So, normally I begin most of my blog posts with a picture that I believe represents the general theme of the post. However, since I couldn’t find a picture which adequately portrayed the sensation of high stress and pure misfortune, this article will have to remain without a photo. Yes, this blog post will attempt to encompass the dreaded feeling of panic and anxiety, which only an airport can bring out in people.
I figured, that since my trip had been nothing but wonderful, there would have to come a bump in the road at some point. While packing our bags and hopping on our flight from Palma to London, I tried to convince myself that we would not miss our second flight back to Stockholm. No matter how hard I tried to believe it, I knew in my heart of hearts that one does not simply fly Ryanair and expect miracles to happen.
As previously advised by a Ryanair rep, we boarded the plane and immediately told a member of the crew about our situation. Her response was a lifted eyebrow as she said “ohhh yeah, that’s going to be a close one” and walked away. To be fair, I wasn’t expecting much of a solution from her, it was after all, our mistake in the first place.
We landed in Lodon about a half hour before our second flight left, and immediately set our sights on finding airport staff. Of course, no one was waiting at the gate, so we were forced to join the agonizingly slow line of fellow passengers moving at snails pace up the single elevator headed to customs.
As we arrived at the customs line, we followed the instructions we received a few days prior and informed a staff member about our dilemma. Again, we were told there was nothing they could do, we would just have to wait in line. This line, was of course uncharacteristically long, as around 7 flights had all landed around the same time. That’s how it happened, waiting in the customs line, we waved our flight goodbye.
After accepting defeat, we realized we would now need to figure out a plan for the night, as well as a plan to get home. As we stood in line we discussed what to do first, who we should call, how much we could afford to spend on hotels and plane tickets.
After getting through customs, we sat down and called both our parents and host families. We agreed that the first thing to do would be to go to customer service and see about the next flight out. We were informed that there was a flight going out in the early morning, but we would save more money if we went back to our hotel and ordered our tickets online.
So, with that in mind, we booked a room, jumped in a taxi and headed to an unexpectedly beautiful hotel. The place we stayed at resembled a classic British manor, complete with festive decorations. Anyone who knows me knows my desire to revisit England, this however, was not what I had in mind.
After setting our things down, we went into the main area of the hotel to buy our tickets. Catie went first and bought her ticket with no problems. By the time she had purchased her ticket and handed me her iPad, the flight had sold out. Faced with no other option, I had to buy a ticket for the late flight, which didn’t leave until 8pm and was 22 pounds more expensive. In my mind, there was no way things could get worse then this.
After staying in the hotel as long as I could, I got a cab to the airport and proceeded to restaurant hop for about 6 hours. I grabbed coffee and read a book, then moved on and got lunch, I people watched for a bit, then I wrote, finally I had dinner and went through security.
At last, I board the plane to Stockholm, ready to have this airport experience over with. I took my seat and prepared for take off, only to be told that our flight was going to be grounded because of bad visibility. At this point, I almost burst into tears. I was worried that if we were even slightly late I would miss the last bus out of the airport back In Stockholm. This airport happened to be an hour and a half outside of the city and closed at 12pm.
An hour behind schedule, we finally took off. I arrived at the airport stressed to the max, I ran as fast as I could to the doors to find a bus waiting. I sat down and got comfy for the long ride home.
I got off the bus in Stockholm and made a break for the subway station, only to find, the subway schedule had recently changed and no longer ran all night during the week. So, at 2am, I tried to navigate my way around the bus system, hoping to find a bus that would take me as close to home as possible. I ended up getting on a bus, not knowing if it was even the right one, and just prayed it would take me anywhere closer then I already was.
One hour and 49 stops later, I got off the bus at the nearby shopping centre and got a taxi home. I laid down to go to bed at 3:30 am, glad to put that experience behind me.
I can honestly say, that day was one of the more stressful experiences I’ve had to date. Even when things seemed they could not get worse, they did. I did however learn a lot, like: never book flights so close together, Ryanair my not actually save you money in the end, and I learned how to roll with the punches.
Although it wasn’t ideal, this series of unfortunate events did not take anything away from my amazing trip.
I’m now awaiting my next adventure.