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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. 6th, 2007 04:55 am (UTC)
Rule Of thumb When Flying
I work at an airline and I work with the bags that I check in. Since working with the industry I have created 2 rules for when I travel 1) Try not to check in bags bc I work with people who I cannot believe have a HS diploma, and 2) If you have to check in do not, do not and I mean do not check in that falls in the category of electronics and Jewelry. I am sorry you are going trough this, and I know how you feel. Unfortunately there are thieves who think that they can steal anything they want. If I am right Continental is suppose to begin an investigation at per your request and have documented, and believe that corporate security is in charge of that. They should interview workers and TSA agents that worked the flight and trust if they want to, they can find a link to this. I hope that you can resolve this problem soon. Oh, TSA has could the best candidate since they know what's in the bag, but my money is in the Ramp agent. I work with people like that.
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:33 am (UTC)
Glad to hear you and Parris are doing better and back home. And terribly sorry for Parris' loss. That really sucks hard.
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:36 am (UTC)
Oh, and heh - the last time I flew Continental, someone died on the flight. Yeah, I think you can probably do better and fly another way. :)
Mar. 6th, 2007 06:40 am (UTC)
Glad to hear there were some good times on the trip. Sorry to hear about your airline insanity. Commercial air travel is just hellish these days.
Mar. 6th, 2007 07:15 am (UTC)
"We DID have fun on the trip as well, when we weren't throwing up or being robbed." :-)

We had the airline experience from hell coming and going last year. To add insult to injury, the airline e-mailed an apology and gave us frequent flyer miles. As if being tortured twice wasn't enough...

When I found really inexpensive flights to Chicago for this year's vacation, I was met with 'boos' from everyone in the family. They would rather drive than fly, no matter how far the trip. I'm inclined to agree.
Mar. 6th, 2007 02:20 pm (UTC)
A Request
Dear Mr. Martin,

I am a great fan of "A Song Of Ice And Fire" and would very much appreciate it if you could provide me with an e-mail address in which I could contact you.

Best regards,
Mar. 6th, 2007 03:05 pm (UTC)
Let me know if you need help replacing those items
Hello Mr. Martin, love your books, love your NAB (Not a Blog). Anyway, sorry to hear about losing those iPod/valuables. I live in NYC so if you need help in replacing those items, I would be happy to buy them and ship them to you. LMK. Later and onward, and forward with ADWD. :D
Mar. 6th, 2007 05:56 pm (UTC)
I'd have to buy my electronics off the internet and have it mailed. It's cheaper and supports places that sell at reduced prices compared to those of street vendors which is nice because it can possibly force them to cut costs to raise their bottom line.
Mar. 6th, 2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
See, if teleportation could be perfected in the near future, we won't HAVE to deal with this crap anymore.....

....okay, before I hit "post comment" I realized that I was wrong. Teleportation will probably be federally regulated too. :(
Mar. 6th, 2007 11:16 pm (UTC)
I am quite sad that the LJ from Mr. Martin is spammed by idiots like svengoolie007. Alas, the world is full of the chronically malcontent and the socially inappropriate. We tend to call them trolls, or mouth-breathers. I only hope that George won't stop making LJ posts because of these mouth-breathing trolls.
Mar. 7th, 2007 03:10 am (UTC)
Not Related... Congrats
On the Thomas Jones acquisition. I may have to watch the Jets this coming season.
Mar. 7th, 2007 03:42 am (UTC)
You and Parris should just lend a link of these comments to Continental in an email. When they see _who_ they screwed over and just how many people pay attention to and are influenced by your non-blog their various bits and pieces will likely shrivel in consternation.
If you don't believe me check out what Maddox did to Orbitz. Unfortunately I can't link it directly from my work computer so here's the url, www.thebestpageintheuniverse.com Just look for the rant on Orbitz.
Mar. 7th, 2007 04:42 pm (UTC)
continental theft
Mr. Martin,

this summer I flew continental to Santa Fe via Houston, and when I got on the plane in Washington DC i was told the same thing as you. All the space had been filled in the overheads, and I would have to check my luggage. I told them i had my digital camera in the bag and needed to remove it, at which point the stewardess yelled at me to sit down, and grabbed my bag and checked it, saying everything would be fine. Well guess what. No more Camera. I have battled with continental since then about this, and all they have been is rude and completely useless. According to their policy, "lost" valuables are not covered because you arent supposed to check them...and since the asshole manager i talked to has "no proof that I wasent given time to take out my camera" its apparently a lost cause. I am currently researching to see if "lost" includes having your items stolen by continental's stellar baggage handling department.

sorry to hear of your troubles
Mar. 9th, 2007 01:33 am (UTC)
TSA approved locks are indeed useless, as I've seen them broken by TSA to do inspections. I don't bother lock my baggage. If it's too valuable to trusted to handlers it goes on the plane with me. If it's still too valuable, I'll ship it some other way.

As far as I can tell, all the airlines are pretty shitty about not helping customers, and flight attendants are on some sort of power-mad trip. I personally think they should get rid of flight attendants and save us a bit of money...
Mar. 10th, 2007 04:01 am (UTC)
Oh good. You're home. So glad to hear it :) Now can we please chain you back up to the computer?
Mar. 10th, 2007 11:32 pm (UTC)
Caught this article today

Apparently it is a new strain spreading around (I also sent link to Parris' email). Glad you all have fairly robust immune systems.

Best wishes from KC
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George R.R. Martin
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