Let me preface this story by saying I’ve never missed a flight a day in my life, and this particular trip – I missed two. #TravelNightmare.
The plan for this trip was to fly to NYC, attend BlogHer15, fly to Columbus from there for a college reunion of sorts, then come back to Chicago. That sort of happened.
The plan later switched to: fly to NYC, attend BlogHer15, have a cancellation for the flight to Columbus, book an earlier one, miss it, book a flight to Cincinnati, miss it, stay in Newark for an extra night, fly to Cincinnati in the morning, drive to Columbus with the folks, THEN come back to Chicago. Whew.
Part 1: BlogHer15 in NYC
Two of my colleagues from ShareASale and I flew out to NYC on a Wednesday evening for BlogHer. We arrived on time and got to check out Milk Bar, which was by our hotel. We walked around the city for a bit and ended up at Serendipity for more ice cream, because well, why not? We didn’t stay out too late, as we had to set up our booth early Thursday morning. The booth setup also went swimmingly, and we had a few hours to kill before we had the cocktail hour that night at the conference, so we went to explore the High Line. I highly recommend walking the entire High Line and checking out Chelsea Market next time you’re in NYC. The sights were amazing, and the food was even better!
Now, back to business. The cocktail hour was great and we met a lot of bloggers just in those few hours. After it ended, we went to Nobu for sushi, and it was the first time I tried salmon eggs. I will probably refrain from eating any type of fish egg in the future. It felt like I was eating 80 salmons at once. As you can tell, this is hard to explain, but this is what they looked like:
Again, the night ended early, as we had a full day ahead of us manning the booth the next day. BlogHer was amazing! It was such a great experience, and I met a lot of bloggers who were either with ShareASale or excited to learn more about our network. As the Blogger Liaison, I love teaching bloggers our latest technology and blogger-friendly tools that help monetize their websites. I enjoy the shows, but I also love getting back to the office and checking out the different blog sites. They’re so inspirational and filled with great content. I feel like I can really get to know someone through the face to face interaction that conferences provide, then dive even deeper while I read their posts. The time at the booth was a success! BlogHer also shut down the exhibit hall so us sponsors could go watch Gwyneth Paltrow ‘s keynote.
Part 2: The Nightmare
The plan for me was to leave the conference a day early so I could attend the 5th Annual ONU Parent’s Party. This was put together well in advance and it’s once a year that most of my college volleyball teammates get together with our parents and have a big par-tay! This year, the event was going down in Columbus. I booked a flight out of NYC to Columbus on Friday night (after the conference), getting me there around midnight. The party was slated to start at 2pm on Saturday.
I received an email from United on Friday around noon stating that my 9pm flight was canceled. I tried not to panic, and I thought, well at least I checked my email and I have enough time to figure something out. So, I called them and they were actually able to get me on an earlier flight and I could still stay for all of the conference. Score! I arranged for transportation to pick me up from the hotel in NYC at 4:15pm for my 7pm flight. Plenty of time, I thought. Well, I was wrong. WAY wrong. At 7pm, I was still sitting in the car in midtown, waiting to get into the Holland Tunnel. THREE HOURS of Manhattan traffic. I knew NYC traffic was going to be bad on a Friday, but not this bad. Obviously, I missed my flight and they had no more flying to Columbus that night. First flight I’ve ever missed in the books.
And the nightmare didn’t stop there, folks. I exhausted all my options to get out of Newark that night – I could fly to Cincinnati and drive to Columbus the next day with my parents, I could fly to Cleveland and drive to Columbus with a friend, or I could go to Dayton, which is close enough, as well. I’m on the phone with United as I’m waiting in thee SLOWEST EVER customer service line at Newark. There was only one rep working. C’mon. The people need to get places. The lady on the phone tells me there’s a flight leaving for Cincinnati with availability in 35 minutes, so she books me, and the lady at the counter prints my ticket, and I’m mad dashing across the airport for security. The first security line I tried to get in says they are closed and no longer accepting additional customers. REALLY? Really. After begging for a second, they weren’t budging. So, on I run to the next security. A much longer line. I start asking people if I can move ahead, showing them my ticket and how I now leave in about 25 minutes. Most people were kind enough.
I get through security and realize that I AM IN THE WRONG TERMINAL. Holy shit. I ask the closest airport workers how I can in fact fly over to Terminal C from Terminal A and he graciously guides me in the right direction. However, I have to take a shuttle. I run to the shuttle and it’s already there, luckily. I tell the lady at that desk to call my gate and ask that they please wait for me. PLEASE. I see her trying to call them as I dart onto the shuttle. The shuttle could not have moved any slower in my opinion. It’s 9:10pm. My flight leaves at 9:22pm. I get off the shuttle and sprint like no other to my gate. I arrive at 9:19pm. Door is closed. Agents are no where to be found. Plane has already pushed back. Second flight I’ve ever missed in the books.
At this point, I just want to cry. I’m sure most travelers have had this experience at least once or twice. The agent finally appears and was way too snarky with me. I couldn’t even remember what she told me to do because I was so mad. I finally made my way over to a United customer service agent and asks that they comp me a room. “Why?” he shoots back. Ugh, because you had canceled my original flight which is why I’m going through this mess in the first place. HALLO. I think the tears in my eyes helped with the sympathy, and they comped me a night at a less than fancy Holiday Inn in Newark and gave me two $7 meal vouchers. Yahoo! He also put me on the first flight out of there to Cincinnati at 6am the next day. I was not spending any more time than I had to. I was in Cincinnati by 8am, which worked out, as I got to see my doggy and my high school friends at breakfast. Then, I was finally on my way to Columbus. Goodbye NYC, I don’t want to see you again for a long time. Sorry.
Part 3: Columbus
The hour and a half drive from Cincinnati to Columbus didn’t seem so bad, and I was able to catch up with my parents. We arrived in Columbus right about 2pm and checked into the hotel. We then went over to my friends new house and ate some appetizers, played games, drank some alcohol (I needed it), and caught up with everyone. We had plans to go to Dick’s Last Resort for dinner, then head to the bars in the Arena District of Columbus. Dick’a was great fun, although the food was mediocre. The parents had a blast with each other, and I enjoyed my time with my old teammates. I was so happy I made it. The next day, we ate at Bob Evans (the parent’s favorite) before everyone went their separate ways.
I flew out of Columbus on Sunday afternoon without a dilemma. That long weekend took a lot out of me, and I was happy to not be traveling for the next few weekends after that. I know realize that I tried to cram too much into a single weekend, and I should probably plan smarter for the future.
Did you ever have a travel nightmare like mine? Comment below!