I'm in Albany, NY for the Historical Novel Society's biennial North American conference. I'll try to post some conference updates and highlights after it starts tonight, but so far I've learned three important lessons:
1. Don't fly through Chicago in the summer if you can help it.
2. Don't fly two airlines on a codeshare unless it's the only way to get to your destination. It only confuses the lost baggage people.
3. If you must do 1 & 2, whatever you do, DON'T switch onto an earlier flight out of your origin city upon seeing all flights to Chicago are badly delayed, in hopes of making your connection because it's the last flight to your destination city that day. You may rejoice at first when you successfully get your body and your carryon to your destination on time, but when your checked bag turns up missing, the change in your itinerary will confuse the lost baggage people into paralysis.
My bag and I were finally reunited about an hour and a half ago (I got in at 9:30 last night), so I have my good clothes and such for the conference. But the process was much more stressful than it should've been thanks to terrible customer service. As Stephen Colbert would put it, American Airlines, you are Dead to Me.