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The dumbest travel-related mistake you ever made?

The dumbest travel-related mistake you ever made?

Old Aug 9, 09, 4:46 pm
  #46  
 
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1. After missing a late night connection due to delay and getting stuck overnight, missed the first morning flight because I was waiting in a Starbucks line 2 gates away at ATL and they decided to close gate 10 minutes early. I wanted to get breakfast before a 40 minute flight. GA didn't help by butchering my name.

2. Last summer was doing an Asia tour. Booked a BKK-KUL flight on AirAsia by phone. Showed up at BKK to find out that I booked the ticket for July, not June. Took them forever to figure out why they can't find me in the system (wrong month) and I had no paper track myself. After landing in KUL I also found out that AirAsia flies out of the LCCT, which has no access to the train system, etc.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 5:10 pm
  #47  
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Here's another one

As part of my job I had to work a month in an electrical supply warehouse. As I was cutting a lot of boxes I carried a switchblade style boxcutter with a six inch razor on it. Last summer after working a shift I drove down to PHX for a PHX-SNA flight. At the checkpoint I took all the usual belongings out of my pockets and went throught the metal detector. When it beeped I went back and took off my watch. When it beeped a second time I realized I still had the knife in my pocket. Luckily I was able to duck back out and throw it away before I was caught with it on me.

Two TSA agents saw me throw it out and when they asked me what I'd thrown away I said "a knife". They debated amongst themselves what to do with me and eventually let me go. I can't imagine what would have happened if they had patted me down and found it. I doubt they'd believe me if I said I forgot it.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 5:23 pm
  #48  

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It was my second time in Europe by myself. I had just come from Belfast to Luton and was waiting for my flight to CDG. I got something to eat at Arbys in the Airport then went to wait for my EasyJet flight. An hour and a half later I was checking in I was asked for my passport. Couldnt find it, panicked I raced to retrace my steps, went back to arbys where I was eating looked through the garbage. Looked up and a man was in front of me with my passport. He was waiting for someone to come in had a bite to eat saw it and picked it up. He was going to turn it in to security.

I had it out while I was eating paging through it. Thank God he picked it up and I got it back. Every time after that I never took it out unless I needed it.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 5:29 pm
  #49  
 
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I have a few to share.

Bought a vacation package through National Airlines, without realizing that departure and arrival airport where different, ORD & MDW, had to pay $35 cab fare.

While buying tickets for a weekend MR, I bought the wrong return date on the tickets, had to pay almost $300 to correct the mistake.

I've also had my share of getting to the airport on the wrong date.

The best one ever was not adjusting my watch while on vacation in CUN, I was always one hour early for everything. It was right at th end, that I realizeed my mistake.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 5:46 pm
  #50  
 
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This mistake was not mine, but of my boss at the time. He was slated to meet a colleague for a business meeting in Charleston. Off he went, and when he landed he called his colleague on his cell phone, asking where to meet him. You know the outcome: my former boss had landed at Charleston, WV. His colleague was at the airport in Charleston, SC.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 6:05 pm
  #51  
 
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I forgot to bring a pair of pants, and I had to give a presentation first thing in the morning.

I wore the jeans I had worn on the flight the evening before and told everyone I had spilled a large cup of coffee (lots of milk - no burns) on my suit pants.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 7:27 pm
  #52  
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Originally Posted by Athena53 View Post
What choice do you have, really? Just bring bubble wrap and tape next time. And don't pack it with any clothing that would break your heart to have ruined. We pack purchased alcohol in checked bags all the time- we pack it carefully and cross our fingers till it rolls off the baggage carousel.

The only alternative I can think of (other than not buying it) is shipping, which is horribly expensive and can't legally be done in some cases (e.g. Europe to the US).
There is an alternative. There are styrofoam bottle containers that are very sturdy. Bottle goes in the container. Container goes in a ziploc bag or even a double ziploc. Adds less than 3oz of weight per bottle and is virtually disaster proof.

I didn't know it wasn't allowed to mail alcohol from Europe to the US. I thought that was possible. Some years ago in St. Emilion I saw many crates at the dealer marked for shipment to private addresses in the US. Did those regulations change? Or are there shipping methods that are legal?

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Old Aug 9, 09, 7:27 pm
  #53  
 
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On a business trip with my brand new boss, he was denied boarding LHR-MUC (after 10 wonderful hours PHX-LHR) due to the size of his carry on - no gate check for whatever reason - he had to go back and check it. Got to Munich and found no driver to meet me, as well as no luggage. New boss shows up an hour and a half later, calls the V.P. of our European entity to come get us. And translate for me as I purchase remarkably overpriced shoes, sweater and t shirt at the Munich airport. And as this is the first time I've ever met this guy, it was very nice of him to pay cash for my underwear at the grocery store, since they didn't take credit cards! We drive at - I dunno - 170 MPH - to the hotel, where I order "dear" steak. Don't know if it was venison or beef. Take an ice cold shower, watch The Family Guy in German as the snow piles up while drinking Budwiser (just what I want to drink in Germany), and head into the office the next morning in long underwear. Way to make a great first impression.

And then there was the time I had to visit our UK office in September. Where I live, its still reaching 100+ degrees this time of year. Why would I think merrye olde England would be the same? So $100xxx GBP later, I am now equipped with a makeshift cold weather wardrobe which I get to haul back to the US - essentially doubling my luggage. And may I also note that I had not signed my credit card, so the exchange desk at King's Cross refused to take it. I had to borrow from my co-worker whom I think was not pleased. To add insult to injury, said baggage was lost on the way home and arrived two days later.

My mistake in both cases was heading off with nothing but my PNR and the name of the hotel. No names, addresses, phone numbers, weather forecast, nothing. Never again. And hopefully not so much bad luck!

Last edited by Arizona2; Aug 9, 09 at 7:33 pm
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Old Aug 9, 09, 7:41 pm
  #54  
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Originally Posted by Arizona2 View Post
On a business trip with my brand new boss, he was denied boarding LHR-MUC (after 10 wonderful hours PHX-LHR) due to the size of his carry on - no gate check for whatever reason - he had to go back and check it. Got to Munich and found no driver to meet me, as well as no luggage. New boss shows up an hour and a half later, calls the V.P. of our European entity to come get us. And translate for me as I purchase remarkably overpriced shoes, sweater and t shirt at the Munich airport. And as this is the first time I've ever met this guy, it was very nice of him to pay cash for my underwear at the grocery store, since they didn't take credit cards! We drive at - I dunno - 170 MPH - to the hotel, where I order "dear" steak. Don't know if it was venison or beef. Take an ice cold shower, watch The Family Guy in German as the snow piles up while drinking Budwiser (just what I want to drink in Germany), and head into the office the next morning in long underwear. Way to make a great first impression.

And then there was the time I had to visit our UK office in September. Where I live, its still reaching 100+ degrees this time of year. Why would I think merrye olde England would be the same? So $100xxx GBP later, I am now equipped with a makeshift cold weather wardrobe which I get to haul back to the US - essentially doubling my luggage. To add insult to injury, said baggage was lost on the way home and arrived two days later.

My mistake in both cases was heading off with nothing but my PNR and the name of the hotel. No names, addresses, phone numbers, weather forecast, nothing. Never again. And hopefully not so much bad luck!
Classic mistakes, indeed.

Easy to remedy, always wear a sport coat and chinos or dress pants for the trip. If they lose your suit you will still have at least a coat and chinos, which makes a better impression by far than jeans and sweater. Also, always take an extra shirt and an extra set of underwear. Additionally, if you wear a non-iron quick drying shirt and quick drying underwear, you can wash it in the evening at the hotel and it will be ready to go the next morning. So this would give you double security. An extra set plus the capability to wash and dry quickly and easily. You can wash clothes with the hotel shampoo if nothing else is available. It works very well.

Of course, checking the weather at the destination should be standard operating procedure. A layer of warm, possibly long, merino or angora wool underwear will hardly add any weight (4-5oz) or bulk to your luggage . Only a single set is needed and you can always keep it packed in your travel bag so you don't forget it.

Till
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Old Aug 9, 09, 7:57 pm
  #55  
 
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Originally Posted by Policypeddler View Post
tfar said he/she went to airport one day early. I digress and go off subject...I had a friend who prepped for a colonoscopy. Next day went to hospital and was told he was a day early. Hilarious!
That's one of the funniest posts I've read on FT.

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Old Aug 9, 09, 9:08 pm
  #56  
 
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I swapped purses at the last minute before leaving for the airport. Got to SAS checkin at EWR -- no passport! It was in the "secret" compartment in the purse at home. I grabbed a cab hoping to get home and back in time, but it was late afternoon so no dice. SAS couldn't reschedule me for two days, but by 6 pm I managed to get an Icelandair flight leaving JFK at 8. Touch and go all the way...
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Old Aug 9, 09, 9:09 pm
  #57  
 
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That box cutter story reminds me of one:
Friends and I were bush walking around Canberra, and decided to go to Parliament House one day, to save on bags we just took the one hiking bag. Problem was that persons bag had a pocket knife that we completely forgot about so it went through the bag screener, the person got called aside and then realised what was in the bag, luckily nothing came of it, just had to have the bag cloaked.

My dumbest one was upon arrival in LAX after a SYD-LAX flight late 2008. I had deodourant in my ziplock bag. As I entered the terminal after immigration (UA) I put my bag through the screener and get to the end and my bag isn't there, I get called aside by this woman who asks if that's my bag, she then pulls out the ziplock bag and asks what it is, I just tell her what it is and that I cleared security in Sydney 16hours ago and completely forgot it was there. She kept me waiting a while but she let me through.
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Old Aug 9, 09, 9:39 pm
  #58  
 
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Arriving in Venice with only the name of the hotel

On an early trip to Europe, my husband & I arrived in Venice with only the name of our hotel...no address, no directions on how to find it. I (blush) had assumed that there would be signs at the vaporetto stop with arrows pointing to the hotels, kind of like the signs to Holiday Inns & Hampton Inns at interstate highway exits. It was raining torrentially when we arrived and the water was so deep in St. Mark's Square that they had constructed little wooden platforms to walk on, barely wide enough to walk along dragging wheeled luggage behind and there weren't any signs! We stopped in probably 10 hotels, bars & restaurants, and no one had ever heard of our hotel. I felt like I was in the twilight zone. We finally found a helpful soul, and found our hotel, whose name I thought I'd remember forever but have since forgotten. We were soaked to the skin & exhausted & our room was the smallest I've ever seen...hubby had to sit sideways on the john because of the size of the bathroom...but we were there!
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Old Aug 9, 09, 11:31 pm
  #59  
 
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A few:

1. VIE, C, to IAD. Showed up one day early. Wife on award ticket, me with paper LH upgrade. We got on that day but I lost the upgrade. Mrs. CTW came back to tell me how delicious the soup was in C. Doh.

2. Showed up at IAD for IAD-ORD-DFW. Oops, actually DCA-ORD-DFW but I was at IAD. Somehow rebooked and got upgrades (with e500s) on both legs.

3. MUC. Decided to stay at MUC Kempinski despite all meetings/dinners being in town (somehow mis-remembered the distance to MUC). Missed last train to MUC, had to take a cab for EUR75. Struggled to get back and forth to city all week.

4. (Minor). Arrived at Westin Tokyo. She said, you are checking out on Wednesday 12th. I said, no, Thursday 13th - then checked calendar. I had the day wrong!

5. Last month. Climbed Mt. Fuji all night. Took wrong path on way down, ended up on a bus. For some reason, overheard someone say they were going to a different station than bus destination, and thought I should follow. Followed them off bus in small Japanese town, got on another bus. Rode for 1.5 hours, then caught an intercity bus in epic traffic jam for hours. Had I stayed on the original bus, in 20 minutes from where I got off I'd have caught a 45 minute train right into Tokyo. Lesson: stick with the plan.
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Old Aug 10, 09, 1:29 am
  #60  
 
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Originally Posted by Policypeddler View Post
tfar said he/she went to airport one day early. I digress and go off subject...I had a friend who prepped for a colonoscopy. Next day went to hospital and was told he was a day early. Hilarious!
I'm a nurse in a surgery center that does a whole lotta colonoscopies. You'd be surprised how many times that has happened over the years. We would squeeze them into the schedule if at all possible, often the doc was able to come to do the case even if it wasn't his normal day to be at the center.

My travel mistake story: Several years ago a good friend and I took a Mediterranean cruise. Our last stop was Barcelona. The night before our flight back home to MIA I set my travel alarm clock with plenty of time to get ready in the morning, double & triple checked I had set the right time. The next thing we know the front desk is calling that our car to the airport was there waiting for us! I had never actually turned the alarm on! We had to jump up and practically run out of there to make it to the airport in time. No time for showers or anything before our long flight from BCN-MIA.

This was not nearly as bad as what happened to a couple of ladies on that same cruise. These 2 ladies were always wandering away from the group on shore excursions, and constantly late back at the meet up point after free time, always holding everyone up. Our day in Rome they didn't make it to the bus, so missed their ride back to the port (90 min. drive!). They talked some other tour group into driving them back to port just in time to see our ship sailing away, and that was with our ship leaving over an hour late for other reasons. They had to get a cab back to Rome, maxed out their credit cards getting a hotel for the night and a flight to our next port. And the one lady had been bragging about being a travel agent the whole trip. You'd think she'd know better!

Last edited by Airline_Brat; Aug 10, 09 at 1:49 am
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