What’s the biggest travel “oh s*%t” moment you’ve ever had? Enter to win a $50 iTunes Gift Card!

We’ve all had those “oh s*%t” moments! This week I was following fellow travel blogger, Just Another Points Traveler and her dad’s travel woes unfold. Like all of us, he made an honest mistake – his flight was at 1:30am and when he showed up at the airport that night for check-in he realized that this flight departed that morning, at 1:30am. I’ve come close to doing that a few times!

On one of my first major international trips, I flew from Bangkok to Switzerland. My flight left Bangkok on December 9th just shortly after midnight. I didn’t really pay enough attention to the ticketing information and booked a hotel in Zurich for Dec 10 arrival. Little did I realize, I would land in Zurich on December 9th the same day I departed Bangkok. Luckily for me, the Marriott I where I was staying in Zurich had rooms available and gave me the same rate that I booked for the remaining days.


I’ve had those moments created for me when others have booked my travel. I had someone in a corporate travel department, who had very little international experience, book a connection through the UK. The only problem was that one flight landed at LHR and the other departed from LGW and there was only a 2 hour connection window. Luckily for me I caught that one before the final ticket was booked! That would have been a nightmare.

What was your biggest travel “oh s*%t” moment? Enter to win a $50 iTunes gift card.

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55 Comments on "What’s the biggest travel “oh s*%t” moment you’ve ever had? Enter to win a $50 iTunes Gift Card!"

  1. Flying from MDW To LGA. I flip flipped the airports. I was leaving from Chicago and returning from New York but reversed them when booking! It was only a few days before leaving I realized what I had done. THANK GOD Southwest doesn’t charge for changing your flights!!!! Got it all sorted out in time for my vacation.

  2. I had to go to jfk but stupidly i thought it was LGA. I ended up missing my flight.

  3. I was working in the airport and was incredibly focused on whatever I was doing…and I completely missed my flight. They called my name a number of times for final boarding call and I was just not paying attention to the announcements. I was really young at the time and didn’t want to charge the client for am expensive hotel stay (there was some convention in town so the only room I could get was $500)…so I ended up sleeping on a bench at the airport. To make matters worse…it wasn’t a major airport so I was sleeping outside of security near a door that stayed open all night so I asked the night guard to walk by me on my his rounds. I slept with my head on my work bag and my hand on my luggage. I got home about 10:00 AM and went into the office…ugh. Huge fail.

  4. I was leaving orlando, as hurricane Irene was approaching landfall. It had not reached NJ, but they closed Newark airport early. My connection was in Cleveland, so they left us there! At least i had the forethought to book a car, so we drove into the storm from Cleveland. What a crazy drive! I had to wait 5 days to return the car until they reopened newark airport car returns!

  5. A few years ago (well like 20+) when living in NYC, I had booked an LH flight to Slovakia and on the way to Newark (EWR) I realized that I was departing JFK. I had forgotten that I was departing JFK and ARRIVING EWR. Fortunately it only cost me bridge toll and 20 minutes, but that all over “OH S*&T” numbing feeling was with me for a long time! 🙂

  6. Yup, missed my flight. I live one hour and 45 minutes from the airport and had convinced myself the flight was at 8:30. When I arrived at the check-in, it was leaving as I stood there. The big problem? I had worked really hard to get my biz class to BKK. To be standing at the airport and having totally blown it was depressing. Because I have 1M miles on AA under my belt, I am convinced the agents worked extra hard to figure it out for me. I paid for a ticket on UA to ORD and they got me on Cathay to HKG and BKK. Other than the cost, it worked out better!

  7. Ineligible for prize but like to share all the same,… Many many years ago, I flew from London to Lyon just for a mini break to visit my BFF in Matour. The next leg of the journey was by train, but unbeknown to me I arrived on a French public holiday. No staff and few passengers around. I asked which platform for Macon in schoolgirl French and feeling smug boarded the TGV. Bon voyage! Only minutes later I realised it wasn’t stopping until Paris. Right platform, wrong station (Lyon has two!).

    In Paris I admitted my mistake, laughed as I handed over my credit card to the way too serious travel agent, purchased a ticket back to Lyon and thankfully boy those trains are fast! I finally arrived only12 hours late but travel wise. Pass the red wine!

  8. Karen Lessin | August 25, 2012 at 8:46 pm |

    I opened the hotel room door to retrieve my newspaper and the door shut behind me. I had just come out of the shower and was clothed only in a bath towel with no room key. I had to go to the lobby to get a new key

  9. Here’s the scene – I’m in Narita airport, three immigration officers giving me hard looks, as I try to explain how completely I have s*****d the pooch, and why they should have mercy on me…

    Ten minutes before, ticket and passport in hand, I blithely stepped up to the immigration control exit counter. Business class ticket, check. Passport, check. ID, check. Check, check, check…. “*******-san? You have a round trip ticket, but I don’t see a re-entry permit. Are you leaving Japan permanently?” Aaaaand my stomach does a triple lutz on its way to the basement.

    You see, I was living in Japan, and my visa required that I have a special permit, called a re-entry permit, to travel overseas if I wanted to return to Japan without losing my visa.

    Losing the visa would require going through the lengthy (and potentially embarrassing to my employer) reapplication process. I had just renewed my passport, and had neglected to have my permit moved over to the new passport, a process which requires taking the passport during regular business hours (banker’s weekeday hours, btw) to a crowded immigration office. I’d mentally skipped that step somewhere…. and now I was in deep.

    The hard eyed, yet exquisitely polite immigration officer’s informed me that, as it was a weekend, my re-entry permit status could not be confirmed (records are far less computerized in Japan than in many other countries). I shrank a bit. Furthermore, failure to transfer a permit was actually a minor violation of Japanese immigration law. I shrank further. “Also, *******-san, you’ve been in Japan for ten years now – surely you’re familiar enough with these simple requirements by now?” I began searching for a drain to crawl into…

    “However….” (I perked up) “accidents happen – if you will please fill out this emergency permit form, pay the processing fee, the expedited processing fee, and write out a statement explaining what happened, we can add a permit to your passport now, before your flight, preserving your visa (SAVED!!!).

    So, 30 minutes later, suitably humble statement written, I’m on my way to the business class lounge. While downing a much needed beer, I add a permanently repeating reminder to my ToDo travel list – Check the d*** re-entry permit.

    Addendum for anyone interested – the re-entry permit requirement for various classes of visa holders living in Japan has been eliminated as of 2012, for overseas trips of less than one year. Shortens my ToDo list by one…

  10. Booked a ticket for Jul instead of Jun. Showed up the airport. Was embarrassed. Had to pay the $200 change fee.

  11. I had planned a trip for a very close friend for us to travel to Bruges, Amsterdam, and Dublin. I always have a little itinerary, travel confirmations, etc. Everything went well until we arrived at Schilpol for our flight to Dublin. We tried to check in at a kiosk and our e-ticket would just not read correctly…or so we thought. We queued up in a line to check in with an agent, standing for another 30 minutes or so and, upon reaching her, we’re then told to go to another Service Counter. When we got there, we were politely told that we were booked on a flight a month earlier!!! The date was June 13 and the ticket had been issued by Aer Lingus on May 13!!! So here I am, the great trip planner with major egg on face! To make matters worse, it cost us each $600+ dollars for a one way to Dublin that afternoon (we had to be there that day).

    That was definitely an “Oh $*%t” moment for me!

  12. Layover at DFW i& chilling @ the admirals club…int’l connection from NRT to SEA is delayed an hour. My wife and I leave the lounge about 30 min prior to the rescheduled departure time and arrive at an empty gate! (20 min prior to departure) Guess they fixed the problem and had sped up the boarding process to make up time. Of course, our seats in first had been given away. Apparently they’d been paging us for 20 minutes…guess nobody thought to page the club?

    At least the agents were able to delay the departure long enough to get us on the flight…got to enjoy the walk of shame to our middle seats in the back.

    A personal fail? Yes…sort of. A customer service win? Meh. We got home.

  13. Well Mr. Cool Dad (me) had the family up early, everything packed, calm drive to the airport, stopped for breakfast and casually walked up to check our bags. The porter said, sorry I can’t check your bags, the plane is boarding.


    Mr. World Traveler dad read the arrival time as our departure time. Instead of being 90 minutes early for our flight to a big vacation to Disney World, our flight was lifting off without us.

    One mad wife, three upset daughters and a very ticked off dad who had to keep his cool.

    So we parked the car, lugged our bags up to the counter and I played the only card I had. The baby (our youngest) had an accident before we left and that delayed us getting to the airport. She really did have an accident so it was not a lie just at the time we did not realize her accident (requiring a change of clothes) had any significance as we were not in a hurry.

    Long story short (yes, I know too late for that). The “mom” GA put us on the next flight with no penalty or charges.

    We got to Disney, had fun and my wife insisted I get glasses. Ten years later, I still don’t have glasses (denial is not only a river in Egypt but my M.O.) but we have never missed a flight again. Of course we are at the airport 4 hours before departure and always carry dirty baby clothes (even though we don’t have a baby) just in case.

  14. Like Hulagirl, I booked a ticket in July that should have been in June. Figured it out the morning of the trip when I didn’t get my usual gate and time notification. Unfortunately, it cost way more than $200 to get changed..

    And for the real doozy of a mistake, in a similiar vein. Coming back from my first ever trip to Southeast Asia, didn’t realize my flight out of HKG left on Sunday morning, but arrived SFO Saturday night, the day before!!! The last leg to home was booked on the Monday morning red-eye instead of the Sunday morning red-eye. Didn’t figure that one out until I tried to check in for the red-eye and the system said I was a day early!! After a frantic call to the elite line, I was able to get an award ticket immediately issued and had to suffer the last leg of my First Class vacation in coach, on a red-eye, in the middle seat. Needless to say, on all my subsequent Asia trips, I always triple check the connections to make sure they are on the correct day.

  15. I got on the wrong flight (long story but United was at fault and they apologized) with my then 4 month old. First time flying with an infant. We are about to roll out and they make the announcement. I realize I am on the wrong flight, they freak out and escort me off the plane. Not too bad except my daughter was crying her head off from hunger and as I get up to get off I pick her up and bang her head again the top of the aircraft. People did not laugh nor did I. Needless to say, it was definitely a bad moment but one that I will never forget and it makes for a great story now. There is more to it but you get the idea from the short version 🙂

  16. Just this month, I boarded off an international flight from Paris and was ready to declare a bunch of expensive gifts that I purchased in the duty-free shop at CDG. Except, I realized when I handed my customs form to the customs agent that I left it on the plane!
    I asked the agent if there was any way to get it from the plane, and he simply shook his head. I decided not to push the issue and hoped that at least some airline maintenance person had a very nice day.

  17. Similar to Just Another Points Travelers’ Dad…

    I was flying to my sisters wedding and had been fare shopping. My dad and I kept getting different fares (Iwas finding fares that were $300+ cheaper than he was). After going back and forth many times, he eventually said hey…go for it if you see that price (and why not if I find that good a fare!).

    I booked an AirTran flight and then showed up @ the airport a few weeks later. I then tried to check in and it kept failing – and I then realized why I’d found such a great deal. My flight was not until the next week!!!! I screwed up the dang calendar function when going back & forth so many times on the search function!

    I HAD to make the flight to get to the wedding on time, AirTran was great, they booked me that day with no change fee or increased cost. I went in smelling like crap and came out smelling like a rose…thank you AirTran.

    And D’OH for me!

  18. We traveled to London last year for a short babymoon. Several hours after we arrived, we prepared to hop on the tube to visit the British Museum. As we were coming down the stairs, we saw that the train was about to depart so we rushed the last several yards. As I stepped on, the doors closed behind me, leaving my husband stranded on the platform. I stared through the window in shock as the train pulled away from the station. We had no rendezvous plan, no GSM phones. I was carrying the itinerary and maps. I thought my husband had heard me say which station we would be exiting, so I figured I would just wait for him there. Well it turns out he hadn’t heard, and he thought I would be waiting for him at the station immediately after the one where we’d been separated.
    I spent the next few hours backtracking to that fateful station, stopping at each one in between hoping that I would find him, and praying that he would be able to find his way back to our hotel.
    After searching to no avail, I finally headed back to the hotel, and was relieved when the front desk told me my husband had arrived a short while earlier.
    We spent the rest of the trip being extra careful to make sure we both knew where we were heading.

  19. I once had a close call at Barcelona. Dropping my sister off at the discount airline terminal, I was trying to help her find her check-in desk (little did we know that terminal was split into three different wings… or something like that). In the end, I gave up and still had to wait for the shuttle to the new international terminal. I arrived 5 minutes before the cutoff for check-in and bag check. Just enough time to literally run into the Spanair lounge and grab a pastry and coffee for breakfast. There was a guy behind me at check-in who was not so lucky and very upset.

  20. Was flying from ZYL to DAC (Both cities are in Bangladesh) and back to NY, had ticket for one day but went to the airport a day early by mistake. Thank god, didn’t go a day later or would have missed my connection in Dhaka. Oppsies.

  21. After having been up all night, my brother and I were in the Cairns airport waiting for a connection. I fell asleep for a few minutes and when I jerked awake, realized my brother wasn’t there. So I took my belongings and went looking for him. About 20 minutes later, I heard his name being called over the intercom. So I went to where they they had directed him and found my brother, who was furious. The agent had his passport, boarding pass, and carryon, all of which he had left next to me when he went to the restroom. That was nearly 20 years ago, but my brother continues to harass me every time we go through an airport.

  22. After double checking everything before leaving to study abroad for the semester, we were about halfway to the airport when I realized I was missing my passport! I had placed it in my car “so I wouldn’t forget it” but we ended up taking a different car!. Thankfully we left early enough that I didn’t miss my flight.

  23. Mike Rogerson | August 25, 2012 at 10:46 pm |

    Travelled to Germany when I was 18 with high school friend. After 2 weeks of our routine of going to grocery store for daily items I said I would go myself. I did not speak any German but knew the money. Bought assorted groceries and a 6 pack of coke cans.
    While waiting in line a can slips out of six pack and explodes on the floor and covers an older lady in her white dress in coke.
    She unloads her anger in German at me but all I can say is sorry in English. No one around spoke English so I dropped the rest of my groceries on counter and left.

  24. Last year I was doing an MR, which had a same day turn NRT-LAX-NRT turn, I booked a 45 minute layover, figuring TPAC flights are early and they would be able to get me to SIN some other way if need be. We got in around 50 minutes early, but we sat a few feet short of the gate for 10 minutes, giving the SYD 744 time to deplane, once I finally got off the plane there were probably 300 people ahead of me for passport control. After standing in line for 40 minutes I finally got through ppc, another 20 minutes and I was finally outside, headed back to security. Construction made it a 5-10 minute walk, when I finally got security I was pretty confident that I was going to get on my plane. I rushed through security and was one of the last people on the plane. I sat down and after about three seconds was wondering where my second bag was. It took me about 30 seconds to realize I left it at security. Once I got home I was able to contact TSA and they shipped it back, but with a few hundred dollars of clothes in there the subsequent five flights kinda sucked.

  25. Left Champaign, IL at 12pm to catch a UA flight from ORD-LHR (which would connect to a BD flight bound for MAN in LHR) at 4pm. Bad traffic along the I-90 up to ORD meant that I reached the airport at about 3.20pm. Not a very fun way to start a trip! A friend was catching an AA flight nonstop to MAN that was scheduled to leave at 6pm helped me to check in my bag under her name (she was travelling with hand luggage only).

    By the time I get to the check in counter it’s 3.45pm, and the counter agent says I won’t be able to get on that flight to LHR, even though the FIDS says that the flight is delayed to depart at 4.25. Oh %($#@*(*! The counter agent says she can rebook me via FRA, which entails half a day of waiting in FRA to connect. Argh.

    I whip out my Android and check the United app – whew, there appears to be space on UA 972 ORD-BRU and a 1h connection time on SN from BRU-MAN. I manage to show it to the agent; she re-processes the ticket and gets me on UA 972. By the time she gets my boarding pass printed for me it is 5.30pm, and UA 972 is scheduled to depart at 6pm. FML. She kindly waves me through the Priority security lanes, I dash through security and am the last passenger to board UA 972. And that is without a connecting boarding pass on the SN flight, I still had to get that at BRU!

  26. While studying abroad in France last spring, I took a trip with some French friends to Porto on Ryanair. We arrived early for the return back to Paris, and casually explored the airport until the last minute to board our flight. We were the last in line to board, and when I went to get on the plane, the attendant told me I did not have the right stamp on my ticket( non EU residents have to have their passports checked and verified at thw counter where they receive a stamp on the boarding pass). I had to run back through security, and politely explain to the people at the front of a very long line at the counter my desperate need to get stamped, and then again with the counter rep. I got through security as fast as I could and barely made the flight.

    but… Upon arriving at Paris beauvais, there is a 1 hr bus ride into the city. I took the metro to gare d’austerlitz, but I missed the last train home. It was Sunday night, so the city was dying early, I ended up restlessly “sleeping” on a bench outside the station, because it closes!?, and walking around the city, where I almost got mugged by homeless guys.
    I took the morning train home and got back to the dorms just in time to go to class and take a test…

  27. Many years ago, I was leaving for my first business trip ever. I worked for in a small town about an hour from CVG. They had a company van to transport employees to the airport. I had my ticket and booked the van for two hours before the flight. (Way before 9/11)

    Unfortunately, the small town was in a different time zone than the airport for six months out of the year and it was the weekend of daylight savings time. Needless, to say I arrived just as the plane was taking off.

    I was able to catch the next flight 3 hours later, but arrived in ATL at 1 AM instead of 8PM. Even the clock can cause travel problems.

  28. I love technology. I use it anywhere and everywhere I can. So naturally I use it while booking airline tickets. I fill out my girlfriends information – then proceed to use auto-fill my information. The day of departure comes up and we get to a small subsidized regional airport (bare bones staff). We check in and get our tickets and proceed to the TSA line. This is where our adventure really begins. My girlfriends ticket has my last name on it and TSA won’t let her board.

    We go to the counter and ask United if there is time to fix the issue – and there is not. I had taken vacation off here and I was getting on a plane – but not with my brain. As I should have still boarded that flight and just bought a ticket for my girlfriend on another flight.

    Instead I went on the net and just booked a walk up to the counter rate of $2500 total for 2 people to go to Salt Lake City. So we spent $2500 to fly domestic first to Salt Lake City….

    Our flight was then delayed twice, missing our connection in Tulsa. We arrive in Tulsa and spend the evening to awake to our aircraft being downgraded to a CRJ200. No more first class even. We arrive in SLC and try and retrieve our luggage. It was missing, so the baggage counter guy did everything he could – including give us the wrong lost bag claim ID. This only added to the confusion later when checking the status of the bags.

    My next biggest problem was when I left my cell phone at home. I had a family member overnight it – costing me an extra $60.

    Oh the woes I have had.

  29. Did a west coast trip last march.booked my flights from JFK to SEA,SEA to SFO and SAN back to JFK.since it was leap year and February had 28 days all the dates/days were identical between february and march-but the month of course.didnt pay enough attention when booking since I was like “no big deal,did a couple of 3 weeks trip before”…well it’s no fun to getting no-show charges from hotels a month before your trip.there iwas like nooooo sh!!!!!!tttt…:)but everything got sorted out.called all the hotels and explained them it’s a human/dummy error and ALL of the were kind enough to change it for the correct month and honor the original prices!:)

  30. As station manager for a (now defunct) Chicago based airline, I received a telephone call from Reservations informing me that a very (3+ hour) delayed inbound would be missing one passenger who was boarded (in Chicago) on to a MIA bound flight instead of PHX which was the passenger’s destination. The Reservations Manager called because the passenger took ill inflight, his plane diverted to ATL, he was taken to a hospital and died. She called to make me aware perchance someone would show up at PHX to meet his arrival.

    I assumed, given the 3 hour delayed status of the MDW-PHX flight, that someone surely would contact his next-of-kin to inform them.

    I met the delayed arrival (sometime after midnight as I recall) and all passengers deplaned. A woman approached (in those days there was no ticketing requirement to pass security) asking me to check on her husband’s flight status; she said he’d been booked on this flight but wasn’t feeling well in Chicago when he called her earlier in the day. Oh s*%t, it was the dead guy’s wife!

    I excused myself to my nearby office and called the hospital in Atlanta. I asked an ER nurse how to tell the wife that her husband was dead. “There’s really no good way” was the response.

    Again, oh s*%t!

    ps……his bag was spinning around the carousel in baggage claim as I walked Mrs. Dead-Guy to her car.

  31. Watching my connecting flight (booked on miles and non-exchangeable) to Istanbul literally take off before my eyes in Cairo as I was talking to some women from Zimbabwe and lost track of time.

  32. As a young man in 1982 I was flying non-rev from RDU to ABQ to visit my family with a stop-over at DFW. I depart my Piedmont Airlines flight at DFW and make my way to the Braniff terminal and find it completely deserted. Aircraft sitting at the gates but not a sole in sight. Turns out Braniff had stopped operations the day before and it never even dawned on me to check. Thankfully Eastern re-booked me and I made it to my destination. What strikes me as funny is that every airline in this scenario is long since gone. I must be getting old.

  33. I was waiting to board a hopelessly delayed flight from PDX to ORD the same day as the VA Tech shootings. I was waiting at a restaurant next to the gate. I kept going back and forth to the gate checking status. There was a guy at the restaurant on my flight also. Finally I went back and the gate was empty. I told the agent there was someone else next door on the flight. She said I had to get on now or they would close the door. I boarded and we took off. I felt really bad but he never volunteered to go and check either.

  34. I had recently started a dating a girl who would eventually become my wife. We were traveling to NYC and meeting her parents there. I was given tickets to the NY Ballet which was the impetus for the whole trip in the first place. We arrived in NY and the next day met up with her parents who had arrived that afternoon. We had a lovely early dinner that her parents paid for, then walked to the Ballet. The ticket taker informed us that our tickets were for the previous night! I had gotten confused about the date for the ballet and the date to travel. We all went to the movies instead. We saw Edward Scissor Hands which had just opened that night in NY and LA only. Probably better than the ballet anyway, but I never let that down.

  35. Flew in from ATL to LGA, had to transfer via ground transportation to JFK to fly to BRU. A friend living in NY at the time agreed to give me a ride. However, between him running errands and NY’s rush hour traffic, I got to JFK 30 mins before my flight’s departure time! Check in kiosk did not let me check in, and directed me to speak to an agent. She said I had completely missed my flight. The look on my face must have been of pure terror. I looked at my friend and here comes the surprise. He works at JFK as a TSA agent, proceeded to whip out his badge and told the AAgent that since I only had a carry on it would be fine to let me go through. After my boarding pass was issued, my friend escorted me to the security line, told the other TSA agents in charge to let me in front of the line, elite style. After that, I ran as far as I could with a wheeled luggage and got to the gate as the last 10 or so people were boarding. Moral of the story: Don’t rely on your friend to take you the airport unless he works for TSA.

  36. Heading for NRT on JAL F with my husband. The night before the flight, we discuss the departure time and when we should leave the house. We both set our alarms independently. The next morning we realized we both set our alarms one hour too late. We run to the car, no showers, and speed to the airport, where we get pulled over by a cop 2 miles from the airport. He lets us go, but we miss our flight. Wonderful woman at the AA counter pieces our flight back together. We were able to pick up the JAL F plane in ORD.

  37. I had to go to Arcadia which is in southern California for meetings. My assistant was making my travel arrangements. She booked my flight to arrive in Arcata California which is in northern California near the border of Oregon about 600 miles away! Yikes!

  38. On our trip to India last December,we were booked on DEL-ZRH-FRA-DTW on LX F, LH J and LH F respectively. We are not US citizens and I had completely forgotten that we would need to have a Schengen visa to fly within Europe (the ZRH-FRA leg). I had a complete “Oh F*&&” moment when the folks at check-in at DEL asked me for our Schengen visa. Thankfully, the folks at the Swiss desk were extraordinarily helpful and took the lead in getting us rebooked (even though we were on a UA award ticket) and we were finally booked on DEL-ZRH-EWR-DTW on LX and UA F. Swiss saved the day but it was a good learning experience for us (and we are seasoned travelers to boot!).

  39. Once made a flight reservation going the wrong direction. I didn’t catch it in time and got charged with a change fee. Hate fees!

  40. Kristina Gislason | August 26, 2012 at 8:08 pm |

    My dad is a retired professor, and every year he would go and do research somewhere for a month or so. I was always excited for him to come back, mainly because this was when it was the “old” international arrival terminal at ORD and you could see everyone coming in below you–it was so exciting to see my dad waving up at me. So one time, we went to pick him up–he told me was going to be on one of those big blue 747s (KLM)–and it was there when we got to ORD. My mom was nervous that we were running late and that we’d missed him; sure enough, we were looking and looking and no dad. We waited for an hour and went to the KLM desk and there was no record of him on the flight. Uh oh. So my mom is trying to explain to me that daddy didn’t make the plane but he’ll be home soon (while saying lots of bad words under her breath that I didn’t understand at the time). So she calls him in Amsterdam, where its the middle of the night, and he’s staying in a college dorm, so the dorm fellow has to go track him down (it was the 80s)and sure enough, he thought his flight was the next day. You better believe he was on that next flight to oRD on the blue 747. That was 30 years ago and we still don’t let him forget it

  41. dealswelike | August 26, 2012 at 9:33 pm |

    My list could go on forever! My #1 “oh $h!t” moment is something my friends, family, husband, and husbands family will NEVER let me live down, understandably so! I was going to Australia for my college semester study abroad program and my flight from Boston to Sydney had a full day layover in LA. My cousins live in LA so they picked me up from LAX an we spent the day together exploring LA (my first time in LA). We were up visiting the Hollywood sign when I got a call from my dad saying he found my passport in the copy machine at my house. To make a long story short, I did not get on the plane that evening to Sydney 🙂

  42. HockeyCoachBen | August 27, 2012 at 3:10 am |

    “Lost” (actually misplaced) my passport twice in the same day in transit from Quebec via Montreal to Washington. First time was on the drive to the Quebec airport…which from my hotel was about a 45-minute journey. About 3/4 of the way to the airport I stopped to refuel my rental car to realize I haven’t seen my passport for a while. Tore the car apart and couldn’t find it. Drove back to the hotel, tore the room apart and couldn’t find it. Went back to the car to find my passport sitting snugly in between the drivers seat and center console.

    Then once in transit in Montreal for my connection to Washington, I had to do border pre-clearance and security. Got to the border control and looked in my usual spot in the backpack only to find no passport. Stood there for 20 minutes tearing my backpack apart looking for the passport but couldn’t find it. Even had a customs official offer to help me to no avail. Finally as I was in full-on panic mode, I happened to bump up against a wall while searching and lo and behold, my passport was in my back pants pocket the whole time.

    I figured I sent well over an hour, maybe two, searching for my passport that day!

  43. Growing up as a military brat on Guam, we flew to Saipan several times to visit friends. Most of these flights were on old prop planes that were on their last leg. But the flights were cheap, and we were young. On the return flight of one of these trips, we found it quite odd that we were circling the Guam airport. You see, there were only so many flights each day, and the runway was never busy. Yet we circled, not just once, twice, but six times. We had seen the air hostess go in and out of the cockpit a couple of times, but nothing was said to us to warn us of what we were about to experience. The pilot finally lined the airplane up for the landing, and we touched down. No sooner had the wheels touched the ground than the plane began shaking violently; I’ve never felt such a shudder. As I gripped the arm rests and probably did shout “oh s*%t,” I felt as if the plane would come apart. Finally, we came to an abrupt stop, off the side of the runway, in a patch of grass. We later found out that somewhere over the ocean in our short 45 minute flight, we lost all of our hydraulic fluid. When the pilot landed, he had no breaks or steering, so his only option was to put on the emergency brake on the front wheel. It’s a miracle that we survived.

  44. I was studying in Beijing and bought a train ticket to Mongolia with the help of a Chinese friend. A few weeks later, as the train was set to leave and my Chinese had improved, I looked over the ticket and realized it was a one way. When I asked my Chinese friend about it, he said that they only sold one way tickets to Mongolia. There was no turning back, so I went (with a friend) and once we got to Mongolia we walked around the capital Ulaanbaatar until we found the ticketing office (not in or near the train station, by the way) with the help of a very nice Russian lady. And luckily they had space available to return to China a week later.

  45. When flying into a city with more than one airport, make sure you specify which one you are arriving, when making your rental care reservation!

  46. My older brother, younger sister and myself were visiting family in the UK. While at Heathrow, we kept hearing some passengers being paged for a flight. They finally said with the 3 people headed to Chicago come to your gate!! My brother had transposed the flight number and we had the entire plane waiting 25 minutes for us. We were ages 20, 18, and 16. Yikes!!

  47. Christie Roberts | August 27, 2012 at 9:01 am |

    We were flying to Aruba and we flew out of an airport that was and 1 1/2 hours away from our home. Our flight to Aruba left at 7:30 am so we left our house very early to be at the airport on time. We were checking in and was asked for our passports. We left them at home!! Since there was only 1 flight per day that flew to Aruba we missed 1 day of our vacation plus had to pay the additional change fee to book for the following day.

  48. Watching my connecting flight (booked on miles and non-exchangeable) to Istanbul take off before my eyes in Cairo after losing track of time.

  49. I went for a solo shopping spree trip in Australia a couple of years ago. As usual, went with 1 luggage and ended up with 5 (3 checkin & 2 cabin bags). I happily checked out of my hotel and proceed to cab the hotel has arranged. Upon arriving at airport checkin counter, i realized one cabin bag is missing! I panicked and my mind totally went blank for a good 30mins while retracking my steps. In the end I called the hotel to plead them to check with the cab company and they told me they found my luggage on the floor by the hotel checkout counter! They got a cab to deliver my bag for me but it was still too late for my flt! I ended up paying to rebooked my flight for next day, plus another night at airport hotel, as well as the expensive cab ride for my cabin bag!

  50. I flew home from working in Germany on Friday night, and then head into the office on Monday morning to turn in my expense report and clean up a few things. Sitting at my desk, and my mobile phone rings…it was a Departure Reminder Message. I think, this is strange, as I do not leave until tomorrow for Bangkok. Somewhere along the way, I had convinced myself that I departed on Tuesday, not Monday. About 3 seconds into the message, it hits me…I am booked for today not tomorrow. Pull up my United First confirmation email, and there it is…Monday departure. I have a 5 second panic attack, and then call United reservations. Less than 15 minutes later, I am confirmed from Chicago (United First) to SFO. The cherry on top….Singapore First from SFO to BKK.

  51. Carolyn Daley | August 27, 2012 at 4:09 pm |

    My “oh sh*t” moment does not seem to be as significant as most as I never missed a flight or lost luggage. A few years ago, I was at Ft.Lauderdale Airport. I was leaving town for two weeks to go to Pittsburgh. Ten minutes prior to boarding my flight my cell phone fell out of my purse and someone stepped on it. My phone was broken moments before going out of town. I was on vacation without my cell phone the entire time because our bill was not associated with my name so I could not do anything about the situation until I came back to Florida.

  52. Red eye flight, after several day events, tired, I arrived in CLT and dragged myself to the USAir Club, I thought I had 2 hrs connection time to FLL, enough time for a breakfast yogurt, coffee and quick nap. The nap was less than quick, woke up startled and saw it was late (oh sh!) hauled tail to the gate, and saw no one there (ok, I felt that sick feeling at this point). Fortunately, there was another flight 40 mins later, so about face at work wasn’t that bad. I still remember the agent telling me “we paged you many times…”

  53. Buying tickets on first class, then I fell asleep on the plane and did not wake up for the free drinks & food, that was the worst!

  54. Watching my non-exchangeable connecting flight (booked on miles) to Istanbul take off before my eyes in Cairo after losing track of time.

  55. Watching my connecting flight (booked on miles) to Istanbul take off before my eyes in Cairo after losing track of time. It was supposed to be non-exchangeable, but I was able to convince the Egyptian reps to put me on a morning flight with no penalty fee. My friends were waiting at the airport for a few hours though. 🙁

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