Thursday, March 19, 2009

Rookie Mistakes, Lessons Learned

I've traveled too much to make the mistakes I made after I checked in at LAX for my Costa Rica trip. After I checked in, I handed my single piece of checked-in luggage to the TSA worker for X-raying. I fumbled with my padlock for several minutes before handing him my bag. Then I got up, gave him my bag, and walked over to Mom and Dad. Just as I was about to hug them goodbye, I realized that I didn't have my boarding pass anymore. I didn't even have the little envelope the boarding pass came in. I quickly walked to the counter and told the gentleman who checked me in that I lost my ticket. He made me wait several interminably long minutes as he helped someone else. When he came back, he asked for my passport and promptly printed a new boarding pass for me. Problem solved. I thanked him and told my parents that this was a good lesson early on in my trip to be careful.

An hour later at my gate, I realized that I had lost my baggage claim ticket when I lost my original boarding pass and that I had not asked for a new one. I explained my situation to a gate agent. She wrote down the number that was on my baggage claim ticket and instructed me to present this number if I had problems leaving Juan Santamaria Airport with my bag. I spent much of the flight concerned about the problems I was sure would come up because of my lost baggage claim ticket. Amazingly, I retrieved my bag without problems and left the terminal without having to prove to anyone that the bag belonged to me.

I think there are two lessons here. First, I need to harden up and stop making rookie mistakes. Second, I need to learn to trust that things will work out in the end.

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