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What a beautiful box!

Now that I have recovered sufficiently from my jet lag, I’ll tell this frightful tale. :)

I had just arrived from Sydney into San Francisco. I cleared customs and immigration, rechecked my bag to Charlotte, and went to get 28 to relax for an hour or so before my flight to Charlotte. My flight was departing from gate 26, but 28 had more room to stretch out.

I sat down, put my carry-on bag and my camera bag at my feet, made a couple of phone calls and did just what I came to do, relax. After a while, I heard the boarding call for my flight. I got up, grabbed my carry on, went to my gate, and boarded the plane.

When I got onto the plane, I placed my bag into the overhead, sat down, looked at down at my feet where I usually place my camera bag and had an “Oh! Shit!” moment like non other. I didn’t have my bag. I’d left it in the terminal on the floor where I was sitting! Contents:

  • Leica M9
  • Summicron 50 mm
  • Voigtlander 35 mm – rented.
  • Expo Disc
  • 2 – 8 GB SD cards + 1 – 4 GB SD card.

All told, somewhere in the neighborhood of about $10,000 worth of goods. Ouch!

I looked down the aisle and heard the announcement to turn off all electronic items because the door had been closed. Hmmm. No stopping the plane. No getting off.

I got out of my seat, went to the flight attendant, told him of my issues. He said that there was nothing that he could do at the moment, but that he would call the gate when we got airborne.

About 10 minutes later, he got up, came back to ask me if I had a description of the contents. Thinking ahead, I had already made out the list and gave it to him. He smiled, went to use the phone, then came back and told me that he let them know and they’d have a look around to see if they could find it.

The lady next to me had heard of my plight and thought that she’d share her story about falling and breaking her $300 camera and showing me the scars on her forearm. Somehow, I just couldn’t commiserate with her at this moment. :)

About 15 minutes later, the flight attendant came back and said:

Good news! They found your bag. Call this number (handing me a slip of paper) and they’ll get it back to you.

The next sentence is totally superfluous: I was relieved! :)

When I arrived in Charlotte, I turned on my phone. I had a voicemail waiting from US Air asking me to call them so that they could make arrangements to return my camera. I called, made arrangements, and they said that they would put it in a box and send it along on the next flight, which left at 10:20 PM, Pacific time and would arrive in CLT at 6:10 AM Eastern time.

I went home, set my alarm for 5:45 AM, slept, go up and went to the airport. As soon as flight 942 started unloading luggage, there it was. A thing of beauty. I opened the box right there and they had done just as they said, placed the bag in a box, no packing material, nothing. The camera was very cold, I guess from being in the luggage area, but was undamaged and in fine working order. All items were present and accounted for!

Phew! Today I shipped the rental lens back. That certainly was a close call!

Lessons learned
Places I've been.

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