Wednesday, August 09, 2023

Tucson Adventure - Day 8

[Composed: July 12, 2023, High in Tucson: 100°F ]

This morning we were up, out of the Airbnb and standing in line at the airport to drop off our luggage by 8:15am. We boarded our flight to Dallas Fort Worth (DFW) with plenty of time and had a relaxing flight to Texas. Flying through DFW on the way out to Tucson required that we sprint from one terminal to another, leaving just minutes to spare. This time, we not only had plenty of time but were arriving and leaving from the same gate and plane.

As you can see from the pic below, we used our the layover to taste-test some prickly pear cactus candy. Yum!

Our flight from DFW to Tampa seemed uneventful. However, while flying Shira checked the status of our luggage and found that it was still in DFW. I assured her this was just a lag in the status update and that surely the airline didn't miss transferring our bags when they had so much time to do so.

When we landed in Tampa we found out, sure enough, that for the second time this trip DFW had eaten our bags. The main complication was that of the six bags, three needed to remain in Tampa, two needed to be forwarded to DCA and one needed to be forwarded to Jacksonville. It took a bit of explanation, but Shira got it all sorted out.

When our bags were delayed flying out to Tucson, I tried to think about the lessons I should learn from this. Should I be bringing a change of clothes or toiletries in my carry-on? Should I give up on checking bags and insist we all fly one bag style? I decided at the time that, no, I didn't need to make any changes to how I packed. I figured losing luggage was such an infrequent occurance, why bother?

So now that both legs of our journey resulted in delayed luggage, I again find myself asking: what should I be doing differently? Surely, I need to respect that anytime there's a layover there's an increased chance our bags will be delayed. But ultimately, I'd had the essentials--medication, mouthguard, USB charger--in my carry-on as is recommended. It only took a quick trip to Walmart to stock up on other supplies we needed. Heck, the hotel probably would have given us toothbrushes and toothpaste if we'd asked and we could have probably skipped the Walmart trip.

As long as I'm honest with myself and don't attempt to stash essentials in my checked bag, which you're never supposed to do, than I think it's safe to live like a wild man and hand my bags over to the airline. I've dabbled in the one bag lifestyle and for the majority of travel we do the Internet points you score for traveling with a single bag are far outweighed by the convienience of just taking what you need and having the airlines shlep it for you. More than that, it didn't take long for me to gratitude game this whole ordeal and come up with the fact that I appreciate the opportunity to improvise for a night or two without bags. Staying flexible and problem solving when the stakes are low is great practice for what may be more more serious challenges in the future.

Waving to the Tampa crew as they drove off in their minivan was bittersweet. On one hand, we were sorry that our adventure with the kids was over. On the other, we'd safely delivered the kids back to their parents--sunburn free no less--and had a fantastic time in Tucson.

Our travel experience, however, wasn't quite over. We had to deliver J to Jacksonville and fly back to DCA ourselves. Onward!

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