When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers, Episode 1: The Layover of a Lifetime

Actually, it just felt like a lifetime.  There we were, in the Memphis airport, waiting to board the second leg of our flight to Jamaica for our ten year wedding anniversary.  We had boarded the first leg at 6:30am and were grateful to have gotten out of the Midwest without difficulty, seeing as it was December 19th and winter-weather-related flight delays are as common as holiday stress where we’re from.  The layover was meant to be 45 minutes – mere child’s play – and it involved us disembarking the first plane to await another one coming in from California.  But as the 45 minutes became 50, and 50 became 60, we were dismayed to find out that the plane that had managed to arrive from the west coast – without incident, mind you – was suddenly deemed “broken.”  It felt just like when some schmuck jams the office copier and then flees the scene before anyone sees him.  Worse, we were told that there were no other planes readily available.  What?!?

&%$!@ airport!!
Now we were livid.  You’re an airport for God’s sake.  You’re telling me you don’t have a f*&!#ing airplane or two sitting around?  Aren’t we near Nashville?  Have them fly one over!  How about Little Rock?  Atlanta??  Surely the world’s busiest airport can help out!  Tell them it’s our anniversary trip, for crying out loud!

But wait, there’s more: Not only were they not coughing up any spare planes, they weren’t able to get one, so they said, because of a winter storm raging on the east coast.  (So I guess Mother Nature screwed us after all.)

Enough ranting, you’re thinking.  How did you cope?  Well, we did what any indignant, powerless peons would do.  We over-imbibed in the airport lounge along with all the other stranded passengers.  (Say, I wonder what Bill and Colleen from Detroit are up to these days…)  Then, when we’d had enough of that, we found an abandoned wheelchair and the husband pushed me around the airport several hundred times.  We explored every nook and cranny of that Elvis themed purgatory.  I kind of enjoyed the wheelchair ride, but that should in no way lead you to think we weren’t miserable the whole time.

In the end, our layover at Memphis International lasted nine – that’s right, nine – hours.  We finally arrived at our destination (which included a 90-minute drive once we landed in Montego Bay) at midnight.  And now we hate everything that has anything to do with Elvis.  Ever.

It took us a good 24 hours to fully de-stress after the travel day from hell.

I’d love to hear about your travel nightmares in the comments box.  After all, misery loves company!

The tragic tales in the When Bad Things Happen to Good Travelers series:

27 thoughts

  1. I’m not one to boast (if u can call it that) but you call a 9 hour layover hell? You know nothing! I once spent 11 hors in in Sao Paulo, or was it buenos Aires? I really can’t remember… and on another time I spent more or less the same amount of time in Addis Ababa.


    1. Yeah, I realize there are much worse layover nighmares out there. It’s just that when you are expecting 45 minutes and you get 9 hours, it feels like the end of the world. And why, oh why, does it always happen on the way TO the vacation??

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hahaha. I love finding posts that jive with what we were just chatting about. It might’ve not seemed funny at the time, but I hope you can look back on this today and see it as valuable time spent with the husband, exploring a random building out of necessity more than anything. Do you still hate Elvis memorabilia?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. What a coincidence! Just today I got a new student who moved here from Memphis! I told the whole class the story of that post. And yes, I still hate Elvis memorabilia! 😉 (We’re getting ready to head down to Jamaica again in March and I’m really hoping we don’t have a repeat of that travel nightmare.)


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