Crazy run through the airport, a backpack that seems to weigh a ton, squeezing between people in the queue and waving a ticket, while saying: I need to catch my plane! All this in the scenery of Viennese airport of an enormous size. The whole story would fit perfectly into a film intro, except of for the fact that it had happened and it still makes me shiver whenever I think of the situation. I knew that such stories happened, but I heard about them mainly in the comedies like Home Alone 2. This time by myself, running as fast as Kevin did in the movie, I wanted to shout out as well: guys wait for me!But as you know, life is not a movie and unfortunately I did not end up in New York (maybe next time), but I certainly verified my travel plan B, which so far assumed that plan A (that is to reach the destination) will succeed without fail. To prevent such situations from happening, I share with you my worst travel experience and 5 tips on what to do when you are late for the flight
Take care of the travel time before the flight
No, one hour of time is not enough when you have to overcome the distance of the whole Vienna to catch the right city train and arrive in time for check in and to reach the appropriate gate. Where did the idea come from? While traveling until now, I have always chosen very comfortable connections.
I fly mostly from Berlin Tegel Airport or Schönefeld and I know them well as the back of my hand. I know where to go, I know where the flights to Austria or Scandinavia start off from, and I also know how much time is enough to sit and drink a delicious, yet overpriced coffee at Starbucks. There was never any additional stress about it. Connections to and from the airport were always one of the nicest when I could sit in the well-known Flixbus and have internet access on board.I will never forget once when I was traveling with Lisa and she told me that she prefers to be at the airport 5 hours earlier than one minute too late. And at that time it seemed to me to be quite absurd, later I appreciated this simple, travel advice.
Take care of your charged phone and internet
There is nothing worse than an emergency situation in which we have no way of contacting someone who could help us right a way. We can count on the good will of other travelers, offering good advice, but good advice does not book us another fast flight or keep us on the line while rushing through the city. The good thing in bad thing is that on that day I had two phones with me, and one of them had an Austrian sim card, so during my whole mad hike I had a phone contact with my boyfriend who (except the fact that he tried to calm me down) advised me also on the trains and direction. For longer trips I always try to make sure that there is an amount of money on my phone account that will allow me to call or to use the internet.
Always have extra funds in your account
Once I almost caused myself a similar problem, but as you can see, man does not always learn from mistakes. The first time the emergency situation at the airport met me in Sweden at the Stockholm airport Skavsta. Unexpectedly, a few days before my return to Poland, one of the payment cards stopped working. The chip was destroyed, so I could still make payments online, but card payments were not possible. Knowing that my tickets (plane and bus) were already paid, I transfered myself on the second card only the amount that would allow me to drink coffee and eat something at the airport. Having an extra spare time before the flight, I did not expect anything can go wrong.Unfortunately it turned out that my hard suitcase was literally a centimeter too big, so to take it on board I had to pay a fee of around 300 SEK (about 130PLN). Nothing seemed to work when I’ve tried to use a card number to withdraw money in a counter without a chip. Transferring from account to account would not work on time, and I had no choice but to get rid of my suitcase and ask travelers from the same queue for help. In that way my suitcase made the airport employee happy, and I was given an ugly, yellow plastic bag to carry my belongings in through the security check. I will never forget the looks of the people in the queue when they saw me there, or the lessons I have learned from this situation. At least it seemed to me that I’ve learned until the time in Vienna.
Have enough funds to buy a second plane ticket
And while additional funds for buses, trains, metro, or fees seem obvious – what we have to keep in mind is that sometimes the situation will force us to buy a second plane ticket. Still as a student I paid my travels with savings and a monthly schollarship that was exactly the same amount as a ticket back and forth to Austria. Doubling that amount for that time would mean a bank miracle or would equal a month without a seeing my boyfriend (with whom I managed to keep the long distance relationship between Poland and Austria for a year).On that day, in spite of a sincere desire to be there on time, the plane flew away before I could reach it, which in my scenario immediately typed me as a candidate for the main role of the Austrian version of the film Terminal. You know, locked on the airport forever, and so on. Quite negative thoughts.
For the first time in my life I felt so tired and helpless that I burst into tears in front of some other passengers. At that moment I didn’t care.
Check maps and connections before traveling
It’s easiest to check out the area in Google Maps. Use the Google Street View option to see where exactly you are going to go. I used to do it many times when I traveled alone to cities where I had never been before to check the route between the two stops. Unfortunately, in Austria such possibility usually does not exist (due to security reasons) and we are left with only normal maps that are not so helpful. Before the trip always save for yourself the most important points, take a screenshot of the map in case there is no connection to the Internet, or bus timetables or train connections. Most major stations and coffee places offer free Wi-Fi though. But even if you rely on a connection that has never failed you before, it is good to know if there is another ways of transportation to get to your destination. While I was at the airport I was considering using the overnight bus, which I had been using for traveling a couple of times before.
Fortunately, I was able to reach the house the same evening by second plane, which departed an hour later. Thanks to the help of the boyfriend who made an online reservation for me, I had some extra time to relax and refresh myself before the next trip. The whole adventure turned out to be pricey, and the next day I felt every muscle from the kilometers that I’ve ran with a backpack. I know, however, that the second time I will not make the same mistake and I will take care of all the points above.
If you have had similar adventures, share your story in the comment. 🙂