Remember the days when going to the airport was a relaxing environment and you didn’t have as many restrictions on your luggage, you didn’t have to undress when you went through Security, and your liquids did not require a size limit and their very own Ziploc bag?
Well, I guess the airport was never a relaxing environment, but it was definitely not as complicated back in the late 80′s / early 90′s.
This story is about our very first excursion off the Continental US to the sunny tropical paradise of Puerto Rico. Actually, this is about getting our luggage there….yes, the entire sound and lighting system. What’s the big deal…send it on cargo plane or boat?
I guess if you were Bruce Springsteen you could afford to do that, but a band from New Mexico…so, we thought we’d try sending it the usual route by passenger airline carrier.
Our drummer, Chris, was in charge of organizing the “luggage”…you know, microphones, costumes, instruments, monitors, mains, lights, cables, stands, drums, tuba, banjo, etc….everything you could possibly need for two weeks at the beach….except clothes, bathing suits, sunblock, etc. We didn’t have enough space for people to take personal bags, so if you wanted that pair of underwear to go well you just had to roll it up and put in inside the bell of your sax.
We get to the airport with 84 pieces of luggage, every single one made to the airline’s specs and weight restrictions (you remember the good old days when you could check 3 pieces per person with no charge?). We arrive at the ticket counter with our mound of stuff, and as you can imagine they were not too happy to see us. In fact, the manager came out and said that we couldn’t fly with all that stuff.
Unbeknown to me at the time, I had a critical part in making it happen. I was 14 years old and just standing around while John (bass player) and Glenna (singer and my mother) tried to convince the manager to let us fly with all of our equipment. The manager noticed I was hearing impaired….what a coincidence – her kid was hearing impaired, too. Next thing you know, she’s talking about hearing impaired kids and our luggage is being tagged and put on the conveyor belt.
We had been through security, boarded the plane, and were in our seats waiting for the flight attendants to begin their usual rap “Please put your tray tables and seats in their upright position in preparation for takeoff….”.
Instead we hear the pilot clear his voice…a little embarrassed ….”Ladies and Gentlemen, we will be delayed as we are over weighed and need to take some of the “luggage” off the plane.”
Those of us sitting by the window looked out in despair as they started taking our equipment off the plane. We took off not knowing what made it and what didn’t.
In the end luck was on our side as the rest of the equipment made it on the next flight to San Juan.
This only tells you how we got our equipment there. There is a whole other story about our two weeks in Puerto Rico.