Charles is safely home!

Feb 04, 2009 in Life

charles2.jpgSeveral people enquired after Charles’s well being so I owe y’all an update.

Let me delve in right away with the good news: Charles is safe and sound at home and in good spirits!

It was a little odd though. On Sunday last week there was no word from United; no email, no sms, no phone call. MOnday morning I get up, get my cup of coffee in the kitchen, walk through the hallway to the living room while glancing out our glass front door. And there stands Charles in his Samsonite case! Between 11pm Sunday when I went to bed and now the next morning United dropped the bike off on the front porch without any message. Still, very glad to have the bike back in one piece.

Charles is missing

Jan 25, 2009 in Life

charles.jpgUnited Airlines lost the suitcase with Charles (my BikeFriday folding bicycle). My roller bag with clothing etc did make it all the way to Rochester which is odd. In most cases airlines will loose all your luggage instead of just one piece.

It was all together an odd day for United. Two hours before the flight from San Francisco to Chicago I get an sms saying the flight is on-time, then one that it is delayed by 40 minutes, then one with a 5 minute delay and in the end the flight leaves on time. I arrive on schedule at 4:30pm in Chicago with a 7pm connection to Rochester. At 6pm United sends me an sms informing me of the cancellation of the flight. I go to the service desk and United has booked me on the 9pm flight; they even perserved my upgrade.

At Rochester airport just before midnight me and the other passengers wait for our luggage to appear. After a long wait the carrousel finally starts moving, many bags appear including my roller bag but not the Samsonite with the bicycle. Many other passengers, a quick count says about 20 of us, are also all still waiting. A United rep opens the bagage claim office and we all hike over there. He hands everybody the claim forms and is himself surprised by the number of people without their luggage. At first I thought that maybe United screwed up on everybody who was on the cancelled 7pm flight but then my one bag arrived but not the other so that theory didn’t work. So instead, because of the number of us, I think they left a baggage cart behind in Chicago.

For Charles, it is the second time within 9 months to be lost.

Dulles and United

Aug 16, 2008 in Life

Dulles and United, my favorite combination. I am waiting for my flight to Frankfurt to connect there to St Petersburg. I have an hour between the scheduled arrival and departure in Frankfurt. United predicts so far that the flight to Frankfurt will depart 35 minutes late. So it can still work: I am checked in for the St Petersburg flight and there’s typically some margin in the flight time that they can make up. At least this time I only have hand luggage so nothing can get lost.

In the meantime, I’m lounging at Vino Volo near Gate C3 at Dulles airport sipping a delightful Ottella Trebbiano from Italy and munching on some smoked salmon rolls – ahh, such decadence!

At Rochester airport earlier things were very quiet. The TSA security staff was bored, talking about pay checks. One, a somewhat rotund and elderly security guard named Floyd M., struck up a conversation with me. “Do you know why we need to carry our pay checks to the bank?”
“No,” I replied.
“Because they are too small to go by themselves.”

He then went on to relate an anecdote from a recent security search he performed. The gentleman in question had a shoe box, labeled Napoleon, with him. On the box it said that these shoes were only sold at Trump Towers. In the box were black tip shoes, of make Napoleon. On the box was a price tag of $820. “Were they nice shoes?” I asked. Next was the story about the New York City doorman who won the lottery, continued to work as doorman and then was fired. According to Floyd the doorman wanted to keep his job because of the tips: $1000 per apartment in the building during Christmas time. “The tips here any good?”, I participated in the conversation. “No… no, we don’t get any” was Floyd’s observation. He then entered into another story about good tips but luckily another passenger moved through the security gate and I stole away.

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