Flying from Berlin to Austin this past March was probably one of the worst (if not THE worst) travel day that has befallen us.
Now, on a normal, regular priced ticket, I’m sure this flight shouldn’t have taken more than 15 hours to get from point A to point B. My cheapskate self put us on a 19 hour, 2 layover trip that had stopovers in both Heathrow and JFK.
Welcome to my hell (in neat, awesome bullet points!).
- Woke up after 3 hours of sleep. We must love our friends in Berlin to have stayed out so late the night prior.
- Shaun was a bit groggy and noticed he was sniffling and had extreme sinus pressure. This is something you want to avoid at all costs when on a trans-ANYTHING flight.
- During our 3 hours of sleep, 1 inch of snow had accumulated on the ground. We trudged our way to the U-Bahn with our rolling suitcases.
- We arrived at the U-Bahn stop for the airport bus and it ran late, leaving us open to the elements and the extreme snowfall (to be fair, any snowfall is extreme for us Austin peeps).
- After checking into the slightly confusing Tegel airport, we went through our first security checkpoint.
- At the gate, we notice that none of the planes had started the de-icing process.
- We board onto the plane and sit for a while. The captain notifies us that we are 14th in line for the de-icing station. They have to physically drag the plane to a station and have no clue how long it will take.
- I get seated in front of an unruly 5 year old who is kicking and violently shaking my seat. Shaun takes the middle seat and sits in front of the screaming 2 year old. Normally I don’t mind kids on flights but this parent had no control. I remind myself to take my birth control later on.
- Shaun’s head explodes on the flight.
- We miss our connection in London.
- After standing in long, windy line at the “Missed Connections” desk, new tickets are assigned to us for a flight to Dallas, TX departing in 3 hours (which would only put us an hour behind of our original arrival time in Austin!). I had to tell the lady what major airports flew home and we had to avoid NYC and Chicago as well due to impending Blizzard.
- Re-check in and go through our second security checkpoint.
- We get taken advantage of as there have been no other money exchange booths available to us and get 22 USD for 26 EUR. *OUCH*
- As we sit on the plane waiting to be taxied out to the runway, another plane was being taxied behind us and their tow car broke down… DIRECTLY BEHIND US.
- After no response from the airport, airline, or maintenance, we had to sit and wait for someone to rescue this random tow car.
- After 1 1/2 hours a mechanic shows up and takes 2 minutes to get the car started and moved.
- Shaun’s head explodes on the plane and we miss the connection in Dallas.
- As we exit the plane, the airline already had new tickets printed giving us 30 more minutes of time. *armpump*
- We run. I give Run, Lola, Run a run for the money. I continue to run even after my asthma kicks in.
- Hopes are dashed as we come to the ridiculously long immigration line (to get back INTO the country) and no one really cares to help us get expedited.
- I break down. Tears start flowing. We have reached 24 hours of travel. People in the immigration line stare while trying to figure out what is wrong with me.
- We get let back into the USA and RUN to pick up our bags. Hopes are dashed again as we arrive at the ridiculously long customs line, with no less than 6 “S” turns. Shaun had to fight to get expedited with 5 minutes left before our boarding time.
- We have to re-check our bags after leaving customs.
- We realize our departure terminal is on the opposite side of the airport.
- We run to the closest security checkpoint. A security worker tells us that the line is really long and that we should run to the next checkpoint as there will be fewer people.
- We arrive at our third security checkpoint, throw our stuff on the belt, take off our shoes and wait.
- The TSA decide to turn on and start using the full body scanner. They stop all processing while they wait for the machine to warm up.
- We scan, grab our stuff, and run to the Skylink (the train to take you to other terminals) and barely make it inside the train as the doors close behind us.
- We get off at Terminal C and run to the gate.
- The gate had been moved to Terminal A.
- We run back to the Skylink and once again barely make it inside the train as the doors close behind us.
- We arrive in Terminal A huffing and puffing, having run as fast as we could to the gate.
- The plane had already boarded and the gate doors are shut. 4 other people who arrived late from a delayed Minnesota flight were trying to convince the airline workers to allow them to board, to no avail.
- I try to hold back more tears as we join the pleading.
- Due to the fact we had just come off an international flight, they decide to open the doors for us and the Minnesota people (who are extremely appreciative that we helped get them on the plane).
- We plop down in the first available seats, wheezing.
- I fall asleep on the 35 minute flight to Austin (5 minutes added due to crazy lightning storm) while Shaun’s head explodes.
- We sit at the luggage carousel, crossing our fingers that our baggage also made it onto the plane. We had been through the biggest ordeal out of everyone on the plane.
- We do a victory dance when our luggage arrives.
- Other passengers of our flight begin applauding.
It took us 26 hours 15 minutes from door to door and my mental state would be considered shoddy at best by the time we arrived in warm, balmy Austin, Texas. You can imagine my glee when my very awesome roomie was all smiles and on time to pick us up. I think any other issues and I would have gone postal.
Note to self: You have the money to pay a little extra for peace of mind. This was then solidified on our current trip to Guatemala when we missed our connection in Ft. Lauderdale and were handed a 2 day layover. WOMP WOMP
I’m scared that Shaun will want to start taking over the plans…
Who am I kidding?! 😛
What are your bad travel experiences? Do you avoid certain modes of transportation, or do you think it is something we all “just have to deal with”?