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It's good to be home again.

I won't say it wasn't a swell trip. We saw friends, had a good time at Boskone and the New York City Comicon, did business, enjoyed a great dinner with my family...

Getting the norovirus in the middle of our travels did kind of suck, however, and then on our way home, Parris had her luggage robbed. Someone opened a locked suitcase and stole her ipod and a whole bunch of new peripherals that she'd just bought at the Apple Store in NYC. They also stole the two locks. (Both brand new "TSA approved" locks, I might add. So far as I can see, locking your luggage with a TSA approved lock is completely useless, since everyone and his brother has the keys. And of course you're no longer allowed to use locks that might actually keep thieves out of your luggage. It's all to make us more "secure," hoo hah).

She's getting the usual run-around as regards to filing a claim for the stolen items. TSA blames the airline, the airline blames TSA, and no one takes any responsibility. Continental Airlines has been especially useless. TSA and the police have actually been treating Parris with courtesy and doing what they can to help her, but from Continental she's gotten nothing but phone trees, disconnects, brush-offs from disinterested "customer service" people, and repeated refrains of "it's not our responsibility" -- though indications are that it is the Continental baggage handlers who are the culprits here.

We also had trouble with Continental on the way east, but that was in connection with our carry-on luggage. We were seated in row 19 out of Houston to Boston, yet by the time we were allowed to board ALL the overhead space on the plane had been filled by the passengers seated in rows 20 and back, so an especially obnoxious flight attendant insisted that I check my carry on (not even a wheelie, but a nylon shoulder bag), and threatened to call "security" and have me removed from the plane when I refused to give it to her (the bag contains valuables and personal items that cannot be checked). I told her the bag would fit under the seat, but she refused to believe me, choosing to go by her own three-second "eyeball" inspection of the bag rather than listen to my assurances. That damn bag is TWENTY YEARS OLD and has fit under many airline seats over the decades. I have crossed oceans with the bag under the seat in front of me, I was trying to tell her... but she didn't want to listen, she just wanted to threaten me with the FAA. Fortunately an older and wiser flight attendant intervened before this young obnoxious one could throw me off the plane, and actually helped, opening an overhead bin, turning one of those monstrous carry-on "rollers" sideways, and making room for my shoulder bag. If not for her, I might have been dragged off my flight.

Anyway, Continental Airlines has moved right to the bottom of our list as "airline we are least likely ever to fly again." They won't let you carry on your valuables, and if you check your stuff, they steal it.

But enough venting. We DID have fun on the trip as well, when we weren't throwing up or being robbed. Boskone is still a great con, although the new hotel is a definite step down, and we had a good time at the New York City Comicon, where I did signings for Tor, Bantam, and DBPro/Marvel, got to meet the entire amazing Dabel clan, and did all sorts of business.

Even so... it IS good to be home.


( 100 comments — Leave a comment )
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Mar. 5th, 2007 08:20 pm (UTC)
This is karma
I think all these bad things happening to you are a result of karma getting you back for saying Comicon! I told you already, that's off limits!

We all know Comicon is not a word, right? It's a combination of Comic and Con. Convention. That was the NYC Comic Con. The only place allowed to combine it into one word (because they made it up) is San Diego's Comicon International. Will you ever get that?
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:34 pm (UTC)
Re: This is karma
Uh... excuse me?

"Comicon" has been in use ever since there were comic book conventions, long before San Diego.

And the very FIRST comicon was held in New York City in 1963. I should know. I was the first fan to sign up for it. It was a one-day event, drew maybe thrity-forty people (high school kids like myself, mainly) to a decaying Greenwich Village hotel. Two kids named Len Wein and Bernie Bubnis ran it, and the only pros to show up were Steve Ditko and Fabulous Flo Steinberg... but it was a comicon, and all comicons since have come from that humble beginning.
Re: This is karma - hippoiathanatoi - Mar. 5th, 2007 10:54 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 6th, 2007 01:53 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - danalog - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:00 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:21 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - danalog - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:24 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - scelous - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - koyotesdaughter - Mar. 6th, 2007 02:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - stegoking - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:47 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 6th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - stegoking - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:08 am (UTC) - Expand
fella - parrismcb - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:27 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: fella - eefster - Mar. 6th, 2007 12:40 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: fella - xraytheenforcer - Mar. 6th, 2007 12:49 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - nimbrethil - Mar. 10th, 2007 05:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - kalbear - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:31 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 6th, 2007 07:11 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - eefster - Mar. 6th, 2007 07:29 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - the_corbie - Mar. 6th, 2007 08:54 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - eefster - Mar. 6th, 2007 12:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - hippoiathanatoi - Mar. 6th, 2007 11:55 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 6th, 2007 05:39 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - the_corbie - Mar. 6th, 2007 06:18 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - kram006 - Mar. 6th, 2007 06:22 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - rockstarwookie - Mar. 6th, 2007 06:38 pm (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - svengoolie007 - Mar. 7th, 2007 01:36 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - koyotesdaughter - Mar. 7th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - aeureka - Mar. 7th, 2007 07:46 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - nimbrethil - Mar. 10th, 2007 05:32 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - rockstarwookie - Mar. 7th, 2007 10:17 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - balefont - Mar. 7th, 2007 11:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - nimbrethil - Mar. 10th, 2007 05:26 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: This is karma - balefont - Mar. 7th, 2007 03:03 am (UTC) - Expand
(Deleted comment)
Re: This is karma - bitchslap112 - Mar. 8th, 2007 12:57 am (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:24 pm (UTC)
This is why, as a geek, i pack every single important electronic device and/or valuable item in my carry-on. My laptop, my Ipod, my Gameboy, my cell phone, my digital SLR, reservation papers, etc etc.

Its a lot harder for the percentage of undesirable workers those airlines hire to do their dirty work to steal from you then. Clothes I can always replace easily, my electronics, especially in the case of my camera, I cannot.

I may look like a crazy mofo bristling with electronics, but ya do waht ya gotta do.
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
Feh, says I, to airport security theater and institutionalized rudeness. Both are offensive and both- but especiallly the latter- shock me anew each time I return to USistan.

For future reference and current irony, the only way to legally secure your luggage against theft is to carry a gun in each suitcase.
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:57 pm (UTC)
That doesn't actually work.
(no subject) - danjite - Mar. 5th, 2007 10:06 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:42 pm (UTC)
Sorry to hear about your bad experiences. Although Continental sounds particularly bad, the rest of the airline industry isn't much of any better.

It is really sad how paranoia has made it possible to threaten people on planes with serious reprocussion for no good reason.

In any case, you should definitely be persistent in demanding they reimburse you. Ask for a supervisor if you don't get someone helpful. Complain to the BBB if necessary. Etc.
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:48 pm (UTC)
I fly a lot (comparatively - three times a year, give or take, for recreation instead of business) and Continental is usually the airline the screws me over the least. Delta, now...after a nasty run-in with their comp claims department, my family and I have pronounced anathema on Delta.

Of course, I'm also a native Houstonian; my personal theory is that Continental can smell those who aren't. Good luck on getting all the electronics back.
Mar. 5th, 2007 09:59 pm (UTC)
George, I'm really hoping you see this post. I would suggest submitting your story to consumerist.com, a consumer advocate blog. Often times the editors will take a hand in helping out their readers with "customer service" (what a misnomer) issues. Even if they're not able to help, they will at least give you another forum in which to vent. Plus, they're suckers for "unreasonable airlines taking away your rights" type stories.

All airlines stink, but I've actually had better luck with Continental than Northworst or American. Maybe that's cause I've only flown with them once, on the way back from a stressful business trip, and I actually got a sandwich mid-flight in this era of downsizing pretzels and blankets.

One more thing - airports often outsource baggage handling to third-party companies. I wonder what kind of background checks they run?

Mar. 6th, 2007 03:07 am (UTC)
We haven't flown since the 90's (lotsa dogs; can't leave 'em), but wanted to both commiserate and second the "avoid Northwest at all costs!" nomination. Only flew them once, and had we been able to afford switching to another airline for the round trip return, we would've. They gave us a "future upgrade to first class on a coach fair" deal, and we never used it cause we hated them/didn't trust them *that much*. They may have fixed things since then, but worst, most untrustworthy employees of any airline ever.
(no subject) - sarcastrotwin - Mar. 6th, 2007 04:26 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 5th, 2007 10:24 pm (UTC)
Make sure Parris
tells Investor relations about her displeasure. Sometimes they can get stuff done with more clout. Unless they're so far bankrupt that no one gives a damn.
(Deleted comment)
Mar. 5th, 2007 10:39 pm (UTC)
Oy. I don't think I'll ever fly with Continental now!
Mar. 6th, 2007 12:17 am (UTC)
People who steal other people's ipods are very sorry excuses for human beings, i must say. (I'm bitter, what can I say)
Mar. 6th, 2007 12:49 am (UTC)
Airlines are only going to get worse. Have you heard of the backscatter machines that do what the fabled x-ray glasses can only dream to do... for now, anyway. Remember Total Recall? The backscatter machines basically do the same thing only instead of a skeleton, the image that is captured is basically a nude photo of you. It's supposedly a means of discovering objects of varying densities. I'm of the opinion it borders (if not crosses) the "unreasonable search" clause from the old Bill of Rights. What's next?

I like security well enough, but when does it cross the line...
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:42 am (UTC)
Clothes are overrated. Damn middle-easterners forcing us to wear clothes. I want my X-ray glasses, finally!
Scarey!! - trklement - Mar. 7th, 2007 06:37 pm (UTC) - Expand
Mar. 6th, 2007 01:46 am (UTC)
I would add that I've had similar experiences with Southwest airlines when dealing with carryon luggage. I'd never fly with them again except that I can preboard because of a medical condition, meaning that I always have access to the overhead bins *before* they fill up. I will however never check bags that have anything I truely care about in them. The same trip they refused to let me bring my carryon and I had to check it at the plane door, they lost my checked bags somewhere in Phoenix and I didnt get them back till after my trip. Nothing as enjoyable as needing to buy clothes while on vacation. Amusingly the bag that got checked at the plane door made it to our destination without an issue.
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:51 am (UTC)
All I can say is I'm glad I've never used Continental Airlines and I never will! I always convince my family to use WestJet - great service, respectful workers, makes you feel safe with you and your possessions. It's hard to say that about any service company these days.
Anyway, sorry to hear about your mishaps, but it's good to hear you had some fun and that you're glad to be home. Good luck!
Mar. 6th, 2007 04:31 am (UTC)
For those traveling in the US by airlines.


Print out what you need so when the knuckleheads behind the counters try to give you a hard time, just show them the official FAA info. threaten a complaint and demand an upgrade for your inconvenience. That may not get you an upgrade, but it will stop the hassling.

Or, you could get a job working for the FAA or TSA :/

Mar. 6th, 2007 04:51 am (UTC)
The GOod old days
My father is a retired piliot so I did tons of traveling when I was a kid. It never used to be like this. My dad still has his Special Ops military ID and His North West Id that allows him to get special discounts and we all still get searched at the place and since he has a knee brace from playing pro football (the jets by the way, we get buzzed all the time. One time when he told the TSA agent that why he got buzzed she didnt believe him and hit the knee. It is ridiculous what we have to go through in todays world of travel. P.S. My Grandma when coming to my house for Christmas got 10,000 worth of Family jewels taken because they told her she couldnt take her jewelery bag on the plane.
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George R.R. Martin
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