Date: July 4, 2010
Place: Logan International Airport, Terminal C
I’m standing in the bag drop line, ostensibly, having checked in online, to do nothing more than drop my bag. There’s a family in front of me and another family at the ticketing counter. It’s really taking awhile, for just dropping off bags.
“NEXT IN LINE,” shouts the baggage man. “EVERYBODY ALL SET? JUST NEED TO CHECK BAGS? ALREADY PAID FOR YOUR TICKETS?” This last part seems directed at the family in front of me, who are making their bedraggled way in his general direction.
“Oh, checked in? No, we’re not checked in,” says the matriarch.
“THEN YOU’RE IN THE WRONG LINE” barks the baggage man. “CAN’T YOU READ? THERE’S A SIGN RIGHT THERE.”
A scene ensues, the woman yelling at the man, and the man yelling right back at the woman. I am uncomfortable, and maintain a neutral countenance while I continue my iPhone scrabble game. It’s five in the morning, I keep thinking to myself. Who has the energy?
Verbal jousting finished, baggage man beckons to another family in a different line, and they saddle over to the ticketing counter. Not in a mood to be confrontational, I wait patiently as baggage man goes ahead and… yes… checks them in. For flights to Ft. Lauderdale. The family who used to be in front of me is able to self-check-in, drop their bags, and be on their merry way while I am still waiting, as instructed, in the bag drop line.
“NEXT” yells baggage man.
I yawn, heaving my bag lazily onto the scale. “I have a question,” I say. “What’s the point of checking in online if it takes this long just to drop my luggage?”
Baggage man stares at me blankly.
“I mean, I’ve seen people check in and move along in the time I’ve just been standing here waiting.”
Baggage man is not pleased with me.
“I mean, I saw you check those people in just now, after you told those other people you COULDN’T check them in, and meanwhile I’ve just been waiting here with my bag. It seems ludicrous. So if you’re just going to check people in at the bag drop line, what’s the point of having a bag drop line?”
Baggage man’s face turns dark with rage.
“NO POINT,” he snarls. “THERE’S NO POINT AT ALL.” He hurls my suitcase on the conveyor belt and fixes me with an awful stare.
“Ok,” I say. “That’s all I wanted to hear, I guess.”
As I’m walking away, I’m struck by how shitty baggage guy has made my morning. I mean, when you travel, you need to maintain a certain air of calm, a certain consideration for your fellow man. Baggage guy needs stiff drink and a xanax, I decide, and NOBODY needs this kind of bullshit before 6am. I circle back to the ticket counter to lodge a complaint.
Baggage guy sees me hovering near business class check-in and storms down the counter towards me. “CAN I HELP YOU, MA’AM?” he shouts, one arm raised in a Nazi salute. “YOU NEED SOMETHING?” His approach is menacing, almost threatening, and I feel a rush of adrenaline pump up from my Irish core. I take one step forward.
“What’s your name, sir?” except it doesn’t come out as a question. The words drop from my lips like steel marbles.
“DAVID” he spits.
“You’ll be hearing from me.”
I turn on my heel and walk away with cool, measured paces.
So yesterday, first thing, I put in a call to Air Tran Airways. I tell my story, not forgetting to mention that it was FIVE IN THE MORNING for God’s sake, and they thank me for my time and give me an upgrade to business class for my redeye flight home.
Moral of the story? Don’t take no shit from no one. Especially not angry baggage men at Logan.