Hello friends and family!
I realize I have been slow to update anyone about my travels but I worked so many hours/days since I got back that this is my first free opportunity to focus.
This post will be the introduction and end to my Europe travels, and by this I mean my struggles with air travel.
Day 1 (May 6th): It’s the day we had been waiting for finally! The day we leave from Lansing and arrive in the Netherlands. We arrived at the airport nervous, yet confident about our trip. It was a beautiful day outside as well, so how could anything go wrong? Our plane was set to leave at 3:30pm. We arrived early and got through security no problem and sat in the little tiny waiting area. We talked to the people around us and were ready to go. At about 3:15 we started wondering why there were no announcements and no planes. We decided to start lining up by the gate hoping it would come soon. About 10 minutes later I hear a women talking on her phone trying to rebook a flight, and she quickly takes a second to tell us that our flight has been completely cancelled. CANCELLED? We looked at each other in panic wondering how this could happen, when we decided to go to the front to see what is going on. At about this time I receive a text message informing me of the cancellation. The TV screens in the airport said the flight was still on time. Go figure. We are the 3rd in line and we over here the worker telling people there are no flights until the 10th. FOUR DAYS! He tells us the same and that we need to call United. I proceed to stay on the phone for 2 hours while we manage to get my parents to come back to the airport, and I struggle to understand the man I am trying to work with to get us to Europe. Finally we get a flight booked for the next morning. Emotionally and physically exhausted, Rose and I spent the night at my place and drank a bottle of wine and hoped for a better day tomorrow.
Day 2 (May 7th)
We are now flying out of Detroit and arrive early and excited to go. See how prepared we were this time?!
We get through security sit at our gate, and we are informed our flight is delayed an hour or so. Well that’s great since we were going to be stuck in DC for 6 hours, so why not here now? Well, the plane gets delayed another hour, and then another, and then another. They told us we should be fine but, good luck to us! We met really great people though, a family called the Carty Party who said we could stay with them if we did miss the plane, and an adorable young couple from East Lansing. We had just enough time once we arrive in DC to have a glass of wine and board our plane.
9 Hours Later it is the start of Day 3 which is to be continued in the next post…
Jump to Day 26 and Day 27 because I want to get the worst blog post out of the way right now and not revisit it at the end of all my fabulous life adventures.
Day 26th (May 31st)
I arrive at Stuttgart airport with my information in hand. I had just printed it out the night prior, showing everything was good. They go to enter my ticket numbers and information to give me my boarding pass, when they inform me that they have no record of me. No, it was not as simple as that. They could see my name, and they could see the paper that I gave them, but nothing was showing an accurate ticket number which means they cannot issue me a boarding pass. I started to panic at this point when the man nicely said that his co-worker would make some phone calls and figure it out. About 20 minutes later she waves me over and tells me that she has called Air Canada and they have no record either, and United does not as well. Keep in mind I am flying with Lufthansa at this point but started my trip with United Airlines. I said, “So what can I do to prove I have a ticket?” She said she didn’t know and that I needed to contact my travel agent. At this point I lose it and start panicking even more, I start shaking and crying and I call my mom frantic to get Orbitz toll free number and any other information they might find in my email that I didn’t have with me. Orbitz puts me on hold while I have 60 minutes before my flight departs. I wait 30 minutes and head back up to the counter crying and asking if there is anything else they can do, that my travel agent is not doing anything for me and that I am going to miss my flight. The women does all the she can, makes a ton of phone calls, and finally says that her supervisor is waving me through for my flight to Frankfurt but that I still don’t have a ticket number. I now need to get a ticket number that works from United since United lost all of my information from the change in my original flight. I rush to catch my flight, which is delayed 30 minutes, leaving me only 1 hour from when we land in Frankfurt for me to get a ticket so I can get a boarding pass and catch my flight.
I arrive in Franfurt with a text from my Mom who has been on the phone with Orbitz, Air Canada, Lufthansa, and United trying to figure out what has happend. It says go to Air Canada and show my confirmation number and that should work. Well it didn’t. They again told me that had no ticket number for me, called their supervisors and try to figure it out. In the mean time, I am again waiting, making phone calls, crying, talking to airline workers, and after another 1.5 hours, the flight starts boarding when I realize I am not making this flight and I am now stranded in Frankfurt. They tell me they are sorry and that I need to go to talk to a United worker. I go through this huge airport, go to the United desk only to find out they are closed for the night (at 6pm) and will not be back until morning. I continue to talk with my mom and I inform my Aunt Rosie that she may need to come and drive 2 hours to rescue me.
A lady from Orbitz calls me and asks to talk to an Air Canada worker, which is nowhere around where I am at so I ask if Lufthansa is okay? I start walking over to this guy when the phone drops. I apologize to the man, explain that this lady wanted to talk to him (sounds a little crazy) and I proceed to start with, “I know there is nothing you can do, but I might as well tell you what is going on and why she wanted to talk to you.” So I tell him everything that I have went through, the story of all my messed up air travels from May 6th, 7th, and today. He makes a few calls, writes down a few things, and tells me I have a flight for tomorrow and a hotel with a $20 food credit for the night.
WHAT?!?! Amazing! The only catch is that United is still at fault, so I need to in the mean time, work out how to get a ticket number that works from United. I feel so relieved yet worried for working with United over the phone and my looming cell phone bill.
The hotel was super nice, dinner was a buffet so I totally got to eat dessert, and I got to finally relax. Breakfast was also awesome. That night at 12am I got a call from Orbitz and United to work out the final details. After another hour, I was given good news that I would be provided with a ticket number at the airport from United.
Day 27 (June 1st)
I arrive super early, get in line for United and I am told once more that they have nothing, “but oh, wait, let me read this really quick, ” says the lady. I say “YES! Please DO read it, CAREFULLY!” One minute goes by and she says we can get you a ticket, just one minute. OMG YAY. Finally what I wanted to hear. I go to Lufthansa they get me a ticket, and I now know I am on my way home!
I ate tasty food on the plane, had an emergency exit row, and got lots of free wine!
I tried to end it with a positive note. So, I won’t talk about my lost luggage since I got it back only one day late :-).
Please stay tuned for MUCH better stories and pictures!