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Your Worst Travel Day Experiences

Your Worst Travel Day Experiences

Old Oct 5, 19, 9:19 am
  #1  
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Your Worst Travel Day Experiences

I just had what I think is maybe the worst day of self-inflicted travel mistakes you can imagine. I've had frustrating days of travel - delays, having to sleep in a random hotel overnight because I couldn't make my connection, re-routing to another airport, etc - but I've never had a day where I inflicted all the problems on myself.

It started at my home airport. I went through security and got snacks like a normal day. I was waiting in line about to board when I hear my name over the loudspeaker. I step out and run back to security, unable to imagine what they could possibly want and contemplating they are calling someone else with my same name. I get there and see my very expensive, very necessary laptop sitting there. Somehow, I took all my other stuff out of my three bins but left my laptop behind. I have to run back to board my flight. Thank goodness I didn't get an earlier boarding group or I would've never heard the announcement. And thank goodness I plastered my name (and phone number and email address) on the bottom of my laptop.

Then, I get to my connection airport and when I pay for lunch, I leave my credit card in the checkout card reader because there's no chime. So I walk away and am waiting for my food to come out when I hear the cashier call out my name. Thank goodness another customer went to use that credit card machine or my card would've stayed sitting there.

But this one takes the cake. I finally land to my final destination, head over to the baggage belt, anxious to get my bag since my ride just got to the airport to pick me up. I see my very distinctively patterned suitcase, grab it and bolt. After 10 minutes in the car, I get a phone call. "Do you have your luggage?" "Yes." "No you don't, because I have it here." I look in the backseat and see it's the same design, but not mine. I have to turn around back to the airport and switch them. I feel terrible for the traveler I've inconvenienced, and when I get there, the Southwest baggage women chastises me, as if I don't already know I screwed up badly and should've been more careful. Back when I had a solid gray luggage, I always carefully checked for the ribbons and tags I put on it, but this bag had such a loud design, I figured it had to my mine and I didn't closely examine it. Thank goodness I had my name and phone number on my bag so they could quickly call me and the woman whose bag I took only got delayed about 30 minutes instead of a whole day as they tried to get a hold of me.

I don't know how I screwed up so much in one day, other than the fact that I only got a couple hours of sleep the night before. I'm always that person that will be silently judgmental when other people make screw ups as if they don't know the commonsense basics of travels, but somehow I imagined to screw everything up and be that person that everyone thinks is an idiot. I've never done any of these things before, and I managed to do them all in one day.
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Old Oct 5, 19, 10:58 am
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Yikes, sounds like you're extra tired or somehow off kilter this time. Welcome to FT.

I have 2 stories:

First, I was pick pocketed in Amsterdam and lost about $800 in cash, all my credit cards, and my drivers licence. I foolishly did not split up my cash and credit cards, and the thief got them all. I felt like such an idiot because I know better, but just hadn't done it. I called Amex and was assured that a new Platinum card would be sent to my next hotel. I did have my passport in the hotel safe, and the flight information, and so I left for St. Petersburg the next morning with about 40 euro that I scrounged up from my purse and luggage. I then waited for the Plat card to show up... it never did. Turns out that Amex isn't everywhere-- not in Russia. It takes me a couple of days to figure out that the card isn't coming, and meanwhile, my 40 euro isn't going far. I was doing a lot of walking and eating at the supermarket and at the hotel. It was not fun to be penniless. Eventually, Mr. San Diego saved the day by Western Unioning me some money, but the banking there was not as customer friendly as I was used to and very little English was spoken. Getting the Western Union funds from the bank was an ordeal in and of itself. In the end, I missed many highlights because I didn't have any money to buy tickets. I complained to Amex and got a $250 statement credit, but that didn't make up for missing the grand sites of St. Petersburg because I waited for a credit card that was never going to come.


On the heels of the St Petersburg debacle, I once left my brand new Chase Sapphire Reserve credit card at a coffee shop at the Venice train station. We were staying in the Euganian Hills, which is near Venice, but a couple of stops down the local train line. I called to find it out if they had it, and yes, come back and get it. So, now my passport is always safely tucked into the hotel safe, because that's what saved my trip after being robbed in Amsterdam a few months earlier. But the coffee shop has the card, and that should be ok. So I get on the train and go back to the coffee shop. It takes about an hour. But, by the time I get back, they've given my card to the police and it's at the police station a few doors down. After a long wait at the police station, I tell them my name and I'm here for my card, which was just turned in from the coffee shop. The cop says "May I see your passport?" Um, the passport is in the hotel. The young cop wants me to go back to the hotel and get the passport. I show him a copy of my drivers licence (My name! My photo! Me! Same name as on the credit card!) which I happen to have on my cell phone photos, and he says nope, that won't do, he needs the passport. I was about to go back on the train to the hotel, but the old cop in the back jumped in and OKed it and the young one gave me the credit card.
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Old Oct 5, 19, 11:05 am
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Wow, all of those might point to the fact that you might be really stressed out. I tend to do stuff like that when I am stressed or have a lot of things on my mind. While its a sucky travel day, maybe its also a message to do a little self care.

When I have days like that, sometimes its my mind trying to tell me to slow down, take a breath, and examine what is preoccupying me and how to deal with it. Listen to your body, you only go around once and excess stress can be a killer.

Other times, its just me being more absent minded than usual.

Here's to better travel days in the future!
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Old Oct 5, 19, 2:36 pm
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Originally Posted by StartinSanDiego View Post
First, I was pick pocketed in Amsterdam and lost about $800 in cash, all my credit cards, and my drivers licence. I foolishly did not split up my cash and credit cards, and the thief got them all. I felt like such an idiot because I know better, but just hadn't done it.
Thanks for making me feel a little better! I didn't feel particularly stressed or frazzled - just absent-minded in a way I'm not usually. But I'm curious - do you know how the pick-pocket managed to steal your stuff? I tend to bring a little cash with me when I travel, but I always leave it it my luggage and stick to my credit card wherever I go. With no foreign transaction fees and rewards points, and just about every place accepting cards, I usually wonder why I brought cash at all, but I guess the risk of losing my credit cards is why!
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Old Oct 5, 19, 7:35 pm
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I arrived at the airport in Quebec City for my return flight to the US. As I'm preparing to print my boarding pass at the kiosk, I need to get my itinerary with my confirmation number. Where's the itinerary? In my backpack. Hey, where's my backpack? Oh, it's in the backseat of the taxi I just left.

I ran outside, but the taxi was gone. It has my computer, passport, everything. Fortunately, thanks to the intrepid information desk at the airport (I love Canadians), the unbelievable bell staff and concierge at the Q.C. Hilton, I got it back in time for the flight. The bell staff KNEW what cab I'd taken by description! And the concierge CALLED the cab driver, who'd gone home, then drove over to the guy's house and got my bag and brought it to the airport.

Whew. The whole thing felt like one of those travel nightmares I have frequently.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 12:07 am
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This was my husband's story. We were trying to use the short-lived BA checkin station at the LHR Sofitel. After waiting for a lengthy time for an entire soccer(football) team to check in ahead of us we gave up. We were running late by then and left the Sofitel minus my husbands new Patagonia expensive jacket. We were headed to Iceland. This was his only jacket. Things are very expensive in Iceland. After clearing security dawned on my husband that he left jacket. Said jacket was left across the street at the BA checkin at Sofitel outside the security, outside the airport. He went up to the information desk right after security. He explains the situation to the multitude of security agents hanging out there. One security officer offers to run to the BA checkin at Sofitel and retrieve his jacket. In a really short period of time they come running with the jacket. NOW that is good security LHR. We did push the smiling button and wrote a commendation for the security officer. We love the UK! I can't imagine that happening at a big city airport in the USA.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 1:05 am
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Was living in Germany and my mom was visiting. We'd decided to fly back to CPH rather than drive. Taxi ordered, we head for the train station with an assortment of bags, wheelies and a singular backpack holding my laptop, phone, keys, wallet and other important bits and pieces. I arrange with mum that she'll take the backpack onboard and I'll slug the rest. Train arrives, we board and grab a couple of seats on the 1st floor of the carriage.

As we motor down the rails I ask for my backpack, which results in mum looking like a dear caught in the head-lights. Yup, she forgot it at the station. We hop off on the next station, jump into a taxi and head back. As we approach the original station, it's cast in a series of flickering blue lights. Yup, someone's seen the backpack sitting all by it's lonesome and called the law. They were in the process of cordoning off the station, when I quietly ask an officer if the issue might be related to a black backpack sitting on a bench on the platform between tracks 3 and 4. He looks at me puzzled and asks it it's mine. I sheepishly say yes, thinks it is, and he walks me to the platform. True enough, there she is. Mum and I receive a right old bollocking from no less than 3 police officers, with both of us frantically looking for a hole in the ground we can disappear into.

We catch the next train going to DUS, but by this time we're not just fashionably late but nearly fatally so. I call my girlfriend and pass her our details, allowing her to check us in on-line (smartphones were not yet that smart, and my Crackcherry at the time certainly didn't have to mojo to perform such transactions), and we make a wild dash from the train station to the terminal, through security and - for the first time ever - breeze past the smoking room and head directly for the gate. We made it, barely, and mum had the honour of buying no less than 4 Jack D's as atonement. Which, for a 1 hour flight, isn't bad at all.
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Last edited by Sheikh Yerbooty; Oct 6, 19 at 1:11 am
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Old Oct 6, 19, 1:21 am
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most of these, imo, are “What really could have been my worst travel day” stories ... the successful recovery/outcome actually detracts from what’s supposed to be the terrible experience
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Old Oct 6, 19, 1:41 am
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My worst travel day, or most of them is about poop!! This one time I had an upset tum, Bali belly, or whatever you want to call it and I could hardly hold on as we landed and taxied to the terminal. Once there I thought I'll be off first and run to the loo. So off I went like a female Usain Bolt... and made it to the toilet in the nick of time!! Of course the danger wasn't over as we met our driver and the rep for transport to our hotel. I can't remember the country we were in but it as an Asian one and I recalled a big freeway drive in to town. I asked the rep if I needed to go to the toilet could he stop and the rep said no, there are no toilets and the driver doesn't speak English. At this, I started to cry and I told my husband I couldn't go as I wouldn't be able to hold on. I then said... if we have to stop, I will pay an extra $20 (the trip cost about $30 or $40). Suddenly the driver spoke English and said... yes, I could find you a bathroom if we have to. Plugged up with immodium we took off and every 5 minutes or so the driver would ask... are you ok, do you need bathroom!!! I made it safely and felt relief as we hit hotel porcelain again! I gave the driver the extra trip anyway.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 4:30 am
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I am so happy that I have not had the experiences of the posters so far.
I only troubles are being stuck overnight when my overseas flights are cancelled or delayed.
I feel for all of you
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Old Oct 6, 19, 9:11 am
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So far I haven't had too many horrible disasters.

Got bumped on a family trip when I was a kid. I didn't care too much, but mom was in a sobbing panic.

Lined up a last minute cheap hotel room somewhere in Slovakia without checking into the details deeply enough. It wasn't a hotel just an old apartment building with an abandoned restaurant on the first floor. I'd missed the "must call well before arrival" so there I was, standing in front of what appeared to be an abandoned Soviet era block, at dusk, in a neighborhood that was looking ever more sketchy.
I have no idea how they managed the photos that were on the listing. Spent some time on the phone with hotels.com, until they sent me a credit code for the amount via email. Sadly, I was never able to use the credit. By the time I tried, I was no longer in Europe, and it was apparently only good for Euro listings.

Current debacle: Cross-country / circumcontinental trip in a camper van. Mid-Saturday, alternator craps out. Currently in nothing-open-on-Sunday limbo. Bah.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 9:16 am
  #12  
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
most of these, imo, are “What really could have been my worst travel day” stories ... the successful recovery/outcome actually detracts from what’s supposed to be the terrible experience
Fair enough, and a running theme is losing stuff and then having to try to get it back. It's quite scary to lose track of your belongings, and the stress and hassle of trying to get it back can be a mess though.

But I will say, on the day of my travel nightmare, I overheard a woman at a counter in my connection city being told she was booked on a flight earlier in the day, not the one leaving now, and there weren't any seats. That woman's travel day seemed to be quite bad, although I'm sure at some point she caught a later flight... let's hope! I'm not sure if Southwest would let her get on another flight for free or not - I think Southwest would but most airlines would not, so she probably got lucky.
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Old Oct 6, 19, 7:15 pm
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Originally Posted by jrl767 View Post
most of these, imo, are “What really could have been my worst travel day” stories ... the successful recovery/outcome actually detracts from what’s supposed to be the terrible experience
Ok, I think I have a good one, back in December 1995 I was working for Fedex in Memphis when I had to solve a problem in Malaysia and had to fly last minute. Our cargo plane crashed in a storm over the Pacific and I was the lone survivor but I was stranded in a deserted island and had to survive on spear fishing and talking to a volleyball named Wilson. Four years later I made a raft and was found by a passing ship. Upon my return everyone was excited to see me, and I was so relieved to be back to civilization, although unfortunately my fiancée had married my dentist, so that was a bit of a solemn moment.

Is this more what you have been looking for? Or is it still that "the successful recovery/outcome actually detracts from what’s supposed to be the terrible experience"?

Last edited by nk15; Oct 6, 19 at 7:28 pm
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Old Oct 6, 19, 8:36 pm
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phbbbbbbbbbbt (but well played)

actually the second paragraph of this recent post on the Alaska Airlines board is more like what I was expecting to see
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Old Oct 7, 19, 3:50 am
  #15  
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I wrote a trip report on my worst travel day(s).

As a trip from North Carolina turned into a 2 night affair ending with a discount bus carrier on an overnight journey.

I sure hope I never have to go back and write a new report because I managed to have a worse experience.

Summer IRROPS on DL Flying RDU-EWR Leads to RDU-DCA-CVG-DCA and A Megabus Ride to NYC
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