Holiday Travel Misadventures

Heading home for the holidays is reminiscent of a few key things: quality time with family and friends, relaxation and comfort, good food and drinks, and, of course, travel stress. While the first few aspects are wonderful, sometimes, the stress that comes from the process of getting home and back can overshadow them a bit.

I recently went home to Roanoke, Virginia for about 11 days during the winter holiday in France. While I have had stressful travel experiences during the holiday season before, nothing truly compares to what I dealt with this time around. I flew from Paris to Roanoke, stopping in Amsterdam and Atlanta along the way, and then to get back, I flew from Roanoke to Atlanta to Paris.

Easy, right? What could go wrong?


  • Knew the Paris airport would be busy on the Saturday before Christmas, so I arrived 4.5 hours early.
  • Flight was delayed 34 minutes.
  • Checking COVID documents and passes was a mess.


  • Rushed through the airport for my connection.
  • Got stopped for a random security check along with one other American and was questioned over my water bottle containing “an unidentifiable substance” (literally just water).
  • Was told to “run” and I “might” make my flight to the U.S.
  • Flight was delayed 34 minutes again, so I made it on at the last minute.


  • Flight was delayed from 10:29 PM to 6:00 AM (overnight)!
  • Delta representative gave me food and hotel vouchers but did not help at all.
  • All food shops were closed in the terminal… and I was getting hangry.
  • Other Delta representatives told me to “calm down” and that I didn’t deserve any of the vouchers, which pushed me into a full emotional meltdown.
  • Waited 45 minutes for Burger King in the domestic terminal, which was the only available food in the entire airport. Thought it was funny that they were out of over half of their menu, including all burgers.
  • Made the trek to my hotel because there were drunk men harassing people in the airport.
  • Slept for two hours and returned to the airport at 4:00 AM.
  • Delta representative tore off my bag check tag and said I needed a new one (wrong), but the machine printed a bag tag to send it to Paris instead of Roanoke.
  • Waited for over half an hour in line for the one customer service representative and the line never moved.
  • Waited for half an hour in the corner of the room for the representatives’ boss, who quickly realized the other person’s mistake and got me my new tag.
  • Grabbed coffee and a breakfast sandwich from Dunkin’ Donuts. Thought it was funny that they were out of all donuts. They refused to take my meal voucher.
  • Barely made it to my gate in time for boarding.
  • Needless to say, on my flight of 14 people to Roanoke, everyone was in a bad mood.
  • Once I got home, I took a COVID test, showered, slept for one hour, and then sat in a car with my family all day during our road trip to Ohio.

The flight home from Paris sounds pretty horrendous, but it somehow got even worse on the way back. Here goes nothing…


  • Arrived at the airport and was ready to go for my 6:41 PM flight, only to find out that it would be delayed. It continued getting delayed.
  • Got a notification that I could change my whole flight route but wouldn’t be able to leave until the next day.
  • Mom and I left and got Chick-fil-a while my sister had to unexpectedly get her COVID booster alone.
  • Realized I lost my French SIM card somewhere in the U.S. and therefore would not have phone service when I got back to France.
  • Delta representative yelled at me when I arrived back at the airport and said I needed to get through security “as soon as possible” or I would miss the flight (false).
  • Flight was delayed again. We finally left at 9:32 PM and the ETA in Atlanta was 11:01 PM (my flight to Paris was scheduled for 11:00 PM).
  • Flight attendant told me there would be absolutely no problem with making my flight to Paris.


  • Got an alert upon arrival to Atlanta that my flight to Paris had already left and I was rebooked for a flight that would depart at 4:00 PM the next day.
  • Departures screen still said my flight was boarding, so I ran to the gate despite having no idea what was going on.
  • Made it there just in time and was the last passenger to board before they allowed the standby people to get on.
  • Flight attendants were way understaffed and were fighting with the customer service representatives and passengers alike.
  • Almost everyone on the plane was rebooked onto this route, so they were sitting without family members and did not get their requested meals. Very chill and relaxed environment; not tense at all.
  • Arrived in Paris! At least 15 people on my flight had luggage that never showed up.
  • Waited 40 minutes to speak with an Air France representative in French while jetlagged.
  • After receiving close to no updates, my mom called 3 days later to find out the bag was still in Atlanta and nobody had bothered to move it.
  • After 4.5 days of no luggage, I got a random call at 9:15 PM that they were 10 minutes away and will drop it off!

As much as you can think that traveling is always a fun, amazing experience, trips like this go to show that not everything is perfect. Travel bloggers and Instagrammers might overlook the stress and anxiety that comes along with travel, but even if your situation ends up as bad as mine did, hopefully, you’ll get through it fairly gracefully with an interesting story to tell.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s