Flying to Europe? Plan for the worst but expect the best. For our first trip abroad, I planned for every contingency (except one):
Traffic Delays? We left two hours earlier from Connecticut to make sure we didn’t hit Boston traffic.
First Time Through Customs? We tacked on another two hours of early departure from home in case customs took longer than we thought.
Pickpockets? We both carried photocopies of our drivers license and passports, plus stashed a copy in out checked luggage.
Missing Luggage? We had toothbrushes, clean undies and passports in our carry-ons in case our luggage didn’t land when we did.
Missing Airline Tickets? We had electronic copies on both of our cell phones, plus photocopies.
We arrived at Boston’s Logan International Airport four hours before boarding time. The signs outside indicated that our airline, Iberia, was the first one. Upon entering the international terminal, we were surprised to see it was basically deserted except for a couple of uniformed men standing under a “Porter” sign.
Ahh, that must be where we check out bags. We dragged everything over there and proceeded to have an absolutely absurd conversation, during which we tried to get the men to take our luggage. To make a long story short, Porter is an airline, not a person who takes your bags. My bad.
Iberia, they told us when we finally understood, is at the other end of the terminal. Okaay. A little exercise never hurt anybody. We began the long haul, ready to begin our adventure.
Once we reached the Iberia check in area (the only other desk, by the way, that had people at it), we were informed that we were too early to check in. We had to come back later to check in. No problem. Let’s go eat. Let the vacation begin!
We dragged everything back, past Porter, to a restaurant that was opening up. Hanging out there for several hours was pleasant, but eventually we decided enough time had passed, and headed back to Iberia.
Only, Iberia wasn’t there anymore.
The flag next to the line read Level. The monitor behind the check-in desk was labeled Level. When we asked the people in line, their tickets read Level.
Where was Iberia? We had walked the entire length of the terminal (again) and had not seen it. Was there another international terminal?
Apologizing, we scooted past the line to ask the Level employees if they knew where the Iberia check-in was. “Oh, no, miss. Iberia is no more.”
After the second absurd conversation of the day, we learned that while we were eating and relaxing, Iberia had changed hands, that Level was the new owner, and that they would be happy to honor our Iberia tickets on Level’s maiden flight.
Okaay. I did not see that one coming… but I will next time! When I travel abroad, I will know to plan for this contingency, too, as soon as I figure out how.
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