Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Minor misadventures

If you've ever seen the movie National Lampoon's European Vacation then you know that a lot can go wrong when a family goes on vacation.

And although we didn't get stuck in traffic near Big Ben for hours or drive directly into Stonehenge, we had a couple minor mishaps of our own. Who doesn't when you're traveling?

We began our journey to London with a delayed flight from Pittsburgh to Boston that would surely make us miss our connecting flight. In an attempt to remedy this we switched our first flight to Philadelphia. And got delayed. Again.

When we finally made it to the Philadelphia airport we had miles to walk to our gate and not much time to do it. Thankfully, a kind airport employee transported us via golf cart and we even had time to get bagels at Bruegger's. But guess what? Our flight to London was delayed too.

The seven and a half hour flight wasn't too bad. I had the window seat, they fed us, and there were places to charge phones and screens with movies to watch.

We arrived at Heathrow airport around eight in the morning London time, about three in the morning Pittsburgh time. Full of excitement we made it through border security only to find that American Airlines had lost my luggage and sent it to Italy. What are the odds my suitcase got to go to Italy before I did? With nothing but the clothes on my back, we checked into our hotel. I was distraught. I will never bring a carry on that is too small to fit an extra outfit ever again. My luggage arrived a day and a half later after I had gone shopping and bought clothes.

Traveling back to Pittsburgh from London was only slightly less chaotic. We got up at five in the morning London time and left for the airport at 6:30 a.m. for our 10:30 a.m. flight. We stopped for coffee (a chai latte for me) and read some British newspapers which I brought back with me to show all my journalist friends. We made our way through security and guess who's carry on had tot get the extra check? This girl! They leafed through all of my things and ended up having to scan my mascara and concealer under the machine again. I got held up because of mascara and concealer but they didn't even make me take off my shoes. Confusing.

The plane ride to Raleigh-Durham airport was great, except for the man next to me who kept dropping his used tissues onto my lap. They fed us four times during the flight and I watched Jackie and The Girl On The Train, both of which were excellent.

We arrived back on U.S. soil around noon and successfully made it through customs security. And my suitcase even arrived with us! With plenty of time before our flight to Pittsburgh, we meandered through the airport stopping for snacks and checking out one of the airport's many bookstores.

The plane to Pittsburgh was small. One seat, an aisle, and then two seats. Nothing like the monstrosity we had flown overseas in. We boarded on time thinking "maybe this flight won't be delayed." Guess what? It was delayed. Three of the seats on the plane were broken and we had to deplane and wait for maintenance to fix them. By the time we got back to Pittsburgh we had been traveling for 20 hours. I had never known true exhaustion until that moment, between the jet lag and the aching in my legs from sitting so long, I truly felt like a weary traveler.

This is not meant to be a laundry list of complaints, I had an amazing time on vacation, but it is an accurate picture of my travel experience. What travel misadventures have you had? I'd love to know.


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