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Travel Hiccups


There are certain things we are willing to do to save money on travel. For us, this meant taking three separate flights to travel to see John’s family. I need not go into the tediousness of long hours on the planes, not to mention layovers, but it was definitely worth saving the £600 extra (over $1000 at the time we bought the tickets) that it would have cost us with any other travel itinerary or airline. So we braved it and the girls did surprisingly well (minus a scream-crying incident with Kiera during our last flight, which was also thankfully our shortest).

After our three weeks spent in New Jersey and upstate New York, we had the same daunting journey ahead of us. I carefully packed up our stuff and we were picked up by a taxi to take us from John’s sister’s place in New Jersey to the Philedelphia Int. Airport. I stayed in the house with the girls while John took the bags outside and the taxi driver loaded them into the car. Then, I settled with the girls into the spacious backseat and spent the next 20 minutes listening to the taxi driver air his opinions on politics and the like– he was an interesting guy, definitely rough around the edges. John and the driver unloaded the bags at the airport and John carefully double-checked to make sure we hadn’t left anything in the cab. As the driver drove off, I surveyed the luggage deposited around my feet and suddenly got a sick feeling in the pit of my stomach. ‘A bag is missing’, I said worriedly. ‘No, it’s on your back’, John countered. ‘No the other duffle bag– the grey and blue one.’ John saw that the bag I was talking about was indeed missing. After a little conference in which we came to the conclusion that we were 75% certain that the bag had made it outside of the now locked house and 100% certain that it hadn’t been in the cab, John went to see if we could somehow resolve the situation. Meanwhile, I sat with the girls and our luggage in that uncomfortable state of knowing that there was nothing I myself could do but wait.

And wait I did as John ran hither and thither trying to find a phonebook to contact the taxi cab company. But no, there was no phonebook at the airport. Thankfully, a call to a friend in Syracuse who had internet access procured him the number. The woman who manned the phones remembered John from when he’d booked the taxi and agreed to send another taxi to the house to see if the bag was outside the house. More waiting. Then the call came saying that the driver had found the bag outside the house and would be with us in 10 minutes. Relief and anxiety mingled. 

We had arrived at the airport 2 hours before our flight that would carry us to Detroit and by now an hour and 10 minutes had passed. The man at the check-in desk told John that we had until a half hour before the flight to be checked in (unfortunately, or maybe fortunately for us, we didn’t know that this meant if you weren’t checking any baggage!). As time yet ticked away, John checked us and our tardy bags in and the man at the desk set aside a baggage sticker for the still missing bag. 

The 10 minutes that we’d been told by the taxi company had come and gone. When 20 minutes had passed, my breathing was becoming very shallow and I could feel a lump rising in my throat. We still hadn’t received a phone call and the taxi was not yet outside our gate. John decided to call again and this is when he discovered that he was 6 cents short of being able to make and receive calls on our phone. Thankfully there was a payphone right there and John had just enough change to make a call. Meanwhile, the check-in man called me up and told me if we did not get up there right then, we were liable to miss our flight. If my breathing was shallow before, now I felt like I might hyperventilate! What could I do? John was on the phone with the taxi company and I couldn’t exactly just run off with the girls and leave him! Almost half an hour had passed since we’d heard the taxi had our bag. After a couple of minutes on the phone, John and the woman worked out that the taxi driver had been waiting for us at the wrong gate for the last 15 minutes. Would he get to us in time? If he didn’t, we’d either miss our flight or the taxi company would be in possession of our bag.

Just then I saw the right cab drive up and I raced out and dragged the bag out of the backseat, calling out that John would be out to pay him. I must of been a sight running at 7 months pregnant and dragging a large duffle bag behind me along the payment! I flew up to the desk and saw the bag stickered and sent off. Well, if it didn’t make it on this flight, it was now up to the airline to get it to us! Within a minute, we were up the stairs and running along to the security check. But our little rush to make our flight was not yet over…

I had been randomly (or not so randomly) been selected for extra security checks indicated by the three large S’s on my ticket. This slowed us down when we really needed speed and I had to get patted down and have my carry-on checked. Finally, we were through security and our gate just happened to be the first one on the right. The line of people going onto the plane was rapidly shortening with us joining at the back. Within 3 minutes we were stepping into the plane– we’d made it! And, at the end of our journey when we were picking up our checked luggage in Glasgow, we were happy to discover that ALL our bags had made it! 

This airline incident falls into my three most stressful airline experiences– I’ll have to write a little book about them someday:-).

2 Responses to “Travel Hiccups”

  1. Brianna
    December 9th, 2008 15:13

    Sounds stressful. I’m glad everything worked out. Was one of your other stressful experiences our flight out of Rome…or maybe our flight out of Londonderry? Love you and hope you’re doing well.

  2. Rachel Clancy
    December 10th, 2008 08:59

    Londonderry would fall into fourth. Rome was definitely in the top three!

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