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4 Travel Lessons This Road Warrior had to Relearn the Hard Way

What started out as a nice short flight from Atlanta to Houston turned into a comedy of issues this morning. All issues were unavoidable had I implemented my own tried-and-true travel tips.

When I checked into the kiosk to get my boarding pass and check my bag (yes, even I have to check a bag now and then for longer journeys), I grabbed the paper that the kiosk spit out and went up to the desk to check my bag.  There was an earlier flight to Houston, but I declined it in order to have breakfast with my husband before he flew back to Orlando.  He was in Terminal A, I was in Terminal C. The desk agent slapped on the luggage tag and gave me my boarding pass. I looked at it and now saw that I was in Terminal A also – yeah!  But I looked again and saw that my boarding pass had me going to Minneapolis! Turns out that the paper I took from the kiosk was not my boarding pass, but the ticket receipt of the person who used the machine before me. Had I not noticed the terminal right away, my bag would have been on its way to MSP within minutes.

Lesson 1: Always, always, always look at your boarding pass and luggage tag to ensure that they are taking you and your bags to the desired location.

My husband and I had breakfast and I headed to my gate. I wanted one more cup of coffee for the plane, but the line at Starbuck’s was really long. Instead, I figured that I would wait until beverages were served on the plane and I’d get a coffee then. (No, I am definitely not comparing airplane coffee to Starbucks! It was easier not to have to carry a cup of coffee around the terminal with my already full hands). Here comes issue #2: both coffee pots on our plane were out of commission, so no hot drinks on the flight. Bummer…I really was looking forward to the warmth of a cup of coffee.

Lesson 2: Get your food and drink ahead of boarding the flight, as there may not be what you expect on the plane. This is also great advice for those long tarmac delays, as your patience will last longer when your stomach is happy.

Our flight arrived in Atlanta 30 minutes early. I was happy that I’d be getting to my client’s office earlier than I thought. I just needed to pick up my checked bag. I waited … and waited … and waited for my bag to come around the carousel. Everyone else’s bags were getting picked up. Where was mine? Then it dawned on me… remember the earlier flight that I was offered? I did not take it, but Delta probably sent my bag on ahead. I traipsed over to the baggage office and immediately spotted my green ‘Smart Women Travelers’ luggage handles. I could have been out of the airport half an hour earlier had I just thought to check the baggage office first.

Lesson 3: If there was any chance that your luggage came in on an earlier flight, or may not have made your flight due to tight connections, just check as the baggage office. They should be able to tell you what flight your luggage was on.

I finally got out of the airport with my luggage (without coffee), rented my car and was finally on my way. PaperBag I usually make phone calls on my long drive, so I put my Bluetooth headset on my ear and pressed the ‘on’ button … no sound. Uh oh! It’s charge was gone and it was dead. My rule is to never talk on a cell phone when I am driving without a headset. One car ride with making any phone calls wasn’t that  bad. It’s the ‘I told you so’ that I am going to get from my husband when he reads this that I’m not looking forward to. At breakfast I was questioning him on why he had to charge up his phone when we had just left our hotel an hour earlier with a full charge. He said that even though the battery was only down a little, you never knew when you would need the phone and having a full charge was important. I pooh-poohed this, saying that a nearly full charge was good enough. Since I had not used my Bluetooth all weekend, I figured it still had a good enough charge to it. The joke was on me. There was no charge at all – and I had an hour at the airport when I could have been charging it! And I laughed at him for being an excessive charger!

Lesson #4 is (compliments of my wise husband): Always have a full charge on all electronics before boarding a plane.

So even though I fly every week and am a trusted source of travel advice, I obviously did not heed my own advice nor listen to the advice of others. I relearned valuable lessons today …. I hope you learn them the first time and do not need the refresher course like I did!

And dear husband …. I do not want to hear the words “I told you so!”

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  1. Great post,
    For me its Lesson 1. Airlines must think I’m the most annoying customer because I always ask like TEN times if my luggage is going to the right destination and if its on a direct flight.
    Mistakes are human, so for me I got my bags lost once, and hopefully it wont ever happen again 🙂 So ya, definitely double-tripple check the tags!
    Tamy xo

  2. Thanks for the feedback Tamy!
    I agree with you on always double-checking & triple-checking the luggage tag. I also like to watch the agent put my bag on the luggage belt vs. walk away when the bag is still next to them. I want to see my bag on it’s way before I leave the counter, and the agents often look at me like I’m nuts for waiting there.
    Happy travels! Carol

  3. As I get older and travel less I find I check little details like luggage tags to accommodate for my memory slips.
    Unless I’ve not had the time to get my kids a surprise, I’m not one for buying anything inside an airport. Except for perhaps Bangkok’s airport where I found a restaurant that serves amazing pizza.
    An alternative tip would be to only fly those airlines that have a proper hospitality service.
    Your husband is wise. 🙂

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