Saved by Just a Carryon

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On my last trip, I drove from Detroit to Toronto (where airfares to Europe are less expensive) and parked my car at Freddy’s apartment.  Freddy drove my friend and me to the airport and agreed to look after my car and renew the parking permit at his high-rise every two days as required.  Freddy would need my car keys to update the parking permit and to have on hand in case he couldn’t renew the parking, he would need to move the car.

We arrived at the Toronto airport to check in for our flight. We cleared security, US Customs, and Immigration. (Most flights to the USA from Canada clear U.S. Customs and Immigration before leaving Canada).  As soon as I got to my gate, it hit me, “Oh no! I forgot to leave my car keys with Freddy!” At that point I immediately sent him a text as he sent me the same text.  I had about an hour before my flight departed so exiting the airport wasn’t an option since I would have to clear three checkpoints again and Freddy was already a half an hour away at his apartment.  We began to brainstorm our options.  The first idea was to FedEx them from JFK since I had a nine hour layover there.  Freddy had a second idea and that was to have his friend enter our home in Detroit, find the extra key, and have him bring it with him when he returned to Toronto for work later in the week.  I didn’t feel good with either of those ideas. “What if my key gets lost in the mail? Then how will I get to Detroit from Toronto?” “What if Customs Canada holds the keys?” “What if Freddy’s friend doesn’t secure the house and it’s left open for two weeks?”  Then it hit me.

I went up to the gate agent and asked, “Is there another flight to JFK today?”

“Yes, as a matter of fact, I’m overbooked by one.  We are quite short on time.  Do you have any checked baggage?”

“No, all I have is my carryon.”

“Great! Because I won’t know until the last minute if you will be going on this flight and there may not be time to pull baggage also U.S. Customs prefers that bags arrive with the passengers.”

At that point, I was so excited that there was a shimmer of hope that I would have time to get my keys to Freddy before I left Toronto.

Then the unthinkable happened. “Listen,” said the gate agent, “since you helped me out without my asking for volunteers, I am putting you on the next flight no matter what.  You have no checked baggage so it’s no work for the ground crew.  I can see you need the later flight.”

That little favor saved me $200 of a ticket change fee and a lot of grief.

I notified Freddy of my new flight.  He met me at the airport where I immediately gave him my key.  We were able to have a nice breakfast together before I returned to the airport for my later flight.  All this was possible because I travel with justacarryon.

~Bella

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