The Purse Predicament

Ever tried to cram 10 pounds of your prized possessions in a 5-pound bag – at the airport?

By Patti Parish-Kaminski, Publisher

So, what are y’all doing today? Me? How sweet of you to ask. It’s now 10 am, and I’m in the seventh hour of my day already. Unusual, you query? You bet. Let me tell you how this went down.

It’s been said the road to hell is paved with good intentions. I get that – today of all days. You see I had every intention of spending Lisa Ann’s milestone birthday with her in Colorado, but that required some doing. I worked overtime for a week, purchased gifts that would travel well and I got up at 3 am to be certain I made a 6 am flight.

Now flying these days has become more of a challenge than usual, but Tim Kaminski booked me on American Airlines because I grow weary, worn out and get downright wicked at times when we fly Southwest. It’s just hard. I asked Mr. Kaminski repeatedly the one question that concerned me the most: Can I bring a purse? You see when you fly Herb’s airline, they count your purse as a carry-on bag. Doesn’t matter if it’s 3” x 3” – it’s a carry-on bag, and that really gets on my very last nerve. I didn’t want to check my bags since I had a connecting flight in Dallas, and I had my two incredibly tiny – when you’re talking winter clothes – carry-on bags packed to the gills. Plus, I had Lisa Ann’s birthday presents, so there was no room at the inn so to speak.

With the purse situation resolved, I headed to the airport before the roosters crowed “good morning.” I went through security, got my usual pat-down – I just accept it now – and got to my gate post haste. When I checked in, the attendant immediately told me I had to consolidate or check a bag. I very nicely informed her that I was flying American Airlines where you could carry your purse. Mr. Kaminski told me so. She was neither amused nor accepting. She told me I could check my purse. Really? I promptly informed her, “No, I cannot check my purse.” I politely asked if I could pay an extra baggage fee to carry my purse with me. Again, blatant, unsmiling denial.

So, I plopped down and began the consolidation process. I broke a nail, worked up a work-out-worthy sweat, put a voodoo curse on Mr. Kaminski and got everything crammed into my two tiny bags except for my cell phone and book. I had grand visions of reading and enjoying my flight. So naïve.

Then the attendant announced on the loud speaker that on this airplane, which is virtually the size of a small fishing boat, carry-on bags were valet checked at the door. I had never heard of such, confirmed the nasty rumor and then proceeded to repack my overstuffed bags because I couldn’t leave my laptop, wallet, meds, etc. in a bag I was “valet” checking. This lady was really getting on my nerves.

As we boarded, I “valeted” my bag. I was still going with the turbulent flow until it happened: The plane was an hour and 15 minutes late. My layover at the minimum 125,000-acre Dallas/Fort Worth Airport was an hour and 15 minutes so the struggle was about to get real. We finally landed, and I checked my connecting gate. We landed in Terminal A; my next flight was in Terminal E.

Still optimistic, I procured a very nice gentleman who put me on his cart and drove me and my two tiny bags to the shuttle, which was at least 47 miles away. He explained to me how to board the shuttle and ride to Terminal E, which took a minute. During the mad dash on the airport cart, he was yelling at folks to get out of the way, had a blinking light going – I just loved Emad. He was my kind of guy. I bought his lunch.

Not realizing the shuttle ride was a three-hour tour, I disembarked on the very last stop and hoofed it to my gate. Yes, the plane had been gone for 10 minutes, and apparently, my destination was not a popular one, so there was no boarding another flight in an hour or so.

I trekked to yet another gate in another terminal and got on a 2 pm flight instead of my 8:45 am flight only to discover that I was on standby. That was it. Let’s just say I assured the new and improved attendant that I was not standing by. In fact, I had been standing by since 3 am, and I was done standing by. Yep, I got a ticket, a seat upgrade and I repacked my purse and told her I was bringing my purse on board with me in the state that God intended it to be in. But, I was still five hours away from departing.

The cure to airport angst: travel non-stop to the nearest bar.

I really didn’t feel I could go to the bar, but then I realized it was St. Patrick’s Day – of course I could go to the bar! I’m part Irish after all. Packed purse in tow, I met my new BFF’s at the DFW bar and was lubricated enough to make it until my plane departed.

Mr. Kaminski is supposed to join me in a few days. He better bring me a new purse.

See y’all next week – on the porch!