Updated: Mar 5
Our travels have taught us a few ways to make the most out of a travel transportation mishap or avoid a bad situation altogether. Here are four clutch strategies to avoid travel transportation mishaps that have bailed us out in the past. It so happens that these tips all involve flying home, but they can apply to many other situations.
1. Don’t Always Follow the Herd
When Bobby was a student at McGill University, Doug and I traveled to Montreal for a long weekend to visit him. We had a connecting flight home into the United States through Toronto. Most Toronto flights leave from suburban Pearson International Airport. Since we were flying on regional Porter Airlines, our connecting flight was through little Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport, located on an island just off the mainland. To reach the airport, you either walk through a tunnel or take a short ferry.
Our connecting flight was the last of the day, and it malfunctioned on its way to Toronto, so Porter canceled it and asked the 100+ passengers waiting to board to get in line so they could be rebooked.
We happened to recall that we had passed a Porter kiosk at the ferry entrance before entering the actual terminal. We raced there, where there was no line, and were able to book the very first flight out the next morning, ahead of the many people who remained in the terminal. While the unexpected stay over was unavoidable, at least we were able to get home relatively quickly. Also, since we spent less time in line at the airport, we had more time that evening to explore Toronto.
2. Take Advantage of the Internet
Several years ago, Bobby and I spent a long weekend in Charleston, South Carolina.
Our flight home was in the late afternoon. Literally on our way to the airport, I received an email from American Airlines that our flight had just been canceled. Rather than wait to get to the airport to book another flight, Bobby immediately pulled out his iPhone to access the airline’s website and secured us seats onto a later flight that night.
Good thing: it turns out we had snagged the last two seats on that flight, and it was the last one out that evening. Had we waited to rebook when we arrived at the airport, we’d be facing an overnight layover.
After this and our Toronto experience, we’ve also learned to try to avoid flying home at the end of the day if at all possible to avoid similar travel transportation mishaps.
3. Don’t be Shy about Asking for Deserved Extras
I took a cruise to Alaska with my mother and sister not long ago. The first leg of our flight home was from Vancouver, British Columbia to Seattle. Unfortunately, a passenger on the plane into Vancouver that was supposed to take us to Seattle suffered a medical emergency during her flight, and emergency personnel cared for her for almost two hours before being able to remove her from the plane. As a result, our flight from Vancouver was delayed, causing us to miss our connecting flights out of Seattle.
Alaska Airlines rebooked me onto a flight from Seattle to Baltimore, but it wouldn’t depart for seven hours (my mother and sister ended up having to stay overnight before flying back to New York). The airline did give me a food voucher for $12. Since $12 doesn’t buy a lot of food in an airport, I ventured to the airline’s customer service desk, explained the situation, and asked for additional food vouchers. I received several more, which saw me through until I boarded.
4. Confirm That It’s Your Transportation
When we visited Israel, our flight home departed in the morning, which meant that we would need to leave our hotel for the airport at about 3:00 am. I admit that at that hour we were not the most attentive, so when a man entered the lobby and announced that he was our transportation to the airport we hopped into his van without confirming that he was with the transportation company we had already hired and paid for.
Luckily for us, we recognized our oversight just a few minutes into the ride, raised the question with him, and discovered that we were not his customers. We rushed back to the hotel, where our actual transportation was waiting for us. We now know to confirm that our driver is the correct one before we get going, but at least we caught the mistake promptly and made it to the airport without incident. No harm done.
Travel transportation mishaps are an unfortunate reality that can happen with any trip. We hope these tips on how to avoid or mitigate travel transportation mishaps help you avoid some future travel glitches.
Have any other advice or want to share your stories? Send us a message at firstname.lastname@example.org. Always feel free to reach out to us with any questions or feedback.
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