Other than the GPS lady that picked up a British accent for one random turn in the middle of Oklahoma, my colleagues have been laughing about my lost baggage. There is no explanation for the GPS, but there is for my baggage.
We boarded the replacement plane late yesterday afternoon and were advised that the shuttle had very little overhead space, so they pink-tagged our luggage. I handed over my brand new carry-on and didn't realize until take-off that I had forgotten to put a name tag on it. I figured I had my pink number in case of an issue and forgot about it.
I was in 1A thanks to the upgrade, with both an aisle and window. The men in 1C and 1D appeared to know each other and quickly fell asleep. I put on my headphones and got lost in a podcast and the June crossword puzzle. About halfway thru the flight, the man in 1C started sneezing and didn't stop until we landed. The flight attendants brought him tissues, 1D gave him his pillow (since tissues weren't big enough?), and fellow passengers were visually curious as to what was floating in the air causing the outbreak. I silently wished for a flight without sickness and huddled into my window to keep clear of the spray.
The sneezing slowed down enough for 1C to go to the toilet and that's when I realized he was drunk. Besides stumbling and having trouble pushing the door open, he was slurring, giving the flight attendants a hard time, and still sneezing. 1D tried to keep him occupied by watching his phone but as we started to descend, the situation escalated. He wouldn't give up his vodka, insisting on knocking it back, and then wouldn't buckle up. He finally conceded to both, but then before the front wheels hit tarmac, he had unbuckled! The flight attendants yelled at him several times, but he wouldn't do it and kept up the smack talk. At least he stayed in his seat and didn't vomit.
Once we came to a stop, he got up and stood still but we all kept the route to the toilet open in case he needed it. I had to get my backpack from above him, so was in the process as he turned and almost knocked me over. I gave him an elbow, grabbed by bag and went back to 1A. They opened the doors and the flight attendant gave a feeble attempt at telling 1C that she was going to tell the FAA agent what he had done. He told her to "go ahead" and "do you really want to go there?" (seriously?) I wish she would have turned him in, but they let him out and I was right behind. He literally bounced up the walkway and I kept my distance. I got past him and headed to baggage claim to meet my coworkers, hoping to never see 1C again.
My coworkers had already been waiting an hour, so we didn't waste time and went to find the rental car. About 5 minutes later, just before we got to the car, I realized I didn't have my carry-on! 1C had thrown me off my travel game and resulted in a baggage brain fart.
I told my coworkers to get the car and then come around to pick-up and ran back to baggage claim. An airport employee told me to go back thru security and to the gate to get my baggage. Luckily the airport was small and there were only two people in line. I handed over my ID and boarding pass and tried to explain the situation. The lady had no idea what to do but eventually let me in. There was no TSA pre-check so I threw my shoes in a bin and pushed them in behind my backpack. I realized my mistake in the body scanner and just hoped I wouldn't get caught, but no luck, they pulled my backpack aside for a laptop and water violation.
So off to the inspection station and another employee that couldn't believe I left my carry-on and probably thought I was drunk. He had to check with a manager as this was an undocumented procedure. They rescanned my laptop, dumped my water, and let me go. I ran to the gate and jumped in line as it was already boarding and there was only one employee. I told her the story and she told me I could get my baggage in baggage claim in a way that made it seem that was where they all went in the 1st place.
At this point, it felt like a set-up. The plane delay in SLC, the sneezing drunk in 1C, the baggage brain fart, what next? I ran back downstairs to baggage claim and found the same lady that I talked to prior and she calmly pointed me to a room under the stairs with my new carry-on. Luckily I didn't have to show my pink stub or prove the baggage was mine. I grabbed it and ran back outside to find my coworkers who were great sports about the whole situation. We drove to the hotel with the help of the bilingual GPS lady and the giggles.