Why I Have a Terrible Luck When Traveling

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When I was a child, my dad used to have terrible luck when it came to flying. His luggage was always lost or his flights were delayed. I guess it became a kind of family curse, because when I started traveling a lot I had the same problems as him. However frustrating they were at the time, my bad flight experiences did result in some funny stories that I’d like to share.

1. When I had a gun pointed at me
ElAl Airlines – Warsaw to Tel Aviv

Back in 2009, I was flying to Tel Aviv by myself and I have to say that my experience with ElAl airlines was slightly scary. From the check-in desk I ended up being escorted by three armed men into a tiny room where they interviewed me while X-raying my belongings. I had to spend over an hour in there and the entire time, nobody told me what was going on. I even had to be escorted to the toilet. To this day I have no idea why I was investigated by airline security, but I know that I’d rather not fly with ElAl again.

Entertainment screen not working

Entertainment screen not working

2. Houston, we have a problem!
Continental Airlines – Houston to Toronto

This is probably my most frightening story. After an hour of flying in a very shaky plane, the pilot announced that he had no idea what was going on, but we needed to get back to Houston immediately. The plane performed an emergency landing and kept us, the passengers, inside the plane for the next hour while the crew did an inspection and realized that the doors were not properly closed. Continental also lost my luggage on my way back to Mexico City from Hawaii.

3. We’re overbooked, but we don’t want to admit it
Delta – San Diego to London via Minneapolis and Amsterdam

When I tried to check-in at San Diego international, Delta staff told me that I was too late. My flight was domestic and according to the rules I had to be there 30 min before departure. The flight was clearly overbooked and the person dealing with rebooking was only able to offer me another flight… 3 days later! Unfortunately, my suitcases weren’t so lucky to get to London with me, because Delta staff never heard of London City Airport and they sent my suitcases to Heathrow a day later, misreading my delivery address.

4. Because circling around Europe makes sense
Swiss Airlines – London to Warsaw via Zurich

People are often surprised that a flight with a layover in a place which is not necessarily on the way to your destination is often cheaper. Because my flight from London was delayed and I wasn’t able to make my flight from Zurich to Warsaw, Swiss Airlines decided to send me to Munich, then to Copenhagen, and finally to Warsaw.

5. The food is gone
United Airlines – Chicago to Toronto

The flight attendant announced that because they had miscounted the number of passengers, they were unable to give everyone a meal.

Good food served on Air New Zealand: Auckland to Rarotonga

Good food served on Air New Zealand:
Auckland to Rarotonga

6. The reservation doesn’t exist
KLM – London to Cape Town

I booked my return ticket from London to Cape Town in the summer of 2012. I got my confirmation, the money on my credit card got blocked, all as usual. A few days before my journey, I was trying to choose my seats and to my surprise, my reservation didn’t exist. I tried to call KLM customer service, but their automated answering service sent me to their facebook page where I was meant to put my questions… It turned out that KLM simply canceled my booking without even telling me about it. If I hadn’t tried to choose my seat, I wouldn’t have found out until I went to the airport. So strange!

7. Canceled? Our flights are never canceled!
South African Airlink – Bulawayo to Johannesburg + Cape Town to Johannesburg

South African Airlink (not to be confused with SS Airways with whom I love to fly) is responsible for two stories in my flight odyssey. In 2010 when I was trying to fly to South Africa from Zimbabwe, the ashes from the Icelandic volcano eruption suddenly paralyzed air traffic around the world. The airline claimed that my connecting flight from Johannesburg to London was flying the same day and that although I needed to take this flight, it was too late and I had to purchase another ticket. I arrived in Johannesburg only to find out that my flight to London was never meant to fly that day and I had to spend a night in a hotel and fight (literally!) with all the frustrated passengers to get a seat on the first ‘special’ flight. At least a month later I got a full refund for my ticket thanks to South African Airways.

Flight announcement at Johannesburg airport

Flight announcement at Johannesburg airport

Another story involving Airlink happened in 2012 when I had to fly from Cape Town to Johannesburg and there was no way that I could miss my flight due to some obligations that I had made. Orbitz, my favorite booking site, sent me an email a day before my flight stating that it will be canceled and that I need to call the airline. Until 3 hours before departure, the airline claimed that Orbitz had made a mistake and that my flight is departing on schedule. As you can probably guess, it was in fact canceled and if not for Orbitz telling me, I wouldn’t have come to the airport earlier and got on another available flight.

8. When the pilot got confused
Ryanair – Warsaw Modlin to London Stanstead

After waiting for 2 hours without any announcements at Warsaw Modlin Airport, Ryanair finally informed the passengers that the pilot got confused and landed at another airport, so they organized buses to get us there. We drove 2 hours to Lodz Airport where we found out that we cannot fly to London Stanstead anymore, but instead they will take us to Luton Airport. After all, it’s Ryanair.

9. We’re on strike!
Air France – London to Rio de Janerio via Paris + return

Air France decided to overbook to delay their flight from London to Paris so 6 passengers lost their seats on the flight to Rio de Janeiro. After arguing with the airline and getting nowhere, I decided to fly to Rio via Sao Paulo with TAM Airlines instead.

10. When you can’t fly without luggage, but luggage can fly alone
AviancaTaca – Mexico City to Cuzco via Lima

When I arrived in Lima, I asked if my suitcase was going to be sent directly to Cuzco. Both Avianca (with whom I was flying to Lima) and Taca (with whom I was flying from Lima) said that I didn’t need to pick up my bag. Right before I was supposed to check in, Taca informed me that I did in fact need to pick up my bag in order to continue my trip. However, they said that at that moment it was impossible to get itso I had no choice but to miss my flight. While I was waiting to get my bag, the crew discovered that it was actually missing. They told me that there was no choice but to call customer service in order to change my flight. I was on the phone for 3 hours with customer service and in the end they discovered that to change my flight I had to drive to the Avianca office in downtown Lima and do it in person. At the office, I found out that Taca has hidden taxes that have to be paid if your luggage isn’t flying with you. The price became too high and the only option was sending me back to Mexico City the next day. Believe it or not, they found my bag; it actually flew to Cuzco without me.


Avianca offers you a food rest nowadays it seems 🙂

As we can see from the photo above Avianca is not only leading in horrible situations, but also excellent when it comes to translations.

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  1. Apr 12, 2014 / 2:40 pm

    The pilot literally got confused and landed at the wrong airport? Oh my, that really does sound like Ryanair haha 😀

    One of my worst experiences was flying with Alitalia since they couldn’t find my booking for Paris-Rome-Cairo. It wasn’t until I unleashed my Mexican side that they admitted that had overbooked, luckily I convinced them (a box of chocolates might have been involved) to kick someone else out of the flight instead of doing it to me 🙂

    • Anna
      Apr 12, 2014 / 4:29 pm

      Yep… good old Ryanair haha!
      Actually if i have time i don’t mind staying at the hotel for a night if the flight is overbooked

  2. CascadeBob
    Apr 13, 2014 / 4:27 am

    Your stories remind me again of why I now travel only with a 46-liter carry-on pack. Not only airlines lose luggage – so do busses and trains not to mention the hassle of having to re-check luggage on international flights or when changing airlines.

    If it doesn’t fit in my carry-on, it doesn’t go.

    • Anna
      Apr 17, 2014 / 4:03 pm

      It reminds me of this story when my bus from Los Angeles to Vegas left me in the middle of the desert but taking my luggage. It was found in the middle of Las Vegas Bus Terminal and to be honest I have no idea how come noone took it for 5 hours before I got there to pick it up 😀

  3. Apr 14, 2014 / 10:42 pm

    Wow, some real scary stories here Anna, you’ve had it tough at times.

    Flying to Israel is going to be a rigorous event no matter who you fly with, they are on the point of paranoia when it comes to security.

    Overbooked flights, well yes that tends to happen a lot I’m afraid. It seems to be quite a profitable venture for the airlines judging on no shows making it so prominent.

    Ryanair, ah yes. I hope that I never have to fly with them again.

  4. Apr 15, 2014 / 12:03 am

    Being a nervous flier, I hate it when anything goes wrong on a flight and thankfully (I am also physically touching wood right now as my mum’s saying would go!!!) we haven’t had too many issues. The most I can complain about is delays and lack of vegetarian food even though it has been pre-ordered. I do have to say you sound like you are a bit jinxed when it comes to flights and if I find out we are ever due to be on the same flight in the future I might need to consider re-booking just to be on the safe side! 🙂 (I hope I have not offended!!!!)

    • Anna
      Apr 15, 2014 / 8:50 am

      Haha, that´s what all my friends say! It also applies to trains in my case 😉

  5. Wapniaki Wdrodze
    May 13, 2015 / 8:52 am

    It all sounds to me like an adventure , if you do not have to be somewhere at a certain time 😉

  6. May 13, 2015 / 8:04 pm

    I think I told you already, you should consider stop traveling with your “luck” haha 😀 There’s always something!

    • May 14, 2015 / 12:10 am

      Hehee you need to come with me to remove the grudge 😛

  7. May 13, 2015 / 8:20 pm

    My friend is a pilot, but he never talks about that kind of experiences 😀

    • May 13, 2015 / 11:55 pm

      Because he didn’t get to fly with me haha!

  8. May 14, 2015 / 1:19 pm

    You have so specific luck! But I think the situation in Tel Aviv is normal. I had a little problems too. Many people can say the same. Keep yourself and fly slightly!

    • May 14, 2015 / 1:23 pm

      The thing is it didn’t happen in Tel Aviv… it was in Warsaw…

  9. May 14, 2015 / 7:19 pm

    Well, you are unlucky 😉 the story from ElAl Airlines is so scary, that I would think twice about the choice of this airlines 😉

  10. Aug 23, 2015 / 11:05 pm

    Suddenly worrying about flying with you on a plane again next week now 😉


    • Aug 24, 2015 / 6:02 pm

      Sasasa… let’s see what will BlueAir prepare for us xD

  11. Dec 22, 2015 / 9:07 am

    an interesting read for sure about airlines, never had that stuff happen to me yet when flying

    • Dec 22, 2015 / 11:44 am

      Lucky 🙂

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