Not all trips go smoothly. You may have planned out everything pretty well a month before the trip, but that does not guarantee anything. Looking back, I was able to experience my most unforgettable travel mishap during my business trip to the Netherlands on April 2015. I have learned a lot from that experience that when I was given the chance to go back to the Netherlands on the same month of 2016, I did my best to turn things around. When I thought I already succeeded, something happened once again. Let me share the story of my travel mishaps and how I handled each situation.
25 April 2015 – Flight to the Netherlands
My first business trip to the Netherlands was really special and memorable. I have been preparing for it a few weeks before, researching the Schiphol Airport lay-out or the train schedule going to Rotterdam where my hotel was located. On the day of my flight, I was with my mom and we arrived in the airport early. We even had time to eat, and after sometime I already went in and head to where the immigration area. When I entered the room it was super crowded. I did not know what happened earlier that day but it was a chaos. I spent a couple of minutes in queue until it was only 15 minutes before my plane leaves. I was a little panicky that time as the queue was not moving and people were all over the place. I decided to make my way in front and asked people if I could go first because I was about to miss my flight already. Luckily, many were very considerate and helped me out (although the airport staff did not). When I was already in front of the immigration officer she told me “hindi pa ba umalis ito?” (didn’t this plane already left?) which really made me so nervous. Luckily, after the immigrations area of the airport a staff of the airline doing his last call saw me. To cut the long story short, I was the last passenger to enter the plane. I remember being so tired because I ran. My heart was also beating hard in my chest during that moment. Imagine if I did not make it through my flight, I will get into a lot of trouble most especially since it was for a business trip. The lesson I learned from this experience was to go in the airport really early. It does not matter if I have to wait for a long time in the waiting area, the important thing is that I have extra time to act upon emergency situations. Getting help when needed is also important, but if no help is given I need to think fast on what to do next. That was really unforgettable; it was such a relief when the plane started taking off.
16 April 2016 – Flight to the Netherlands
Yes you read it right. Another mishap happened during my second business trip to the Netherlands. Since I have learned a lot from what happened during my first trip, I made sure to check-in my luggage and go through immigrations early. That time, the queue was shorter and everything was organized. What can go wrong, I ask myself. I figured out something was wrong when I entered the waiting area and had my boarding pass checked by the airline staff. She asked me to go to the counter, and the other lady informed me that my checked luggage was damaged. For the trip I used a bigger orange luggage which my brother and I bought when we were in Cambodia around May of 2014. I asked the staff what kind of damage it was but she told me she did not have the details yet. She said when the plane arrives they will get my luggage and have me inspect it. I had to wait for a few minutes thinking what kind of damage it was, which was stressful. Worst case scenario was that my luggage had been opened and some of my personal items went missing. Also, not to forget the scam in the airport during that time that has been all over the news (“laglag bala scam”); truly frightening! When it was about time to board, people started going in the plane. As for me, I had to wait for my luggage. When the airline staff finally showed it to me, I saw that one wheel was missing and the luggage had a hole on the left side in a size of one peso coin. It was bad but not the worst thing so I was still feeling okay. I asked where I can file the case (damage in my luggage), and the staff said I should file in their office in Schiphol. They wrapped my luggage with tape and plastic and after a few more minutes, I already boarded the aircraft.
When I arrived in Schiphol Airport and got my luggage, I immediately approached an airline staff and went to their office in the airport. I described the damage of my luggage. They initially was offering money, but when they removed the plastic wrapping, we saw that my luggage was wrecked. My luggage was thrown most probably. Seeing the damage I was already thinking how I can drag it to the train station all the way to my hotel, but good thing the airline replaced my luggage. It would be a hassle if they gave me money and I still have to look for a luggage in the airport shops. The experience was unbelievable but at the same time I was glad I was able to manage. It was still early when I arrived in Rotterdam at around 10 in the morning and the day was still great so I was super thankful.