It’s NOT Serious: The travels and travails of lost luggage

By Ted Blankenship | March 1, 2024

With the recent increase in air travel has come an avalanche of lost luggage. This is nothing new. For years, I’ve apparently had an ID on me visible only to airline employees that tells them to “ship his luggage away as far as possible and don’t tell him where it is (if you know).”

I just want to get on the airplane with the assumption that my packed socks and shorts will get on and off with me. That was my intention some years back when I flew to Kansas City from Hutchinson on assignment for the local paper. Surely the airline couldn’t lose my luggage on such a short flight. 

The airline lost my luggage. It turned up three days later in Chicago.

A few years later, I flew with my wife and kids to San Jose, Calif., to join Dorothy’s family for a reunion. Who had to borrow socks and shorts because his luggage was lost? Me.

The mysterious ID seems to work with hotel employees, too. Once, we stayed in a hotel the night before starting a train trip across Canada from the West to East Coast.

We were preparing to go to dinner and I yelled at my wife: “Where’d they put my bag? I need a pair of pants and a clean shirt.”

“I haven’t seen it since we got here,” she said.

So I went to the hotel check-in desk. While looking for my bag, the employee apologized for our room.

“I’m sorry about the noise, Mr. Blankenship, but there’s a convention next to your room.”

“No, there isn’t,” I replied. “It’s as quiet as a mouse in my room.”

The hotel had delivered my bag to a room booked under my legal name and delivered me to a different room under the name I have used since birth, though it’s not my legal name.

So I had two rooms, one loud and one quiet, one with a bag, and the other without. I was able to get my stuff transferred to the quiet room.

And, it was a lot closer than Chicago.

There have been a few times when I wished someone would lose my luggage. Once was when I was a student at the University of Kansas. As president of the journalism fraternity, I was asked to attend a convention in Chicago. 

I had pajamas that were way too large. My wife used a sewing machine to make them shorter and tighter on and tossed them in my bag. So tight and short, in fact, that I couldn’t get a leg into them.

Naturally, they were delivered to the correct room.

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