One of my amazing sisters sent out a Snap this week from an airport bar. Her flight to Baltimore had “voluntold” her she was bumped since she was one of the last people to check in. Tough break? Maybe not. She ended up with airport restaurant vouchers, another flight, and $500 gift card from American Express. It got me thinking, what’s your best or worst flight experience?
I asked for stories and I got them! Here were the best and worst with one of my own to start!
Never Trust a Man Who Grunts
After a disaster of an experience moving to Germany, I was finally set to fly back stateside. The ordeal of getting to the airport is a tale for another day, but I did make it around 4am, 6 hours before my flight. I bundled up and waited for the ticket counters to open. Upon check in they told me my luggage was too heavy, I was to take this slip to that man over there and take care of it. Alright. Slip in hand I wander over to where they pointed me and gave the slip to a giant of a man in the largest pair of overalls I have ever seen in my life. He literally grunted, crumbled the slip up into a ball then threw it away. I guess that was my lucky break. After all, I was 20 something, broken hearted, and flat out broke.
When it was finally time to board, they scanned my ticket and told me I couldn’t get on the plane. My luggage was too heavy. I explained to them that I had attempted to take care of it and what had happened. Nope, no boarding for me unless I paid the fee. Either I could pay cash right then or miss the flight. Not having any cash on me, I asked if I could go to the ATM. There was no time. Mind you, I’ve only been hanging out in the airport for close to 8 hours at this point. It was the straw that broke the camel. Crying, I sat down on the floor taking items out of my carry on explaining that surely this would balance out the weight! Not that even I thought that would work. Realizing I was now officially stranded in Germany, I cried a little harder and whimpered “I just want to go home! I just want to go to America!” I know, how embarrassingly American of me.
Thankfully, a nice Dutchmen told me that the same thing had happened to him and paid my fee. With the promise of the ATM at the next airport, I was allowed to board. In the end, he accepted the $18 American dollars I had and wished me the best.
Hurry Up & Wait
“Flew to JFK on a 10 1/2-hour flight from Athens. The plane was early, but sat on the runway for 45 minutes. When we finally made it through customs, we ran for what seemed like miles to get to our connecting flight to CHS. They had already closed the door but the plane was still sitting there. The airline refused to open the door and let us on the flight. So, we spent the night near JFK (on us because Delta said it wasn’t their fault that we missed our connection), with no suitcases or clothes after traveling for hours. Good times.” Elaine, Charleston, SC
To Your Left, You’ll See the Tarmac. To the Right, the Same
“Leaving out of LaGuardia and sat on the runway for 4 hours!!! Severe storms all up and down eastern seaboard. Pilot tried 8 different routes and all were denied!! Four hours on a plane not moving with a 5 year old not good!!! And we only got one free drink out of it!!!” Jill, Spartanburg, SC
Bionic Woman & The Curse Of The Metal Detector
“I got detained by national security is Changi International Airport, Singapore, for having documents that wouldn’t allow me to leave the country. They took my passport, drivers license, and boarding pass, disappeared behind a door and didn’t come back for about 40 minutes. Finally was cleared to leave the country, only to get to the checkpoint to walk through the actual metal detector and get flagged again for having metal in my leg. I see all flying as an adventure and always laugh off the bad that happens.” Melissa, Silverdale, WA
Wake Up! We’ve Got Tires!
“On a runway in Saõ Paulo for 4 hours while they waited for a new set of tires for the plane, which was completely packed. The tires were held up in customs, and they were trying to get the customs officer to get out of bed and open up customs to get them out. Finally they ordered everyone off, put everyone on buses and took us to a hotel where we were fed. We were rebooked on another flight 24 hours later, so we had the entire day. I was in one of the first buses, so I raced to the hotel counter and got a nice room in case there weren’t enough rooms for everyone and they tried to make people double up. They had a hot meal waiting for us when we got there around 1 am, and we could use room service, the pool, etc. It was great.” Michael, North Charleston, SC
Is That A Bullet In Your Purse Or Are You Happy To See TSA?
“I got detained at CHS because there was a bullet in Becca’s purse (not even my property) that I had picked up from a parking lot months before. Circled by cops on bikes, FAA authorities questioned me, put me on the “at risk” flight list, threatened me with jail time and a fine, then had to pull the pilot off the plane so he could evaluate me and determine if I was “safe” enough to fly on his plane. Meanwhile Becca’s laughing at all of this while I’m freaking out! That’s just one of MANY stories that we’ve experienced in airports…” Nicole, Asheville, NC
Up All Night In Paris
“Unexpected layover in Paris, where the workers were on strike. There was no air conditioning in July, our tickets were not right, and we missed our flight. Sat in the airport waiting for the next flight for 8 hours after being up all night. Oh and we had our 3 month old with us.” Jenna, North Bend, WA
Bubbles or Nothing
“Worst: Flew out of Portland, Maine- first flight was cancelled by an act of God (bad weather), next one wasn’t til the next day, had to get a hotel that we had to pay for, got to the hotel, it was on fire. Cousin left really expensive jewelry at place where we had been, they said they couldn’t find it. Called police to meet her there and take report, it miraculously reappeared. On our flight the next day we were chosen for “extra security” which meant full on pat down and search, my luggage had broken and was strategically zipped-they unzipped and I couldn’t get it back-then we had a 7 hr layover in Detroit. Went out into a lounge area of a hotel attached to airport, didn’t realize when we went back through security we would be patted down and searched again… There were 5 of us, it was a small security area and they were unprepared and pissed, my cousin’s husband had words and almost got arrested in the airport… Made it home eventually.
Best: Got upgraded on a transatlantic flight and drank free champagne all the way home in business class.” Sarah, Danville, KY
Bottoms Up Down Under
“Best experience…. flying Quantas… LAX to Sydney… unlimited free alcohol, warm blankets, pillows, eye covers….ALL IN COACH!” Jami, Boiling Springs, SC
You Missed A Spot
“A guy flying next to me got sick & mostly missed his barf bag…. most of it went on the seat & himself he got up to clean himself up, but left me there sitting next to his smelly barf…” Amy, Birmingham, AL
Make sure to look out next week’s Travel Tips Tuesday with TSA tips, tricks, and hilarious fails as well as how getting bumped from a flight might make for your best flying experience! Happy travels everyone! Just remember, it could be worse!