The Time I Went to the Wrong Airport

& Other Travel Mishaps on This Trip

Welcome back to my series on travel whoopsies! If you haven’t seen my past two posts, check them out.

How My 3-Day Road Trip in Colorado Went Horribly Wrong
Why I’ve Never Been to the Smoky Mountains

This next story takes me back to the spring of 2017. For spring break, KateLin and I decided to hop over the east coast. We found really cheap tickets from Indy to Washington D.C., so we decided we would hit up Baltimore, Annapolis and Washington D.C. in one epic trip!

In the end it was an awesome trip, but there are three big travel mishaps I remember vivedly.

The First Flight

On the way out, we passed through security (after my foundation was run through security twice by itself & they realized there’s a tiny ball inside to keep the foundation from settling) and made it to our gate. We were pretty early, but we decided to relax and make the most of it. The adventure was on!

Or so we thought…

Pretty soon they announce that our flight has been cancelled. One of the flight attendants called in sick and they couldn’t find a replacement. We waited in line until we could speak to a gate agent. Our original plan was to fly in and out of DC, then take a bus to Baltimore in the morning. Luckily, the gate agent said she could get us tickets on a flight to Baltimore first thing in the morning! Things were looking up. She gave us meal vouchers and booked us into a hotel for the night.

We were soon standing outside the terminal waiting for the shuttle trying to be optimistic. It was all part of the adventure! Right? However, when we finally made it to the hotel, close to midnight, we walked into a dingy room with bad decor and horrible stains. On the carpet and some of the bedding. I don’t even want to talk about the bathroom!

KateLin and I looked at each other and just had a mini freak-out. Was it worth it? We didn’t have much money for this trip and didn’t want to spend anything trying to book a new hotel room. Plus, our flight took off at 5 a.m. the next morning so we’d really only be here for three hours before leaving again. We decided to just suck it up and stay.

Not soon enough it was 3:30 in the morning and we were checking out and hopping on the shuttle back to the terminal. We had a connecting flight to Chicago and then we’d be heading straight for Baltimore!

We had a blast in Baltimore and in Annapolis. Here are a few of the highlights:

Getting from Annapolis to Washington D.C.

Luckily I had family in Baltimore who showed us around and got us to Annapolis, so we had no transportation issues during this part of the trip. However, trying to get from Annapolis to Washington D.C. for the last leg of the journey wasn’t so easy.

We had just eaten an amazing sea food meal at Buddy’s.

We were walking along the brick streets and looking at the Greyhound bus times for the next day. The cities are so close we were just planning on booking a cheap bus ticket and riding to D.C. However, when we went to book tickets we realized there were no morning trips for that day! The only Greyhound bus trips were in the evening, too late for us to get there and explore without missing our flight!

We ended up having to call an Uber the next morning to drive us the 45 minutes to the White House where we began our trip. Luckily our Uber wasn’t too expensive, and our driver was pretty nice! We were surprised to learn she does this route quite often. I was feeling bad about asking her to drive so far, so that made me feel better!

The Final Flight

So we make it to D.C. and we start exploring. We visited the White House, State Capitol Building, the Lincoln Memorial, WWII Memorial, and we even made it to Georgetown Cupcakes, which were delicious!

We really felt that we did as much as we could in a few hours. Our original flight into D.C. flew into Dulles Airport, so when we were planning our day in D.C. we factored in taking public transportation all the way out to that airport.

Every time we told someone about this trip, they remarked on how we should have flown out of Raegan International Airport because it’s so close and central to the city. We just shrugged. We had gotten such a good deal booking with Student Universe that we didn’t mind the extra commute out to Dulles.

We planned meticulously how to catch the train out to the airport, and luckily we gave ourselves plenty of room for error. We jumped on the train with our bags and made our way to Dulles with NO ISSUES. For the first time all week we did something smoothly! We were feeling confidant as we walked into the airport and made our way to security. We had mastered using our Apple Wallet to store our tickets, so we flashed the guard our phones and he scanned them. But, the screen blinked red.

“Wrong airport,” he said annoyed.

“What?” KateLin and I looked at each other confused. How could we be at the wrong airport? We looked at our phones. They said we needed to be at DCA. “Isn’t that Dulles?” I asked him.

He shook his head “no” and told us to go to Reagan. Apparently, the Dulles airport code is IAD, and Reagan International Airport is DCA. How that makes any sense, we have no idea.

We just started to panic. We had arrived early, but we were almost out of money and had very little time to get all the way across the city (at rush hour) and still make it to our plane. We turned around and pulled up our Uber app. It was expensive. All we could afford was to UberPool and it was estimating an hour-long ride. We confirmed it and crossed our fingers we’d make it.

Soon our driver pulled in and helped us load our bags. He asked us why we were going to Reagan and we explained the entire debacle. He knew we’d never make it in time, so he actually turned off the ‘poo’ feature and stopped looking for other passengers, but keeping us at the shared rate. We spent the ride in a lot of traffic, but it gave us time to dive into deep conversations. We talked about the new political climate with the recent inauguration of Donald Trump. We talked about his experience as an Arabic immigrant, his experience pursuing his Master’s Degree in a foreign country and we chatted about his life in general.

We had such a good conversation and it really opened our eyes to how others were being affected by the political climate in America. To this day, it was the best Uber experience I’ve ever had. It was before the time of being able to tip, so we asked for his Venmo and sent him the rest of what was in our bank accounts (which wasn’t much, unfortunately). He gave up on money just to help us out, and to this day I am so grateful!

We finally pulled into DCA, ran through security and made it to our gate. We had a turbulent flight home, but landed safely and on time. It’s amazing how all of these transportation mishaps led to us having such an incredible trip (except for the hotel in Indy… I could have done without that).

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