Houston. Again.

Houston is a very bad place.

 This is where flights go awry and bags go missing, where long days get longer and where the weary traveler is met with confusion, disorder and inconsistency.

Never. Go. Here.

Ok, so maybe Houston isn't so bad. We did have a pretty good time exploring in our 24 hour layover the first time around. But the airport, oh, the airport is a place where traveling dreams go to die. And before they die, they are tortured...tortured by the people who claim to work there. It's a tad grungy, outdated and in dire need of a face lift. This place is depressing, just thinking about it makes me sad...and angry...and whiny...

So maybe I'm jaded.

Maybe my expectations are too high.

Maybe...just maybe...I'm a spoiled brat.

But MAYBE the people of the Houston airport don't know how to do their jobs, and if they do, they just choose not to do them...every time we fly in. 

I've had a couple days to cool down a bit, since we finally touched down in Norfolk and vowed never to fly again. But as I sit about 5 inches (seriously...) away from my laptop screen, straining to see the words that I am typing, all of the happiness of finally being home is quickly turning right back into a big, dark, nagging cloud of ANGRY. 

Houston. Stinks.

So, let's get you up to speed on what's happening here, just in case you actually like Houston and you're possibly feeling defensive. My griping is justified...I swear. See, when we flew into Houston  THIS TIME, we were flying out of Denver and our plane was overbooked. The thing was huge, with lots of room for lots of people...so they crammed us in, stuffing the plane as full as it would go. And as we were boarding, rushing to get ourselves together just outside the door to the plane (if you haven't flown with children, I suggest you keep it that way) we made a split decision to leave our biggest carry-on bag there at the gate for them to check for the flight and then return to us at the gate of our next stop (Houston). NO BIG DEAL, we've done this almost every single time we have flown, at one point or another, because of overbooking or little room or whatever. And even when we have been caught in an unexpected layover, we have always had our bag waiting for us at the gate...no matter what...even without a contact tag. 

OH YEAH, we forgot to label our bag. For as much as we travel, you'd think that we would have thought to cover all of our bases by now...

So anyway, our bag that we left in the hands of the airport people happened to be our layover bag, prepped with an outfit for each of us, our toiletries, extra pull-ups & wipes, my make-up and my glasses & contacts. That's right...my glasses... my contacts...MY EYES!! Without them, I am practically blind. 

Seriously...5 inches from the screen...pity me.

Our flight to Houston was smooth. Almost too smooth. Aden fell asleep before we even took off, we had just eaten a good lunch and we even bought ourselves a few magazines to read during the trip. It was...relaxing. I actually enjoyed that flight. So I should have known...it was my sign...the sign that something was coming, something bad. 

We landed in Houston with a good 40 minutes to get ourselves from one gate to the next.

Plenty of time!!

We got off the plane and stood at the door of the plane, and our bag was nowhere to be seen. Harold asked the man standing there what happened to our bag...and then came some of the worst words I have ever heard...

"Oh, it will be down in baggage claim."   

Instant rage. INSTANT, I tell you. 

Without a word, Harold and I took off down the walkway, bursting through the gate and searching frantically for Baggage Claim signs. We got ourselves to the doorway leading out to the land of bags and started down the escalator. 


Harold and I usually travel with a carseat travel stroller, one that we can just leave Aden in his carseat and snap it in as we high tail it from plane to plane. But this time, we absentmindedly left that stroller at Harold's Aunt & Uncle's house in Utah...so instead of pushing Aden around, we had to hold his hand and drag him along as we took turns carrying the carseat and our other carry-ons...technically not Houston's fault...but I'm blaming it anyway...

Anyway, as we stood on the escalator, I looked up and realized...we had just...left...the airport...

I mean, in the back of my mind, I knew that we would have to leave the secured area in order to go to baggage claim...but I just didn't make the connection until we were in that very moment...when we were about 10 feet too late to go back. There may have been a few choice words muttered on those steps...

So let me just make this next part quick, because I just can't go through the details again. 
It makes me want to cry...and I just don't want to cry today.

Run to baggage claim. Stand around. Watch for bag. See last bag come down the belt. Get angry. Cry a little. Stand around. Wonder "WHY?!". Harold kindly asks lady "Where is bag?". Lady says, "Bag in Norfolk."


Our bag was supposedly on its way to Norfolk, being treated as an actual checked bag. Without an I.D. tag. Without any sort of identifier at all. This bag, small and black, is as generic as they come. 

So on to the next part...which makes me want to cry even more...

Follow signs to Terminal B. Hop on Terminal Train. Train door breaks. Stuck in train. Cry a little. Panic, picturing scenes from horror flick. Door opens. Run out. Man fixes train. Get back on train. Get to Terminal B. Go through security. Again. Bag flagged by scanner. Picked for bag search. Leave Harold to deal with it. Run with carseat to find gate. Mislead by unhelpful airport man. Run up escalator. Get lost. Run down next one.

4 minutes to take-off.

And just as my arms are about to give out from carrying such a large and awkward object through a sea of obviously grumpy travelers (maybe they hate Houston, too) I run up to see Harold sitting at a chair with Aden. 

"The plane is late."

I. Hate. Houston.

But the good news is, we made our flight. We got out of the black hole. And even though the flight was tough (Aden cried until they announced that we were making our final descent. Then he promptly fell asleep), we made it home, safe and sound.

 Without a bag.
Harold and Aden asleep on our flight from Denver. No pictures from the flight from Houston...it wasn't pretty. You're better off pretending this is how we always travel.

This entry was posted on Friday, January 18, 2013. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response.

5 Responses to “Houston. Again.”

  1. Oh Allison, I so feel for you. Flying with little ones can be an experience, and not always a good one. We had a flight like that but it was a 12 hour flight from Germany and there were a couple of guys in the back of the plane SMOKING. Not a good flight.

    1. Yikes, that sounds like a pain!! I really have had worse flying experiences...so I shouldn't complain too much. But this one sure did drive me a little nuts.

  2. Hahahahaha am I the only one literally laughing at this? And now, knowing that it's over, really enjoying and reveling in the irony of it all? Of course I always wish you "happy, safe flying..." whenever I know you're preparing to launch yourselves ten thousand feet in the air, but...this makes for a far better (hysterical) story.

    Oh. And it's probably because it's you I'm picturing running around that's making it so funny. I hope this is flattering, and not offensive, to you.

    And even if it is offensive, it's still pretty flipping funny.

    1. Oh, and I almost forgot...I nearly spewed coffee everywhere when you began one of your sentences...


      Because you can't. See. OH THE IRONY I TELL YOU!!!!

    2. Hahaha, I'm glad you laughed, because I laughed as I wrote it. I was hoping someone might find that funny. It seriously makes me happy to know that at least I got a good story out of all of this