I suppose it had to happen sometime. That one late flight that leads to a cascade of unanticipated problems.
Oh, I have had delayed flights over the years, plenty of those, but I can only think of one that actually caused me to have to stay overnight somewhere. A few times I did arrive in new countries only to find a communication glitch or unanticipated national crisis meant there was no one to meet me and I had no clue where I should go…But in each case somehow I ended up meeting exactly the individual I needed to purely by chance (though getting locked in a van in Saint Petersburg was a bit of a surprise). So those are stories of serendipity not of mishap.
Even the rare snowstorm in Tokyo worked out in the end, though I had to lug my bag what felt like miles through the snow in my attempt to get to the airport bus. I suppose I should not have been surprised to find the buses were not running considering the state of the roads. But miraculously, trains were running and I just caught my plane… only to have smoke begin pouring from the lavatory mid flight causing an immediate about face. Despite that, I still made it home that day, because the airline (Cathay Pacific, no. 1 airline in the world and my personal all time favorite) put me on a plane to Taiwan and got me a ticket home from there on another airline, all at no cost to me. In the end, it was actually more convenient than my original route.
Yes, there was that time I arrived in Tblisi, Georgia and my luggage did not. I represented an international organization at a national conference in borrowed clothes that only vaguely fit my frame. But everyone was quite kind about my idiosyncratic appearance and sympathetic to my plight. I got my luggage back just in time to board my return fight.
Given all the positive and serendipitous travel adventures I have had then, I suppose I am due for a mishap. I should not be too upset that my flight from Tampa to Newark was delayed due to snow and runway problems at La Guardia (who knows what the plane was doing in La Guardia!)…and that unprecedented head wins delayed the flight a further 2 hours…or that just when we were finally about to board our much delayed flight, the pilot’s seat broke. He did say he offered to fly sitting on a milkbox tied in by string…but that was apparently against regulations. So, we waited another 30 or 40 minutes until they got us a new plane. By that time, there was no way to make my flight from Newark to Hong Kong…The one time I have bought an extremely cheap ‘fanfare’ ticket that could not be changed, rerouted or upgraded…
So now instead of being on the ferry home from Hong Kong, I sit at JFK, a completely new ticket purchased, waiting to head to Vancouver, where I will wait another 10 hours to finally head home from there. I wish everyone a happy Chinese New Year and a prosperous year of the goat! Or Sheep. Or Ram, depending on your preference. May this trip not be an indicator of things to come!