and die on us, requiring a brief sojourn into British territory with my crack travel team, consisting of my brother, Kurt, and myself. This is a tale of woe, a tale of sorrow, and a perfect example of why U.S. Airways needs to end.

The annoying thing was that Granny didn’t even warn us before dying. It was like one day she went into the hospital, and then after a two-week stay in the ICU, she randomly just up and died. Like I said, out of the blue.

So we had to get emergency tickets to head over because stupid granny couldn’t stay alive.

Problem is, when you have three days to get an international flight, most airlines are more than a little resistant to chuck a few tickets your way, and Lord knows it ain’t cheap. So after phone spamming about a gazillion airlines, we find the cheapest family crisis discount and snag us some tickets on U.S. Airways flight 287 to Manchester via Philadelphia.

My elder brother and I arrive at DFW with two hours to waltz through security. We wait in line behind some Asian guy who was on the phone for the length of the check-in line. I don’t speak Asian, but this guy was not happy, and whoever picked up the phone that day is probably dead by now.

So he gets his bag checked and it’s our turn. Guess what, Philadelphia has weather problems so instead of passing through security and waiting for an hour and fifty minutes, we get a three- hour layover in Dallas before getting herded onto a Lufthansa cattle-car and shipped straight across the Atlantic in classic German hospitality.

So after the angriest safety lecture on earth, the plane lurches into the air and we spend the next nine hours being crammed full of food and free liquor before skidding to a halt in Frankfurt right on time. Thanks a lot Germany. The flight attendants were hot too.

Luftwaffe takes us to Manchester on time again and we spend a week in jolly old England whooping it up as best we can, counting down the six days until Aug. 12th when we can safely return to the land of Life, Liberty and Dr Pepper that I call Texas.‘Sup August 11th?I can tolerate political activism. I can tolerate violent protests and even roadside bombs, as long as they don’t bother anyone I know. But these S.O.B.’s went and got all liquids banned from international travel. That means Austin Rucker can’t buy Johnnie Walker, and that puts Austin Rucker in what we call in Texas a, “bad mood.” Well, the clinical term is withdrawal, but I like my word better.

The airport is full of guns and policemen with well-practiced glares and angry scowls. Even trashcans are removed for fear that someone might make an explosive Snickers wrapper or something. More importantly, all manner of carry-on luggage is banned and so my bag is stuffed with not only my book and MP3 player, but also all my brother’s shirts and shoes that he couldn’t fit in his own bag because he is an irresponsible jerk-off.

After I passed through security, I bought a book, a Sudoku puzzle and a pen for my brother since security deemed his a threat and slammed him against a wall. I have to keep the receipts because England is not allowing unauthorized Sudoku on board planes.

On board the plane, U.S. Airways tells us about the in-flight movie and the various musical guests appearing on the headsets. Then they tell us that we can take part in such entertainment using our own headphones, or if we did not bring our own, the five-dollar sets available from flight attendants. We are also given the lecture on carry-on luggage, which, as they know, we don’t have. Then we allegedly took off but I still don’t trust a thing from those people. We did land, but that’s a different story.Welcome to Philly, ladies and gents.So the plane pulls into the terminal. We roll to the gate and that little ding goes off to alert everyone it is now safe to stand up and fiddle with their luggage and form a line for ten minutes so they can stand around nervously wondering why the door won’t open. But I was excited. On this day, Aug. 12, when all carry-on luggage, save a book, was banned, this would be the one day where we could all just get up and walk out with no delay.

This did not happen. Apparently, fat jackanapes up in front needs 10 minutes to organize their plastic bag containing only paper and pens. Usage of the overhead compartments is banned, but people are checking them anyway. Sometime I just want to slap people.

Philadelphia International Airport can go to hell. If the terrorists could bomb one place in America, I hope to God they choose Philly International. That way, when I need to get somewhere, I don’t get stuck in what I consider the diseased, hairy armpit of civilization, or at least the stringhalt of Pennsylvania.

Customs has a rule where no two consecutive lines can be moving at once. At any given moment, there are at least three lines that are not dealing with immigrants. At the time we arrive, late for our connection because our pilot apparently forgot about the jet stream, nobody was moving. By the time we saw the same plane we arrived on take off the line still was not moving. I asked, and was told it was “security concerns.”

The safest place on earth is getting off of an airplane. If anything was going to happen, it would have happened by now and I would have been halfway to the bottom of the Atlantic along with the rest of my charred and mangled travelers. These people have been wanded and probed. I would trust Nick Hartley’s mother that this pack of travelers has nothing to concede.

Unfortunately, my brother was caught sneaking in an undeclared box of Tim Tams and I almost got nailed for a Snicker’s bar that I declared but other than that, America is safe.

So, we finally get our bags and put them on the transfer conveyor to get on the next plane. Then, to get to our plane, we leave the airport. I am not kidding when I say this. We follow an employee outside through a checkpoint, past a parking lot, to the security check in, where people are walking in off the street to go into the terminal.

They X-ray my boots and the Marine behind me for good luck, and then Kurt and I sprint through three terminals with an old guy in a wheelchair to make our flight. We had three minutes to spare. I sit, sweaty and tired, next to a German couple that is, of course, angry.

The plane sits at the gate an extra hour for democracy while I attempt to pick out choice words from the couple next to me. They are newlyweds. German is the language of love, but only if love is a choke chain attached to a leather G-string with spikes on it.

We land in Dallas an hour late and wait for the bags. I always thought a plane was not allowed to leave with your baggage if you aren’t on the plane. I was wrong. The plane can leave if you’re on board, but your baggage isn’t. I didn’t realize this until the baggage carousel turned on, despite the fact that not a single bag boarded US 97.

I am glad U.S. Airways is going bankrupt and sees no reason why they deserve any federal funding. It’s not security. It’s not fuel. It’s not even the fact that they always lose baggage, break all your stuff, and can’t tell you when it will arrive before then finally leaving it at your doorstep at 2 a.m. without so much as an “I’m sorry.”

U.S. Airways is going bankrupt because during the hour on the ground in Philly, and during the flight to Dallas, and even at the baggage carrousel, no one ever thought to inform us that we should fill out a baggage retrieval form, or at least go home because they didn’t have it. Instead, they just left us staring blankly at an empty carrousel at midnight, two hundred people without a clue as towhere their stuff was or how to get it. That is my fact; this is the truth as I see it.

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