American Airlines has thoughtfully applied so much pressure to my suitcase that not only did the Listerine, face wash, et cetera stored in the outer pocket burst from their bottles, they also burst the sealed plastic bag in which all said bottles were stowed. Thankfully, the third level of containment (the plastic pocket lining) held, and my clothing and board games did not get a thorough shampooing.

The reason I found this out today is because I have only just received the bag, which was lost when I arrived at the airport two and a half days ago. I put this down to good plane karma. I will elaborate.

Before I left, I spent hours researching the layout of my plane online, finding which seats had an extra inch of leg room, which had DC power outlets under the seats, etc. For the seven-hour flight over the pond, I selected 26B, an aisle seat with only one person who would have to crawl out past me and an Empower outlet right underneath.

Five minutes after settling into this seat and ramming my carry-on into the overhead compartment that was supposed to carry the lifejackets, the nice old lady next to me asked if I could do her a favor. Her friend had been supposed to sit next to her, you see, and they somehow got moved, and would I possibly consider switching with her?

Was her friend’s seat on an aisle? Oh yes, the lady assured me. Oh well, I thought.

It wasn’t. But it was only one seat in and there was an outlet under it. The gentleman next to me quirked an eyebrow. Had they asked me to switch seats, he inquired? Why yes, sir, they had. Would I believe that he, too, had a friend who was supposed to sit next to him? (Said friend, overjoyed, gave me a high five.)

This is how I ended up in the most central seat of the plane, sans outlet, unable to find anywhere to put my knees. Good thing I don’t have mild claustrophobia when I can’t move my legs! Oh wait!

I lived, anyway, and staggered off the plane with numb legs after only taking twenty minutes to find the carry-on the flight crew had spirited away to first class. My luggage had a better seat than me.

And yes, I consider my losing the small checked bag a mild repayment for the ordeal, because the large and much more important bag made it through just fine. I doubt I will care so much about my luggage on the way home, though. I have reserved a seat with one extra inch of leg room, and any nice ladies next to me can just fuck off and die.