There are any number of things travelers just do not want to hear. With everything from the pilot coming on the loudspeaker to announce that there’s a problem with one of the engines (but don’t worry, it will be fine) to the flight attendant telling you there’s no more vodka (admittedly this hasn’t ever happened to me, but imagine if it did!), there are a litany of announcements that can send even the most chipper traveler spiraling into the murky depths of a travel nightmare. Here are a few of the worst.
Your Flight Is Cancelled
You’re standing there, bags at your feet, staring at the departure screen trying to figure out which gate to head to when you see the words flash on the screen. No. It can’t be. It has to be another flight. It must be. But no, it’s yours and it’s cancelled. All of the weariness of traveling suddenly settles onto your shoulders and you feel exhausted with the uncertainty of not knowing when or how you’re going to get to where you need to be. You head to the information desk and begin the process of trying to reconstruct your unraveling travel plans. And then, you head to the bar. If it’s a weather-related cancellation and the airline declines to put you up for the night in a nearby hotel, we just hope you’re not stuck in the Reykjavik Keflavik Airport where sleeping is prohibited.
I Can’t Find Your Booking
It’s been a long day and it’s about to be an even longer night. Standing at the hotel counter, feeling the pleasant weariness that creeps in when you know you’re at the tail-end of a long day, the hotel employee looks up at you with a quizzical expression, “I’m sorry, but I can’t seem to find your booking.” Noooooooooo! The hotel is full so they call a few other hotels to see if anyone has a room for the night, but it seems there’s a huge event and all of the hotels are booked solid. If you’re lucky, you might find lodging in a nearby town or the manager will offer to let you sleep on a cot in his office (yes, that happened).
Those Were the Last Bags Off the Flight
The first prick of panic pulls you out of your jetlagged fog when you realize everyone else on your flight has claimed their bags and happily made their way out of baggage claim. You and a few other stragglers are standing around hoping to see a familiar bag tumble down the conveyor belt and onto the carousel. Five minutes, ten minutes, fifteen minutes. After thirty, you head to the information desk and lean heavily against the counter as they try to track down your bag. It’s okay, you didn’t really need those extra clothes anyway.
There’s a Severe Storm Headed Our Way
Your flight was on time, you picked up your bags, the hotel found your booking, and as you flop down on the hotel bed, eagerly anticipating a week of sunbathing at the beach or ambling nonchalantly down sun-soaked cobblestone streets, you flip on the tv. It’s the weather report and guess what’s headed your way? Rain and wind and lots of it. Looks like it’s going to be a museum, indoor pool, and room service kind of vacation. Sigh.
There’s a Train/Bus/Airport Strike
You fly into Paris and plan to catch the high-speed train to the French Alps or perhaps the South of France. You imagined leaning back into your plush seat, a glass of wine in one hand and a French phrasebook in the other as you watch France slip past you one vineyard and farmhouse at a time. Instead, you’re sitting in the train station desperately trying to figure out if and when you can catch a train to your destination or…anywhere. You opt for a bus, but the bus drivers are on strike too. At least you can still get that glass of wine.