Thursday, 8 March 2012

My Worst Ever Travel Experience

Picture the scene... it was 2008 and it was the end of an incredible week's holiday on the picture-perfect island of Cyprus with my mum. We'd spent the week lazing on the beach, drinking cocktails and eating some amazing meals...

On the last day of our perfect holiday my mum called to find out what time we would be picked up to go to the airport for our flight home to Glasgow. She was told that the flight company, XL Airlines, had gone into liquidation the previous day but was reassured and told alternative flight arrangements had been made and we would be picked up the next morning.

The next day we were picked up at the specified time and soon arrived at the airport. Whilst we waited to check in we spoke to some girls who were due to fly to Manchester with XL Airlines and hadn't been given alternative flights who had been in the airport overnight. Feeling very sorry for them and thankful that we did have an alternative flight to catch we checked in and headed through to the departures lounge. Little did we know our situation was about to get a whole lot worse.

At first our flight was delayed for 4 hours. Not the end of the world we thought, at least we'll be home soon.

Then it was delayed another 3 hours. Annoying but not too bad.

Then it was delayed a further 11 hours.

By this time it was evening and we were facing a night in Larnaca airport. If you've ever been to Larnaca airport pre-refurbishment you'll understand this wasn't an ideal situation. Row upon row of horrible steel seats were all we had to sit on and the only place to buy food was Wimpy.

Image from

With the realisation we were going to be there all night we found ourselves, along with 2 other plane loads of people who were in the same situation, we took over the upper cafe section of the airport and swapped magazines, books, chatted and did everything we could to pass the time. I even made some lovely new friends. I remember being so worried because by this time I was missing my first day at University and I even made my dad call them to tell them why!

As time passed our flight disappeared from the screen completely and we knew we were in trouble. Airport staff wouldn't communicate anything to us and we faced another day in the airport.

Day quickly turned into night with no sign of a plane to take us home. The only help we'd had from airport staff was tickets to buy meals in the Wimpy. They wouldn't tell us what was happening or when we would be getting home.

As our cases had been checked in and we had no luggage people were beginning to get increasingly frustrated. One poor man's medicine was in his case which he had no access to and babies were running out of food and nappies. Some of the girls who worked in the duty free must have felt sorry for us as they brought a bag of supplies for us to freshen ourselves up.

Image from

The next morning we were told a representative would come to speak with us and everyone gathered at the edge of security waiting for them to arrive. I'm pretty sure they thought some passengers were going to be trouble as nobody ever came. A man with a video camera had been filming the scenes and I soon got a few messages from friends telling me I was on TV!

That afternoon a plane finally arrived! It was the best feeling ever knowing we had a plane to get on so we could finally get out of what had become a nightmare. It was one of the massive Airbus A380's with an upstairs and it was big enough to fit the 3 plane loads of passengers who'd been stranded at Larnaca.

Image from

As soon as that plane got in the air and everyone had sunk into the supple leather seats the entire plane fell asleep and before we knew it we were arriving home. More than 55 hours later we finally made it home, and I've never been happier to crawl into my bed.

Image from

Although this was my worst travel experience and it was a nightmare at the time I know it could have been a lot worse!

Have you ever had a horrible travel experience? What happened?

1 comment:

  1. My only serious hiccup was in Morocco. We had a Marrakesh-Casablanca-Lisbon flight to catch and were told that the first leg was cancelled but a taxi would take us to Casablanca and the plane would wait for us (8 people). We got to casablanca and there was no plane.. and there wouldnt be one for another 2 days. We were told we had to stay at the horrendous airport hotel and then find out the next day. As luck would have it, Air Portugal was on strike the following day, so every flight to Lisbon with any other airline (from any european destination) was fully booked. Iberia felt sorry for us and got us seats to Madrid, where we rented a car. Im glad we had boys with us.. as the staff at Royal Air Maroc wouldnt speak to us ladies... and the worse? I had to go back on another company get together to the same place, 2 weeks later, but on my own.

    Never been to Marrakesh before, and wasnt looking forward to going again... but it was alright and thank God nothing happened!