When people go abroad it tends to get glorified on social media with many a photo of being looking like they’re living the best life going and for some reason usually involve them looking deep and meaningfully into the distance whilst showing off their best feature, the back of their head. It’s a life that’s seen by people to be so carefree and an escape from the stressful and painful day to day grind of being an everyday humanoid. In reality, it’s not as simple and carefree as it seems.
Regardless if you’re a seasoned traveller living the nomadic backpacking life or you’re a simple holidayer who spends their hard-earned cash on sitting by a pool or beach all day in some warm country for a week, going abroad can be stressful and at some point, you will have an awful travel day. It’s bound to happen as it happens regularly in the real world and even if you’re the arsehole in the workplace who shouts at others for being late, we’ve all been there.
However, when it’s international travel or travel/holiday related there are a lot more negative implications than just Mike the arsehole from office getting up in your grill, that coincides with an awful travel day. The fact there’s so much more negative implications to an awful travel day is why we get those lovely videos of angry passengers online and had the U.K. tv series Airline be a thing.
You can sort of measure how bad someone’s travel day is, as obviously having to wait an hour as your plane is delayed due to someone’s stick insect collection coming loose in the hold is a much better travel day than your bus to Zimbabwe exploding whilst you’re peeing at the side of the road. Yet what’s bad to one person isn’t bad to another and telling someone their travel day isn’t that bad and how yours was worse isn’t something you should be doing unless you’re competing in the worlds worst travel day pageant and that sash would look fierce on you, then aye go for it compare.
With myself being a travel wank and someone with an incredible amount of bad luck I’ve had many bad travel days. From spending 12 hours on a train overnight in Indonesia playing footsies and kneesies as there was literally no leg room, to being in a bus fire in Toronto on my way to New York, and to be sitting on a plane waiting to fly to Melbourne form LA to being told the plane was cancelled and the next one was 24 hours later. I’ve experienced a lot to the point a 4 delay (pending I don’t have a connecting flight) doesn’t bother me at all, just means I get to spend more time being miffed about the 15th photo that week someone’s posted of their child on Instagram thinking that we all want to see their child on our phones so much.
My worst travel day, however, came very recently at the time of writing, only 6 days before to be precise.
I was flying from Mexico City to New York and then changing airlines doing the old self-transfer shenanigans to board a flight to Moscow and then onto Istanbul, Turkey. Being an anxiety-filled human I tend to arrive absurdly early sometimes up to 5 hours early, however, with the flight departing at 9 am and not being sure if I can sleep in Mexico City Airport (shout out to my favourite website www.sleepinginairports.info) I arrived 2 hours early. 2 hours early is a reasonable time to arrive before a flight, even airlines say so and they won’t lie to you unless you call them big jobbies or something. Yet in this situation, 2 hours wasn’t enough time as there were more lines about than a party at Charlie Sheens’ house. In these lines, it took me about an hour and a half to get through security where I had to do an immigration form thingy, which caused me to miss my flight – my absolute worst nightmare, even more than being stuck next to a crying baby with no headphones.
After missing the flight the airline got me on a flight to Cancun and then onto New York however I would be getting in later than when my flight to Russia takes off, with only the hope the flight was delayed for ages for me to make it. No doubts I missed the flight as there was more chance of Quasimodo winning Miss Universe than me getting my fat arse onto that plane seat. When I was in Cancun I had planned to call the new airline to inform them of what was going on as I couldn’t in Mexico City as I was getting whisked away onto the Cancun flight right after the change was made, but when I arrived in Cancun I didn’t get the chance to call which became a fatal blow in my travel plans that were already obviously messed up.
Upon arrival into Cancun, I did the little lemming thing you do by following the signs for connecting flights and lined up for another security check where I discovered that I was in the wrong terminal. I was informed to go on the free terminal shuttle which tuned out to not be free and cost me 100 pesos to get to the right terminal which was 4 minutes away – The shuttle people demanded 300 pesos which they were greeted with a very delightful fuck off from yours truly. I arrived at the gate just as boarding had commenced and had no choice to sort everything out from the comforts of the floor in JFK airport.
From the comforts of that lovely floor in JFK I found out that I was not getting a refund from the airline or a flight change as I hadn’t made the flight and was a classed as no show making me feel like I had stood them up for drinks with the troops and they were breaking up with me as a result. Even with calling the ticket desk the next day at the airport, they weren’t doing anything and could only make an official dispute with the airline online. Basically, I was royally fucked and was stuck in New York for the time being. With limited funds, I had to make the decision to end my travels after over a year on the road and spend all of my remaining funds on flying back home to Scotland.
My absolute nightmare of a travel day that resulted in me spending 65 hours across 4 days (40 of them being spent in JFK airport) in airports and having to take 4 connecting flights to get to Glasgow, all to arrive back with only £25 to my name and one of my best gals Nicola being a wee babe saving me by giving me a ride from Glasgow to my mums’ house to isolate for 2 weeks.
Absolute stinker of 4 days, but I’ll be back out on the road soon.
Swankie – 24. Scotland. Loveable Loser.