This past weekend was the last weekend I would be in Europe. So naturally, my friends and I made plans to travel one last time. This trip was a bit different than any of our other trips because we decided to take a plane. In hindsight, I realize that probably wasn’t the best idea.
We left Friday night for Lisbon, Portugal. We caught a train to the airport and from there waited around for 4 hours due to so many delays. When we finally boarded our plane and were on the way, it was the worst flight I have ever been through. Everyone was loud and screaming and the flight attendants wouldn’t turn the cabin lights off even though it was a 10 pm flight.
Once we finally landed it was already 12:30 in the morning. We decided to take the metro from the airport to our hostel. We had to switch to a different line after about a 20 minute ride on the first line. When we got off the first line to switch to the other we realized the platform was completely empty. Apparently the metros stop running at 1 in the morning and we had gotten to the next platform right at that time. So, we were stuck somewhere in the middle of Lisbon with no way to get to our hostel.
Eventually my friend decided to turn on her cell phone data and call an uber to get us back. We finally made it and everything ended up fine. We spent a lot of time on the beaches and walking through the hilly streets to try and see as much as we could before we had to leave Sunday night.
Sunday rolled around and we made it through security and were waiting at our gate without a care in the world. Until all hell broke lose.
Our flight was delayed about 3 different times until they canceled it all together. We were about to be forced to spend the night in the airport and had no idea how to even book a new flight for the next morning. After many hours of passengers yelling at the airport officials, we were told we would be given a hotel voucher and be rescheduled for a flight the next morning at 7. At the time we were very happy to hear that we would be getting a hotel, however by this point we were going to miss our morning class the next day.
After even more waiting, we were taken to a bus which brought all 90+ passengers to a nearby hotel. By this point it was midnight. Once we got to the hotel and finally checked in, we only had about 3.5 hours to sleep before we had to get up and catch the bus back to the airport for our new flight.
4 am came around and we all crammed back on the bus, even more exhausted and more annoyed. We got to the airport and had to check in but were given no information about where to go or where the new flight would be.
After a lot of misunderstandings with the other Portuguese natives we found out that we had special passes to get through security. However, as if we didn’t have enough problems already, our flight was not assigned a gate number. A large group of us sat/slept in the food court area of the airport waiting for someone to give us information.
7 o’clock rolled around and we were still not given a flight or gate. Finally, at 8 o’clock a new gate number popped up and we all ran there out of pure joy that we might be finally getting home.
We made the flight and got back to Brussels after spending over 12 hours stressing over ridiculous travel arrangements that we had no control over. Apparently our first flight was delayed due to strikes.
After all of this madness, I missed both of my classes on Monday and am still currently sitting in the airport waiting for the train to come and bring us back to our town.
Needless to say, I will not be flying through Europe unless I have to. I think I’ll stick to trains and buses from now on.