A vacation horror story

Staff writer shares summer travel fiasco

Elizabeth Truelove

Even though everyone hears about the “horror stories” of traveling from friends and family, they never expect the curse of long delays, canceled flights and lost luggage to reach them. I lived in this unrealistic bubble until the fateful day of Aug. 6, 2022. 

The day started in the sunny city of Nantucket, Mass. My family reminisced about our vacation as we went through TSA, blissfully calm as we recalled memories of our trip. Then, after boarding the plane, my mother received the notification that our connecting flight to Dallas through Washington D.C. had been canceled.  

After the hour-long flight to reach D.C., we hurriedly stood behind the tons of people in the customer assistance line and, after waiting for an hour, all we were told was, “I’m sorry, but there will be no direct flights to Dallas until Monday.”

It was a Saturday morning. 

Filled with disappointment and frustration, my family trudged down to baggage claim to collect the three bags we checked from Nantucket. After waiting the typical four hours to get the luggage, our prayers were answered. My mom’s sister lived a 20-minute ride from the airport, had just left town and allowed us to come and stay at her house.

A quick Uber later, we arrived at my aunt’s house and ordered greasy pizza to remind ourselves of the good things in life. My brother and I played countless card games as my parents checked their phones every five minutes, looking to see if we had gotten put on a flight to get home the next day. 

“Rise and shine, Elizabeth,” my mother said the next morning. 

Clad in the previous day’s outfits, my family and I crawled into an Uber at 7 a.m., exhausted but hopeful we had slept off the curse of the previous day. We were wrong. 

Before entering the airport, two problems arose: my brother was carsick from the drive so he threw up outside the airport and, unbeknownst to her at the moment, my mom left her phone in the car. My dad and I ditched our sick and panicky family to stroll into the airport, just to run into our next problem: my family and I had to split up. My mom and I were sent to Tennessee and my brother and dad went to North Carolina. 

Attempting to save the precious 10% of battery in my phone (I left my charger at my aunt’s house), my mother and I began making bets to entertain ourselves during our layover in the unlively Tennessee airport. 

“How much do you want to bet that our flight gets delayed?” I remember saying. 

Until that moment, I never truly acknowledged the power of karma and its terrible timing. Surprise, surprise — our flight home was delayed six hours.

 After filling up on fried pickles and a skillet cookie, we finally boarded our flight home. Arriving a solid day and a half later than originally planned, my mom and I almost kissed the filthy carpet inside DFW Airport when we got off the plane. 

Thirty minutes later we reunited with my brother and dad, only to be told their luggage had been sent back to D.C. and would return home in a few days. Even after these long, hard days of traveling, we received some good news. My mom’s phone was found by another passenger and would be sent home, and my dad’s backpack (lost in a Dallas Uber) was also driven back safely. 

After spending nearly three days traveling home, all I could think to myself was, “I am never going to travel again.”