Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Day 1 (or 98 with a pause): Marion, VA, 530 miles from Springer Mountain, GA

With less than 50 pounds of gear and food in two packs, and three flights to North Carolina accomplished, we thought we were ready to hit the trail. I was even amazed that we had not had any unpleasant experiences flying Delta-- something very unusual from an airline famous for their bad customer service... then I saw Forrest's backpack come off the baggage carousel.
Or, what WAS Forrest's backpack. The specimen before me was wide open, missing it's closure straps and clasps, folded, shredded, crushed and wreaking of peanut butter. The frame of the pack had been folded in half, so you could no longer even put it on your back unless you are a Cirque du Soleil performer.
One could practically examine the contents from all the holes in the bag, but we took the items out for a closer look. The Thermarest sleeping pad had multiple slashes and holes in it. The tent poles had been bent and shattered. The stuff sacks were all shredded. Our cook pot had been sat on by an elephant. Forrest's sunglasses were fine, just now in three neat pieces. The only thing unscathed was his sleeping bag.
The woman at the Delta Baggage Services Counter gave him a blank look and said, "Well, you're bag is obviously overpacked." With a loose 24 pound load, the 58 liter pack was barely half full.
What kind of pressure would crush a metal pot to this degree?
Delta requires that you file a claim for damaged luggage within 24 hours of loss. Then they allow themselves 4-6 weeks to let you know if they will compensate you for any of it. You must prove (with receipts) that you owned everything that was in your bag. They will not divulge their replacement/reimbursement policies, nor give you a copy of the claim they type up at the counter.
We have re-outfitted, thanks to the help our family in Charlotte, and are ready to embark. We may be done hiking before Delta takes a look at our claim. I am not optimistic that they will pay to replace anything, nor am I optimistic that they will explain how or why two objects can arrive in the same place at the same time, yet my backpack was evidently carried by angels with kid gloves and Forrest's went through an industrial strength trash compactor operated by The Wolverine.

1 comment:

Lindsay said...

FAIL Delta! Wow! Sounds like they have hungry grizzlies as baggage handlers. Or maybe it was a flock of flamingos and a bad case of karma.