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Old 05-17-2011, 02:28 PM   #1
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Travel Horror (or funny) Stories

Just for fun.... I'd be interested in hearing your funny and/or horrible travel stories

I'll start off...

I was on an overnight flight to Tahiti. As we were boarding, a couple with a 2 year old and a 5 year old came on board and sat right in front of me. I figured the 2 year old would be the problem but he went right to sleep. The 5-year old, though, refused to stay seated and was zipping up and down the aisle as people were trying to get in. The flight attendant asked the father about 5 times to sit him down. He would for a second, then he'd be off and running again. He refused to stay buckled in. Finally, the FA told them they would have to leave the plane as we were already delayed 1/2 hour because their kid wouldn't behave. The father grabbed the kid, strapped him in and held him there. The kid had the mother of all tantrums....screaming his head off at the top of his lungs for more than 30 minutes. The father just read his book and didn't seem to hear him.

Finally, I'd had enough. I took a plastic bag out of my purse and tapped the father on the shoulder. I said 'please, just put this over your son's head for 5 minutes - it'll quiet him right down". The father looked horrified but the passengers around me started applauding. Finally the father started beating the kid and telling him to shut up. It only took three or four good whacks before the kid finally settled down and went to sleep. The rest of the flight was very peaceful.

The other passengers called me the "bag lady" :-)

No doubt today I would have been arrested for attempted murder or something but those were the good old days, when adults ruled the world.
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:21 PM   #2
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Airline security is a big topic today, for obvious reasons. But my most memorable experience with it was a long time ago.

It was November, 1976, and I had flown to Buenos Aires with a couple of friends. We were only there for three days, but we had a great time. BA is a beautiful city, and the weather was perfect.

However, this was shortly after the coup that overthrew Isabel Peron and put a military junta in charge. Everything in the city was running normally, but there were still some machine gun emplacements on many major intersections downtown. When we arrived at the airport in the evening for our return flight to the USA, we encountered the most unusual security screening I've ever seen.

There were no x-ray machines or scanners. Instead, we were all lined up single file, carrying our luggage. There were about three lines of us. As each person reached the head of their line, we encountered an Argentine Air Force two-striper, who essentially put the muzzle of his M-16 up your left nostril while with his other hand he opened your suitcase and felt around for anything suspicious.

It was a fairly cursory check, then he lowered his rifle and allowed you to close your bag and carry it over to the check-in counter.

Nothing more out of the ordinary, but I'll certainly never forget that evening.
I thought growing old would take longer.
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Old 05-17-2011, 04:55 PM   #3
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I was traveling with a group in China. When we were at the Beijing airport preparing to fly to Hong Kong, one of my friends who was with the group was detained at the security checkpoint. He had forgotten two small daggers in his bag that he had purchased while there. The guards took him away immediately to a holding cell and started questionning him in Chinese. Of course he did not understand anything that they were saying. After a while they started putting a piece of paper in front of him and kept gestering for him to sign it. He refused thinking that it would send him away to jail. Finally he caved and signed. They released him and let him catch the flight. The paper that he signed released the daggers to the flight crew who returned them to him when we arrived in Hong Kong.
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:24 PM   #4
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We were in the Bahamas for vacation and were walking to one of the restaurants when we heard a couple behind us who were inebriated . We really did not pay attention but they kept on getting closer . Suddenly the man attacks my husband and starts beating him . I got free and ran to the restaurant to get help . It took four men to pull this guy off my husband . It turned out they were honeymooners who had tried the local drugs . We were given a choice whether to press charges or not . We did not press charges since in the Bahamas drug use is frowned upon( as in prison) instead we asked them to leave the island and we would not press charges . To this day if someone gets too close behind me I freak out .
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Old 05-17-2011, 05:52 PM   #5
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In the early 90's, DW and I flew from Ft. Myers, FL to Okinawa, Japan to visit our daughter, SIL and grandkids. He was a career Marine and they were going to be there three years. We had never flown internationally. I remember our tickets on Northwest were around $1100 each round trip. The rules have changed but back then you could get a seats in a non-smoking section. We bought non-smoking all the way. In San Francisco, we were checking in at the gate to board a 747 to Tokyo. Gate agent told there were no non-smoking seats left on that flight and after arguing for sometime about that situation, the agent decided to solve the problem by upgrading us to business class. Was that ever a treat. Big fat seats in the upper deck, ordered dinner off a menu, wine, and the hot towels later. I remember watching "Dances With Wolves" on that flight. It was was so neat that on the return leg we ponied up a lot of frequent flier miles to also do business class from Tokyo to LAX. We were there five weeks and it was our favorite trip ever. Just a good story.

Not funny or horrible, just the opposite, but had to tell it once.
As a matter of fact, it was funny in how we were upgraded and the agent apologizing for not honoring our non-smoking seats in coach.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:01 PM   #6
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When traveling back from Sweden a flight attendant said there were some extra seats in the upper deck of the 747. No charge. Best flight ever.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:03 PM   #7
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I was visiting my uncle in California. He took me to a popular local fresh fruit stand to get some goodies. On the way out he said "Did you notice who you were standing next to? Arnold and Maria S." I had noticed her buying a pie, but not the terminator.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:27 PM   #8
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Many years ago, we often flew to our Chicago office by a roundabout way. Then, NW started flying from our town to Minneapolis. NW always upgraded to us to business class (or whatever it was called then) if we had a connecting NW flight.

One day, I'm going and at the last minute PHB decides to come. There I am at the front as he walks to steerage since the front was full. Saw him have a few words with FA to no avail. When I got home we had a memo stating we could no longer accept upgrades. NW discontinued the practice soon thereafter since they were selling the front and PHB got the axe.

Another reason I much prefer retirement to mega-corp.
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Old 05-17-2011, 06:40 PM   #9
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Sat near Paul Newman in an aiport bar in Phoenix.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:02 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by TromboneAl View Post
When traveling back from Sweden a flight attendant said there were some extra seats in the upper deck of the 747. No charge. Best flight ever.
That happened to my son too on his way back from London. He loved it.
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:27 PM   #11
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Some friends of ours went to Africa (Kenya?) to go on Safari. They had amazing photos of Animals in the wild to share with us and found the natives friendly and charming at many times.

But they found the organization and controls in that Country a bit out to sync -- native tribes people meshing with Modern World Advances. One example of this was when they got to the airport to Board their plane home. An armed guard made sure every traveler had their luggage and carryon placed on the conveyor into the xray machine. Then they walked them through the metal detector & the traveler picked up their things & went on to the waiting room before boarding the plane.


In other words the Airport Security followed the directions & complied, but somewhere along the way, the whole point of running luggage through the XRAY Machine was lost on them....
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Old 05-17-2011, 07:32 PM   #12
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I took my wife to NY in March this year. Having checked in on line, we went to drop our bags at the check in desk at the airport....and were told we'd both been upgraded to first class. First class on Cathay Pacific is nice...very nice indeed.

On a less enjoyable note, I went to Egypt in the mid-1990s. We hired a car and driver and went to see some temples that were several hours drive away from the main tourist areas. Among the highlights:

1. having to first wake up and then bribe the attendants at the Red Pyramid to turn the lights on

2. stopping at a shop in the middle of nowhere to have drinks and having a non-uniformed group of individuals carrying automatic weapons sit down next to us and have what sounded like a fairly intense political debate

3. being on a two engined Sinai Air flight when one engine caught fire
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Most complicated lost bag story ever
Old 05-17-2011, 08:00 PM   #13
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Most complicated lost bag story ever

Or...please never pick up a suitcase without checking it's tag.

Last summer DW, DD#2 and I went to France to visit DD#1 as she finished up a semester abroad. The three of us took a TGV train from Nice to the Paris airport station, with a transfer at the Marseille station. The train car we were assigned to for the Nice-Marseille portion was marked as continuing to Geneva.

A woman I will call S had a red suitcase. We had a nearly identical red suitcase that rode into the Marseille station in the same rack. As you can probably guess, we grabbed S's case by mistake when we left the train in Marseille.

We discovered the error very late that night at our airport hotel, while getting ready for our return flight to the U.S. the next morning.

Our French-speaking DD#1 was visiting us that evening. Since I speak no French - and I figured any attempt to explain the situation in English the next morning would be time-consuming and unsuccessful - my daughter and I went downstairs to the TGV station around midnight. We spoke to a helpful SNCF customer service agent. (!)

The agent disappeared into the ticket office for a while and came back to give us a phone number for the SNCF lost-and-found office at the last downstream station in France. After discussion in two languages, we all decided there was no benefit to S's suitcase taking a sight-seeing trip to Texas, so it was left with the agent.

The end of the story is straightforward: after her Swiss vacation, S picked up her bag at the lost and found office and sent my suitcase home to me.

The interesting part is what happened in the middle - four countries, three languages, the power of the internet, etc. It is indeed a small world.

S is from Amsterdam. She was attending an event in Switzerland after vacationing in Nice. After the surprise of discovering a red suitcase full of Harry's dirty laundry after arriving in Geneva, she enlisted help from the W's, their friends from Holland at the same Swiss event. Mr. W requested help from his English-speaking daughter back in Amsterdam. The daughter contacted Mrs. W's American first cousin in Washington via Facebook and explained the mystery / mess.

Fortunately, the D.C. cousin had a background in both Googling and in national security matters. One of those two methods allowed him to track my name and phone number. (He says it was Google. I'm not so sure...)


Hello Harry,

Yes indeed, we picked up last Sunday my suitcase in Paris CDG. There was no possibility to let it send to Holland. We had to come and get it.
It took quite a journey, because we had to make a detour of 6 hours (600 km) travel…..all together 12 hours in the car that Sunday (Lugano – Paris – Amsterdam; normaliter we take Lugano – Basel – Amsterdam).
But fortunately…. I have my things back now.
Herunder I will sum up the costs we had to make.

These days we informed ourselves for the best way of sending your suitcase to Houston.
We can do it by FEDEX (E 185,--) or by TNT post (E 105,--). So I think you prefer TNT post!

So here follows the list of costs:
To get my suitecase:
- Fuel for 6 hours extra driving: E 80,--
- Peage in France (extra): E 25,--
- Fee at CDG /TGV quichet: E 9,--
To send your suitcase to Houston:
- TNT post costs: E 105,--
Total costs we made/make for the mistake: E 219,--

Please, can you pay these costs in advance. After receiving this payment we will send you the suitcase immediately.
The best way of payment will be for us the method.

Looking forward to hear from you,

Best regards,
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:01 PM   #14
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Best: Sailing with my family on a ship from Southampton, England to NYC. I was a young lass and met a cute lad on board. We never saw each other again but I do think of him still.

Worst: Red eye from LA to DC. Seated next to a young boy and his dad. The boy cried loudly during the entire trip and was sick to his stomach. Long flight with delays. Got what the kid had and was sick for a week.
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Old 05-17-2011, 09:19 PM   #15
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Went to Hong Kong in 1992 with a coworker who was a really, REALLY, good friend, real cool guy all around. He and I arrived at the old airport, saw the taxi queue and looked around like WTF, and a tout came up and offered us a ride for $50, and so we took him up. A young college kid, and off we went to get his supposed van. He opened the door of his beatup 20 year old VW van and it looked like a French cat house in the back. We didn't want to walk back to the terminal so we rode into Hong Kong sitting back there amid loud speakers, tacky fur trim and flashing lights and then had to get out in front of the doorman at the Renaissance Hotel at the harborside along side limos, and private hire cars. The doorman looked at us like we were miscreants.

I think we laughed about that episode for 20 years so far. Priceless.
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Old 05-18-2011, 10:06 AM   #16
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As a kid we went on a cruise ship England to the U.S. I met this sexy girl and I offered to paint her picture, but she was with her family. I remember that she talked about cats a lot.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:23 AM   #17
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In 2008, we had planned to spend christmas with my folks in Geneva. We were supposed to fly from home to Atlanta, then to NYC and finally onward to Geneva.

The first leg of the trip to Atlanta is uneventful.

Then we board the flight to NYC. As soon as we step on the airplane, the flight attendant come on the intercom to let us know that a snow storm is barreling down on NYC. We are still cleared to take off, but she encourage everyone to take their seat as quickly as possible. Of course, there is always some passenger with ADD who keeps wandering around for no reason despite being told repeatedly to strap his ass down in his chair. As everyone gets exasperated, the wandering passenger finally decides it would be in his best interest to sit down. As we finally push off the gate, the captain informs us that we have missed our window opportunity into NYC and that the flight is cancelled. We pull back into the gate and a mad dash to be rebooked soon ensues. But we are told that all flights to NYC are cancelled for the rest of the day (our flight from NYC to Geneva did depart on-time that evening though). So we get rebooked the next day, Atlanta to Columbus, Columbus to NYC, NYC to Geneva. We get a hotel room and show up early at the airport the next morning.

The flight from Atlanta to Columbus runs smoothly (except I spill some water on the lap of the Indian business man sitting next to me). When we arrive in Columbus, we discover that the flight to NYC has been cancelled (the flight from NYC to Geneva departed on-time that evening again). We try to rebook, but there is no more seats available on the transatlantic flight until after Christmas. So we decide to go home. But, of course, there are no flight available until the next day. So we get another hotel room and fly home on the first morning flight.

We get back home the day before Christmas. Our luggage are somewhere in NYC (yes, our luggage did make it to NYC when we couldn't) and all of our Christmas gifts are in those luggage. We have no Christmas tree. We don't even have food in the fridge to celebrate Christmas. But at least we are home for the holidays and, after doing some last minute shopping, we make the best of it.

The airline gives us a full refund for the domestic part of our trip (so we flew in a circle over the eastern US for free, woohoo!) and gives us a credit for the transatlantic flight. Six months later, we attempt that flight again using our credit. We take off from Atlanta and, as we pass the D.C. area on our way to NYC, we start flying holding patterns. The captain announces that NYC is closed due to severe storms in the area. So we circle and circle until they divert us to Baltimore. We must be running on fumes because the airport's fire department is waiting for us on the runway. Nice. After refueling, and waiting about 3 hours for take off clearance, we are finally back on track.

We have not flown through NYC since.
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A Hawaiian Vacation For My Luggage
Old 05-18-2011, 11:35 AM   #18
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A Hawaiian Vacation For My Luggage

Flying from Pullman, WA to Helena, MT we were scheduled for a layover in Seattle. When we got in the air we were notified that Seattle was fogged in. We would layover in Portland for several hours.

Awesome! I have a brother in Portland. I call him and arrange a quick get together. A few hours quickly turns into overnight as Helena snows in. Still no problem, a nice excuse to visit the bro. Overnight turns into two days before they can book me into another flight. Still no problem, I'll just stay with the bro. My parents are going to miss out on the fun.

After arranging everything, I go to get the luggage. Now there is a problem. It is AWOL.

Finally my luggage catches up to me in Helena. It had wintered in Hawaii.
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Old 05-18-2011, 11:50 AM   #19
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I took my mom to Italy for her 65th birthday. She tripped and fell in the B&B and we spent two days in the hospital there, before I was able to get our tickets arranged to bring her home. She had a concussion, broken nose, broken teeth, and fractured bone in her forehead. Worst nightmare of my entire life, and that was before the accident even happened.

I told my sister that if I ever conceived of such a thing ever again, she had permission to simply run me over with the largest car she could find.
“One day your life will flash before your eyes. Make sure it's worth watching.”
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Old 05-18-2011, 12:01 PM   #20
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On various Amtrak trips -

1) 1990 A fire breaks out in the lounge car. We stop in the desert for hours while they disconnect and drag that car to a siding.

2) 1992 Crossing the California desert when the Landers earthquake hits (far enough away I do not feel it). We stopped and waited in the middle of the desert for several hours while they check the track ahead of us for damage.

3) 2008 Suicide (gun) in one of the cabins. We sit in Oakland for several hours while police investigate.

4) 2010 Maybe 50 young adults returning from wine-tasting trip, most were drunk. One gives WAY too much lip to the conductor. Police board train at the next stop and arrest several.
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