I got to the airport early, as is my usual practice. Thanks to bronxelf_ag001, I got a Town Car to the airport for the same price that the taxi from the airport cost. I checked my main suitcase at the United ticket counter; that went fast, since I'd checked in online. The ticket agent looked at my carry-on with the costume inside, but didn't say anything. I spent the morning in the Presidents' Club.
The trouble started when I went to board the flight from LaGuardia to Washington Dulles. The aircraft was a Canadair RJ-65 - which, as it turns out, has smaller-than-usual overhead baggage bins. My carryon wouldn't fit. I argued with the stewardess about it, and all I got was indifference. The baggage handler handled it with their usual indifference, as well: he threw it down the chute beside the jetway, threw it onto the baggage cart, and threw it into the aircraft. I fumed about that all the way to Dulles. As I told the customer service representative, if I'd wanted it to have that kind of treatment, I'd have checked it at LaGuardia.
When I got there, I stopped at the customer service counter to find out where to send a complaint. After the agent figured out that no, my bag really was too big to fit on the RJ, and that the next segment was on another one, she suggested I talk to the gate agent and ask them to handle it with care. I did so, and a captain who was deadheading home to Minneapolis offered to talk to the baggage handler personally. He did exactly that, even standing in the rain in his shirtsleeves to do it. When we got to Minneapolis, he and I walked down the concourse together, and I told him to look for me on Jimmy Kimmel Live.
I got a phone call while I was waiting for my suitcase. My dad had collapsed sometime this morning. He was taken to the hospital, where they found blood clots in his lungs. He's been transferred to a regional medical center, where he'll be given high doses of anticoagulants and monitored while the clots dissolve. The outlook is quite good.
After that bit of news, the day was capped by the discovery that United lost my suitcase. I filed a lost bag claim, and was told that they wouldn't be able to get it to Fairmont until Tuesday. Their normal procedure, since no bus service comes to Fairmont from the Cities, is to ship it via Federal Express, and even if the bag arrived on the next flight, they wouldn't be able to ship it until Monday. I told them that wasn't acceptable, and asked them to call me as soon as it was located so I could return to Minneapolis and get it. As of just a few moments ago, they still hadn't found it. If they find it overnight, I'll go to the faire tomorrow and pick it up on the way home (the airport is not on the way, but it's a hell of a lot closer to Shakopee than Fairmont).
I'm going to send United a nasty note about the crappy day they gave me. The nice captain will get a good mention by name, though.