Airplane travel is Nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.” – Al Gore
As trips go, this one started out as nothing less than a disaster.
It all started at the end of the first leg of my trip back to South Korea. With just over an hour and a half between flights in San Francisco, I was in a hurry to get off the plane, check in, and make it through security in time for boarding. I was so absorbed in doing this that I didn’t realize I’d left my camera on the plane until I was waiting to board my second flight.
After accidentally searing the ears of a family nearby, I took a deep breath and did a quick cost analysis in my head. It would probably be cheaper and certainly less stressful to buy a new camera similar to my ‘old’ one than to book a new flight. Worst case scenario, I’d have to buy a new camera. Best case, the flight attendants would find mine and turn it in to the desk. Who knows, maybe they’d be able to send it to Korea.
Resigning my camera to the hands of Fate, I boarded the plane and we took off for Seoul. Luckily, there were a wide variety of movies available for me to watch — I managed to blow through five before landing. It was just as well, since the child behind me had not one, not two, but three agonizingly long tantrums during the latter half of the flight. The constant onslaught of cinema preoccupied me enough to where I didn’t entertain dark thoughts of drawing and quartering a three year old… much. Still, when it came time to disembark, I couldn’t get off the plane fast enough.
Sixteen and a half hours after watching Washington State drop away beneath the silver wings of the Airbus A319, I found myself cruising along the travelator in Incheon International Airport. Maybe the feeling was due to exhaustion, but I couldn’t ignore the twinge of sentiment — I was almost home.
They say when bad luck strikes, it strikes thrice. I should’ve been prepared for making it to the baggage claim and discovering that my bag was nowhere to be found. A quick query to the baggage claim center confirmed — the bag had never made it onto the plane in SFO. Luckily, it could be delivered to my hotel the next day. I filled out the necessary paperwork and headed to the Airport Express. At this point, all I wanted was a big bowl of soup and a bed to collapse into.
Up until that point, my journey had been crap-tastic. If I hadn’t been so resolved to be positive, I would’ve been miserable. Fast forward to checking in at my hotel for the night. My bed in the dorm room wasn’t ready, so the staff bumped me up to a private room. The sense of relief as I closed the door was overwhelming, as was the unexpected change of fortune.
No people snoring in a bunk below me. No need to mind the noise while waking up early the next morning for my interview. No sense of guilt in spending however long would be necessary in the bathroom. As I dropped trou and sat on my throne for the evening, I felt myself relax. It had been one heckuva trip, but I’d made it.
RESOLUTION: My bag was delivered to Pohang several days later (not to my hotel in Seoul), and my camera was shipped via Fedex to my friend’s apartment. It took a few weeks for everything to shake out, but all is well on this side of the sea!
What happened during your most recent travel mishap? Did everything end up working out, or did it severely impact your plans? Share in the comments below!