Given the number of times I’ve traveled back and forth between Orlando and Siem Reap something is bound to go wrong from time to time and this last trip felt like the universes way of making up for the good luck I’ve had so far. Except for this trip, of course: How to Torture a Traveler.
I sat anxiously next to my gate in the Orlando International Airport nervously watching my departure time push back further and further. I refreshed the flight information I had looked up on my phone over and over noticing the estimated arrival time get dangerously close to my next flight’s departure time.
“You might as well take the flight,” The guy at the help desk advised. “If you miss it they’ll just do the same things I’d do here. You might as well take the chance your next flight is delayed.”
Never listen to the help desk.
I tried to relax as best as could during the flight knowing there was literally nothing I could do from in the air. When we landed (three hours later than originally scheduled) I painfully watched the seconds tick by on my watch.
3, 2, 1… And there it goes…
A nearby passenger saw the anguished look on my face.
“Are you trying to make a connection?”
I hung my head, “Yes, but I doubt I can make it in 30 seconds.”
Just in case I rushed to the next terminal, which as luck would have it, took 30 minutes on an airport shuttle bus because the AirTrain system was shut down…
The Etihad Airways ticketing desk was deserted except for one security guard standing next to the help desk.
“Can I help you?” He asked, not concerned at all.
“I just missed my flight…”
“Come back tomorrow at Noon,” He stated matter-of-factly before turning back to his paperwork.
I hopped on the shuttle bus and went back to my arrivals gate to seek help from a Jetblue representative.
“You’re going to have to reschedule through your booking agent,” He said unsympathetically after looking over my flight itinerary. “Call Expedia.”
After a quick cry in the women’s bathroom, I trekked to the baggage claim help desk. First things first, figure out where in the world (literally) my belongings were.
I handed the lady my baggage claim ticket and she typed inhumanly fast into her computer.
“Since your bag is checked to Bangkok, that’s where it will end up. It might even be on the flight you were scheduled on.” She reassured.
“Well, since you know my last flight was still taxing to the gate after boarding closed for my next one I’m just going to guess it didn’t make it either…” I was trying desperately not to burst into tears, since that’s my default reaction whenever I’m stressed, anxious, scared, etc.
“All I can tell you is it’s checked to Bangkok so it should turn up there.” To her credit she looked a bit more caring than everyone else I had spoken to so far.
Somewhat relieved I had one less thing to worry about I found a semi-quiet corner and spent over an hour (the majority of which was spent listening to crappy hold music) on the phone with an Expedia.com agent who was able to rebook all of my flights for the next day (literally 24 hours later…).
All that was left to do now: find a semi-dark spot (it wasn’t dark at all) on the floor (tile, next to a trash can) where I could pass the night and hopefully get some sleep. I managed a few hours before my hips and knees started to cramp and I couldn’t take the pain from my bruised ribs any longer (more about that in a later post). Once the sun came up I treated myself to an actual breakfast at the airport diner then tried to check in to my flight, only to be told I had to wait until 6:40 p.m. to do so.
In case representatives from JFK found this via my SEO: PLEASE put some actual chairs in the arrivals/ticketing area! My boney butt can only take so much floor time.
By the time I actually reached Bangkok, as anticipated, my bag was nowhere to be found. It wasn’t even registered in the computer. To be fair, the woman at the Etihad help desk was super nice and helpful and assured me as soon as my bag is found she’ll call and email me and ship it to Siem Reap. Yay. And, to be fair the whole check-in process moves a lot faster when you are bag-less.
So now, in addition to trying to catch up on work and prepare for freelance meetings, I get to file insurance claims and phone airlines. Double yay…
At least I packed one pair of clean underwear in my carry-on and have started a ‘wash one, wear one’ system, which thanks to Cambodia’s heat cuts drying time in half.
Author’s note: I know I’ve been a bit (more like a lot) behind on updates but I do have a couple in the works! Stay tuned for a post about loss while abroad, an ode to turning 25, and how to survive a week-long blackout. And for illustrated updates about my living and traveling as an extremely awkward person, check out my newest website: Awkward & Aware.