By Cdr. Bud Slabbaert
One of the reasons why people prefer to private charters flights, are the typical inconveniences of flying commercially. Here is how it sometimes goes when not using private aviation. This is what happened to Prissy, an old friend of mine. Prissy prefers to fly private. But when her son is flying their Learjet and her daughter drives their Lamborghini, Prissy must fly scheduled commercial. Prissy flew on such a flight to Fort Lauderdale, Florida and unfortunately experienced that her luggage didn’t arrive.
After realizing her luggage remained absent from the carousel, she agitatedly walked through the terminal towards the baggage claim area with the determination of a Caterpillar bulldozer to flatten anything that comes in the way, yet, still sustaining her poise like a voluptuous model on a fashion show catwalk.
She enjoyed the intent stares she received from observers as the sound of her galumphing high heels caught their attention. Thinking that they are admiring her for her sophistication, she keeps her head held high and thinks to herself: "Why doesn't Versace expose their clothing tags on the outside so these imbeciles can realize how expensive my wardrobe is. But then again, why bother, from the looks of them, I imagine they wouldn't have the faintest idea anyway."
With full conviction she believes that the airport is responsible for her missing luggage. She then approaches the baggage claim desk which appears unoccupied at the moment.
"Excuse me! Anyone here to help me? My baggage is lost!" Prissy franticly said and visually waited impatiently while drumming her finely manicured nails on the counter.
Taking her time, a customer services representative comes out of the back office.
"And what is your problem today?" she asked unsympathetically.
"Are you addressing me?" Prissy said.
The representative rolled her eyes and continued: "Ma'am what is it that you need?"
"Well, if I am standing in front of the lost baggage desk, what is it that you think I need?" Prissy replied.
"I don't need the attitude ma'am, I only asked you a question." said the airline employee.
"Well, if you don't mind doing your job, I need you to locate my luggage; it is lost."
"Have you filled out a Passenger Property Loss Claim form yet? No? Okay, then let's just start by filling out the Passenger Property Loss Claim form."
The customer relations person pulled out a form from one of the shelves under the counter, grabbed a pen, and with an expression on her face of "who's next?" she looked at Prissy. She then raised her eyebrows to mimic a "well, anything coming yet?"
Prissy at the moment was distracted by a young stylishly dressed woman passing by in a happy bouncy strut.
"Huh? Oh, Louis Vuitton" she dimly said.
"Louise Phyton is that your name, ma'am?" asked the representative.
"No, no, my suitcases are Louis Vuitton," Prissy answered. "I have a Conquérant trolley and a Pégase suitcase, which are easy to identify from all the other riff-raff luggage rolling along the baggage carousel! Understated elegance, I tell you."
"Ma'am, what's YOUR name?"
"Here is my flight ticket. Britches is my name, Mrs. Prissy Britches!"
"Britches, Mrs. P. Got that. Now we're getting somewhere."
"Where are your baggage claim tickets?"
"Actually, I left those on the plane; you know, I use them for temporary bookmarks for the in-flight shopping catalog."
The airline rep glanced back at the form, hit the point of the pen quickly three times on the paper and gave Prissy a discouraged look. She saw that she could not expect anything more from Prissy.
"Never mind the claim tickets, I'll check on the computer" she said, "What type of cases again?"
"The Conquerant trolley with cutting-edge fabrications, an elegant one-arm handle and rollerblade-like wheels and the Pégase suitcase has slate textured Taiga leather, natural leather handles and red trim, of course."
"Of course, of course," she sarcastically confirms "so, soft case."
Anticipating Prissy's next lamentation, the lady quickly proceeds:
"And what is the value?" as her pen goes to the next line.
"Absolutely priceless! They were a gift from my second ex-husband."
"Go figure," the airline rep thought, and said: "Ma'am, I need an actual dollar amount."
"Including contents?" Prissy asked.
"Yep! Including contents!"
Prissy thought about it for a moment…… "Heavens, let’s see…," as she starts pondering, then going into great detail proclaiming all her expensive designer clothes and luxurious items.
In the meantime, an irritated male person waiting behind her sarcastically says, “I hate to bother you lady, but can you please hurry, my limo driver has been waiting for me outside for quite some time now.”
Prissy observes his appearance from top to toe and thinks to herself, “since when did a purple tie on a green shirt become mainstream fashion for men? He cannot be serious.”
And then she says, “Well darling, that is what limo drivers are paid for to do, at least mine is, just be patient. I’m sure your driver will be waiting for you if you’re important enough.”
Then she continues to prolong her claim with the frustrated lost-and-found lady.
“Okay, I’ve got something in the system here. The good news is that we have located your baggage and it is not lost. The bad news is that it is mislocated."
"What is that supposed to mean, mislocated? Where are my precious Louis Vuitton suitcases?"
"You see the IATA code for Fort Lauderdale is FLL. Unfortunately..., it happened quite by chance through an oversight by someone, and don't ask me who, a mistake was made, and your cases were labeled for FFL!"
Prissy became extremely impatient.
"For crying out loud, where is my luggage?" she said, demanding a straightforward answer.
"FFL stands for Fairfield Iowa!"
"What?" Prissy angrily showed her teeth like an aggressive tiger.
"Yes, Fairfield airport, Iowa. And unfortunately, at this time of the day, there is no way to get your baggage from Fairfield to Fort Lauderdale. But rest assured that we will deliver your cases to your hotel tomorrow during the course of the day."
And as said before, that’s how it sometimes goes when flying commercial instead of flying private aviation.
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