Before we go into the story...you just had to see all of the stuff mom sent for us to bring to Erin. Ok, well I can't completely blame her, I brought the magazines (thanks Kristin!) for her....but everything else was from mom!
On the plane ready for our long journey!
And the suitcase story....
We each brought one roller board suitcase and one small backpack.
Chicago to Nashville, Nashville to Miami, Miami to Madrid, overnight in Madrid, Madrid to Marrakech
On the flight from Chicago to Nashville we were on one of those itty bitty planes that only has 2 seats on either side of the aisle. Because it is an itty bitty plane, they have itty bitty overhead luggage compartments, so if you have a rolling carryon, you need to "valet" check it at the door. They put them all together and then you pick it up right after you get off the airplane at the end of the flight. So we did that. I grabbed my bag and we went to get some lunch in Nashville while we waited for our next flight. Right before we started eating, I tried to push my handle down. It didn't go down. But no big deal, right? We finished eating with the thought that it would just take a second and we would work on it when we were done. So, we finished eating and tried again. Still wouldn't work. Then we beat on it every which way for 10 minutes....still won't go down. Now, this is becoming a problem because it is getting time to board and my bag is not going to fit in the overhead bin with the handle sticking out! We talked to the gate agent in Nashville who tried to beat on it to no avail and she finally said we could gate check it and it would be waiting when we get off the plane in Miami. She also suggested Baggage Services may be of help.
Fast forward to getting off the plane in Miami. No bag. Ask the guy, he says it is probably at baggage claim. ?!?! Now we have to leave security to go all the way to baggage claim, grab it, go through security again and try not to miss our flight to Madrid????? Yup. Because union rules say they can't gate check suitcases. Only strollers. Union rules say they couldn't bring our bag back to us. OK.... So....we leave security and find the bag. We beat on it some more....still won't go down. We see Baggage Services and ask the lady if she can help. She says, "No, we are not responsible for broken handles or straps.". We ask if maybe she knows someone who could help so she points to this guy across the hallway. We ask him. He says to ask Baggage Services. We ask if he or anyone has a screw driver we could borrow. Nope. There are no screw drivers in the whole airport. Well, now we better get going through security at least. So we make it though again and arrive at the gate. I explain my dilemma to Nathan, the wonderful gate agent. He asks what row we are in and takes my bag on the plane. He comes back and explains that if we put it in sideways, then Adam's bag could go over my handle wheels first and it fits. Hallelujah!
Fast Forward 8 hours to Madrid. I'm thinking that I am going to have to buy a new suitcase in Madrid. Because EasyJet (the airline to Marrakech) is never going to allow this. We arrive at the hotel and I explain the problem to the lady at the front desk. She sends someone up to our room and through my broken Spanish and his Spanish we discuss the problem. HE has a screw driver and takes the handle apart. He leaves with the top part and comes back with a hole drilled in it. Somehow a piece had broken off inside the top part where the little button is and he drilled a hole above it so that if you push a pencil or thin stick inside, the latch releases and you can push it down or pull it up!!! We loved him. He got a HUGE tip! I didn't have to buy a new suitcase! It was comical for the rest of the trip carrying around a pencil to push in the handle every time we had to lift up or push down the handle.....but it worked!
Sorry mom and dad that your carry on is not exactly in the state you lent it to me in....but all you need is a pencil! I can't imagine that dad would have a problem carrying around a pencil to use his luggage when he travels! =)