This is the place to share your favorite travel stories of the mayhem and destruction that the airlines (or hotels, trains, buses or the like) have brought down on your luggage. My goal is to collect the best baggage annihilation stories from around the world in one place. Eventually, I’d like to compile enough great tales to make a book, preferably a hardback with a cover that is already bent and dented, not unlike a pair of pre-stressed jeans.

So I ask you to share your best stories. Submit them as comments to any post. I’ll review them and post them on the blog. And here’s the QUID PRO QUO (I used to be a lawyer so there had to be some Latin somewhere). The Quid – if you send me your story, you agree to let me use it on the blog and in any future books/publications that might surface some day in the future. The Pro – if I am lucky enough one day to get a great collection of tales, find a publisher who likes the idea, actually deliver a publishable manuscript, yada yada, yada, a book will spring forth. The Quo – if you send me your email with your post (promise I’ll only use it to contact you and share Gorilla stories), I’ll let you know if a book ever publishes and send you a free, signed first edition.

Please start posting your baggage blogs now, and together, maybe we can beat down the thundering herd of baggage breakers.


“Why me?”, as Alfred E. Neuman once blurted out. First, like most of you, I’m a victim. I’ve traveled for a living for years and have logged over a million miles on Delta alone. Just two weeks ago, they got me again! Arriving at Dulles International in Washington, D.C. for a Labor Day weekend wedding, my wife, son and I snaked through the Dulles labyrinth to the baggage claim area to collect our three Roll Aboards and one garment bag. This time the garment bag was the casualty. It came up the belt and slid down onto the carousel with its contents of suits and dresses spewing out in every direction. It was soon followed by my toothbrush and an aerosol can of shaving cream. I guess I’m lucky they didn’t try to charge me for two extra pieces of baggage. My other toiletries weren’t so lucky. Somewhere in the bowels of Dulles Airport, another baggage handler/Gorilla smells nice.

Second, and before we go further, an admission – I’ve been on both sides. I was once legal counsel to The Gorilla. No, not the International Baggage Handlers Union. The actual American Tourister Gorilla. First as a partner in a D.C. law firm, and later as Trademark Counsel for Hillenbrand Industries, the company that owned Tourister. The Gorilla was created to suggest that the luggage was strong enough to stand up against the real band of Gorillas, the one that lurks under every airport, merrily playing hurling games with our luggage. So I know Gorillas.

Me, The Gorilla (actually Hollywood actor Don McLeod) and my mentor and law partner Bill Mathis, in an earlier time

“Every ape needs a top attorney!”

You can also find me at
Leitten Consulting

Monday, October 18, 2010

A quick Non-Luggage Post - "Goodwill Hunting - Or Just Missing?"

Friday night while heading out of RIC, I heard the following conversation between 2 USAIR gate attendants, one of whom (Attendant #1) had just told a young woman that she would have to pay a full ticket change fee to get a flight to join her family to see her grandfather, who had turned seriously ill.  They talked openly in front of me as I was checking in:

Attendant #1 (to Attendant #2) - "Well, you could use some of your goodwill and give her a family medical waiver to avoid the fee."
Attendant #2 - "If I do, someone up the line will want to know more.  They'll inquire and I'll just end up getting blamed for doing the wrong thing.  IT's not worth it."
Attendant #1 - "I know, I've used up all my goodwill for many years to come."

Meanwhile, the poor young woman trying to get to her grandfather before he dies was left to wander the airport hunting for someone in USAIR who still had some goodwill left to give.

The Gorilla detests USelessAir!!!!!  

Quick, check the Philly Zoo to see if a Gorilla is missing!

Oct. 7, 2010 - PHILADELPHIA - US Airways workers loading a Bermuda-bound plane grew suspicious of another baggage handler and confronted him today.  When confronted, the man fled on a baggage-handling vehicle.  The 100+ passengers and crew were taken off US Airways Flight 1070 for more than four hours. The plane was surrounded by emergency vehicles and security dogs checked luggage spread on the ground near the jet. The flight finally left after 4 p.m.  A passenger reported that "TSA personnel, police and all kinds of guys in suits swarmed the plane.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Somewhere in Kuala Lumpur a Luggage Gorilla is Giggling

KUALA LUMPUR, Malaysia (AP) — A Malaysian man pleaded guilty to wildlife smuggling after his bag bursting with 95 live boa constrictors broke open on a luggage conveyer belt at Kuala Lumpur International Airport.