Off-topic: My brother-in-law’s travelling issues

Close Encounters of the Cheap Kind has a new home at www.CheapEncounters.com!

I posted a little while back about my brother-in-law’s adventures with Northwest Airlines trying to get from Houston to Gatlinburg Tennessee. In summary, he missed his original flight due to unusual traffic backups, a fender-bender in the airport parking garage, a change in gate to a different terminal, and a broken metal detector (none of which were his fault). He retried the trip the next day only to have what was supposed to be a four-hour journey take a 16 hours due to a very small delay in the arrival of his first flight followed by Northwest Airlines gate agents closing the gate for his next flight a full 10 minutes early and numerous other instances of incompetence by Northwest Airlines employees which gave him the run-around (both figuratively and literally) throughout the Memphis airport. As a follow-up to that, on the flight back he lost his trusty Cleveland Indians hat, which had survived (if you can call it that) nine years of use and for whatever reason he absolutely loved. He filed a missing item report (surprisingly the phone representative didn’t laugh at him when he made it) with Continental, which operated the flight he lost it on, and was told he could check the lost and found in Houston in five days for the item. Unfortunately it doesn’t seem Continental has a lost and found, or if they do they didn’t tell the ticketing agent at Houston Intercontinental he talked to this past week, as my brother-in-law received a look that I would imagine most closely resembles that of a monkey doing a math problem.

Anyway, late Saturday night he and a friend were coming back to Houston from Austin on US Hwy 290 when a vehicle came at them at a high rate of speed going the wrong way on the freeway. Luckily the wrong-way vehicle didn’t hit them, but did cause them to crash into the concrete wall of death blocking the median, severely damaging both axles and the undercarriage and rendering the car undrivable. They both walked away from the accident, and the police tracked down the other driver shortly thereafter, still going the wrong way on the freeway, whom they described as a “very confused old man”. It remains to be seen if the other driver even has insurance, and even if he does whether my brother-in-law will get compensation to fix the car (preferable) or if the car will just be totaled out. It is an older vehicle in excellent shape, so the fear is that he couldn’t find anything in as good of condition or as reliable for the book value of the vehicle. He got the car for a steal used a couple of years ago and is very mechanically inclined and has taken great care of it. Perhaps I can talk him into doing his own blog to chronicle his fight on this.

It occurred to me this morning that he is a disastrous train ride and an overly friendly yet sadly lonely fat man away from being Steve Martin’s character in “Planes, Trains, and Automobiles”. At least we can be thankful that no one was hurt in this.


April 23, 2007 - Posted by | Customer Service, Off Topic, Travel


  1. This is all pretty accurate. I really feel I should be more upset about some of this, but I’m just glad that my friend and I are OK.

    Comment by Brother-in-law | April 23, 2007

  2. I’m glad you and the family friend are OK too.

    Comment by mom | April 23, 2007

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