Cancelled, redirected, and missed flights! Weather issues and lost luggage! And that was just the first day. We were on the way to a wedding in Germany, in the days before smartphones. Nowadays, I would just text the bride our apologies, but in 1994, it took a little more creativity.
How It Should Have Been
We expected a quick flight from Dallas to New York with a short layover in Chicago. A limousine was scheduled to carry guests from one airport to the next, where an up-scale welcome party was planned. Then all the guests from various corners of the US would board a late afternoon flight and head across the Atlantic. Upon arrival in the rural hometown of the groom, several days of traditional pre-wedding celebrations were slated. Most of that actually happened, but my husband and I weren’t there.
How it was
After a ridiculous series of unfortunate events, we arrived at LaGuardia. Dashing to a pay phone we discovered our flight with the wedding party had just backed away from the jet way at JFK. But that was only one of our problems. Not only did we have nowhere to go, the single bag in our possession only carried formal finery.
The Balance of the Trip
It never got better, but it’s still one of our favorite trips. That’s because we faced the challenges as if they were obstacles in a game and played the game as a team. We did make it in time for the wedding, but barely. Even after we reunited with the rest of our party, each day came with a new set of challenges.
What We Learned
- Never pack vital contact information in checked luggage.
- Always pack a change of clothes, including underwear, in every bag – even the bag with the tuxedo and evening gown.
- Always speak sweetly to the people, especially when they are being impossible in a different language.
- Eat at every opportunity – really.
- Assume the worse will happen and be surprised when it doesn’t.
- Don’t get off a train unless you’re sure it’s at the right station.
In subsequent trips together, we discovered that when nothing goes wrong, travel can be pretty boring. Our best trips each have an episode that can rock a room with laughter. But I did mention to eat whenever you have an opportunity – didn’t I?