When you’re in Southern Europe, you’re bound to have multiple layovers. And every so often, they are gruesome in nature. Okay, a little dramatic maybe. I’ll leave it to you to decide! Here is my diary of our day traveling home from Greece, spent entirely at airports.
I don’t know what’s with these early wakeup calls, but I apparently love the torture. We woke up to be ready to head to the Mykonos airport at 5:00 am. The reason for the insanely early flight? We were booked to fly out of Athens at 9:00 am. Therefore, we needed to be in Athens no later than 7:30 am.
So, a little more background on these insane times. A flight from Athens at 9:00 am isn’t anything crazy if you’re in Athens. But we knew we’d be coming from Mykonos, so we needed one of the earliest flights possible. We purchased the main flight from Phoenix to Athens as a round trip ticket, which we had no wiggle room with. So our other flights had to be flexible
A ticket to Greece in July can run you about $1,500 to $1,700 from Phoenix. However, on one grand little day, Google Flights emailed me that a ticket had dropped to $1,000. I thought “holy crap, this is it!” We booked it immediately, saving ourselves at minimum $1,000. It was an opportunity that we couldn’t pass up. So we had no other choice but to make our puddle jumpers work around our amazing Athens flight.
We’re off to Athens from Mykonos. It’s only an hour flight so I’m trying desperately to stay awake for this one.
Land in Athens, and quickly find out there is no Delta checkin counter. We literally walked from one end of the airport to the other trying to find Delta. We asked several airport employees along the way, and we got pointed in opposite directions. Lovely. All the while we only had an hour and a half to complete check in and security. Come to find out, we were actually flying Aegean to Rome. My sixth traveler sense told me it was impossible there was a Delta flight from Athens to Rome, but the online confirmation said ‘Delta’ with no other operating airline. Weird.
We approach the Aegean check in counter, and they promptly tell us they have no agreement with Delta for checked bags.
Okay, pause… at this point we were running so behind for our next flight, that everything told me to just take our carryon bags through security and try to fit them on the plane. We each had one personal item too, so technically we were still at the limit, but we just didn’t want to deal with our bags. Now I wished I would have just listened to my sixth traveler sense. Ugh.
Resume. I explain to the guy that our layover in Rome is only an hour and that there’s no possible way we’ll make that flight having to check bags again. He nods his head in agreement, and gives a “yeah that’s not going to happen” face, and then makes a few adjustments on the computer. He said he would send our bags through as a ‘transfer’. At this point I am a bit sketched out because he literally just told us they don’t work with Delta. And all of the sudden they’re best friends forever? Total red flag that something is going to get f*cked up.
We barely make it on to our flight. BUT WE MADE IT. Can’t sleep on this one either. 2 hour flight.
We land in Rome, ten minutes early (thank god for that as you’ll soon see). The airline tells us we’ll need to grab our bags, and I think “okay, what was the point of that then?” Now we have an hour to grab our bags, and go through security again. We wait for our bags and constantly watch the time tick away. Our bags never come and I am mentally cursing the dude from Aegean.
We decide to just get a move on. Along the way we find a Delta employee and ask him about our bags. He looks them up right away and said they probably never left Athens. I said “so they’re lost?” And he replied, “bags are never lost.” Okay bruh, this isn’t the time to wish you were in some Keanu Reeves movie acting all mysterious and existential.
At this point, we are again super confused because we don’t have any tickets for our Delta flight to Detroit. We search everywhere for a Delta checkin and it’s nowhere to be found (we weren’t candidates for online checkin for some reason, hence all the counter finding). The hour is moving fast.
40 minutes until takeoff. Someone finally tells us they have our tickets held at the gate. Some fancy transfer stuff, which for a moment makes me feel important. Probably just me.
Grabbed our tickets up front, answered a series of questions, and then joined the queue for the plane.
Plane takes off from Rome on a 10 hour flight to Detroit. Can we just take a moment for international flights on US planes? The two seaters give me life. Can you imagine if you were in the middle seat on a 10 hour + flight? Omg I would literally die. Granted there are middle seats, but you have to be sick to take one of the four seats in the middle of the plane.
We arrive in Detroit, and for once we have a decent layover. I grab some McDonald’s because I didn’t get my burger fix in Europe this go around. I always crave burgers in Europe for some reason, and a lot of times I crave McDonald’s. It’s the weirdest thing!!
We head over to our gate to see if anyone working there could check for our bags. A lady working was able to scan our tags and told us that it looked like they were tagged to go to Phoenix. So instead of them coming out on the belt in Rome, they went straight to Phoenix. This was one possibility we had already entertained, so to hear her say something similar made us feel relieved.
Off to Phoenix!
The person sitting next to me did not understand the unwritten rules of having the window seat. Instead of leaning towards the window, which is the best f*cking part about having a window seat, he decided to lean towards me. Totally odd and super uncomfortable.
He also took the arm rests. I mean the middle seat person gets the arms rests for sure! And I’m saying this as someone who always has the window seat. The icing on the cake? The window seat was actually mine. He got the seating wrong, and I told him it was fine and that he could have the window. Yeah, that’s right. I did this to myself…
A baby starts screaming one row in front of us, and it lasts for nearly the whole flight. He was so cute though, and I’m not bitter about babies by any means. I literally can’t stand the people who roll their eyes and complain. Babies are babies and they cry. But damn. It was just one of those flights you cannot wait to get off of. Four hours of hell.
Finally touched down in Phoenix.
At the Delta desk filing a claim for our missing luggage. The absolute last thing I wanted to deal with after this flight. But you guessed it! They lost our bags.
Pssst, our bags arrived two days later at 8:00 pm. Thank god.