Thursday, November 19, 2009

A "Bad" Start to a GREAT Trip...

With a post title like that, you KNOW that this is gonna be a good one, right?!?!

In order to maximize our trip length and cost savings (as I had a free ticket on Southwest), we flew Southwest into LAX on a Friday night, landing late in LA after a brief layover in Houston. We were then scheduled on our honeymoon (which was booked through Expedia) to leave the next morning around lunchtime for Cabo out of LAX. Then, when coming back, we would fly back into LAX from Cabo (once again through the Expedia trip) and then pick up a rental car, drive to San Clemente/Mission Viejo for the wedding weekend and then fly home from Austin out of Orange County airport or John Wayne Airport through Southwest.

It really does sound like we went around our elbow to scratch our rears…but it wasn’t all that crazy. And the obsessive-compulsive-type A personality that I am, I had each leg of the trip printed out the confirmations, maps and directions to everywhere that we would need to go. And don’t you know that each leg of the trip had it’s own envelope, carefully labeled and packed in order of needed for use? Yes, it did!

But even as hard as I tried to think of everything that we would need beforehand, you can’t plan for everything, right? Right.

We stopped in both the Austin airport and the Houston airport for a frothy honeymoon kick-off beverage of the alcoholic variety…just to start things off on the right foot! LOL. But when we got to LAX…things started to go wrong. First off, let me just say that finding your way around that airport is next to impossible. Avoid it like the plague if you can!

When we finally managed to find the baggage claim area, and then found the correct carousel that was unloading the arriving luggage on, we were exhausted. Happy to be there. But tired…and a little hungry since 8pm California time is really 10pm Texas time. After taking FOREVER to start unloading the luggage…we waited patiently for our bags to arrive. Now, my suitcase is bright red…you would think easily recognizable. Would anyone happen to know how many bright red suitcases go through LAX? A lot. B probably picked up three wrong ones…and then the carousel stopped turning.

Without my red bag. And without B’s navy blue Adidas duffel.


We go to the nearest baggage employee – but he was NOT helpful at all. He was rude and impolite. I was even annoyed with him, and let me tell you, that takes a lot! I thought that it was kind of lucky that there were 4 or 5 other passengers from our flight that were also missing their bags. The unhelpful LAX employee directed us to the baggage claim office for Southwest to make a claim for our bags. The good news? We were first in line. The bad news? Our bags didn’t make the right connection in Houston and had been routed to Oakland. This is what we looked like...

Silly me, I’m standing there thinking that Oakland isn’t that far…yeah. Unfortunately, since it was 8:30 or later by this time, the last shuttle from Oakland to LA had already left and there was no chance for our bags to make it to LA that evening. I’m ok with that. Not really, but what can you do? It’s not the guy in front of me who lost my bags…he’s just trying his best to get them to me. B? He didn’t handle the news as well…to say the least.

After explaining politely (I really tried to be nice) to the gentleman our situation with leaving the next morning for our flight to Cabo for our honeymoon (can’t say that often, so you might as well use it, right?), he was most helpful. The best case scenario was that our luggage would be there when we got to the airport in the morning. The worst case scenario was that our bags would have to be shuttled down to Cabo after us…which is when B left the office.

Not a great start, huh? Yeah, not so much.

Then we call the hotel for the free shuttle service, just to have to wait nearly half an hour for them to arrive. Once they get there, they totally bypass “Hotel Row” where we thought the hotel was, and went down a long lonely-looking ghetto-like street. And for the record, the Holiday Inn Express at the LAX Airport is THE WORST Holiday Inn Express that I’ve ever stayed in. Crappy rooms, crappy neighborhood and no fridge in the room to keep the drinks that we’d grabbed cold. Nice.

After making the best of the evening and ordering a pizza in…we watched some TV and then took a shower in some of our clothes in order to clean them. One really bad night of sleep later…one alright complimentary breakfast buffet…and a ride back to the airport in the shuttle that only runs on the hour…and we arrived back at the terminal for Southwest.

The best news? In fact, the ONLY news that could redeem this portion of the trip? A Southwest Agent from baggage called right as we were pulling in to let us know that our bags had arrived and were in their office. YEAH!!! We were happy campers.

Not so happy once we realized that the terminal that Mexicana flies out of was like 2 miles away…but whatever. We had our bags…and our tickets and passports…and we were on our way!
It couldn’t get any worse, right? Well…stayed tuned to here about our next leg of the trip…


  1. Oh my goodness! That would have been so stressful to me!!!!
    When I went to visit S two weeks ago, we had to turn around due to mechanical difficulties. I ended up the night in Chicago and NOT with him. It's those stupid unavoidables that are SO stressful and make it hard to enjoy a trip... I am sure you did of course right?!
    Can't wait to hear more :)

  2. What an unfortunate start to your trip. I do not like LAX at all. Whenever I fly, I try to go out of John Wayne (Orange County) airport unless I am flying international. Hoping this gets better...wondering where that wedding in San Clemente/MV was as I live right near there :)

  3. OK I seriously cant remember if I realized your wedding has come and gone already! I cant wait to see pictures! I guess when your planning a wedding yourself you miss out on life sometimes! :) Where did you get the bags you put the cookies in?

  4. @D. Marie - no worries, and yes, planning your own wedding takes you into a vaccuum where you lose track of time for other things - that's understandable and to be expected!

    I got the bags at ULine...but I bought WAY too many. I'll be posting some of the leftovers for sale soon. If you're interested, let me know and I'll try to dig out the receipts and come up with a price.