“We’d like to upgrade you to a suite.” “This flight will be arriving early.” “Admission is free today.” 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.
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 think 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 calm. You probably have plenty of options, but none of them are going to work out if you don’t stay calm. And this is definitely 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 Customer Service desk “Help!”, you can say something useful, like “Can you get me on Delta’s midday flight instead?” Priceless.
“I can’t find your booking.”
You go through the trouble 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 always try this old 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 hate 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 happy to work the phones until they find a solution. Be nice. Stay calm (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 thing.
“There’s a severe storm headed our way.”
Your flight was on time! The room is fabulous! What else could go wrong? 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 always 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.
Read more: 10 Must-Packs for a Winter Trip to Europe
“Sorry, we’re sold out…”
Ten years ago you could pop down to the lobby, tell the concierge your partner had decided you should go to the Moulin Rouge on Friday night, and he’d organise two tickets. No problems. Now this pesky internet thing 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 happen to you! Book in advance on Viator. You didn’t think was a community service announcement, did you?
“Those are the final bags from the New York flight…”
Everything ran on time, the hotel was amazing, 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 little sad for you. This really isn’t fair 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 easy. You do, don’t you? Don’t you?
Read more: 5 Worst Things to Forget on a Trip
- Rod Cuthbert