I have traveled a lot domestically for work, and sometimes for pleasure. During those work trips, my co-worker at a former job used to joke that he hated to travel with me because there was always something bad that happened. There was the time when my luggage got lost on the way to a conference, or the time our return flight was canceled and he had to do some smooth talking to get us on another flight that same night.
These fiascos aren’t limited to just work travel though. A decade ago, when I went to the Sundance Film Festival, I accidentally booked my flight a day later than I was supposed to — and didn’t realize until we were on the way to the airport. So, I had to scramble to book a hotel in Salt Lake City (I know, be jealous) for one night because it was cheaper than trying to change my flight.
When I went to Mexico for a long weekend to celebrate my birthday, during our layover in Miami the plane broke down with engine problems and they had to put us up in the airport Holiday Inn for the night.
Quite frankly, it is amazing that anyone chooses to travel with me. Granted, very few agree to do it a second time.
Well, earlier this month I left to go to Europe for the first time. I’m late with getting started because when I was younger my goal was always to try to travel to all the cities I wanted to see domestically. But then I realized I was missing out and that I could be doing both. If you read my last blog post, however, you know us Millennials are poor, so well, traveling isn’t something I get to do as much as I would like. But for this trip, everything aligned and I embarked to Paris, France with a group of seven friends.
We were traveling at different times, but two of the ladies in the group had the misfortune of getting to travel with me. We took the train from Philadelphia to Newark International Airport because the price was about $500 cheaper, even after factoring in the Amtrak tickets.
So we get to the airport, two of us have already checked in online, to find out the final member of our ménage-a-travel has been bumped from the flight. She’s told to head over to another line and they will rebook her. Oh, and my flight has been delayed an hour.
On the train I killed a bottle of champagne, so none of this affects me too much. I go to keep her company in line and a worker comes over and asks which flight I’m on. I show him my ticket and he says the flight has now been canceled altogether. There are no flights to Paris for the rest of the day. Now I am starting to freak out like that chimp on Xanax that ate the woman’s face. It’s not like we can just go home for the night.
It should also be noted that over the last few weeks I developed a patch of eczema on my hand (which has been referred lovingly by friends and coworkers as my hand herpes and my hand AIDS. Can you feel the love?). It’s been self-diagnosed as a result of stress… I webmd’ed it and it’s either that or I have the bubonic plague, whichever…
So, we get to the counter and Janet very calmly starts working her magic to see what is available. My friend Colleen, the one who was initially bumped, notices that my hand is now bright pink and tells me to go for a walk to calm down.
By the time I came back, St. Janet, as we now refer to her, has found us a flight for all three tonight. It leaves four hours later, and has a layover in London, meaning we get to Paris at 1:30 pm instead of 8:40 am. But we don’t have to sleep in the airport, and anyone who saw the originals ‘Adventures in Babysitting’ and the ordeal Brenda went through sleeping in the bus station knows you don’t want to sleep in a transportation hub.
Once we landed in London, for what was supposed to be less than 90 minutes, we thought our problems were behind us and it was smooth sailing to the land of crepes and cheese. Alas, we boarded the plane and started to taxi out before the captain came on the loudspeaker and announced we needed a replacement computer and more gas. We would be trapped on the plane for another hour before finally taking off.
A teenager was sat next to me while his mother was a few rows ahead. Rather than using that hour to ask me to switch, she waits until mid-flight during beverage service (aka the least opportune time) to broker a seat exchange.
But we have finally landed in Paris, safely. I have been awake for almost 36 hours because I am completely incapable of sleeping on any mode of transportation. All limbs are intact, though. So, the worst is behind me, right? Fingers crossed.
I promise nothing, but we can hope? At the same time, this all doesn’t bode well for my vacation to Punta Cana in January.
Padraic Maroney hails from upstate New York, suffering from middle child syndrome. His writing career began after moving to the Philadelphia suburbs while in high school. He wrote for The Bucks County Courier Times’ Reality section, written by local teenagers, and has the distinction of writing a weekly gossip column for a college newspaper at a school he didn’t even attend! His love of pop culture led him to intern at Teen People, where he met Janis Gaudelli, and realized he could turn being a millennial into a career. Since then he’s alternated between writing and marketing, but always focused on Millennials and everything they bring to the table. Padraic is a lover of shenanigans, 80s music, and the movie “Scream.”
You can follow his additional adventures on Instagram: @padraicjacob