This is my fifth time coming to Greece. It has been absolutely amazing every single time. Every year, I look forward to seeing that unbelievably blue water and the hot, hot, hot sun. Unfortunately, I don’t think I’ve had as many transportation problems in my life as I’ve had over the last weekend. My good luck has, sadly, run out.
Our flight to Indianapolis to JFK in New York City went as planned. We left on time and had an easy flight. My first sign of trouble should have been when I sat down in my seat and saw that the window that should have been next to me was just a wall.
Once we got to JFK, we sat on the runway. And we sat on the runway. And we sat on the runway. The flight attendants and the pilot apologized profusely, but we sat on the tarmac for a whole hour before they finally released us. By that time, our flight to Athens had taken off and we had to seek help at the Delta customer support desk. Delta, the scourge of my existence, gave us supremely unhelpful advice, but we made it to the gate. They had rebooked us on a flight to Madrid. My mom and I waited for the flight while watching a documentary about John F. Kennedy on the TVs, which was very ironic.
We got onto our 6-hour flight to Madrid and worried a bit about navigating the infamously terrible Madrid airport. I watched Lady Bird on the plane, which was arguably the only bright moment on my 3-day trip. After the flight landed, my mom and I stumbled out into the Madrid airport and actually made it to our gate easily, no subways required.
My flight to Athens was similarly easy. I slept a bit on the plane, but I was so nauseous the entire flight that I couldn’t even look at the lunch the flight attendants gave us. Once we landed, we went to the baggage claim area. Our bags didn’t come on the conveyor belt, as we expected, so we tried to talk to the baggage tracking agents. About thirty minutes passed while my mom talked to them, and I was getting more nervous by the minute. Finally, they agreed to send the bags to Páros.
We went down to the Aegean travel agents and attempted to get our boarding passes. Unbeknownst to us, we had accidentally booked a flight at 8:30 in the morning instead of in the evening. In summary, we were stuck in Athens until the morning. The travel agents rebooked us for a flight at around 5:30 the next morning. We booked a room at the Sofitel across the street from the airport and went to bed.
I woke up the next morning around 3:00 am to get on our flight. We easily printed boarding passes, breezed past security, and got to our gate with an hour and a half to eat breakfast. Maybe this was the universe saying, Hey, sorry for making your travel this year so, so, horrible. Here’s a donut! We got onto the flight to Páros and got the jellies that are the highlight of every trip to the island. We even got Papadopoulos, the best discount Oreos in town. Finally, we landed in Páros, still wearing the clothes we had put on on Saturday. My dad picked my mom and I up, and we went to the hotel, where I laid in my bed the rest of the day.
So, that was the story of possibly the worst travel experience I’ve ever had. Luckily, I’m having a really good time now, despite waking up in the middle of the night all the time. Jet lag sucks. Anyways, my fifth time in Greece has been pretty fantastic, despite the travel issues.
Written by Delaney William
Delaney William, Professor Albert William’s daughter, joins the study abroad program every year with her mother. She will be starting her 9th grade year at New Palestine High School in Fall 2018.