Some sentences are music to any traveler’s ears. But for every phrase we long to hear, there’s one we dread just as much. Here are five things you never want to hear as a traveler, and what you can do if you’re unlucky enough to hear them.
If you’re flight is cancelled, stay cool and with a bit of luck you’ll find yourself on another flight.
There’s no fairness in a world where you can spend months anticipating every detail of your longed-for vacation, only to have it obliterated before you have even boarded your flight, your dreams running hard up against the cruel finality of this singular nine-letter monstrosity of a word. You see it up there on the board, you reflect it can’t be your flight, you check your phone, it really is, your head is spinning, your partner is crying, your vacation is falling apart.
Stay cool. You probably have plenty of options, but none of them are going to work out if you don’t stay cool. And this is certainly not an advice column, but I can’t help saying that Tripit Pro has a brilliant new feature that tells you what your alternatives are when a flight is cancelled, so that instead of telling the harried staff at the Consumer Service desk “Help!”, you can say a touch useful, like “Can you get me on Delta’s midday flight instead?” Priceless.
“I can’t find your booking.”
You go through the distress of flying half-way around the world and the hotel’s stupid reservation system can’t find your booking? Hmmm… or maybe you didn’t hit the book button twice, like you were meant to. Whatever, the fact is you are there, but your room is not. Well, you could permanently try this ancient line: “If Prince Charles was to walk in here right now you’d find a room for him, right? Well, he’s in Scotland this weekend, so I want his room.” But that’s not likely to work, and may even make your partner despise you, so maybe now’s the time to just suck it up and look for the nearest backpacker lodge.
No, seriously: hotels face this problem all the time, and most will be pleased to work the phones until they find a solution. Be nice. Stay cool (over again). View it as a challenge, not a problem. This has happened to me a few times, and it’s never been a disaster. Sometimes it works out really well and you get a better place at a lower rate. Fate is a fickle business.
“There’s a severe storm headed our way.”
Terrible weather? There’s permanently museums! Photo courtesy of palindrome6996 via Flickr
Your flight was on time! The room is fabulous! What else could go incorrect? Plenty, and weather is the top of the list. And when it happens, you’re often left thinking it would have been better if your flight had been cancelled.
I have no advice here. Weather happens, living on Earth requires you to deal with it. Personally, I permanently take a crossword book. Others, looking for ways to pass the time when they have plenty of it to pass, choose Sudoku. Books. In-room movies. The hotel lobby, people watching. You’ll figure it out.
“Sorry, we’re sold out…”
Ten years ago you could pop down to the lobby, tell the concierge your partner had chose you should go to the Moulin Rouge on Friday night, and he’d organise two tickets. No problems. Now this pesky internet business and all those annoying advance bookers means Friday night is sold out a month in advance. Ditto Alcatraz. Ditto about ten thousand of the best tours and attractions worldwide.
Ok, this is where we can help: just don’t let this ever take place to you! Book in advance on Viator. You didn’t reflect was a community service announcement, did you?
“Those are the final bags from the New York flight…”
Everything ran on time, the hotel was incredible, the shows and tours and everything was fantastic, you shopped till you dropped, you can’t wait to get home and unpack your bags. But where are they? And where’s everyone else from your flight?
Now I’m feeling a small sad for you. This really isn’t honest and it certainly shouldn’t be happening to you. Thank goodness you have a red bag, not a black one; and that you have ribbons and ID all over it so that the handlers can find it real simple. You do, don’t you? Don’t you?