I have to say I was really dreading yesterday. Since John’s accident, he hasn’t been able to drive or schlep things. How was I going to manage heavy suitcases and carryons all the way across the country? How was he not going to get jostled in the cattlecall that is embarkation on Southwest Airlines? I discovered by asking for help and applying a little money to the situation that it was totally surviveable.

First, my brother-in-law, Ted, offered to put the suitcases and stuff in the trunk. Then I asked if he would clean the car windows for me. Cost of service – free. Thanks, Ted.

Got a skycap at the rental car return. He took the suitcases out of the trunk, wheeled them to the ticket counter and placed them on the scale for the Southwest ticket agent to weigh and tag. (BTW, Tampa airport is one of the most user-friendly I’ve been in. Rental car return is within easy walking distance of the terminal. The terminal is completely wi-fi. And it is spotlessly clean.) Cost of service – $10 tip.

Asked for and received pre-boarding on the airplanes so John wouldn’t get jostled. Cost – free

In between planes took an electric cart to a restaurant and then later to our gate. Cost of service – $4 tip

Rented a cart to pick up our luggage in Oakland. (Actually it kind of steams me that they make you pay for the cart. In Europe, these carts are provided for free.) Cost of cart – $3

Hired a limo to take us from the airport home. The limo picked us up right out in front of the airport. Robert, the driver, told us to get into the car and he would take care of loading all the luggage. He drove us to our door and then took all the luggage out and put it inside the house. Cost of limo + tip – $89

Spent a whole day of traveling without a major hassle – priceless

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