On my last two air traveled trips my luggage was “mishandled,” technically not lost as it was returned, but  luggage containing the outfit for my 40th class reunion was MIA until one-half hour before the event. I’m fortunate that  I wasn’t arrested as a terrorist as I ignored all airport security warnings when I  pulled up to door nearest baggage return and claimed the suitcase that numerous telephone calls refused to produce. Hell hath no fury like a woman who shopped for six-months and spent two weeks’ salary on a dress and shoes to wear to impress her 50-something high school classmates and had been told “the suitcase can’t be located!”

The following trip, my carry-on, a relatively small, wheeled pack was taken from me when I changed planes. The attendant told me the overhead compartments were full and she added “that they would not be charging me for checked luggage. But, I will need to go to baggage claim at my destination.” For me that was St. Louis but it was some place east of there for my bag.

Two days of wearing the same jeans with a newly  purchased WalMart tee-shirt and  panties, my bag was delivered.

Fortunately, my family did not care what I was wearing, as mother always said, “no one is looking at you.”

On the return of that same trip, I flew into LAX and hopped aboard Amtrak for San Luis Obispo checking my case through, as at the end of the line  SLO railroad employees are quick to unload and get home. My luggage however had been forgotten and spent an additional night in LosAngeles before arriving home from the SLO train station by taxi cab. Amtrak spent $110 on the cab, I had purchased my round-trip tickets for $54.

With an upcoming cross-country flight for a 3-event, formal extravaganza requiring a serious (think church wedding, rehearsal dinner, and black-tie

reception) wardrobe, I’m loathe to think of the possibilities if I put all my sartorial eggs in a checked-through basket.

This time however, I will pack a large box containing all three outfits, complete with all accessories except jewelry, including requisite items I rarely wear in real life. Think, foundation garments, wonder bra, Spanx,  stilettos, sheer control top pantyhose, and perhaps a few forbidden carry-on  favorites like good shampoo, conditioner and styling products which don’t come in fit-in-quart-zip-lock-bag sizes, and nail polish, a small scissors. I will UPS and insure it a full two weeks before my arrival, which will be well worth the cost for freedom from “mishandled” or lost luggage.  My only carry-on will be a capacious bag with tomorrows panties, a quart-size-zip-lock  with make-up and toothpaste, my good jewelry, hair and tooth brushes, tickets and wallet.

Unlike my first plane flight, when women had to wear a skirt, I’ll dress for survival in jeans and tee-shirt, jacket, socks and sturdy shoes in case I need to run, slide down an escape ramp or kick some one attempting to hijack the flight. I’ll add a small pillow to the purse so I won’t get bed bugs or lice from previous passengers and wash everything I have on at my final destination.

Just because I am paranoid, doesn’t mean it won’t happen.

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