Oh the Drama...Where do I Begin???

Sacramento Travel Blog

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So.....the day is finally here!  We've been planning this trip for over a year and I can't believe it's time to go!  We are taking a two week cruise on Princess through stops in Italy, Greece and the Greek Isles, Croatia, and Turkey.  This was a hard trip to plan as we had to coordinate 6 peoples' schedules.  Since we are now in Sacramento, my parents were kind enough to come up and watch our dogs as the cost to board them in Northern California would be equal to a mortgage payment! 

18 days in Europe, first time on a cruise, what to pack?!?!  Two formal nights, excursions every single day, potential storms following us the first few days, and hopefully some pool time in there somewhere.  We are scheduled to fly UAL from Sacto to  Denver and then get on Lufthansa to Frankfurt, and catch our connection to Venice, Italy.  With all the news about luggage being lost, I decide to try and be smart and pack as light as possible (shocking for a woman, huh?) and try to get just carry on.  I buy a new Samsonite bag, carry on approved and all!  My ex was taking one checked back so I thought I would throw a couple back up things in there and call it a day.  Of course a vacation meant a shopping trip beforehand - new formal dresses, evening shoes, a couple bathing suits, and of course a new mini-wardrobe. 

We get to the Sacramento airport and there is never a line through security which is why I LOVE flying out of this airport - so much different than my life in Vegas!  5 minutes and we are through, except wait, where is my ex?!?!  He's back getting his stuff rummaged through, a seemingly normal event when we fly.  The TSA people call me back over and want to examine my boarding pass....except wait - apparently UAL does not issue an actual printed ticket when you check in online for an international flight!!!  We normally always fly Continental so I didn't even bother to check what it said...oppps, my bad.  Because I already had gone through and had my luggage, they ended up letting him go....obviously we were at the ticket counter since we checked a bag - they looked at our tickets, why on earth did they not say anything!?!?  Our passes were initialed/checked by the person who verifies your ID before you get through actual security as well.  They tell us to make sure to go straight to the UAL counter (DUH!). 

We get on the plane and nothing else incredibly exciting but the usual turbulence over the Rockies coming into Denver.  I am psyched and ready for this 18 day trip to begin!!  Now, we get to the Lufthansa counter and I've been stressing all along that we had no seat assignments listed on our Frankfurt to Venice leg.  I've always had seat assignments (even on Lufthansa).  The travel agent my in law's used claim they don't give seat assignments on flights that originate in other countries (funny, considering my Lufthansa flight did from Munich to Nuremburg).  But whatever, the gate agent tells us he doesn't know why seat assignments are not showing but we have plenty of time on our layover in Frankfurt (can I just mention that my only experience in that airport made me never want to go back). 

The best part of the trip comes now......I am rolling my ex's carry on luggage and he has my cute new Samsonite bag.  I get on the plane and turn around to get the tickets from him and he's gone.  I step back off and wait a second - nothing.  I walk back through the throngs of people and there he is, stopped by the second screeners, before your board the plane.  And he does not have my bag....she does.  Now mind you, I always make sure to pick seats that get us in the first boarding group or two so there is sufficient overhead bin space (and no I am not a bin hog!!).  We were probably the 15th or 20th person on this flight after they boarded all the lucky folks in the higher classes. 

Anyways, I ask her what is going on and she says my bag is too big to fit in the overhead bin.  I told her it's the standard approved size and low and behold...the bin she's trying to place it in is the size of a small laptop case!  She asks me if I have medication in the bag and I told her no (big mistake).  The worst mistake, I then explained I had valuables in there though and no other luggage for 18 days but that one piece of carry on.  She basically said 'too bad, so sad' and would not give me the bag back.  She said, "I promise you the bag will arrive safely in Venice".  She gives us a handwritten luggage tag and tells us to board the plane.  Now, I stand there wondering what I should do.  With the current state of security in the airports, making a scene is probably going to get me thrown off the flight and I will miss the cruise all together.  I figured my husband would kill me so I just stayed quiet.  We go ahead and board (still with his carry on which ironically was bigger than my bag).  Add fuel to the fire when he points out the guy getting on with such a big bag it would've even fit down an aisle, and barely fit lengthwise in a whole overhead bin.

I'm obviously already cranky and our seats suck on the flight to Germany which I figured since we were on the end of the center row of 5 seats since she didn't book our tickets early enough.  Now, I have to say I've always liked Lufthansa as they food is good (important on a flight that long!) and they give free booze to the common folk back in the cattle barn.  Several glasses of wine and I wound down and was ready for sleepy time.  So was everyone else.....except the people behind us.  They yelled, laughed, boozed it up, all the while kicking our seats.  It was miserable and by far, the worst flight I've had.  About 6 or 7 hours into it, I awoke from one of my intermittent snoozes and was sweating...literally.  That freakin plane had no air for whatever reason, ooops, some type of malfunction - so sorry.  The last couple hours of that flight were hell - I never wanted to be off a plane so bad in my life.  I was getting anxious, panicky about my luggage making it, and I kept telling him we are on an oversold flight to Venice, no way are we getitng on that plane.  Now, my ex is the most mild mannered and calm individual known to man.  He tells me I panic for no reason and to just relax, not ruin this.  Ok, fine....we shall see though. 

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photo by: williamsworld