When traveling goes wrong…

By Jake Glover


One of the most unforgettable vacations I’ve ever had was my trip to Italy in 2013. My family was headed to Rome for my cousin’s wedding. It was was going to be amazing. However, the reason it was unforgettable wasn’t because of the incredible food, or getting to see the Colosseum. It was unforgettable because instead of spending a week in Italy, we nearly missed the wedding because we got stuck in Bangor, Maine.


The vacation started out as normal as any other. My family traveled through security at the airport, got some snacks for the ride, and waited at our gate. Unbeknownst to us, there was a fire at the fuel depot around this time and planes weren’t able to fuel. The airlines made it seem like a minor issue, and after an extra hour of waiting, we headed onto the plane, expecting things to run smoothly from there. But we were very wrong.


We ended up waiting about another hour on the plane before getting on the runway, because the airline decided to take a quick detour in Bangor, Maine to get enough fuel for the rest of our journey across the atlantic. After it seemed everything was sorted out, we took a quick flight up to Bangor, expecting a short layover before heading on our dream Italian vacation. But things continued to go wrong.


Bangor is a much smaller airport than Boston so we did not immediately get off the plane, they needed to bus the passengers from the tarmac to the airport. We waited patiently. For three hours. Sitting in a plane doing absolutely nothing. Because not only was it too hard to get the passengers to the airport, the airline had spent the time debating, again, what to do. Apparently, our flight attendants and pilots had already booked too many hours for the day, and union policy ordered they not work for at least another 12 hours. And of course the passengers weren’t told this until they had waited for hours. So, while we were expecting to spend the night in luxurious Italian resort, visiting the Trevi fountain and eating the best pizza on earth, we were going to spend a night in the Econo-Lodge motel in Bangor, Maine, where the only restaurant in town was an understaffed Ground Round.


We waited, bitterly disappointed, until our flight the next day. And after the annoyingly difficult process of getting there, we were on a flight to Europe, and after a short layover in Ireland, we’d be on a plane to Italy. But of course, that couldn’t go as planned either. As soon as we arrived in Ireland, we knew we didn’t have much time to get to our flight. They told us, despite us saying we didn’t have a lot of time, to wait in a big line with everyone else. By the time we reached the front, we were unfortunately told we missed our flight. Despite my parents’ embittered complaints, we had to spend another 24 hours in Dublin, Ireland. As one could guess, my family was incredibly annoyed, defeated, and angry. We should have had a travel time of roughly 7 hours, and this trip had taken us 48.
We finally made it to Italy, just two days late. And while we lost some time to go sightseeing in Rome, we made it to the wedding and still had a pretty awesome vacation after all.