The weekend after Christmas, I left Miami, FL to travel to Monterey, CA for my next assignment. I woke up that morning at 4 am to make my 7 am flight. Once I reached the terminal, I discovered my flight was delayed. This meant that I would be missing my connecting flight in Phoenix, AZ. Unfortunately, it was after the holidays so the majority of flights were all booked. Therefore, I was placed on stand-by on the next flight out from Phoenix.
My 7 am flight became a 9 am flight that took 4.5 hours to Phoenix. Then I found myself waiting 5 hours before being able to board the next flight out. I wasn’t able to find out if there was room for me on that flight until everyone had boarded the plane. Luckily, there was space for me, however the plane was too small to accommodate my carry-on luggage. Thus, I was forced to check in my carry-on luggage.
After a 2 hour flight, I finally arrived to Monterey 7 hours after I was supposed to based off of my flight itinerary. To make matters worse, neither my checked in baggage or carry-on made it to the airport. Apparently, there was not enough room in the small plane to accommodate all of the passengers luggage, and they had to leave half of them behind.
I waited in my 3rd long customer service line of the day, and was told my luggage would likely be on the next flight in. With my luck, that next flight was cancelled. The last flight of the day was arriving at midnight. I forced myself to stay awake, although at that point I had been awake for 23 hours already, in order to get my suitcases. I checked the American airlines baggage app that said my luggage was checked into this arriving flight.
I waited for my luggage at baggage claim, and was beyond furious when they still were not there! While in line for the 4th time that day, I found myself exhausted and on the verge of losing my mind. Turns out they had indeed put my luggage onto the plane, but had to remove them due to space, once again. The agent said the luggage would likely come the following day.
I was supposed to start my new assignment the next day, so through the advice of a friend, I went to Walmart to find some alternative clothing. I was wearing leggings and a long casual shirt, which wouldn’t have been appropriate at the clinic. Unfortunately, Walmart had absolutely nothing. The following morning I woke up at 5 am to call my recruiter who works on the East coast, and explained my situation.
After being awake the previous day for 25 hours straight, then sleeping only 3 hours the next night, I felt like a zombie. My recruiter notified the site and they told me to take care of my luggage situation and clothing, and to come in later that afternoon. I went to Target as soon as it opened but found nothing. Then I went to Ross that was next door and still nothing. I even went to the mall to look for appropriate attire. I think part of the reason I had difficulty finding appropriate clothes at the mall was because it was 35 degrees outside and I was freezing, since I only had a light sweater on me. The other reason is since I felt and looked like a zombie, I thought no attire looked good.
Not to mention, each time I checked for the status of my baggage, it seemed that every flight coming out of Phoenix that morning and afternoon was getting cancelled. I was so grateful when my recruiter and site contact agreed that I should just start working the following day.
My luggage finally arrived at 7pm that night and I was relaxed enough that I could sleep well.
Things I learned from this experience include refusing to check-in my carryon luggage in the future; or using a small duffle bag as my personal item to keep a change of clothes inside; or flying to larger airports instead of smaller ones even if I have to drive a couple of hours (because smaller airports also mean smaller planes).