It’s only appropriate that I introduce my Ireland adventure by saying that I’m writing this from London, where I have missed my flight to America, because that’s how the journey of Ireland began.
At 2:30 a.m. on the morning I was supposed to go to Ireland (with a taxi arriving at 5 a.m.), I got a call from Taryn—the friend I was meeting there—saying she had missed her flight and wouldn’t be arriving to Dublin until the following day. Given my two hours of sleep and lack of ability to think properly, I rightly panicked and re-booked my own flight.
Today, I was in Amsterdam. I should have known that it was going to be an interesting day when I got lost on my morning jog and ended up two miles from where I thought I was. And after a mad sprint, fast shower, creative packing, and a lot of sweating (post-shower), I realized that my clock was off and I still had an hour to get ready.
Here is what then transpired:
The bus was three minutes late, which caused me to
missed the train by 1 minute (I saw its doors close and it speed away).
I had to stand in line at the check-out counter THREE TIMES (same counter!) because of the mess I’d created when I booked my tickets.
My flight was delayed an hour.
Once on the flight, it was further delayed another 30 minutes.
I just missed the bus from Terminal 5 in Heathrow and had to wait another ten minutes to catch the next one.
I sprinted what I believe was a mile through Terminal 3 only to find they had already shut the gate and I had missed my flight.
This brings me to my first, very import travel tip that I learned on this adventure.
Travel Tip #1: Do not book connecting tickets separately.
Normally, when a person plans a trip, she has and idea of where she will be flying to and from and on what days. I am not that person. So I booked my ticket from London to America on a different website and on a different day than I booked my flight from Amsterdam to London. (Follow: Amsterdam -> London -> America)
I gave myself a window of time in London between flights, but heed these words of wisdom: TWO HOURS IS NOT ENOUGH. Especially when one is flying into London Heathrow! Terminal 5 of that airport the absolute farthest terminal from anything except the remote parts of the universe, and naturally, that’s where my flight from Amsterdam was arriving, but not where my JFK flight would be departing.
But distance is not the problem. The problem I happened to overlook was that the first flight might be delayed, and since I did not book my entire journey at the same time through the same company (though they are partner airlines), they are not responsible for me missing my next flight.
The result is that I could not be guaranteed a flight out of London until Saturday, but that’s actually great news! I get another day in London with Simon, who graciously called me on my minute-less phone after receiving an emergency text through T-mobile because I could not make outgoing calls, and made sure I was okay to get on the tube by myself and get to his bar.
Also a bonus: I somehow ended up in first class on my Amsterdam to London flight, and though it was only 45 minutes, I still got a hot towel, a salmon salad lunch, and scones with butter and jam.
My next travel tip (for my next blog as I must board my flight FOR REAL THIS TIME) will be about Ireland, I promise!