Delta Airlines: Possibly the Most Bizarre Story Ever

I need to get out a word about my surreal adventure with Delta Airlines. It’s not so much that I almost didn’t get a seat on my own flight because they decided to shuffle a bunch of people from LAX who’d had canceled flights. Oh no. The most bizarre thing happened when I went to pick up my luggage at baggage claim.

I was wearing bad shoes that were hurting my feet, so I decided to grab my bag, open it in the baggage claim area, and put on another pair of shoes before dealing with taxis and so forth.

When I wheeled the SmartCart with my bags over to a row of chairs, I sat and bent forward to yank the zipper, only to discover that a lock I didn’t recognize had been put on my two main zipper flaps, which meant I couldn’t open my bag. Some jackass with Delta or TSA had grabbed another person’s lock — one of those little Dear Diary numbers that needs The World’s Tiniest Key — and slapped it on my bag.

I never use locks anymore. The only time my bag is out of my sight is when it’s with the airline and I can’t use “real” locks on those bags anyway, so what’s the point? Also, where did they get the lock that wasn’t TSA-approved? They had to have taken it from someone else’s bag — perhaps from a pocket, or maybe it was hanging unlocked from a zipper — and put it on my own. The locks that came with the suitcase were in the top pocket with the matching keys. They certainly didn’t get this thing from me.

I wheeled my bags back to the baggage claim office and showed them the problem, trying not to explode with expletives on them because I figured that wouldn’t help me in Mormon Land. Unable to find bolt cutters, one guy molested the key opening with the pointy end of a pair of scissors. When that didn’t work, he said, “Sorry, but there isn’t anything else we can do.”

I said, still trying to restrain Pele, “Yes, actually, I believe there is more you can do. Could you please take me to TSA and ask them to use bolt cutters on my bag? If I walk there myself, they’re going to think I’m a lunatic, when in fact this is probably Delta’s fault.”

The scissor guy just stared at me. But another Delta guy who’d been listening — tall, Lurch-like, but with a sweet smile that showed off large, straight teeth — cheerfully offered to take me. “I’ll go with you. It’s no problem.” I thanked him profusely and off we went.

We wheeled over to TSA, where he spoke with someone as I waited by the cart. After we started to wheel over to another part of the airport, he eyed the bag and stopped suddenly.

“Can I try to pull on the lock?” he asked.

“Sure! Please!” I said, eying his massive hands.

With that, he reached over and wrenched it off. I hugged the life out of him.

No thanks to Hellta Airlines, I finally got to my hotel and not a moment too soon.

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