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Thursday, March 21, 2013

Traveling Chill

'Tis a far, far better thing to travel with a chill attitude than to get bent out of shape about flight delays, missed connections, and checked luggage with the potential to go AWOL. To wit, today I was awakened from my Idaho beauty sleep by a 4:50 AM MDT wake-up call. By 5:03 AM, I was on a shuttle to the Boise airport to catch a 6:19 AM flight.This would put me in Denver with two hours to spare before a flight to National (DCA) in Washington, DC. Alas, at 5:10 AM, already on my way to the airport, a message came from United saying the first flight had been delayed an hour. Knowing that I had cut it close to make the 6:19 flight, and knowing that I still had an hour to connect in Denver, I actually breathed a sigh of relief.

But as the delay stretched to 8:00 and then 8:30, I knew, intrepid veteran travel journalist that I am, I needed a Plan B to get to DC. There were no other non-stops to DCA, so I investigated non-stops to Dulles (IAD). While getting home from IAD costs $77 by taxi versus $5.00 on Metro from DCA, my first choice was still an IAD non-stop versus a one-stop to DCA through Chicago arriving five hours later.

However, choosing another airport could create a wrinkle which would cause most to furrow a brow. You see, I had checked luggage. Normally. I would travel solely with a carry-on for a nine-day trip. But as I was heading to snowy Sun Valley, I had to bring three pairs of boots (one Cowboy, one pair of knee-high Uggs, and one pair of sexy heels), plus a pair of flip-flops which doubled as workout shoes. Confused? Just suffice to say that the heavy-duty footwear would not enable me to fit in my carry-on. Nor would it allow my wardrobe to fit in there, either.

And so, la dilemma. Where would my checked bag go if I went to another airport at the last minute? Would it go to DCA? Would it make it to IAD? Or would it end up spending quality time at Denver International? For all I knew, there was a possibility it could enjoy an exotic trip to China. Frankly, whatever way United opted to orient my luggage, well, I just didn't care.

Now, I grant you, I was heading home, so it was easier to be chill about being sans luggage than if I were outbound. Then again, most people, had they had the adventure with United's missing luggage department as described in the link above, would not be so easy breezy. But looking like a Cover Girl (wearing a leather skirt and aforementioned sexy boots), I had to maintain my nonplussed mien, even upon discovering in Denver that I indeed missed my DCA flight. A useless gate agent directed me toward a long line at customer service, but I bypassed the advice and said line, by marching my sexy boots right over to Gate 43, from which Plan B was launched.

Dressed for success, I made the flight just as it was boarding. True, I was assigned a middle seat. But, it was in the Economy Super-Plus section. so I was happy as a potato. As I write this prose, I am in-flight and not a bit peckish about my bag. If it shows, it shows. If it doesn't, hasta manana. And that, mis amigos, is what traveling chill is all about.

Postscript IAD 6 PM EDT: I don't know how this happened, but the bag made my flight.

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