Thursday, July 24, 2008


Next week I fly to Laramie, Wyoming for Launchpad. This is a NASA-sponsored astronomy workshop run by Mike Brotherton. Fifteen SF writers will spend six days learning about astronomy, including using the big telescope at the observatory. David Marusek will be there from Alaska, and Jay Lake, Steve Gould, Mary Robinette Kowal, others. I'm looking forward to it.

It does, however, represent packing problems. I try to never check luggage, ever since mine got lost coming home from England and didn't show up for ten days (it was hiding behind a large post at Heathrow). But this trip segues right into Worldcon in Denver, and this means I need: (1) Denver clothes, where last week the temperature reached 100 degrees; (2) Laramie clothes, where the temperature will be in the fifties at night as we peer at stars; (3)fancy clothes -- and shoes -- for the Hugos; (4)enough clothes to be away nearly two weeks; (5) more toothpaste than the 3 0z. allowed as carry-on; (5)the laptop to do email. So I'll have to check a bag. But what if it doesn't show up when I do? Even though I expect to lose this Hugo, I'd rather not lose it in jeans and week-old underwear. Last year in China, David King's luggage showed up the day we all left Chengdu.

This is not, of course, an Earth-shaking dilemma. But it's on my mind -- now. When I reach Laramie, I expect my mind to be occupied with black holes, Cepheid variables, and SETI. Have laptop, will blog.


Daniel said...

You could possibly FedEx your stuff to yourself (if you have a destination address). That way, if your luggage is late, at least you'll know exactly where it is... :)

Nick A said...

You could US Mail a package to yourself, to the location in Wyoming or Denver....never heard of anyone doing that before, but the airline industry is so bad now...

...Lost luggage once, that's in 10 years of flying 100K airmiles a year...US Air lost a bag in route from LAX to Argentina. Unbelievably, it showed up 10 months later.

Nancy Kress said...

Ten MONTHS? That's incredible. I wonder where it was all that time?

Nick A said...

It was found in the lost luggage department in Santiago, Chile, and sent back to us. Someone had also open the luggage and removed some of the contents. Long before that, we filed a reimbursement claim with US Air, and was paid $700 or something for the lost luggage.

On the subject, here's an article on one of the worst flights I have had (delayed about 72 hours). My son and I were interviewed by the Wall Street Journal for the story:

Dolly said...

You thought you were going to lose the Nebula recently too - I'm sorry, am I remembering incorrectly - but didn't you WIN that? So, instead of 'losing' in jeans and week old underwear - you will be winning in so little black dress that looks absolutely stunning on you.

Seriously - I've known people who 'preship' their luggage. "Typically" without issues. If you do FedEx you can insure it, and get a tracking number, so you know where it is when it's lost.

g d townshende said...

I was raised an Air Force brat, and in all the travelling I've done (lived in and/or visited 18 different countries on 3 continents, and 39 of the 50 states), I've never had any luggage get lost.

Now, as I related some weeks ago, I did have the delay that was caused by water getting into the computers on a Lufthansa flight, and they were able to take care of the problems that would've ensued had they not been willing to fly me straight to Pisa, Italy, via Munich, Germany.

I lived in Okinawa, Japan, when I was 3-5 years old, and when we were returning the to the US, we had a stop in Guam. When the time came to leave, the plane was taxiing out to the runway, and the next thing we knew, we were taxiing back to the terminal. The plane had had a flat, and the blowout had damaged the landing gear. We ended up stuck in that airport for 9 hours, waiting for the plane to be repaired.

My girlfriend, however, on her last trip here (Sept/Oct last year), had a flight that took her from Porto, Portugal, to Paris, to Philadelphia, to Baltimore-Washington International. Her luggage got lost in Philly, but it was returned to her two days later.

This year, her flight arrangements aren't any simpler: Porto to Barcelona to JFK to BWI. We'll see if her luggage gets lost on that one. We just recently made flight reservations, with the two of us spending the second half of her visit to the US in NYC. She's never been to NYC before, and I've not been there since . . . um . . . sometime around 1987, if memory serves.