Let me start by saying that the San Antonio airport isn't exactly the friendliest airport. For starters, the shuttle buses stop a looooooooong way from the terminals. Hisaho, Merlene and I lugged our suitcases and carry-ons into the terminal. It's important to know that very few Fiskateers were able to fit our big, orange hats into our bags, so we wore them. So while struggling with the luggage, we were concurrently being strangled by these hats!
We said a temporary goodbye to Merlene as she checked in with a different airline than Hisaho and I did. The American Airlines counter was very confusing. You could stand in line, or you could check-in electronically and then stand in line. No one was really sure what the advantage was, except that we were forced to lug our paraphernalia even further to the check-in area.
Once I checked-in and my name was called, I had to lug my giganticase over to the scale. I put it on the scale and watched as it flipped from 48 pounds to 65 pounds, to 49 pounds, to 55 pounds (the limit is 50lb). It was one confused scale! The attendant rudely asked me to remove items from my suitcase. I pulled out a 6 ounce canvas bag, and my 3-pound collapsible rolling tote, and the weight dropped down to 48 pounds. Whatever. The attendant then mumbled something and pointed to a red flag about 100 yards from the scale (OK, so it was probably only 50 feet, but it was really all the same to me). I said, "What? What did you say?" as she walked off, shooing her hand at me as if I were a pesty child. I must say, the San Antonio airport staff rates about a 1 out of 10 in politeness!! Hisaho then said, "I think we have to bring our suitcases all the way over to that red flag". Holey Shmoley!! Was she kidding? Nope. There was no conveyor belt for the luggage behind the counter. Sigh. I lugged my suitcase over, slipped it under an unmonitored rope (aren't we supposed to monitor luggage at ALL times?), and went back to help Hisaho. Did it occur to me to put my rolling tote back into the suitcase during the 50-foot trek to the flag? Noooooo! I helped Hisaho lug her things over, and she slipped her bags under the rope only to be told that she put it under the wrong rope. No signs, just one rope with a post in the middle. The attendant rudely told her, "if you put it under this side, then your suitcase goes to St. Louis". Ummm.....wanna guess which side mine went under? Yep....the wrong side. I asked the man about my suitcase, and he smiled and said, "Oh, I caught yours. Yours is fine" (my eyes rolling!!).
The security checkpoint was pretty bizarre. First off, it was all uphill. We struggled with our carry-ons, our IDs, our boarding passes, our shoes, all while walking uphill, and all while being strangled by our hats. I was able to get my things easily into the security bins, and then helped Hisaho. It was pretty comical. Ah....if only I had my camera, but no....it was in one of the bins! We were stopped at one point and a security guard ripped Hisaho's bag out off the security belt and slammed it on the counter. He glared at her. She gasped and said to me, "Oh no! I must have left my scissors in my carry-on". But no, it was nothing that alarming. The guard reached in her bag and RIPPED out a half-drunken bottle of water. Oh....the horror! Fortunately, the guard simply tossed the bottle instead of sending Hisaho off to prison, which was a surprise, considering the menacing look on his face!
What a relief it was to collapse into our seats at the gate and relax. Merlene caught up to us and it was fun chatting about the weekend. After a while, Elena Etcheverry and Melanie Christie (of Scrapbook Royalty) arrived. They were loaded down with far more luggage then we were, and because of an American Airlines booking mistake (one of a few I observed that day), they barely got to the gate on time. Melanie had left her scissors in her carry-on and was stopped by security. They measured her scissors, and it was decided that the 8-inch scissors with 4-inch blades were acceptable. Go figure. We all struggled onto the plane with our carry-ons, but Elena was stopped because she had TWO carry-ons. Never mind that security asked each of us if we had 2 or 3 carry-ons. I'm not sure how Elena did it, but she managed to convince the flight attendant to board with her bags (and there was plenty of room in the overheads for everything).
Once we arrived in Dallas, we had to use the SkyTrain to relocate to different terminals. The Three Stooges Act just continued. Remember, with every move we make, we are being strangled by those hats!! We climbed into the SkyTrain, and as the train began to move, Melanie, Hisaho and I could do nothing but watch in horror (and really, in amusement) as Elena and her gianormous bag were flung to the opposite side of the train. We wondered how Elena managed to get on her next flight with that giant bag, and we learned later that she simply slung the bag over her shoulder, like an over sized purse, and the flight attendant never batted an eye!
The rest of our trip was pretty uneventful. I was so exhausted from the weekend's numerous activities and lack of sleep, that I slept quite a while on the flight from Dallas to Oakland, and I never sleep on planes! Hisaho's husband met us at the Oakland airport and helped with the luggage, which was very helpful.
This trip was definitely a highlight in my life. I truly hope that I get to participate in another event like this again (hmmm....maybe a reunion??). This trip proves that the Fiskateers is definitely and online and an offline community.
What an adventure!
Pictures were taken by Elena and/or Melanie. Check my links out to connect to Scrapbook Royalty.