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Really Bad Travel Days

We want to hear about your adventures, be they from Istanbul, Ixtapa or Ixonia. And hey, you might even find someone you can sell your extra Euros to.

Really Bad Travel Days

Postby gargantua » Thu Mar 04, 2010 5:55 pm

Let's see who has the worst travel experience. Mine occurred this past Sunday/Monday. It started with a 1 1/2 hour bus ride on a narrow, bumpy road in Jamaica. Then it's time to wait in line to check in at the American Airlines counter. Followed by waiting in a long line to get through immigration, and a subsequent long line through security. That's a pain, bu it's routine nonetheless. First we are informed that the flight (2:30 pm) will be delayed an hour. Happens all the time. Two hours go by, at which time we are informed that there is a mechanical problem, a part needs to be flown in from Miami, so we are now scheduled to depart at 6 am the following morning.

There ensues a mad rush to the ticket agent, where I and 200 of my new best friends wait in line...for hours. We finally get vouchers for transportation and a hotel room. Then it's time to get back in the immigration line, followed by the Customs line. But wait! We bought some duty-free rum, so we get to go to the Customs Office to wait in line for the privilege of filling out a form so they can hold on to our rum for us.
Then, we go out to hop in the bus...which isn't big enough for everybody, so some of us had to wait for another bus to show up. After a ride to the hotel, we all get to, you guessed it, wait in line to get checked in. We finally get to our room by about 9 pm, in time to a few hours of sleep until 2:30 am to grab the bus back to the airport.

So we get to the airport and go through the whole airline counter/immigration/security deal again, plus a special bonus trip to the Customs Office to retrieve our duty-free rum. After which they make us go back through security again for some reason.

So, an hour before we are supposed to leave, they tell us the repair failed, and they'll be getting another one from Miami. They won't know until noon whether or not that repair worked. Here comes another rush to the ticket agent! A couple hours of waiting later, we have a voucher for $10 apiece for lunch, and tickets to Chicago by way of Miami with a 5 hour layover.

At least we had time to wait in line to go through immigration and customs in Miami. Had to drive home after landing in Chicago too. Oh yeah, we had respiratory viruses too, and ran out of the medication we were using to you know, keep breathing.

That felt good. I have no doubt someone can top it, which is kind of a sad commentary on modern travel.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby friendofafriend » Sun Mar 07, 2010 1:13 pm

Wow. You went through all that AND the inundation of hair braiders, weed sellers, money changers, that is jamaica. I've been there twice and that's enough. It's beautiful but the aggressive hawkers are the worst I've experienced in the caribbean and mexico. I hope your stay was better than the voyage.

How'd you feel about getting on that hard-to-fix plane?
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby gargantua » Wed Mar 10, 2010 5:14 pm

friendofafriend wrote:Wow. You went through all that AND the inundation of hair braiders, weed sellers, money changers, that is jamaica. I've been there twice and that's enough. It's beautiful but the aggressive hawkers are the worst I've experienced in the caribbean and mexico. I hope your stay was better than the voyage.

How'd you feel about getting on that hard-to-fix plane?



The resort itself was great. It had security on the beach who were good about making sure that you weren't bothered excessively. We've been to Jamaica often enough to have become immune to the vendors...we just chat briefly, show a little respect, and move on.

We ended up on a completely different aircraft, taking us home by way of Miami as opposed to directly to Chicago. It was a weird feeling watching that big silver paperweight sitting there empty as we taxied to the runway.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby sadiekat » Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:57 am

No doubt it was frustrating, but you were, you know, IN Jamaica. I can think of much worse places to be stranded. Many meds that are available only by RX here are available in JA at the pharmacy- you just need to ask the pharmacist. Two or three trips ago, I left here with a cold that turned into bronchitis on the rock. A visit the pharmacy and $20 American got me a week's supply of broad-spectrum antibiotics.

Not sure I would have been eager to get on a plane that was causing so much trouble- I might have just bought an AirTran ticket to MKE or plopped my butt in a beach chair for a few days.

Sorry your travel was so awful, I've got nothing to compare it to, except maybe this:

Several years ago, we were headed to a conference in DC, flying out of Madison on ATA by way of Chicago. There was a snowstorm that had passed through and our MSN-Chicago flight was cancelled, as is the custom. The very helpful agent said that we were SOL, unless we, and the other dozen DC-bound passengers were willing to ride to Chicago in a cab they'd called for us. It was a local, Madison cab company, with a couple of minivans. We and the other weary travelers loaded into the van, and set off for Midway. Our cab driver looked very much like Uncle Buck, and we had a more or less pleasant trip to IL, until we got to the toll booths. Driver had no change, so we all had to pool together to get enough change for the tolls, and as the roads were still slushy, he needed to use the windshield wipers often. Except, he had no washer fluid, so there was a constant scratching-scraping noise as the wipers ground the road debris into the glass. He didn't have enough gas to make it to the airport, so we had to stop at an oasis for him to fill up. When we opened up the hatch to retrieve a bag from the back, there was an ENTIRE bottle of windshield fluid, so my DH kindly filled up his reservoir. Since the van had stopped, of course everyone got out and headed for a restroom break. Back in the van, the driver headed in the general direction of Midway, although it was clear from the route he took that he had ABSOLUTELY no idea where he was going. Increasingly frantic, we tried giving him directions, which just made him nervous. Finally, we arrived at the airport, and went to check in only to find that we had just missed the window of actually getting on the plane we'd come for.

That was a no good, very bad day, indeed.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby Michael Patrick » Fri Apr 27, 2012 8:46 am

We arrived at Heathrow Airport in London (after a train ride from Bath where we had been staying) for our return flight to Madison (via Amsterdam and Detroit). When we got to the counter, we discovered that they had changed the time of our flight, and that it had left an hour ago. I guess our bad for not checking, but why the hell would they change the departure time by moving it two and a half hours earlier than originally scheduled?

Of course, it was the last flight out of Heathrow for the day that could have gotten us to Madison. The agent was able to get us on a flight out of a different airport (Gatwick if I'm remembering right), but we had to run like hell to catch the airport shuttle bus, and hope that traffic wasn't bad or we'd miss the flight. Fortunately, we made it to Gatwick in time, and the last leg of our journey was the same flight from Detroit to Madison we had originally been scheduled on. So our little adventure wound up not delaying our arrival in Madison.

But wait, there's more...

After traveling for 24 hours (counting from the start of our journey at the train station in Bath), we arrived home to discover that our basement had flooded while we were gone. It was obvious that it had been that way for at least a couple of days, and it was already starting to smell which means we couldn't just ignore it.... So rather than falling into bed like we wanted to, we had to spend the next four hours cleaning up the mess left by the flood.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby gargantua » Sun Jun 17, 2012 11:12 am

I've heard this observation often enough that I just have to comment on it. When flights are delayed a long time and you happen to be at a wonderful vacation destination, people often say things like "At least you're still in Jamaica!"

People who say that can't have traveled much. You are in Jamaica in name only. You are in fact in a crowded, uncomfortable airport. I have heard that there are some really nice airports, but most airports are among the closest places to Hell this side of death. Most of the time, if you are in an airport, it doesn't matter where the airport is located. Sucks to be you, better luck next time.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby david cohen » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:05 pm

ANYTHING in or out of Delhi...
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby Endo Rockstar » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:17 pm

gargantua wrote:I've heard this observation often enough that I just have to comment on it. When flights are delayed a long time and you happen to be at a wonderful vacation destination, people often say things like "At least you're still in Jamaica!"

People who say that can't have traveled much. You are in Jamaica in name only. You are in fact in a crowded, uncomfortable airport. I have heard that there are some really nice airports, but most airports are among the closest places to Hell this side of death. Most of the time, if you are in an airport, it doesn't matter where the airport is located. Sucks to be you, better luck next time.


Just had this experience. Lesson learned. Never ever ever book a connecting flight home from Jamacia. It doesn't matter how much time you leave for a layover -- you WILL miss your connecting flight.

"is that enough time to make it on that fight in North Carolina?"
"Yah Mon, no problem."
lies all lies

-Dan Motor
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby Stebben84 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 2:29 pm

gargantua wrote:I have heard that there are some really nice airports, but most airports are among the closest places to Hell this side of death. Most of the time, if you are in an airport, it doesn't matter where the airport is located. Sucks to be you, better luck next time.


Last year I had a layover at the Copenhagen airport. HOLY SHIT. It was the nicest airport I had ever been to. As a matter of fact, it was an unbelievable place. Granted, I'm not going to spend days there, but If I was stuck there overnight, I don't think I'd mind. I say this realizing that, yes, it is still an airport.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby Detritus » Fri Aug 31, 2012 3:13 pm

Changi Airport in Singapore is pretty amazing. Good food, nice rooms to rent (or you can just rent a shower if that's all you need), excellent bookstore. It even has its own zoo. Pudong airport in Shanghai and Kansai International in Osaka are both not too bad places to spend 12 hours or so.

On the other hand, Reagan International has to be the world's crappiest airport. Ugly, gray, poorly designed, bad food, no comfortable seating. Very well named, though.
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby david cohen » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:15 pm

I'll second that emotion for Changi Airport in Singapore. The place is spotless, the food is good, theft is almost nonexistent and the zoo rocks if you have a long layover. In addition, if you are flying Singapore Airlines, life is good!
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Re: Really Bad Travel Days

Postby jman111 » Fri Aug 31, 2012 4:41 pm

Endo Rockstar wrote:Just had this experience. Lesson learned. Never ever ever book a connecting flight home from Jamacia. It doesn't matter how much time you leave for a layover -- you WILL miss your connecting flight.

"is that enough time to make it on that fight in North Carolina?"
"Yah Mon, no problem."
lies all lies

-Dan Motor

This spring, on return from Jamaica, scheduled a 4+ hr layover in Orlando, to avoid a missed connection. Wouldn't you know it, we actually landed early...no delays.
Not sure what's worse, a missed connection or 4+ hrs trying to avoid/ deal with the hordes of kids pissed off and screaming 'cuz the Disney vacation is almost over.
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