Alicia flew in from Medellín yesterday. I drove over to Orlando after work to pick her up.
She had to get up very early to catch a 7:30 a.m. flight to Bogotá on LAN, claim her bags and turn them in at Delta, take a five-hour flight to Atlanta, go through Immigration and Customs, recheck her bags, and fly to Orlando.
Everything went well until her last flight. At the gate in Atlanta, she was in group 3 and was the last to board. The Delta rep grabbed her carry-on, tagged it, and gave it to a baggage handler at the door to the plane. “No!” said Alicia. “I’m carrying that on. It’s fragile.” (It contained several buildings from a Christmas set, and after the fiasco with my carry-on that got sent to the wrong country, we had made sure it wasn’t overfilled so it would fit in the test rack.)
The baggage handler hesitated, looking at Alicia and the Delta rep as they argued. The rep insisted it had to be gate-checked, and ordered her to board the plane. Alicia refused. “I’m not moving until I get my bag back,” she said.
No one within earshot spoke Spanish, but it was obvious what she was saying. The rep got more and more furious, finally yelling, “Get out!”
“You get out!” Alicia responded in accented English.
Finally one of the pilots came out to see what was going on. “Do you speak English? Italian?” he asked Alicia.
“No English. Español,” she said.
The pilot said something, and the rep, clearly irate, took the bag from the baggage handler and gave it to Alicia, while the baggage handler grinned ear to ear. It appeared to Alicia that he was delighted to see the pushy rep get her comeuppance.