speechless incredulity stupefies Emirates blunder; United falls & cat meows

Speechless incredulity and unprecedented stupefaction ruled in Santa Barbara when Emirates, a ‘premier’ airline based in Dubai ,officially claimed last place in The Martin Family airline quality ranking. Even more astonishingly …

“Emirates displaced long-time and firmly entrenched United Airlines.” I explained to Darius.

“Emirates,” Darius replied, baggage-less, “is unspeakably dreadful.”

“I guess that’s better than United which is merely unquestionably abysmal,”


“And, as unmatched champion of bad service for the decade, United has been a fierce competitor and extremely reluctant to relinquish their firm hold on the cellar position.”

“Emirates is worse, Dad.” Darius concluded. Accurately.
Tiger listening to earphones August 2016

A week after their (24 hour late) arrival in the USA, Darius and Christiane were still ‘sans luggage’. Twice a day, telephone calls to Emirates uncovered no information. The airline’s disaster recovery plan was based on yellow sticky pads and misinformation. A week after Dar and Chris arrived in Los Angeles, Nazy was making the afternoon complaint:

“We have delivered those two bags to Mohamad Luckerli in Oakland.” Emirates told Nazy.


“Yes, he flew from Kabul via Dubai to San Francisco.”

It turned out that Emirates had decided to reuse the luggage tag number on Darius’ suitcases because..

“… they want to increase the degree of difficulty, Nazy,” I explained. (I was watching the Olympics.)

Nazy, relentless and patient, continued her telephone discussion by asking about the remaining two bags.

“Those bags are still in Dubai!” The automaton on the phone asserted — with emphasis.

While Nazy sighed, I got call on my mobile phone.

“I’ve got some luggage from LAX,” the caller said. “My navigation system says I’ll be at your house in 15 minutes.”
Christiane’s luggage arrived in about 10 minutes: 7 days after she arrived. Darius’ luggage remained … eh, ‘somewhere’. (Maybe.)

A few days later, during the morning call with Emirates and various baggage handling services in Los Angeles, Nazy got the address of a company that had “hundreds” of pieces of luggage.

“Not only Emirates,” the manager explained, “but also Delta, which had a power outage and a massive problem. And, of course, we have the normal United Airlines mistakes that keep us in business in between the unexpected catastrophes of other airlines.”

“Do you have my son’s luggage?” Nazy asked. “
Perhaps we removed United from last place prematurely,” Nazy thought.

“I don’t know, I’m putting things into a database now, give me a call in a few hours.”

Nazy sent a txt message to Darius with the address of the warehouse.

“Tell him to be persistent,” I said remembering my excursion into a baggage claim warehouse.

Boston Logan Airport mid-1990’s

The Martin Family was repatriating after five years in The Netherlands. We spent two weeks in Ireland before heading home. Melika’s cat, Pokie, housed in a kennel near Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, was booked to join us in the USA at Logan Airport. We flew from Dublin on Are Lingus; Pokie, on Northwest arrived a few hours earlier.

After we cleared customs and collected our luggage, Melika and I went to Northwest’s freight warehouse to get the cat. We were met by a helpful agent.

“There is
no cat.”

“He arrived today on your flight from Amsterdam.” I explained patiently.

“There is
no cat.”

Melika started to cry. “I am certain that the cat came on your flight from Amsterdam,” I repeated. “Can you take a look?”

“I don’t have to look!
There. Is. No. Cat!”

I stared. Melika cried. A plaintive ‘meow’ punctuated the standoff.

“It might be a good time to reconsider your assertion,” I said. “Meow,” said an unseen denizen.

With considerable grumpiness, Pokie was retrieved.

End Flashback

Darius and Christiane drove to the warehouse in Los Angeles and found the missing luggage — a week and a half after their arrival.

“It could have been worse, Dar.” I claimed while he berated Emirates.
“Worse, Dad?”

“They could have delivered your luggage immediately and taken ten days to transport
you. In fact, I bet that’s the way United will reclaim last place.”

Nazy and I had driven to LAX to get Dar and Christiane when they arrived. We made the trip with Tiger. Because of the lost luggage, it took a while for Dar and Christiane to get out. Tiger spent the time in the ‘iStore’. He especially liked the earphone display.

Before leaving for the airport, we all stopped at the Fiesta Fair - a fairway full of carnival rides and foodstuffs. Nazy wouldn’t let me take him on the fun rides like the ‘Vomit Machine’, preferring instead to enjoy things like a train and a carousel.

at fair nazy and tiger

This week, my college roommate (and best man at my wedding), John Miller came to Santa Barbara for a visit. A magician en route to a Magic Convention in Las Vegas, John did some magic for Melika, Tom and friends. We also had a good time reminiscing about our time at Georgia Tech.

dan and John at wedding

“After looking at the wedding photo, John,” I said, “I don’t think either of us has aged.”

“The photo was taken before I had my beard,” John replied.

“And I can still fit into that dinner jacket,” I said. “I
f I con find it in storage,” I thought.

Next week’s letter will feature a children’s book written by Mitra and illustrated by Nazy.

For last week's letter, click arius challenges travel champion as Hogwarts Arrow missed luggage">here

The grandest sons

Arrow August 2016

Tiger at swimming August 2016

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