Friday, March 12, 2010

Travel Fridays

I've decided since I love talking about traveling so much, that I'm going to start something called Travel Fridays, where I post interesting links, questions, or stories about my own experiences about travel or something I've read online. 

So, for my first official Travel Fridays post, I want to ask you guys this....What's your worst travel related story? It could be that time you missed your connecting flight, had a baby kick the back of your seat the entire flight, or took the wrong plane.

Before I answer this question, allow me to give you a bit of my background. Prior to 2008, I hadn't really been out of the country. Sure, I had been to Cabo San Lucas, where I almost drowned in the ocean, and to Canada, where I had my picture taken next to a street sign that's the same as my name. And of course, I've traveled all over the U.S. But going international is entirely different.

It all started with my bff LC. She was going to Paris with her sister that year, and wanted to get other people to go. I ended up talking M into going, and we were all set. I WAS GOING TO PARIS. Ya, know to FRANCE, the world of cheeses and fashion and sexy French men! I was beyond excited, but still nervous.

We all decided that we should just bring carry on bags with us, so we could avoid losing our luggage, so I promptly filled my suitcase with clothes, and all that other stuff. But I also had two guide books in there, because clearly I'm a dork and had to visit certain places recommended in the guide, because I researched all day. M and I even made an Excel spreadsheet on which places we wanted to go, complete with prices of admission, hours of operation, how to get there, and other details.

We had everything with us, got to the airport on time. Our itinerary was Denver to Cincinnati, where we had a layover, and then on to JFK Airport in NYC. We flew Delta from Denver to Cincinnati and landed on time. Prior to deboarding, the staff assured everyone that who was going to NYC, could leave their stuff on the plane. They just asked you put a placecard on your seat, so they knew someone was sitting there. M and I figured that we should do that, since we didn't want to lug around our suitcases unless we absolutely had to. M had her backpack, and I think had I had my purse, which had my passport and stuff in it, but that was it.

It was there that everything fell apart. M and I were just sitting around the food court, eating our food, when all of a sudden we hear our names coming over the loudspeaker. We both looked at each other with wide eyes and panicked, and ran to the gate. We gave them our tickets, and were the last people to board the flight. But as we walked onto the plane, we realized, this isn't the same plane. We got to our seats, and immediately started freaking out. There was no placecard, there was no luggage in the overhead bin. There was NOTHING of ours.

We immediately flagged down a flight attendant, and told them in hurried voices, that this wasn't our plane. That we were told we could leave our stuff on the plane. Of course the lady we talked to said in a stern voice, "Oh I've been working for Delta for years. We never, ever, tell people to leave their stuff." But we persisted that we were supposed to be on that flight. "Well, we're about to take off, you can either deplane and go to customer service and talk with them, or you can stay on the flight," she said. But we had no choice. If we had stayed behind, we would have missed our connecting flight that night that left from NYC to London, and onto Paris. Not to mention, that we were supposed to meet up with LC and her sister in NYC to catch that flight.

We took deep breaths, and stayed on the plane. I pretty much wanted to cry, and was clearly upset. M was freaking out too but she was really positive. And we talked with another flight attendant during the flight and told him our story and he tried to make us laugh. "Do you have your passports?" Yes. "Do you have money?" Yes. "Do you have your parent's credit cards?" No. "Well, too bad, you could've gone on a shopping spree!" At the time, I didn't find it funny, but in hindsight, I know he was just trying to bring a smile to our somber faces. And he was right, we did have our necessities.

We made it to NYC on time, and told LC and her sister all about our troubles, and laughed at the fact that our carry on baggage wasn't supposed to be lost. And we called our parents and told them what happened and also put in a claim with Delta. We boarded our flight on British Airways from NYC to London, where we had a short layover, and then onto Paris, and we made it all without any more troubles.

I was still upset when we arrived in Paris because all of my stuff was gone. But after our first full day of sightseeing in Paris, we came back to a message on our hotel room phone from my mom. I used the hotel phone to call home, where I found out M's mom had gotten in touch with Delta's customer service in Paris, and that they found our bags, and that they'd be arriving on the next non-stop flight the next day. I was so happy I cried. And the next day, we did get our stuff.

But they lost our bags again on our way back, because this time we decided not to risk it, and to check in our bags. Plus we had a ton of stuff we bought and didn't want to lose it. Yeah, we must just have bad luck or something, but FedEx delivered them within a week, with everything intact. Well, sort of. M's bag was all wet, but thankfully her expensive leather purse wasn't ruined.


Andhari said...

That's so unprofessional of them to do that! You and your family handled it very well though. I would be so annoyed if I find myself in a new country without my clothes. Europe is way more expensive to shop at, definitely.

Gary said...

That's a brutal itinerary!

Anonymous said...

Even with the lost baggage, many layovers, trains that went on strike, and other imperfections along the way, it was still worth it, Gary, most definitely still worth it.

Wonderful said...

Andi- Yeah, it was expensive, but at least I was with friends.

Gary- Yes, I've learned my lesson. Next time I'll just pay extra to fly direct.

M- Agreed.