2008 Our Flight to Denver, Colorado from Santiago, Chile

We flew with (all of our possessions in ) 9 suitcases on Air Canada from Santiago, Chile to Denver. Our check-in was simple: we didn't have to put our suitcases through an x-ray machine before or after check-in. We didn't have to remove our shoes, take our computers out of the bags or empty our water bottles. It was more like an old-fashioned check-in.

We were each allowed 2 suitcases of 22 kg each and 2 carry-ons each. We each had our 2 big suitcases which actually weighed over 22 kg each (even though we had weighed them at home repeatedly). For the 9th large suitcase of supposedly 22kg, we were charged US$225.

For our carry-ons, we had 2 computer bags (with wheels) and 2 medium-sized suitcases (with wheels) that met the size restrictions. These four bags were supposed to be under 10 kg each. Perhaps they were.

The flight cost US$2472.22 for the two of us (plus the $225 for the extra suitcase). Dimitri had reserved the two aisle seats in a row of three seats in the middle of the plane for the Santiago to Toronto segment. We had that row to ourselves. The service was good, the food was good and we sort of slept the night.

We arrived in Toronto to change planes at around dawn. Dimitri had been told repeatedly that our suitcases would be checked through to Denver and we never expected to have to retrieve them to go through US Customs and Immigration in Toronto, Canada. But we did have to do all of that. Fortunately we had plenty of time between planes.

After we retrieved the 9 suitcases from a special baggage area for transient passengers, all we had to do is put them on a cart and wheel them through a door labeled US Customs and Immigration to a moving belt. There was a man there to hoist them onto the belt. No one asked us what we were bringing into the country in our suitcases.

Then we went on to the Immigration counter where we weren't welcomed home (of course we were in Canada, so....). Then we went through US security where we had to remove our belts, shoes, take the computers out of the computer bags, empty our water bottle and do all of that rigmarole. We were able to do all of that was done with plenty of time to spare.

The next segment of the flight to Denver was practically full. Fortunately, there was no one sitting in the third seat of our row between Dimitri and me. So, the flight to Denver from Toronto was fine.

Dimitri had arranged for the Super Shuttle to take us to our Denver apartment (pre-booked online from South America). The cost to rent a car big enough for us and our 9 suitcases would have been more than the $32 charge for the Super Shuttle. We hired a porter to help us with the luggage and off we went to the area for the vans. None of the Super Shuttle van operators wanted to take us because our luggage would have used up all of their luggage space. Finally, Dimitri negotiated an additional $10 for the extra luggage and off we went to check out our Denver Digs.

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