Unable To Dance Around The Cost

| Working | May 12, 2017

(I am a competition Irish dancer. I am traveling with my team to Ireland for the World Irish Dance Championships. There are eight of us. We each have one carry-on backpack or small suitcase, which has all the things we can’t lose (such as our broken-in shoes), as well as travel items. We can’t really check that. We also each have a dress bag. Each dress bag has two dresses, one which is worth about $500, and the other $1000-$2500 depending on the exact dancer. For obvious reasons, we are not open to checking our dress bags. However, most airlines are completely amenable to the dress bags, because of the value, and because they have to lay flat, and can easily slide into the overhead bins atop other luggage. We get to the gate, and the gate agent is fine with seven of the eight of us. But one girl, for whatever reason, the gate agent wants her to check her identical in size and shape dress bag.)

Agent: “I’m going to need you to check that.”

Teammate #1: “I’m sorry; that’s not really an option. I will be in serious trouble if it is lost and it’s rather valuable.”

Agent: “You need to check it.”

Teammate #1: “We’re traveling to a world championship, and this is my event costume. I can’t lose it, or I can’t compete. It’s really important that I keep this with me.”

Agent: “It’s too big. You’ll have to check it.”

Teammate #2: “We all have them and you’ve let us through.”

Agent: “Miss, please mind your own business. Her bag is too large and must be checked.”

Teammate #1: “It slides right on top of the other bags in the bin.”

Agent: “You still need to check it.”

Teammate #1: “Look, the contents of this bag are worth more than $2000. Is the airline willing to reimburse that loss?”

Agent: “We just won’t lose it.”

Teammate #1: “Is there any way you’ll allow these dresses on board?”

Agent: “Only if you’re wearing them.”

(We all quickly nod to each other.)

Teammate #1: “Okay.”

(She unzips the bag, hands one dress to a teammate of similar size, and they both put the dresses on, on top of their clothes, and we manage to fold up the dress bag and stuff it into a suitcase.)

Agent: “Fine, then. Welcome aboard.”

(As soon as we loaded onto the plane, they took off the dresses, put them back in their dress bag and slid it nicely into the overhead bin. When we explained to the flight attendants why they were wearing Irish dance costumes on top of their clothes, they just stared in absolute shock that the gate agent had tried to force check $2000 worth of cargo.)

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