May 15, 2013

Flight to Colorado a mix of memories

By SUSAN TOBIAS, Pinch of Time

---- — Happiness is defined in many ways. Last week, I’d have been happy if my luggage arrived in Burlington when I did.

I love to fly. Looking down at the miniature houses, farms, fields and lakes makes me wonder if this is how God sees us from above. Heavenly panoramas, but not so in regards to the airline I flew with. They failed me, again. 

My trip to Colorado Springs to see our daughter Carrie Lee and family was great even though I was delayed a day going to Colorado because of the massive snowstorm that hit the country. Understandable. The next day, though, their planes needed unscheduled service, which meant I missed my connecting flight in Chicago. (Don’t they have more than one plane?)

Eventually in Chicago, the agent said the delays were weather-related. Not so, I insisted. Finally the airline representative found the information and said “I only have one room left that we contract for, about 20 miles from here at Best Western.” I had visions of the Bates Motel, but I took it.

The hotel could not have been nicer; all-night restaurant and the friendliest staff I have ever met. The rest of the trip was great, too.

Great memories are made when time is spent with grandchildren. One night we were at Red Robin having supper. Angel, 15, asked her mom for money to have her nails done for the prom. Mom said she’d have to wait a couple of days, to which Angel (typical teenager) said, “But I want to get them done now.” 

Putting in my 2 cents, I said, “Angel, you need to go to a third world country; then you’d appreciate what your parents do for you.” 

She looked at me with all seriousness and said, “But, Gram, I’ve been to Mississippi.”

I laughed so hard. We cleared up the fact that she knew Mississippi was a state and not a third world country. The devastation of the last tornado that she saw (when her youth group went on a missions trip to help a sister church) was pretty bad. 

Another day, Quinn, 11, and Grayson, 5, were with me visiting Popz, their dad’s father. He lives in a very well-kept neighborhood with flowering trees and pretty gardens. As we drove away, I started to sing, “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood, a beautiful day for a neighbor, would you be mine?” 

I asked Quinn if he knew who used to sing that song. 

“Give me a hint,” he said. “What letter does it start with?” 

I told him “R.” 

After a minute, he said, “Ronald Reagan?” Where on earth did he come up with Ronald Reagan? I laughed and he said, “What’s so funny?” (If you are under 15, the answer is Mr. Rogers, a kid’s TV program.) 

On the flight home, I left Denver and Chicago on time and got into Burlington OK, but my luggage did not. 

After a 45-minute wait for an agent, I was told the luggage had gone to APV (easy to mix up with BTV, right?). She didn’t know where that was and wasn’t sure about delivery.

After I got home, I looked up APV: Apple Valley, Calif. Next day, no luggage. Customer service finally told me it was in AVP, Scranton, Penn. They’d call me when it was on a flight to Burlington. No call. I called them again. Finally, Donna, a very nice and compassionate agent, said it left Scranton, went to Newark, N.J., and would be in Burlington soon.

Later that day, a call from Burlington said the luggage was there. When was I going to pick it up? To which I said, “No, no, you are delivering it to me in Plattsburgh.” Finally, two days late, the luggage arrived, intact.

I’ve heard worse stories about flying but, for me, I’m glad this trip is behind me. I was offered a refund on my $25 for checked baggage or a $75 voucher toward my next flight. I think I’ll pass on future flights with this airline. 

One last thought, as always, please be kind to each other. The world needs more kindness.

Susan Tobias lives in Plattsburgh with her husband, Toby. She has been a Press-Republican newsroom employee since 1977. The Tobiases have six children, 18 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. They enjoy traveling to Maine and Colorado, and in her spare time, Susan loves to research local history and genealogy. Reach her by email at