Day 15: When things go wrong

Waiting for their turn at the service desk for rebooked flights and hotel rooms, the #kentinprague group has a range of emotions.

Waiting for their turn at the service desk for rebooked flights and hotel rooms, the #kentinprague group has a range of emotions.

It might have been the student who forgot to wear her lucky necklace or the prof who told her husband, “I’ll see you Sunday night if things don’t get messed up.”

Or it could have really been some mechanical problem with Brussels Airlines’ 330 Airbus.

Whatever it was, we learned just as we were heading for the plane in Prague that our overseas flight was cancelled. Instead of flying to Dulles at 4:45, we were standing at the service desk, working out four different itineraries to get 12 of us home a day late.

We’d had a good plan, too, to beat that loud-mouthed American in the turquoise Polo shirt and everyone else to get the best available seats. But the Brussels Air agent corralled all the Dulles-bound passengers as we exited the plane and kept Katy and me from our planned dash to the front of the line.

Now we were split into four groups: two are going Frankfurt to Newark to Cleveland, two Zurich to Chicago to Cleveland, four Montreal to Newark to Cleveland and four Dulles to Cleveland (that one sounds preferable, but doesn’t leave until 4:45 and arrives at 11:30 p.m. while they others are scheduled to touch down closer to 8 p.m.).

Reactions? A range from mild annoyance, to tangible stress to barely contained glee from the group adding Montreal to its travel plans. The wait to retrieve luggage was long, but who wanted to trust what would happen to suitcases overnight in an airport? Even if they were mostly filled with dirty clothes, they were OUR dirty clothes, and some even had toothpaste and make-up and comfy jammies.

Once we had rooms in the Sheraton right across the street, once we had laughed our way through a marginal but free buffet dinner (How many ways can they serve rice?) and settled in to a decent WiFi signal and television that included “Meet the Press” (or local news if for those testing their French class vocabulary), it isn’t too bad.

Now….watch for the tweets tomorrow: #kentinprague …  in Montreal, #kentinprague …in Zurich and so on. We’ll continue to be able to say about international travel “Whatever” as long as we sleep in our own beds tomorrow night.

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