Grab Bags

Don't try to sneak home, or TWA will take your luggage hostage

Actually, it may be the other way around. Having gotten nowhere with formal protests, Harrington has consulted an attorney.

"I told him to file in small-claims court," says Harrington's pal and attorney, Michael "Pete" Bastian. "And the irony is, here's an airline that's struggling and they don't understand when they're getting a break. When the four of them got off in St. Louis, that opened up seats between here and Chicago. It was potential revenue for TWA. Instead of persecuting their passengers, they might've resold those seats. But they're pigheaded, and that's why their stock trades at $3 and they've been in bankruptcy twice."

Two months after the flight, both sides still have their heels dug in. Harrington and Fox refuse to pay the change fee, and TWA refuses to cut them any slack. And St. Louisans still pay premium airfares to their hometown airline.

At least Harrington's learned one big lesson from the experience.

"Next time," says Harrington, "we'll insist on carry-on luggage."

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