I wanted to shake up my life and go sailing (or learn on the job, so-to-speak) so headed to Florida to crew on a catamaran. This is about how it went or, rather, didn't - and my life since. Hopefully it will lead to a catamaran on the clear aqua blue waters of the Caribbean Sea, watching the sunset, a coconut rum and coke in hand. You must START AT THE BEGINNING of the blog, April 2009, to get the whole story...

Sunday, March 20, 2011


One of the reasons I am trying to take only a piece of carry-on luggage on this upcoming 5 week trip is, I have a lot - a LOT - of connections to make. It is a three leg trip with 3 flights from Vancouver, BC to Yuma (it was supposed to be two but a few days ago I got a notice from Ticket Pilot that the flight from YVR to LAX had been cancelled so now I fly from YVR to San Francisco to LAX to YUM). Nine days later I have 3 flights to get from Yuma to St. Thomas (YUM to LAX to Dulles in DC to STT) then, on the flight home, I have three flights (STT to Miami to Toronto to YVR). With 9 flights in total, I don't trust that any bag I checked would stay with me for the entire trip. I lost my faith in the airline to keep bags with passengers some time ago.

Let me tell you why.

When my daughter was flying with her fiance to their wedding on Tortola, they left two days before everyone else because of the requirement that they be on the island three full days to qualify for a marriage license there. We (my other daughter, myself and a makeup/hair girl) were flying out of Sea-Tac airport near Seattle because it was considerably cheaper due to the often heavy taxes added to flights by the Canadian government. The Bride and Groom were flying from YVR (Vancouver BC) due to his being a British citizen and his application for permanent residency here; they just felt it would be a lot less complicated than trying to drive across the border both ways.

The night before they were due to leave, they had their luggage spread out on the floor. In my daughters suitcase was over $700 of new lingerie I had bought for her trousseau, almost all new clothes she had purchased especially for her honeymoon while living in London, 5 pairs of satin flip flops for the wedding ceremony - hers and her bridesmaids - hers covered in Swarovsky Crystals as well as the usual accoutrements a young lady and new bride takes on a trip. His luggage had all of his new clothing, plus all of his and the groomsmen's outfits for the wedding - 5 pairs of khaki pants from Old Navy, 5 linen shirts from Le Chateau, and 5 pairs of leather Rip Curl flip flops. Her wedding jewelry, their wedding rings, and jewelry gifts for the bridesmaids were all in carry-on.

We laid out the many other items that would be needed for the wedding itself and the reception table and divided it up between all of us because they did not have enough room for it all. They took quite a bit including Swarovsky Crystal nuggets to spread on the reception table along with white star fish, seashells, and sea glass, and some of the items to be gifts for the guests. I don't recall all the items they took in their luggage, but it was a fair bit. She carried her wedding dress and veil onto the plane in her arms in a garment bag and they had one other carry-on between them.

Twenty three hours after they took off, I got a call from her. She was on Tortola and she was in tears. American Airlines had managed to lose their checked luggage - both his and hers. She was devastated. I was in shock. This just could not be happening. She told me that they had talked with the airline and they didn't have much to encourage them with other than that they could go and buy new clothes and toiletries and the airline would cover them up to $200 each. As if that would take care of everything they'd worked so hard for and now was missing.

I reassured her that I would do everything I could from this end and to just leave it with me. They had a lot to do in their three days on the island, meeting with a wedding planner and the event planner at Long Bay Resort; this was the last thing they needed. I hung up the phone with a very heavy heart.

And then I got angry. The momma bear protective kind of angry.

I paced the floor of my home for several minutes, trying to think of what to do. I knew that calling some missing luggage hotline was no guarantee that this would be resolved quickly enough, I'd read enough stories to know that much. I decided that the only way to get a solution to this now was was to take it to the top. To the very top. I sat down at my computer and started a search. I started looking for the name of the CEO of American Airlines. I found a name fairly quickly. I then started to search for an email address or phone number to go with the name. It took me two hours. I finally found it, an email address, buried in an annual business report. I then did a check to make sure this person was still the CEO. He was.

I composed an email to him explaining that these two pieces of luggage contained months of preparation for my daughters wedding - a wedding that was costing them and me a small fortune, yet if the luggage was not found in time it would be completely and utterly ruined and his airline's incompetence would be wholly responsible. I laid it on pretty thick but I meant every word with all of my heart and soul. I begged him to do everything in his power to locate the luggage and restore it to my daughter and her fiance as soon as possible. I sent it off with a prayer that he would get it right away.

Half an hour later there was an email from him. He apologized for what we must be going through and asked for a list of details about their flights, luggage description, etc. I sent him the list back right away. Then I prayed some more.

A very anxious two hours later I received a phone call from his assistant. The luggage had been located in Dallas airport. They would put it on a private plane to Tortola the next day and have it delivered to Long Bay Resort by taxi. I nearly cried with relief and thanked her profusely, asking her to pass my heartfelt thanks along to the CEO.

The luggage showed up at Long Bay the next day. I can't say enough good things about American Airlines for doing that for my daughter.

Three days later, Cape Air lost my carry-on bag. Yes, you read that right - my carry-on bag with every single item we needed for the wedding that I was responsible for carrying (including my entire outfit) in it - after what had happened to their luggage, I wasn't about to put anything for the wedding in the bag I checked. You can read all about that panic session HERE.

True story, that.


  1. Sandra, that is an amazing story.
    You are one can-do broad!

  2. It's amazing what a mother will do for one of her kids when pushed to the wall. I am no different than most moms, I'm sure. That and total desperation motivated me!


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