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Bad, traveller! Bad!

Stoo

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Tags: horror stories, travel horror stories
  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
I was in London two weekends ago and really screwed up: Instead of showing up at London City for the return flight, I tried to check in at Heathrow. It was Sunday evening and I had to get back to Zürich that night. Twenty minutes later £258.20 was charged to my credit card for a one-way biz class ticket. (No economy seats left.) Ouch!

(And just minutes later while rushing to the gate I left my wallet at the security screening station...but at least that did not cost money.)

I am still kicking myself for the stupidity of showing up at the wrong airport...I should know better as a frequent London visitor. This is my most costly travel oops ever.

Anyone care to share their expensive travel hiccups? Other people's misery makes me feel better about myself. Smile
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whatyadoinsucka

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Joined: March 24th, 2007

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
bought a quantus cairns to alice springs ticket 2 1/2 months in advance for $260, a week before the flight it was $90. GUTTED !!

The only other one, last summer i flew into paris orly from a stag trip to prague to meet my girlfriend. I arrived a few hours early so booked into the hotel and chilled out, I was meant to go to CDG to meet her, as she's crap with flying and travelling, but we arranged to meet in gare de lyon station, we didn't realise it had 25+ exits plus exits onto the main railway platforms (lettered a-z or such like)

anyway to cut a long story short it took 1 1/2 hours on a mobile to find each other. the bill came in at a stupid price.

I was just saying just come out of a numbered exit, and she was yelling back they are all letters, but the map of the station i was stood next to, had no bloody letters for exits

elAdi

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Location: Currently cycling from Indonesia to India

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  • Added on: April 25th, 2007
Lol Stoo. Hei, I'll be in Zurich probably the weekend after - care for a quick drink? Would be interesting to meet you.

Here my story:

Gf and I rented a van and headed up north from Perth. We are both designers and I was still freelancing at the time - so we had our laptops with us. In Kalbarri, we found an Internet Cafe - it being a nice, warm evening, we asked the owner if we can hook into his wireless and use the internet from the veranda. He let us. So, there we sat - working, chatting with friends at home, having a couple of JD & Coke - generally thinking: this is pretty cool. That's what work should be like. And then came the bill: 150odd dollars. Almost puked up my JD again!
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nerokerr

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
A couple months ago a friend came to A'dam to visit for a couple weeks, and her last weekend here we decided to go to Ireland. I've got the routine down for timing the trip to Schiphol and making it on time, but I admit I have a tendency to cut things close... and I forgot to take into account that she needed to check a bag, whereas I'm always carrying-on. So, getting to the check-in counter 40 minutes before departure meant that it was too late to check a bag. I asked if we could just carry it through and check it at the gate, but was told no... which I still think is bullshit, cuz I've done it before... but anyway, €150 each later, we were on the next flight out. My first major traveller fuck-up. Not catastrophic, but an expensive lesson.
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cayce

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Location: Borneo

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
My most expensive travel mishaps are boring -- basically I sit on a ticket, trying to decide whether I want to go and when I finally book it, the price has gone up. Bleh.

I do have a funny travel mishap that did cost me some money however:

For some reason, I decided not to write down the check-in time of my ticketless flight last month, thinking that I could remember it. Yeah right.

So the day of my flight, I'm running late and I'm panicking. Normally I could take a bus that takes one hour to the airport. However, because I'm not sure what is the check-in time, and I'm pretty sure that I should have been at the airport much earlier.. I decide to take the more expensive option, taking the train (35 mins) to a different airport, and then take a taxi (15 mins) to the airport. Because.. that would save me 10 mins !!?!?? I know. What was I thinking.

I end up paying at least six times of what I should have paid for the bus ticket.

Anyway, we (I hooked up with a couple that I had just met who faced the same problem) grab the taxi at the airport and when I explain our situation to the taxi driver and turn on the charm, he decides to take a shorter route (he did!) and drive like crazy. Nice guy.

We end up reaching the airport in about 10 mins anyway. So that saved me a total of 15 minutes. Well, every minute counted right?

I still don't know what time my flight is, but I wait at the counter anyway.

Come my turn, the ticket counter lady tells me -- your flight was 1700. So you were supposed to check-in by latest at 1615.

It is by now, 1715. I look at her stupidly.

"But your flight has been delayed till 1900. Do you want to get on the earlier flight instead? It leaves at 1800."

Migod.

I still marvel today how lucky I was, to have not paid for an extra ticket IF the flight had not been delayed.

But I wouldn't want to go through that again!

Llalewyn

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
This more my mom than me but it was still a costly mistake.

We went down to Florida to visit my aunt. We flew into the huge airport of Gainseville. My mom booked the ticket online. She must not have checked the return date on the ticket. The morning we were supposed to fly out of Gainesville my mom noticed the return date was March 8th.

The problem was it was January 3rd. She started calling the airline to see if we could change it. All the flights out of Gainesville were full. We ended up having to buy two one way tickets from Orlando ($750 for both) and we had to rent a car to drive down to Orlando.

Oops, maybe should check the return date before buying the ticket.

Tortuga_traveller

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
This one is for the record books:

I had a train booked from Albuquergue to philadelphia, and was sure I had it right.

Then I checked my ticket two hours before and found out that though the date on the ticket matched my watch, my watch was off by a day. This meant i missed my train, naturally.

We managed to fix it up by permission of a kind train agent, who registered the ticket as lost and issued me a new one. I paid a feee of about 25 dollars, but it was a lot better than the `150 it would have cost me otherwise.

Never did THAT one again.

I have arrived at an Indian train station, expecting to leave the same day, and been told there were no tickets for four days!!

That, by the way, is why you ALWAYS try and book your exit ticket 3-4 days ahead of time in India. That way you have some flexibility in dates.

Slip

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
Happened to a couple I met in Dar:

Intent:

Fly into Nairobi...travel...fly out of Dar to Amsterdam.

What happened:

Fly into Nairobi, never checked return tickets until night before the departure. They found that not only was their departure time 2 days ago, but they were also scheduled to fly out of Nairobi.

Not only did they (or their agent) take time changes into account, there was a miscommunication about where they had wanted to fly out of, and where they were booked to fly out.

oops

travis

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
years ago visiting my parents in Maine while on winter break from college in Montana I had bought a cheap internet fare, r/t for like $200 in and out of small airports. I printed out the itinerary but failed to refer back to it knowing that I flew out on thursday the 12th at 10am. I get dropped off at the airport and say my good byes and go to check in. Theres no lines and i basically walk right up to the check in agent. She very kindly, after a little laugh, explains that my flight was on tuesday the 10th at 12noon! Hanging my head low I had to call my parents back and explain to them that my college education apparently wasn't working and I needed them to come pick me up. Searching for one way tickets and I couldn't find one for less then $500, and that was out of an airport 2 hours away, and it was a crappy red eye with 2 connections! So I borrowed dads car and signed my little brother up for a road trip, Maine to Montana, 42 hours non stop driving! Turned out to be a cool mistake though as I got to show my little bro around the mountains of Montana for 2 weeks.

ferml

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
I have soooo many of these stories - most of them involve the airport. As a result, I'm paranoid about traveling by air, which is a little disheartening since I may be starting a new job soon that requires lots of air travel.

- Booking a flight in the wrong direction. Meant to go from Austin to Dallas and booked from Dallas to Austin and didn't know until I got to the airport. Luckily, they were able to change it easily and didn't charge me.

- Booking my return flight on the wrong day and realizing that in the middle of my trip and having to go the airport to fix it (they couldn't fix it over the phone since I had a paper ticket and had to reissue a physical ticket).

- There had been serious flight delays in Denver due to bad weather conditions. Stupid me didn't think to get to the airport WAY earlier since there would be many lines. Me and a coworker missed our flight by 5 minutes and ended up sitting in the airport for 12 hours.

- Getting on the wrong train in India. I was SO early that I ended up getting on the early train. I finally figured that out when somebody mentioned the destination. Ouch!

And that my friend is just the tip of the iceberg.

Slip

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
quote:
Originally posted by travis:
Hanging my head low I had to call my parents back and explain to them that my college education apparently wasn't working and I needed them to come pick me up.



Brilliant! Laughed out Loud!

Traveler_2007

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  • Added on: April 26th, 2007
The most expensive travel mistake so far for me involved a visa for Germany and Lufthansa. I am originally from Romania and about 10 years ago I traveled to Romania from Toronto. I actually started my trip in Kingston, Ontario, where I checked my luggage all the way to Bucharest. It was before 9/11 so when I checked in, nobody really looked at my Romanian passport. The problem is the travel agent did not either. I end up in Bucharest, have a very nice two vacation and here I am, ready to come back to Canada.
I went to check in, and the attendant is telling me that I do not have a visa for Germany. Well, I said, I do not need one as I only change planes in Frankfurt, I do not even exit the airport. After a bit of discussion she checks me in.
Boarding is announced and I am getting ready to board, when all of a sudden three people are called to the podium, myself included. All three of us were traveling with Romanian passports to North America and we were told that we will not be allowed on board. They pretty much kicked us out of the airport.
The only satisfaction I got was that the flight was delayed some 30 minutes while they removed our luggage.

What next, cab to the German Embassy, 50USD. They could give me a visa in two weeks…..ouch…I had to work the next day.
Cab to the KLM office 15USD.
One way ticket on KLM, Bucharest to Toronto, few hours before the flight leaves, 875 USD (more that the total fair of my original ticket!)
10 hours accommodation in Amsterdam Airport 125USD (That hotel was the worst hotel I have ever seen for that kind of money)
Ticket change from Toronto to Kingston 150CAD

Because I was 1 day late I had to go from the airport straight to work and work a 12 hour night shift.

Needles to say I do not fly Lufthansa ever since. After countless complaints to Lufthansa, American Express home office, my American Express travel agent, the German Embassy in Canada and German Foreign affair , I got an apology and part of my original fare back. I was still out about 1000USD.
I have also spent some 150CAD on registered mail, as I was ready at the time to sue them for all the trouble they caused me.

Visas are no longer needed for Romanians traveling to Europe but I learned my lesson, I travel with my Canadian passport now, it is way cheaper ….

Also, check, check and check some more visa requirements.

chrissy2k5

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2007
This wasn't expensive, but a DUMB mistake nonetheless, that sort of snowballed.

I was one of 3 girls traveling overnight from Venice to Montepulciano (hilltop winetown in Tuscany). At 5am we switched from a major train in Sienna to a smaller train to go to the bottom of the hill of Montepulciano. When we got to our stop, we couldn't figure out how to open the door (duh) and missed it. We figured we'd switch trains at the next stop and go back. We were araid to miss the next stop, so when we got to it (around 6am) we jumped off the train, groggy and tired, but excited to reach our destination.

Except ... it wasn't the right stop. In fact, it wasn't a stop at all. I'm not sure why the train had stopped suddenly, but we had just jumped off the train in the middle of NOWHERE. All we could see was fields and farmland. No 'station,' no people, no nothing. Not even train tracks going in the opposite direction to try to get on. We thought maybe a train would stop again and we could get on, but 2 trains came and went w/o stopping. The only thing we knew is that or real stop was a 10-15 minute train ride the other direction.

So we decided to follow the train tracks back. How long could it take, right? It's not like we were carrying HUGE backpacks... (except we were carrying HUGE backpacks). After walking about 2.5 hours, we knew we'd be there any minute. Then, one girl saw a lizard or something, and screamed and ran, causing the other girl to scream and run, only she didn't know why she was running, and she tripped and hit her knee on a rock. She looked like it really hurt (we thought she was being a baby) and when she pulled up her pant leg, it was GUSHING blood and looked like it needed stiches. I rinsed her wound with the last of my water then MacGyver'ed a tshirt and tied it around her leg to ease the bleeding. Then we walked another 2 HOURS before getting to our station. A short bus ride later we reached our destination and my friend opted for some serious bandaging instead of stitches.
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To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.

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cayce

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Location: Borneo

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2007
Traveler_2007's story reminded me of my own passport woes (again, a travel mishap that should have been avoided if I was more vigilant).

Basically, my passport was expiring, I didn't know, and tried to travel outside the country. I had to convince the ticket agent woman to let me through (she didn't want to but I had convinced her superior -- very nice guy who gave me advice how to bribe the Indonesian officials), and the Malaysian immigration of course (who were surprisingly very sweet, and fatherly.. ) but got into Indonesia, I had to pay a bribe to not one but TWO greedy custom officials.

Total cost: RM100 (about.. USD25), and lots of emotional angst.

Never again!

chrissy2k5

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  • Added on: April 27th, 2007
It's nice to know that all of us have made dumb mistakes, and that we are all still professional travellers who rule the world. (slight exaggeration)
***********************
To travel is to discover that everyone is wrong about other countries.

~Aldous Huxley


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