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Travel bad dreams come true?

I'm sure we've all had those reoccurring bad dreams that we over slept and missed our flights, or forgot to pack until one had to leave for the airport, or even better- forgot to pack shoes.

On our last trip we actually lived through a bad dream but an hour later we laughed.
On day four we had train tickets purchased to depart at 9:30am out of Barcelona to Perpignon (non refundable if we missed our train). To set the stage, day three was really rough for me since I hardly slept on night 2. After packing my suitcase went to bed around 9:00 on night 3. My husband wasn't tired so he found a pub to have a beer. We didn't set an alarm (we are always early risers).

Well at 8:45am I wake up, look at the clock, think about day and time, and the bad dream hits... I scream "HOLY CRAP, we HAVE TO GO!". We leap out of bad, get dressed, pack and are out the door, pay for our room, run down the street to a corner wher we hail a cab, 10 minutes to the station, find our track, get on the train with 2 minutes to spare. After we recovered from our almost heart attract, we laughed.... Best line from the whole vacation. The funny thing is that in this case, if we missed the train, buying new tickets would only have bee €120, but I guess I didn't have time to process the concequences or cost of alternatives.

So what bad dreams have you lived for real?

Posted by
14885 posts

My worst was getting confused about the date of my flight to Beijing. It was a 1 am flight on Wednesday night (so the departure date was Thursday) and at some point I had it in my head that I wasn't flying until Thursday night! Luckily I was very organized and had my checked bag (for a 5 week trip including northern winter and southern summer) and had left only a few errands for the last 24 hours. I was feeling really proud of myself and then about 4-5 hours before the actual flight I got a text message (thankfully) from the airline with an entertainment promo for my flight that night. Total panic. I still had to shop for a backpack for my carry-on (and then pack it) and take my cat to Jerusalem to the sitter. With a few phone calls and the help of a couple friends, I was able to arrange for someone to take the cat the next day, bought a new backpack about an hour before the stores closed, packed it, got everything else done and even managed to get to and through the airport before boarding began.

My friends and I laugh about it now, but even as I write this, I still get a few butterflies in my gut. I had 4 wonderful days in freezing but sunny Beijing before flying on to New Zealand. If I'd missed the flight, never mind the cost, I would have missed most of Beijing since the next flight out wasn't until Saturday night.

Posted by
11450 posts

Karen and Chani.. sounds super stressful .. I haven't had such a disaster yet.. but always worry and double and triple check my folder ( the "golden" folder in which my trips life is maintained.. lol.. contact numbers for all hotels, all train, plane and hotels listed etc) ..

I honestly think with my uptight personality I would vomit if I woke at 8.45 for a 930 train.. lol

Posted by
7587 posts

I had it happen one time when I was living in DC and was just going home to Oklahoma. I was flying out of BWI which of course is the furthest airport for those of us living in the Virginia suburbs. It was the kind of thing where I woke up at 8:30 when my flight was at 9:30 or 10:30 or some such -- and BWI's about a 45-minute drive away. I don't remember WHY I had slept through my alarm, I guess just working late before leaving on vacation. I was in tears the whole way to the airport. I think I made it to the airport before the scheduled departure time of my flight, which meant at least I was able to cancel/rebook before it departed. I don't think they even charged me, I guess they just felt kindly towards me given the stress I was exhibiting. I remember I parked in the short-term parking but had time to go repark in long term after getting the next flight arranged.

In the end I guess I made it home only 2 or 3 hours after I normally would have, and it wasn't a problem as my parents were coming to get me. But I was just absolutely mystified as to how I had managed to sleep through my alarm.

Posted by
4672 posts

This actually happened to my daughter (while studying abroad in Edinburgh) earlier this year.
She & a friend decided to fly to London, to visit another friend, who was studying there.
When they arrived at the airport for their outbound flight, they checked the departure monitor, and waited at the boarding gate. When they were ready to board the plane, they were told that they were at the wrong gate. So they (along with about 10 other passengers) ran to the correct gate only to be told that the gate had just closed & they were not allowed to board the plane, even though the plane was still at the gate!
They ended up booking a flight for the following morning (with a different airline),
since there were no other flights available that night.

The following evening, she called me and explained that there had been two different airlines flying to Edinburgh, at the very same time, and they had been waiting at the boarding gate for easyJet... But their flight was with Ryanair!

They apparently had misread the departure monitor...

Did they miss any other flights during their many travels?.... Nope!

Posted by
2526 posts

Survived a massive tropical storm with standing water in our room and electricity very much live. Staff abandoned the hotel so we hit the bar and enjoyed a few drinks. After the storm passed, roads and bridges were out in many areas but the road from our hotel was open. We made our way to the airport and hopped a plane might be able to carry us without delay. Fortunately, yes.

Posted by
14885 posts

The story I related above about my Beijing flight had me incredibly stressed for about 8 hours until I boarded the flight, but then calm set in and I slept pretty well, had a great time.

My worst story - sparing the details - was having my leg (foot and calf) in a still-wet plaster cast in Larnaca when the 4-star hotel caught on fire, with the alarm system turned off and the first people to evacuate were the hotel staff. To give them the benefit of the doubt, I think they called the fire department before they abandoned the guests. And people wonder why I have never returned to nearby Cyprus.

Posted by
11286 posts

When I went to Spain in 1995, I was piddling around on departure day when I should have been getting to the airport (I wasn't doing anything important). I left my apartment so late that I got to JFK at 6:20 PM for a 6:30 departure to Madrid! In those pre 9/11 days, I actually made the flight (an Iberia employee took me right to the head of the security line and then onto the plane, as everyone on board was glaring at me - quite understandably). Needless to say, the adrenaline I had released on the way to the airport (thinking I would miss the plane) kept me awake for the whole flight. Also needless to say, nowadays when they close flights aggressively, and with post 9/11 security concerns, there's no way I would have been on the flight.

Given this real experience, I am now very risk-averse when it comes to allowing enough time to get to the airport.

Posted by
18297 posts

This didn't actually happen to me, but to four guys from Cincinnati staying in the same ski lodge with me in 1974.

Unexpectedly, one of the airlines went on strike, and lots of people lost their flights and couldn't book on another airline. That happened to the four guys from Cincinnati, so they decided to drive to Colorado. They left right after work on Friday. They were in Missouri, between St. Louis and Kansas City when everyone but the driver fell asleep. He drove through Kansas City with everyone else asleep. A few hours before dawn the driver stopped for gas in Kansas, and everyone woke up. They decided he had driven long enough and changed drivers. The first driver got into the back seat and immediately fell asleep. The new driver, remembering that when he fell asleep they were headed for Kansas City, got back on the Interstate and headed for KC in the dark. A few hours later, he woke the guy in the seat next to him to show him the beautiful sunrise in front of them.


Posted by
37 posts

About 30 years ago, my wife and I were staying on Kauai. The evening before we left for Honolulu for our flight home, a tropical storm hit. Power went out for a while and some trees fell. Called United who said everything was on time. On the flight to HNL our plane dropped quick enough to send trays and my glasses flying. More than one passenger had to make use of the bag. When we got to HNL we found out our plane to ORD was delayed. Ten hours. Lots of rain and wind. We finally took off. After about 45 minutes the pilot informed us that an engine went out and we were going to dump fuel and go back. After another six hours we were back in the air. When we finally got our luggage we found they had left the luggage cart in the rain and everything was ruined. Up until then it had been a great trip.

Posted by
213 posts

My bad dream involves passports. Many years ago I had planned a 2 week vacation for my husband and mother and myself in the UK. I spent months working on the details - which I love to do. My mother was flying from a different Canadian city and we were all to arrive at about the same time at Heathrow. We would then pick up our car and travel to our first stop Cambridge. We were all leaving on Friday. Wednesday morning my husband left for a business meeting, planning to return Friday morning. Our flight was not until late - 23:00 - that evening.
On Wednesday evening as I was organizing papers, tickets - paper back then - and documents I retrieved our passports from the home safe. When I opened them I saw a validation date that expired 1 month before - how that happened to this day I cannot understand. We traveled for years using passports - but it didn't matter how - My husband and I did not have valid passports for our Friday flight. It was 22:30 when I called my husband and told him. I don't know what he was going to do but I wasn't about to panic alone. He calmed me down and said I should go to the passport office in the morning and plead my case. Luckily we live in a Canadian city with a passport office. I arrived at 8am for a 8:30 am opening. At 8:15am an office worker arrived took one look at me and asked when did I need the passport? I said Friday, she said possibly. I took forms from the office, had photos taken and headed to my husband's law office where again luckily there were any number of lawyers available to be my guarantor. I then drove 1.5 hours to my husband's meeting location, where he had managed to get forms, photos and guarantor signatures organized. It was now 2:30pm on Thursday. I drove back to the passport office arriving just before closing, They said if everything was in order the passports would be ready at 3pm on Friday. My husband picked them up at 3:15pm and we easily boarded our plane that evening. We met my mother on time in Heathrow the next day and proceeded to have a wonderful vacation. Needless to say we now have alerts on our daytimers and on paper calendars and this year we got 10 year passports. I don't plan on missing my renewal date again.

Posted by
250 posts

My living nightmare? On my first trip to Europe, I was flying by myself for the first time to Spain to meet my sister who flew over a day earlier( neither with cell phones). The morning of departure the airline went on strike! I was nervous anyway about traveling to a foreign country, not knowing the language and meeting my sis at the designated spot, and now I was quite stressed.

After delays, we finally boarded. After an hour in, I'm not feeling so swell, nerves got the best of my system. As I am unbuckling my seatbelt to use the bathroom, they announce all bathrooms are non functioning as someone flushed a diaper and clogged the entire system and we must divert to Winnipeg. I am literally sweating at this point, willing my system to cooperate. We finally land, but they won't let anyone off the plane as we are in a foreign country and you'd have to go through immigration. OMG, thought I was gonna die. They finally agreed to escort those off who needed to use the facilities. Guess who was first in line!

But it gets worse...It took them 2 hours to fix the toilets, so I have now missed my connection. We finally arrive in Toronto, I go through passport check and sprint to my gate in hopes the flight is still there. Yay! Due to the strike it is running late! Up to the get I run and..wait for passport. I have dropped it in my long sprint through the airport. Again the Gods were shining down on me and I see an airline employee coming down the escalator searching the crowds,looking down in his hand, searching some more. Yup, my passport! I thank him profusely, back to the gate I go where a couple is begging to board. They let them on, then it's my turn, nope they say, doors are closed. Seriously? You opened them 1 second ago for my fellow travelers! After a lot of begging I am allowed admittance. I rush to my seat, sweating again, and then proceed to wait on the tarmac for over an hour. Sigh, atleast I could get my heart rate back down.

Still not done. I get to Spain and...they can't find my luggage. Of course, because this is the trip from hell. My sis and I were flying out the next morning and all I had were the close on my back ( yes, Rick Steves followers, that was the last time I checked luggage!) I don't know how it happened,but the next morning as we are leaving the hotel, here comes the delivery company with my suitcase and the rest of the trip was a dream, not a nightmare.

Makes for a great story now, but was not remotely funny at the time.

Posted by
11805 posts

IMO 120 euros is a pretty big penalty, but still not the end of the world. It's easy to get in panic mode without thinking about how easy or difficult plan B could be.