These summer rollercoasters didn't care about your travel plans. These stories of road chaos, from fish explosions to surprise quarantines, could only have happened in 2021.
If 2020 was the year that trips were cut short, 2021 was when it wobbled erratically and veered sideways, like a teenager driving a bumper car.
Summer travel has been particularly chaotic, as travelers have been emboldened by vaccines,softer restrictions and cheap airline tickets. For many, their travels turned into puzzle after puzzle: airline schedules were chaotic, extreme weather conditions hit the country, and international destinations flipped over to Covid rules as the Delta variant was rising.
Nancy Newhouse, former Times Travel Editor, flew from Albuquerque to New York this summer on American Airlines, with what was supposed to be be a brief stopover to change planes at Dallas-Fort Worth. Instead, she sat on the tarmac for two hours when she arrived in Texas, had her next flight canceled, and stood in line for hours trying to change reservations. Her connecting flight was booked and canceled four times before she arrived at LaGuardia two days later, without her luggage, which the airline took away.left behind, then charged her $ 40 for delivery.
"Although I was a travel editor for many years and I will of course continue to travel, my assumptions have changed since the trauma of the pandemic, "she wrote to The Times. " Smooth navigation is a thing of the past. "
His story inspired our call readers to ask for their chaotic summer travel stories, to help us capture the ups and downs of the moment. selection of answers here, which have been edited slightly for length and clarity.
The Early Bird Special
I was in a hotel outside of Port Antonio, Jamaica. I was told about the restaurant onr the pitch and free breakfast, but no one mentioned the Covid curfew. When I arrived around 7:30 p.m. for dinner, I was told that the curfew is at 6 p.m., and the restaurant staff are long gone! However, the bar was open, so I had a strawberry daiquiri for dinner!
- Alice Mathis, Madison, Wisconsin.
A day in paradise
The trip to Greenland that I had planned for my parents aged 80 and over was canceled - for the second time - less than a month in advance. My parents had worked hard to be strong for the trip, so I was delighted to find availability for a Tahitian cruise in August instead. With testing before the flight left, upon arrival and at the dock, I kept telling friends that I wouldn't breathe easy.until we are on the boat. No dice: After a magnificent first day on the island of Moorea, Tahiti went into confinement. The ship quickly returned to Papeete, the capital, while I spent hours trying to change reservations; we then sat at the dock for three days, unable to disembark before our flight. I feel guilty that we went at all, but it's so hard to know what to do: Local Covid cases have increased dramatically in just two weeks. We are grateful that we are all healthy and sorry for the people of Tahiti.
- Elaine Chen, New York
Traveling a little too light
I took my first flight in 18 months to see my family. On the way back I passed through T.S.A. PreCheck, a fait's a joke at T.S.A. agent not having the habit of traveling (forgot to put all my stuff in the security bins) then I walked to my door. Just before arriving, I realized I didn't have my suitcase! I left it in my sister's car when she dropped me off. After a minute of hysterical laughter (luckily my flight was delayed) I called her and, at best, she was nearby - my 2 year old niece had wanted a smoothie. Five minutes later, I had my bag. The T.S.A. agent checking IDs and I had a good laugh when I told him why I was back.
- Rebecca Perlmutter, Boston Image Credit ... Tallulah Fontaine figcaption>
It's still wine time in quarantine
After testing positive for a revolutionary case of Covid-19 in the Azores, the Portuguese archipelago, my wife and I were taken by ambulance, with a driver to a less than attractive hotel in Ponta Delgada. We were taken to a room by the service elevator. Heartbroken and shocked upon seeing our containment quarters for the next two weeks, we wandered onto the balcony - at least we would have that. We were then greeted by our 40-something neighbors who, seeing the look on our faces, immediately walked past a nearly full bottle of delicious Portuguese red wine. There are surely so many worse midlife experiences than the time we spent among this lovely family who helped make it all so much more tolerable. It is alsonice to now have friends to visit in lisbon someday.
- Tim Jones, Boston
Clean? This is a vague definition
My husband and I flew to Bozeman, Mont., To see our children in July. All the airlines had been touting their cleaning protocols, and we thought everything would be fine. As we were leaving our flight and another flight to a nearby gate were delayed and it was chaotic. The gate agent tried to keep everyone calm. When our plane finally arrived, the agent announced that he was the cleaning crew - and their only member. We watched him enter the catwalk and then come back five minutes later. The flight carried nearly 200 people to and from Bozeman. You can't even clean three fartit is bathrooms during this period. It was a sad reality.
- Gro Flatebo, Yarmouth, Maine Image Credit ... Tallulah Fontaine
A fish explosion
My family and I rented cabins and went to Yellowstone which was beautiful. However, every flight I have taken this summer has been a complete disaster - delays for all possible reasons, including a fish container that burst in the cargo hold with the fish barring the cargo door closed. It was eventually opened by a very limited number of employees on the tarmac. There was another night I was stranded in the peninsule top of Michigan and I was considering heading back to Maryland as it would be faster than flying, except all rental cars were already booked.
- Deepa Galaiya, Baltimore
Bait and switch
We live about half the year in Tuscany and half the year in Florida, so we usually travel back and forth. This summer, American Airlines has taken it out on us (again) by scheduling and reconfiguring entire blocks of international flights on a whim. A few days before our flight from Rome to Philadelphia, we were informed that we were being sent to Philly from Rome, via Dallas! They refused our request to exchange the ticket for a flight to a different destination nearby, such as J.F.K. in New York, instead of treating him like ahe upsell opportunity, we are incurring a price increase to avoid this unexpected new stopover: salt in the wound!
- Russell Maulitz, Tuscany and Philadelphia Image Credit ... Tallulah Fonta ine
Avoid uncertainty, make pizza instead
I started my summer trips to Greece in early July. I was supposed to go to Malta next, but they changed their policy, effective two days before my flight. They required proof of vaccination and I had my card with me, but they didn 't accept Americans because our cards can be easily tampered with. I tookecipitated and decided to go to Naples instead. A few days later, Malta decided that it would finally accept American vaccination cards. But by then I was enrolled in a pizza-making workshop at the school where pizzaioli train. Too bad. Malta will still be here later, and I was able to improve my pizza game.
- Stacy Kissel, Somerville, Mass.
The eagle did not land
I wanted to see rock band The Eagles which was on tour in 2020 but American cities were super expensive and Wembley stadium in England was cheap. So I built a whole European trip (my first) around this show. The Covid canceled it. I postponed everything, as well as the concert, to 2021. Three weeks before leaving for England, the Eagles also canceledat this show (Covid again). I took a safety briefing from them and canceled my entire trip to Europe. In order to see the concert again, I planned a trip to New York to see them. Five minutes after arriving in New York in the pouring rain, I received a text message that the New York show was canceled due to Hurricane Henri. Everything else in NYC was canceled for the day I was there too, so I ended up spending 48 hours in a hotel with only bad Chinese food.
- Patricia Crawford, Craftsbury, Vermont
When chaos is everyday
I was unable to travel this summer because, be prepared, I am a customer service supervisor for a large airline, and, with a labor shortage and stressed workforce, I needed to be on the jobl for the flood of a return trip. From my perspective, everyone was on vacation in Vegas. Not literally, but figuratively, just trying to make up for lost time and do whatever they want, whether it's right or wrong. And often it wasn 't the case. i have never had a harder time at work, and have been working there for 16 years. People have forgotten how to act and how to treat each other. And that we were there to help them recoup their time lost with family or on adventure.
- Kristie Boles, Portland, Oregon.
The smell of despair
I had to fly to Pennsylvania to visit a sick relative, but was terrified of getting an infection and passing it on to them. I arrived at LAX at 8 p.m. on a Saturday and I arrived in Scranton on MonSun at noon. My original flight was on the tarmac for over three hours and could not find a crew to load the luggage onto the plane. Once they started they were taken out with half the luggage on board. An hour later, the crew finally gave up. The next flight kept getting pushed back. I was still at LAX 18 hours after arriving. I spent most of that time in a double mask and eventually learned to go to the dog park to get some outside air that smelled like dog urine and kerosene, but it 's 'was a huge improvement for the environment inside.
- Leonard Smith, Pasadena, California
Cows at a funeral
We have drove to Montana from California for my mother-in-law's postponed pandemic funeral, then we flew to the east coast to see my 97-year-old mother, who we hadn't seen in almost two years. We were saddened by the number of businesses we had benefited from on past trips that were now closed, probably permanently, but cheered on by the service industry employees we encountered along the way. and who were great despite the supply delays and understaffing. We were fortunate enough not to have experienced any delays on either trip - with the exception of longer transportation.sieurs hundreds of red cows who intervened in the midst of my mother-in-law's eulogy. Even these cattle seemed to be among the happy -being-in-motion-raven d.
Denize Springer , Mill Valley, California
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