How I missed my flight

I studied abroad in Thessaloniki, Greece in 2013 during my undergrad. While in Greece, all of the people in my program were traveling to different countries every weekend and I wanted in on the fun. Towards the beginning of the semester, I found really cheap flights from Greece > London > Amsterdam > Greece thanks to good Ole Ryan Air. My friends and I were looking forward to the trip for most of the semester. November came around and it was time for my London trip. The issue was that I was broke, broke. Like getting a loaf of bread and block of feta to last me the week, broke. Like couldn’t afford the 1€ shots at the bar, broke. I really had no business getting on a flight and leaving Greece, or even going out and buying a gyro for that matter. I was really contemplating not even going on the trip. I knew I had no extra money but I had bought the flight and booked the hostel and realized if I was super careful with my money, I’d be fine.

Regardless of my financial situation, I went to London with the three friends I planned the trip with. We get to London and everything is wildly more expensive than what we are used to in Greece at the time. At the time, you could have easily gotten a nice meal in Thessaloniki, Greece for about 6€. In London, we ate potatoes in a variety of different forms for 6£. I’m not sure if the girls I was with were struggling financially as much as I was, but everyone was at least a little broke and surprised at how expensive things were in London. We ate out for a day and realized all the food we had was overpriced but not good at all. So we went somewhere we knew we can trust, knew wouldn’t ever disappoint, we went to McDonald’s. While we were there, they gave us a coupon for buy one get one chicken sandwiches. We went back the next day because we were broke and that was the some of the best food we ate in London. I don’t know if you’ve ever had to look forward to using a McDonald’s coupon while on vacation, but I hope you never have to experience that.


Overall, our London trip was filled with potatoes, McDonald’s, and rain. I was ready to leave as soon as possible so was very excited to get to the airport and go to Amsterdam for the next adventure. We got to Heathrow airport nice and early and got through security through security effortlessly. We had plenty of extra time and even stopped to get a drink at one of the overpriced airport shops. My friend who I was traveling had asked me to hold her passport while she was getting her money out, so I did. After our quick stop, we went to our terminal. We waited a little while for our section to be called which was towards the back of the flight. We went to give our boarding pass and passports to the agent and my one friend who got the drink earlier was first in line. As soon as she gives her ticket to the agent she realizes she doesn’t have her passport. She frantically looks down and says “I don’t have my passport I’m going to run and go get it!” Without the chance for any of us to say anything, she books it down the terminal with her bag trailing behind her and all of a sudden she’s gone. We didn’t have cell service at the time but we understood that she just left her passport at the shop, so she was going to get it and come right back. The flight attendant suggested we wait on the flight so it’ll be quicker to take off once our friend gets back. I hand the flight attendant my boarding pass and passport and she checks me in and says to get on the plane. As she passes me the passport back, I look down and notice that it is NOT MY PASSPORT, it was my friend’s who ran off looking for her’s. What confused me the most is the flight attendant did not check the name or photo on the passport. The passport I had was my friend’s with a different name and to top that off you can clearly see from the photo that she is African American, and I am well, not. I asked the flight attendant, “did you not notice this isn’t my passport?” She said, oh yeah I didn’t notice. Whattttttt?!

So at this point, I had my friend’s passport because she had asked me to hold it and I had mistakenly did not give it back. I also had my own passport in my purse which I didn’t take out because I had been holding a passport the whole time, thinking it was my own. We connected to WiFi and tried to call our friend and tell her we had her passport, but we couldn’t get through. The agent said we had to board the plane as it was leaving. The other two friends we were traveling with boarded and I said I’ll wait outside until the last minute for her to come back since I had her passport. Well jokes on me, she didn’t come back! I got on the plane and met my two other friends and we obviously decided to get off the flight since we weren’t going to leave our friend in the airport, especially without her passport. We walked off the plane as we did I was yelling “this is bullshit! We can wait for her! I’m not crazy, Ryan air can wait 5 more minutes, they’re always late anyway!” First off, anyone that screams “I’m not crazy”, is most likely pretty crazy. Secondly, an airline isn’t going to wait for you especially if it was your own fault your missing your flight. 


We walked back to security in disappointment to try and find our friend. When we finally found her, she walked up to us and her and I both FELL TO THE GROUND and crying. People around must have thought we had seen each other for the first time in 20 years, or just learned one of us found out we were terminally ill. Nope, just two American idiots who missed a 20€ flight. It was by far the most dramatic sight I’ve ever experienced and I really wish it was recorded for America’s funiest videos. After we both stopped crying and got up off the damn floor, we went to Ryan Air customer service. The agent there said flights for the rest of the weekend were well over 200£ which we could not afford. We were lost and confused and had no idea what we were going to do.

We gathered together on the floor with our bags surrounding us and pulled out a laptop to try and figure out what we were going to do.  Things weren’t looking too good for us, the flights back to Greece were well over 200£ all weekend. We kept searching and couldn’t think of other options so I blurted out the first thing that came to my mind with full confidence. “We should contact the US embassy I’m sure they would help us! We are stranded citizens.” There was silence for a minute and then my friends all bursted out laughing. If I didn’t embarrass myself enough by falling to the floor and crying earlier, this took home the cake. It was by far one of my most ignorant and stupid ideas I’ve ever had. The US Embassy is worrying about lost children and people being held captive they don’t care about dumb Americans who missed their flight.

After getting a good laugh at my amazing US Embassy idea, we did some more, realistic searching. We realized it would cheaper to find a way to get to Amsterdam because we already a return flight to Greece in 2 days. All we had to do was get to Amsterdam to catch our flight. We looked at a variety of different options and the cheapest one was getting back to city center and catching a bus then ferry to Amsterdam. It was around 10 am and the bus to Amsterdam was leaving from the center of city in about an hour. We thought we would be tight on time but we didn’t have much time to thoroughly think about it and we didn’t have much more options so we bought our bus tickets.

We had to take one bus to get to the bus terminal to get on the bus to Amsterdam. The first bus wound up being delayed so as we were pulling up, we saw the driver of the second bus we needed to get on, close the doors. We grabbed all of our stuff and jumped off the bus running towards it. As we running, screaming and begging for him to wait, bags flying everywhere, he looked us dead in the eye and took off. I really couldn’t make this stuff up if I wanted to.

We were stranded yet again with even less money and less time. We sat in the bus terminal even more defeated than before. We really had no other option at this point. Almost anything was cheaper than getting a flight from London since we already had one out of Amsterdam the next day. We found another ferry/ bus ride which would get us to Amsterdam in about 11 hours. It was really our only option so we booked the tickets someone’s credit card. We traveled 11 long grueling hours and were on the ferry overnight so we tried to get sleep where we could. Almost 20 hours after we originally missed our flight, we made it to the wonderful land of legal prostitution, marijuana and lots and lots of bikes. 

What happens if you miss your flight 

  • Stay calm. It’s overwhelming but you getting upset isn’t going to make it any easier 
  • Talk to the airline and see if there’s another flight you can move to for free or a reduced price. Some airlines can/ will put you on another flight for free. In some places, there is little-known rule in the airline industry that is known as the two-hour rule, or the flat-tire rule. This is an actual policy at US Airways and Southwest as well as several other airlines, but it isn’t publicized.
    Essentially, if there are circumstances beyond your control, like a huge accident on the highway en route to the airport, you may get a little extra help. The two-hour rule states that if a passenger arrives within two hours of their missed flight, the airline employee can put you on the next flight with the same airline on standby at no charge. If you miss the last flight of the day, you’ll be standby on the first flight the next day.  
  • If you aren’t unable to get another flight for free and can’t afford to buy another, look into it bus, trains, or ferry’s. Just understand you are paying so much less than flights because the journey will be a lot longer. 


Finding Francesca

  1. Alana says:

    This was so funny omg

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