Wow. It's good to be home. No...actually, it's fabulous! After 20+ hours of flying from Athens to Anchorage, I thought to myself, "Why is it so complicated for the airline industry to provide decent seats with enough legroom and amenities, considering how much we pay for a ticket. Is it really so tough?" Let me just say that profiling is not just for terrorists and the airline industry seems to do it well. Case in point: Yesterday, (I think it was yesterday anyway - I'm still confused as to time and day) I carefully packed my suitcases in such a way that the weight was distributed properly and breakable items were in my carry-on. I even weighed the carry-on to ensure that it was not too heavy. Yes, there's a 40lb. weight limit for carry-ons. All was good. We got to Athen's airport, checked in our luggage, and proceeded to board the aircraft. In a long line of passengers, I was singled out because my carry-on "looked" too heavy. Now seriously...it was rolling, I wasn't lugging it anywhere, and it "looked" too heavy? The pompous airline steward singled me and my distinctive red luggage out. I explained to him that I had weighed it, it was well within the limits and it had the very fragile items in it and I didn't want to check it. No go. He told me it was too heavy and really, "what would you do if it fell out and hit someone on the head?" Uh, pardon me, but that's not my problem - is it? If it was going to hit anyone, it would be me, as I would have been seated directly beneath it. The guy never weighed it beyond a cursory lifting. When I continued to question him, he threatend me with denied boarding. Jerk. Needless to say, I fumed all the way to Minneapolis. We were to collect our luggage and proceed through Customs upon arrival. When I exited the aircraft, this same airline steward had the audacity to "reassure" me that all would be well. My annoyance level went up a few degrees at this - he should have just left well enough alone. I turned back to him and said, "Sir. How can you honestly say that? Have you seen how the luggage is handled? There are breakable items in there. How can you guarantee that nothing will be broken?" His reply was something to the effect that KLM/NW would take care of it if it was broken. Right. We all know how that works. I asked him if KLM/NW would go to the Grand Bazaar in Istanbul, Turkey and track down the stall that I bought the Turkish tea set at and replace it, or if they'd go to the one Starbuck's in Cyprus that sells souvenir mugs and replace that. Oh man...did he really think that those items could be so easily replaced? I got a grunt in response. Someone needs some Customer Service Training.
Home looks good. I don't care if it's 19* and no snow...it still looks good. I was happy to walk down to baggage claim and see my sister in law waiting for me. She and my brother and "Miss Pink" my niece picked me up at the airport and took me home. Thankfully, my home was still standing. According to the fam, there was a windstorm that took out their chokecherry tree, some siding and a panel of my fence. The neighbor's fence is completely gone. Also, while I was gone, the neighbor's car caught on fire and flames, smoke and firetrucks where everywhere! Thanks to good friends that alerted my family to check on the house, all is well.
If anyone's in Cyprus...could you get me a mug from Starbuck's to replace my broken one?