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

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Emotional Baggage

The title of this entry is compliments of my younger son, Steve.  I'm just back from a week of pre-holiday travel.  Every flight but one was fully booked.  And every airline seems to be adding new restrictions weekly.  It reminds me of the cult movie, Office Space, where someone needed to justify their job.  "But I'm a people person, dammit."

On USAir, you must remove your headphone plug from the electronic device before the plane can take off or land.  On Delta, computers can no longer be stored in the seat back pocket for takeoff or landing, and coats and jackets can not go into the overhead bins until all luggage has been put stored..  In RIC {Richmond, VA] Airport, TSA is apparently still searching for the Belt Bomber, so you still have an airport full of old men whose trousers keep falling down as they go through security.  Aren't suspenders inherently more dangerous?.  Remember David and Goliath!!!

So we have the perfect elements for little dictators to take over the friendly skies.  An emotional time of year with too many travelers; new regulations that can be arbitrarily enforced; more delays in checking in and boarding.  Today a flight attendant went through the plane systematically pulling down all the coats and jackets, making everyone wait until the luggage was stowed.   Then all the passengers had to get up from their window, middle and aisle seats and put their coats and jackets back in the exact spots the attendant had removed them from.  Departure delayed.  You all need to take your seats before the plane can depart the gate.

She then proceeded to tell me I had to turn off my iPod for takeoff.  When I told her it was off, she blurted' "I can still hear the music", even as I showed her that the headphones were unplugged!

EMOTIONAL BAGGAGE -- please check it curbside with the SkyCap.

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