top10This was inspired by some of friends recent Facebook status updates regarding travel problems.

#10: Road Trip when my engine blew up. Actually, I was driving the car back to my parents house and was going to get a new car. The car just decided that it couldn’t make it another mile. It blew up about an hour from my destination.

#9: Red-eye flight with annoying classmate. In grad school we participated in a travel class for about two weeks in Vancouver, BC and Seattle. Our return flight was a red eye and  half empty. The Big Guy and I ended up with an entire row to ourselves. After I finally got to sleep we had a classmate who kept waking me up. His response was I didn’t know you were asleep. Ok, I stated before the flight that 2 hrs after the flight landed I had to go to work. Second, I had the blanket over my head and was probably snoring. This continued all night long. Of course, the Big Guy slept through the entire thing.

#8:  Cross country flight in front of misbehaving kid. For the first half of our trip the kid kept kicking and hitting my seat. When he got bored with that the Goldfish started flying through the seats. After that the Big Guy had enough. He stood up looked down at the tyke and asked is there a problem.  The brat looked up with fear and replied “no sir”. Instantly the problems disappeared. I think it helped that due to the limited headroom above the seats The Big Guy was hunched forward. It was more effective than the hour plus of the mom threatening to punish the little brat.

#7:  Driving through Houston. While I enjoy visiting family in Houston and one of my favorite restaurants is there I just don’t like driving there.

#6: Our first trip through Louisiana. The hotel in the little town refused to honor our reservations. We had made reservations through Travelocity and used a well known national chain. The hick clerk had never heard of Travelocity. She loudly declared that she didn’t know why people kept coming in with those things. The reservations weren’t through them and we would have to pay again. She then admitted canceling our reservation apparently that is what she always did for anything through Travelocity. She also said she didn’t know anything about the Internets. It took a lot of calls to Travelocity and to her manager but we finally got a room and an upgrade.

#5: Driving through construction on I-35 from Ft Worth to Oklahoma City. There was construction the entire trip. Plus it rained the entire way. To make things worse there was a wreck on the bridge over the Red River.  If there is a wreck on the bridge they usually shut down traffic in both directions to get to the wreck. There are no side streets or access roads across the Red River.

#4: 4 hour delay for a 45 minute flight due to “mechanical” difficulties. If I had known it was going to take so long I could have driven. It took forever for the problem to be resolved.  All the airlines would say was that there were mechanical problems. The landing was pretty rough due to wind. Every time the pilot would try to land the wind would toss the plane back up. This plus the earlier mechanical problems made everyone or at least the passengers jittery. Finally, it was announced that the earlier mechanical problem was the AC and nothing needed for flying. Couldn’t they have at least tell us why earlier.

#3: Driving through DC. Yes, I actually drove through DC and lived to tell about it. We did get on the wrong beltway. We were supposed to be on the outer beltway but were on the inner beltway.

#2: TWA canceling my flight due to a tornado and refusing to allow me to board the flight I was re-assigned to for not showing up on time. First, DFW airport was closed and evacuated due to a tornado. About 30 minutes before the airport was closed I was rescheduled to a flight for 8 AM the next morning.  About 2 AM I received a phone call from TWA telling me my flight was delayed until 10 AM and to arrive at the airport by 9 AM. I knew that the airport had been closed and asked about taking an afternoon flight. The TWA person calling me was from Asia and apparently was unfamiliar with the weather conditions in the U.S. She insisted I had to be at the airport for the early flight because there might be a tornado in my connecting flight in North Carolina.  She thought tornados were like snowstorms. When I arrived at the airport at 8 AM instead of 9 AM but I was told I had to go to a “special line”. It seems anyone whose flight was canceled was sent to the “special line”. There were at least 200 people in the line with only 2 workers processing reservations. After 9 AM, an official for the airlines came out and declared that since those of in the line failed to show up on time for our original flights we were going to be bumped. Further, they had 48 hrs to get us out of the airport.  After many calls to TWA I was able to be rescheduled on Delta. They had a full staff of people at their counters and I was quickly able to get my boarding pass.

#1: Continental Airlines setting my luggage on fire! That’s right they set my suitcase on fire. The kicker was that somehow their luggage policy does not include the outside of the luggage, the handles, wheels, the contents of the luggage or the luggage itself. Yes, that is right it was considered normal wear and tear. Gee, I always set my luggage on fire when traveling, yeah right.

4 thoughts on “Top 10: Worst Travel Experiences

  1. :-O

    Wow. Just, wow.

    And how, exactly – just to make sure I’m following their logic – did you supposedly manage to set your own luggage on fire without even noticing it, then bring it into the airport and send it through luggage check-in, without anyone there noticing either?

    Did they tell you what allegedly started the fire, especially since you and The Big Guy are both assumably nonsmokers? It’s not like we all have to be on the constant lookout for small random fireballs in our homes, after all. Something had to start the fire, and for nonsmokers, there may be no direct source of flame at all in their home. No source of flame in immediate proximity when the suitcase was packed = no possibility of fire inside the suitcase (assuming you didn’t pack an ignition source, of course). Fire doesn’t just appear out of nowhere, after all, except perhaps in the case of spontaneous human combustion, and even that possibility has not been proven to a scientific certainty (plus, you’d definitely know if your body had mysteriously caught on fire while you were packing).

    At the same time, I find it more likely that one would spontaneously combust, than that their suitcase could be on fire without anyone in the space of six hours, in an airport no less, ever noticing it.

    Was anyone else’s luggage damaged in the same manner? Did they explain how a suitcase on fire ended up on an airplane without them noticing?

    Even if I take their word for it that the fire did not originate with them (just to play devil’s advocate, since I do not for a minute believe that they’re telling the truth), there are so many safety features on a plane designed to detect smoke and/or fire that I find it very, very hard to believe it was on fire or even smoldering when it was placed on the plane, and we all know how long our luggage is in the hands of the airline before we ever get to board. If it wasn’t smoldering or on fire when it was placed on the plane, then the fire had to have originated with the airline, since you did not have possession of it in the interim. Furthermore, if they had detected smoke or fire prior to your luggage being placed on the plane, you’d have never been allowed to board that plane, for obvious reasons.

    So all in all, logic tells me it caught fire at the airport, likely as the result of one of their employees carelessly using cigarettes in an area where no one should have been smoking at all. A lighted ash could have fallen on the suitcase accidentally, and caused it to smolder the entire time it was on the airplane. That’s downright scary, when you think about it. If it happened at the point of departure and the luggage placed on the plane, it could easily have turned into a full-blown fire, it would have ignited other luggage, and likely the fire would have severely damaged the plane, and possibly killed everyone onboard either as the result of the fire shorting out wires, or even igniting a jet fuel fire.

    Honestly, I’d have sued the &%*&% out of them, just for having the unmitigated gall to treat me as if I were actually stupid enough to believe their explanation, and for assuming I was powerless to fight them. After all, if that suitcase was on fire when it was placed on the plane, regardless of how it happened, everyone has a right to know that their lives were placed in danger, and the airlines and the FAA need to be placed on notice about the incident so they can figure out how it happened, and thus make sure it never happens again.

    A good alternative, if the statute of limitations has expired, is for you to write a blog post specifically about that experience, tag the airline name and the name of everyone involved, along with keywords like “travel”, “luggage”, “travel disasters”, “fraud”, etc., and let the internet take care of that for you. 🙂

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  2. Your response should be a “guest” post. It is so good. According to Continental I must have set it on fire myself before checking it in. Never mind it was smoking when I got it. The Big Guy asked them if they meant it was on fire the entire time and they said we had to do it because of their luggage policy. Apparently, their luggage policy does not cover the handles, wheels, outside of the luggage, contents of the luggage, and or the luggage itself. When asked directly, what where they responsible for the airline admitted that their policy does not cover luggage because they were loosing to much money paying for damages.

    I have tagged the airline already but I’m adding the others.

    My guess is that my suitcase must have been run over by the baggage cart. Several other people had bags with tire marks on them. One guy had metal luggage that was crushed. Or it might have gotten caught on conveyor belt of the baggage carousel.

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