With almost weekly travels I would call myself an experienced traveller. But being such a frequent traveller doesn’t mean I am free of travel nightmares. A few worries stay with me regardless the experience. So, let me share with my five biggest travel nightmares.
Travel Nightmare Number One: Missing my flight
Touch wood, so far this has not happened once. I had a few ‘let’s head straight through security and into the aircraft, do not stop along the way’ scenarios, somehow most of them when departing Vienna. All instances when I was actually well on time to start with but ended up going for a ‘quick coffee’ with the client to pass the wait time. Note to self: boarding starts really early in Vienna, so do factor that in.
When leaving on an early morning flight, I do usually allow myself a lot of time to get to the airport. Although it means sacrificing an extra half hour of sleep, I always plan to get to the airport a good 90 minutes before departure. Even when flying hand luggage only. If all goes well along the way, this gives me sufficient time for a relaxed coffee and breakfast at the airport. If the cab gets stuck in traffic or there are any accidents / road closures en route, this time becomes my safety cushion. I might not get breakfast, but I will get my flight.
Travel Nightmare Number Two: Showing up at the wrong airport
Again, this hasn’t happened to me yet. But with six airports in and around London, the fear is real. It has happened to a colleague of mine before, so one never knows. And when the cab driver picks me up early in the morning I always double check, just to make sure I did indeed book the cab for the right airport (and terminal).
I very nearly did the wrong terminal when flying to Warsaw last year. With most British Airways flights departing Heathrow Terminal 5, I was convinced this was where I needed to go that morning. Until my client texted me, telling me he’d give me a call when he arrived at T3…. whoops, that could have been embarrassing.
Travel Nightmare Number Three: Losing my luggage
Third time lucky. This also hasn’t happened to me yet. But statistics are against me here. With anything between 70 and 90 flights a year the odds are it will eventually happen at some point. That being said, most of my work trips are short trips and therefore hand luggage only, so I very rarely have checked luggage (and am therefore minimizing the chances… or is that tempting fate instead?)
Travel Nightmare Number Four: Being stranded
So, this has actually happened to me. Several times. Over the years I had a few flights cancelled. Most of the times it did not matter much. I was either rescheduled to a later flight the same day or was able to take a little detour and stay an extra night at my parents.
However, I was stranded in Paris recently when my flight was severely delayed (to the next day) due to heavy fog in London.
Travel Nightmare Number Five: Oversleeping
OK, number five is similar to number one. As it ultimately would mean I miss my flight. But with so many of my outbound flights being early morning, setting my alarm for 4am (or even earlier) isn’t out of the ordinary. Just to be safe, I will always set 2 alarms. And so far, I have always managed to hear both of them. And get up without dozing off again. Fingers crossed it stays that way.
So, there you have it. My five biggest travel nightmares. Surprisingly none of them have to do with the actual safety of the aircraft. I do not suffer from flight anxiety and have never had the problem of feeling unsafe in an aircraft. I know this isn’t for everyone. But for me personally, travelling by airplane is no different to travelling by car or train when it comes to safety.
Tell me, what are your biggest travel nightmares?