Stuck in LA – Our first misadventure

Stuck in a giant Motel 6 in LA

April 18

“I can’t seem to find your reservation for today’s flight to Colombia”, the flight attendant behind the counter muttered.

Blink. Blink. Stare.

Huh.

4 hours earlier
Hugs were exchanged, tears were shed, goodbyes were said as we bid goodbye to the relatives we’d been staying with for a week. Even the cat got an extra squeeze and an extra long playtime. Today, April 18th, was the day we were leaving to start our around the world trip.

April 18th, April 18th, April 18th. April 18th, that’s the departure date we had been telling everyone ever since we bought our tickets 4 months ago.

So pardon our confusion when the Spirit counter person couldn’t find our reservation, only to later told us the reason was because our flight was not on April 18th at all.


‘I’m sorry… what did you say?”

‘Your flight is tomorrow, April 19th. You’re a day early’

‘You have got to be fucking kidding me!’, I cursed under my breath.

But a quick glance at our own itinerary (that we’ve had for 4 months but never bothered to double check) revealed that he, indeed, was not kidding. And we are indeed now stuck in LA with no cars and no place to sleep for 24 hours.

As we slunk away from the counter we pondered our options.

We could:
– Spend the night at the airport. However, the idea of spending 24 hours with no internet sleeping on the floor right before a 14 hour trip didn’t quite appeal on us.

– Go back to our relatives’ place, a 2 hour shuttle bus ride away. Unfortunately, for the price tag we might as well get a room in one of hotel chains around the airport.

Which we did.

April 19

So here we are now, in an overpriced room in what could be the largest Motel 6 we’ve ever seen, breakfasting on Cup Noodle and Cheerios and watching Law and Order re-runs. We still have 12 hours to kill until our flight.

Not quite the way we imagined our first day would be.

But tonight, RTW now. Take two.

Make us feel less stupid. Have you ever made a mistake reading your itinerary like this?

46 Replies to “Stuck in LA – Our first misadventure”

  1. When I was living in the Netherlands, I was going to go to London for a weekend for the going away party for a friend who was moving back to Perth. I booked my ticket, and went to confirm my attendence, and OOPS! I had booked my ticket for one weekend too soon!

    Luckily, this was a cheap Ryanair ticket with no add-ons, so only around €60 I believe. And since I already had the ticket…I decided to take the sightseeing journey anyway!

    We have a friend who does similar things quite often…booking tickets to wrong airports, wrong dates, airlines that have gone out of business, etc. Just recently he announced that he was going to meet a group of our friends in Budapest. Unfortunately, they are all going to be in Bucarest!

  2. Thankfully I've never made a mistake like that, but I always forget to buy insurance right after purchasing my plane tickets, then as a result miss out on the opportunity to get trip cancellation insurance. Then, because the gods like to mess with my head, I always seem to come down with a crazy high fever or something right before the trip and freak myself out because I think I won't be able to fly.

    My girlfriend didn't buy insurance once when we went on an all-inclusive trip to Cuba, so we had to make a few frantic calls to a travel agent right before taking off to get the insurance purchased.

  3. My wife had almost the same experience. She could not take her Luftansa flight from Harrisburg PA to Chennai India as the flight was over booked. They gave her 700 Euro and sent her on the next day in a different flight. That sucks but happy with the 700 Euro.

  4. Enjoyed reading this very funny post about your misadventure at the start of you adventure! I did a similar thing but not with traveling. My neighbors son got married and they were having a reception on day x which in my head I had down as day y. Oops my whole family missed it! So I guess its good you didn't miss it. I also know someone who booked at ticket to the wrong city with the same name. See your mistake wasn't so bad, was it?

  5. Guys, this is hilarious – and I'm not being rude, I promise! I bet you guys are laughing about it now. I put it down to pure excitement – you were just ready to go! And, to make yourselves feel better – at least you didn't rock up to the airport the day AFTER your flight!! πŸ˜‰

  6. We had a novice mistake too at LAX when going to Guatemala a few years ago. We had a long layover, like six hours, and as we were flying United on both legs, when we got off, we asked someone where our gate was (since it wasn't posted), confirmed it was in the same terminal and found a corner to catch some zzzzzs.

    (You can see where this is headed.)

    We woke up with an hour to spare and went in search of our gate. Only it wasn't in that terminal. It was in another one very far away. (I hate LAX.) So we ran, we waited for the shuttle, we caught the shuttle, we got to the ticketing counter with just 35 minutes to go, to find of course they wouldn't let us through as you have to check in 40 minutes in advance. (We'd checked in all the way through, we thought, as we had boarding passes for both legs, but for some reason they made us check in again…I can't remember details at this point.)

    In the end, they rebooked us through San Jose, Costa Rica, and we got in about six hours later than planned. They didn't charge us anything extra, and it could have been SO much worse…but it was stressful in the beginning to say the least!

    1. I hear you about the stressful part. What you'd gone through sounds horrible — all of that hassle just because of a 5 minute difference? Sheesh.

  7. Once, my sister, father, and I had gone to visit my grandmother in New Brunswick, Canda (we're from Toronto) for a holiday weekend. When we arrived at the airport for our flight home, we discovered we hadn't booked for a weekend, but a week – we weren't scheduled to fly home until the following Sunday! Thankfully, there was room on the plane for that day, and the flight attendant (a lovely person from WestJet) was kind enough to let us switch without charging any extra fees.

  8. I did the same thing last year. I was flying from Tel Aviv to Delhi (and then a flight from Delhi to Bangalore, which I booked myself) with a 12 hour layover in Amman. Jordanian Airlines put us up in a hotel for the layover and I was checking my email and had a frantic message from the organization I was volunteering with in India that they were at the airport in Bangalore and could not find me. I quickly checked my itinerary and realized I was on an overnight flight, so even though I thought I was arriving on the 6th of July, I was really arriving on the 7th of July and had booked my ticket from Delhi to Bangalore for the wrong day!!! I had to buy a new ticket because it was on IndiGo Air, a budget airline, with no re-booking or customer service at all…lesson learned, thank goodness it was only $120 for a new ticket.

  9. I once overslept for an expensive yet non-refundable flight from Prague to the U.S. But I went to the airport anyway to find out the plane had been delayed by several hours. This meant I made it on time and only had to wait about 15 minutes before boarding. AND the airline attendants kindly bumped me up a class for the inconvenience the delay had caused me. Ahhhhh ~ it's a charmed life!

    1. Just yesterday we read another traveler who got bumped to business class because he was willing to bumped to the next flight — we're still waiting for our turn to get lucky πŸ™‚

  10. Oh yes, I have done dumb things like that! The first time my other half was scheduled to get on a plane, I thought the date looked familiar.

    Shortly before the flight (though thankfully before we showed up at the airport!) I realised we had the wedding of a close friend to attend the exact weekend we had planned to be away – and my other half was the best man! Thankfully we re-booked & spent 24 hours away, not 48. Busy weekend.

  11. At least it wasn't the other direction and you MISSED your flight by one day! My heart would have stopped when they told me they couldn't find the reservation, though… what a moment of panic!

  12. LOL. Quick tip…South America uses military time so be sure to set your watches to reflect that. I almost missed a bus ride because of that.

  13. I've seriously had nightmares about this πŸ™‚

    At least you have a funny story to tell! Glad that you guys have a sense of humor about it.

  14. Oh goodness! That's quite a misadventure!

    If it makes you feel any better, I once booked a train ticket for my boss to go from NYC to DC and back but accidentally booked it in reverse…from DC to NYC and back!

    That, and someone I know thought they'd purchased flights home for Thanksgiving, only to realize 5 days before that they never actually booked them…

  15. Annoying, but I can't help but smile! Looking forward to more of your dispatches!!

    Remember to laugh at as much as you can, it makes it easier!

  16. Hahahaha hilarious! I can't believe you got the wrong date! You had me checking online to see if I'd messed up on my dates! Still, at least you won't make THAT mistake again, and as others said, better to be early than late!

    Love this story! πŸ™‚

  17. Sadly we are too anal to mix-up details like that, but never fear, that's a quality that hampers us in other ways. If it makes you feel better, though, we've been spending quite a few days waiting around in bus stations, boring town centres and the like because of travel days. Never fun. At least you have television that is not overdubbed in Spanish (seriously, wait until you see the Simpsons overdubbed in Spanish; not pretty).

  18. No way!!! I've done the same thing.. well, never gotten the day wrong but definitely the time. Wow guys, you weren't kidding about those misadventures πŸ˜‰

  19. Oh no! I'm so sorry, but I did laugh. And now, to make you feel better: a few years ago Rodolfo and I were on vacation in the south of Chile. It was our last night, and we were having dinner to kill time before catching our bus, which I thought was at 10:40. It was only when I went to the bathroom after paying the bill that I suddenly had a flash of our bus tickets saying 20:40 instead. I'd totally managed to mess up 24 hour time and made us miss our bus for no reason at all. We did manage to find a bus home that night, but we got lucky since it was the last night of a week-long festival in the city where we were, and everyone was trying to get out of town.

    1. Omg, I can totally see that happening to me too. 10, 20, and 8 confuse the heck out of me when it comes to military time. Maybe I'm a little dyslexic when it comes to even numbers?

  20. That's a really cute story. My secret shame is that I always love lounging in a hotel room, no matter what the circumstances.

    Have a great flight!

  21. I think I've only missed one flight.. from Taipei to Hong Kong. Totally convinced myself it was at 11:00am when it actually left at 9:00am =P Luckily, I was flying Cathay (best airline ever!) and they casually put me on the next flight. I was really worried that I was going to have to buy a whole new ticket!

    With one mis-adventure under your belt, let's hope the rest of your trip goes a little more smoothly =)

    Good luck!
    Andrew

  22. This is hilarious πŸ™‚ At least when you read it. I'm sure right now you don't think it's so funny, but probably in hindsight it will πŸ™‚ It's so easy to make a mistake that. Lucky that you were a day early and not late!

    We were in Egypt with friends one summer. I knew they had a flight home the day before we had to hit the road. So, on what I believed to be their last day in Egypt, we were sitting in the sun at the beach, playing a game, and I asked if they weren't leaving? They said, no, it wasn't until the next day, … my question rattled them enough to double-check. And? well, they were late for their flight that day!! They ran to the hotel, packed, and grabbed a cab, and off they were. They still missed it, but just by a little, and the airline was nice enough to put them on the next flight.. with a loooong layover in Cairo.

    See? You're not the only ones!

    Oh, want another one? My boyfriend was going to Europe for a week by himself. He made his reservations and told me he was leaving on Monday morning. We went out Sunday morning, played Tennis, etc. He started to pack and went online to check in for the next day. Only, the screen said he couldn't check in…. BECAUSE HIS FLIGHT HAD ALREADY LEFT! Luckily it had been a flight purchased with miles and Continental was nice enough to let him rebook for the next day for $50 or so.

    See? Really not the only ones! πŸ™‚

    Luckily I don't have a story to add of my own. Knock on wood, etc. πŸ™‚

    1. Lol, we know we can't possibly be the only ones, but glad to hear not there are actually quite a few of us who are just a tad laissez faire when it comes to dates/time.

  23. OMG that was too funny. Sorry I just couldn't help but laugh. I guess thats all y'all can do now as well. Well this misadventure made for a great blog post. Can't wait to read what y'all are up too on the road. Oh wait you are now…. EEEeeee congrats guys!!!

  24. Hilarious. Talk about an anti-climax! I had a similar situation when my partner and I departed Marina del Rey Los Angeles for our big ocean voyage. All preparations had been completed after three months of hard labor. There was just one simple thing left to do: put diesel in the boat. People came to the dock and said goodbye, tears were shed, the air was static, and I was shaking with fear and excitement because we were about to cross the Pacific Ocean. We pulled out of the dock, traveled a couple of hundred feet to the marina's gas station where the attendant told us, "Sorry, fuel pumps are down."

    My partner said, "That's retarded!"
    The attendant took a step forward, puffed his chest and said, "Look, sir, there's no need to become hostile."
    It almost got ugly.

    So cute that you got the date wrong. Think of it as an early lesson.

  25. Oh my gosh….crazy story! I can't imagine the buildup to the moment and then having to wait….. Better early than later, I think. I went to Mexico once during Mercury Retrograde…and when I arrived, my reservation no longer existed….

  26. Haha, oh no!!! Well, at least your trip is off to an exciting start, right? Or, at least, a start that gives you a good story to tell. πŸ˜‰

    I hope you haven't had any more misadventures yet! Happy RTW!

  27. I, too, have a very large smile on my face. What a fabulous way to start an adventure like this…with adventure!! We purchased flights out of Vietnam for one day AFTER our visa expired…they were super kind and didn't fine us or anything. I think this is a great start and a great story!! RTW NOW!!

  28. Wow, I'm sorry for laughing at your expense, but wow, I did laugh at your expense. It's just kinda unbelievable to be waiting for this date SO LONG and then it's the wrong day! πŸ™‚

    But, get that little misadventure OUT OF THE WAY and I'm sure you will never make that mistake again! Nor will I, because even though that hasn't happened to me yet, I will be damn sure to think about you guys every time I have a flight!

    Glad you're there safe and sound. πŸ™‚

  29. At least you didn't get your days mixed up… the other way. When we were leaving Japan, I was sure – 100% sure – we were leaving on November 30. So, we rock up to the Tokyo airport and don't see our flight number on the departures board. Never two to be deterred, we proceed to the check-in counter and try to check in.

    The best way to tell this is to quote my husband's blog post about this, when describing the extreme friendliness of the Japanese (full post here):

    "Miss your Qantas flight because it was… let’s say, yesterday? No problem! They’ll just put you on a Japan Air flight at no extra cost. In fact, they’ll even smile while they make the necessary changes. Sure, maybe it’s because the check-in agent doesn’t comprehend enough English to ask you how dumb you are for missing your flight by a whole day, but the perceived customer service is outstanding. They’ll even deeply apologize for having to now route you through Brisbane instead of Sydney—we said it was fine, so I believe their family honour is still intact."

    So… don't feel so dumb. It happens to the best of us. Have a super trip, take 2.

  30. See? You ALREADY have great travel stories to tell! πŸ˜‰

    Besides – it could have been much worse – you could have erred in the opposite direction and… shown up a day LATE for your flight, yes?

    I'm a bit surprised that (what with presumably plenty of free wifi at the airport), you didn't consider couchsurfing for the night in LA. There's likely HUNDREDS of CS hosts right near the airport that would have been happy to take you in. And if you look around the CS forums, I believe there's even emergency hosts most everywhere. Just a thought, but if you don't already have a profile at couchsurfing.com, I strongly suggest you plop one up. You never know when you might need a place to stay for a night or three.

    In any case, sounds like you made the best of it, and will soon be on your merry way!

  31. You guys. I'm sure you kept yourselves entertained, even without a giant chess set.

    You didn't by chance end up on the 8th floor did you? I google mapped this place and the subtext says: "8th floor smells like a litter box. Often smells a lot like mj. …" No kidding:)

  32. Your in LA Guys! Hop on a bus guys, you have a whole night ahead of you!

    Actually, I always keep air miles handy for hotel stays when this happens. You never know. Cashing in Air miles at the last second makes you feel alot less guilty and sometimes and nice hotel stay really helps when your flight gets screwed up.

    Hopefully you in Colombia now and it is all in the past!

  33. Awww . . . . it totally happens! So sorry about the delay – but, believe me, this will just be the first one. There will be many, many more crazy misadventures!

  34. Oh my… πŸ™‚ I was literally just thinking of you two, and I peeked at your blog about an hour ago to see if there was an update. So funny to hear that *this* is what's going on!

    I typically imagine collecting these types of travel stories on the road, in far flung, exotic places…a.k.a., not LA. But, embrace it, right? You've already got hilarious travel story #1 and you haven't even lifted off!

    I hope you two are able to rest and re-set before tomorrow's re-do.

    Thanks for sharing the adventures…

  35. Oh you two – that is GOLDEN!!!

    This story has made my day….not to say that I do not feel for you…i really REALLY do!!

    Add this to the list of tales you will be able to laugh about in a year from now….I doubt you are laughing right now, but it will make you giggle in the future, I guarantee it.

    Safe Travels (again!)

    S&S

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