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It Came From the Chat: You Are Now Free to Mortify the Cabin

Scott Vogel

So I was rereading Monday's Travel chat, right? As you'll see if you click on this link, we promised to give a prize to the chatter who revealed his or her most embarrassing travel experience (that was printable, natch). With the caveat that ours was far from a statistically valid study, I have determined that travel embarrassment can roughly be divided into three categories. For ease of reference, let's call these Whoops, Undergarments and Booze.

WHOOPS refers to the hilarity/confusion/fury/danger that ensues when one gets on the wrong plane, enters the wrong hotel room, arrives at the wrong airport, gets in the wrong car., etc. Let me quote two of our chatters:

Bowie, Md.: Several years ago, checked into a hotel in McAllen, Tx... low rise hotel, had to drive to my room ALL the way back of the property, insert key and couldn't open door since security chain was in place. Room was pitch black, but I heard a woman scream "Oh my God!!" and a man yell "Where's my gun!" ... Supervisor came running out, escorted me to the bar and said to have a few drinks to calm down... on them.

Most embarrassing EVER: So I had just gotten off a really long flight from DC to Seattle for a business trip. A co-worker picked me up and drove me to the hotel downtown. ... I checked in, and hurried back outside, got in the car and began to buckle up when I turned to the driver and realized I'd gotten into the wrong car!!! I thought I was going to die. All the while my co-worker is sitting in his car in front of me laughing his head off. Fortunately the guy whose car I got in was a good sport and, while surprised, he didn't totally freak out on me!

Then there's UNDERGARMENTS, which is self-explanatory:

Way embarrassed!!: Well, I was really embarrassed on a cruise to the Bahamas a few years ago. On the last night, there was a little seminar about packing up and putting your bag outside the door early in the morning. The staff was emphatic: "Remember to NOT pack your shoes!" So, when packing up that night, I was very careful about my shoes. But in the morning, I was horrified to realize I had left a top hanging in the closet to wear, but forgot to leave any slacks! I had to make do with a top and (thank goodness) my husband's PJ shorts!

Whoopsie: My awkward moment came courtesy of a hotel. It was an 'historic' property that hadn't upgraded rooms to key cards yet. Upon checking in, I got a key (like a house key) to my room. I'm guessing you can see where this is going...upon using my key to open the door, I was greeted by a large gentleman in his boxer shorts. All I can say is thank god for those Joe Boxers!

Which brings us to BOOZE:

Ashburn, Va.: I've always been a phobic flyer and had to take a (rather small) regional jet from Tennessee to National. This was pre-September 11th, and my sister was there waiting to pick me up at the gate since I was visiting home. I had already taken my "flying pills" before I left home that morning, but upon seeing the size of the plane decided to mix a little red wine with it as well. I don't remember what happened next, but my sister says I was quite a sight being carried off the plane by the pilot, flight attendant and my friend, all dragging me under their arms.

Fairfax, VA: I was thrilled to get an upgrade to first class on a flight home from a semester in the UK. I had the window seat, and eventually the aisle seat was taken by a little old lady. No problem, right? Uh, not so much. She drank the plane's stock of Johnnie Walker, then fell asleep. Then she proceeded to snore and fart her way across the Atlantic. I was so afraid that everyone around us thought it was me. Highly unpleasant.

Okay, now it's your turn to join the, uh, fun. What's your most embarrassing travel experience?

By Scott Vogel |  March 27, 2008; 7:45 AM ET  | Category:  Scott Vogel
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Most embarrasing travel experience: years ago my husband and I joined his sister & brother-in-law in Duluth, MN. There was a revolving restaurant at the top of a tall building (have forgotten its name, but not the experience!). Got up to use the ladies room, and being the directionally handicapped person I am, promptly returned to our table, sat down, picked up my water glass, and took a second look at the puzzled strangers at the table . . . the seats had revolved while I was gone, but the indside core of the building, containing the restroom, had not. Several tables away my husband, his sister & brother-in-law were convulsed in laughter. Was at least 30 years ago - wonder if the people at whose table I sat down still remember it?

Posted by: Jeannie in Dover, OH | March 27, 2008 11:05 AM

My most embarrassing moment was at the U.K.'s Heathrow airport a few years back. After I passed the passport control, a young and attractive female custom control officer stopped me and asked me to open my small carry-on bag. I did and she inserted her right hand into my bag. Immediately I saw her face changed as she rapidly withdrew her hand and waved me to leave her. Only then did I realize that she was not pleased to have touched my(very dirty)undergarments. It was my first time to London and my bag was full of dirty undergarments from weeks of travel in Eastern Europe.

I wonder why she didn't wear gloves. Since then I have witnessed the custom control employees at the Los Angeles airport use gloves.

Posted by: Mickey | March 27, 2008 1:31 PM

This really isn't embaresing so much as it was kinda fun. After almost 4 hours of delays due to mechanical issues with the brand new plane(s) I was supposed to fly on to Orlando back when FlyI was in business we finally got off the ground on the first plane, first one broke, then seccond one broke and first on ewas fixed, and they gave the whole plane all the wine and beer we wanted. As it turns out, al lthey had was Sutter Home and Bud, but I got resonably sloshed on the Sutter Home. That was a fun, if exceptionally late, flight.

Posted by: EricS | March 27, 2008 3:18 PM

French bus driver wouldn't let us use bus RR!We'd had RR stop earlier but last hr of our bus trip to the Paris airport was sheer agony.Cruise director said she'd find out where the RR was.She did so & I RACED into the terminal. She said go to 2nd floor. No signs to indicate where RRs were. Did not like the look of the door-not sure if it would be locked if I needed to go back out so decided to go down one more floor. Found RR. Went back up looking for husband w/luggage trolley.Miscounted floors.Now spent 30 min. going from floor to floor looking for him.He had luggage and couldn't leave it even to go to RR. Went to Travelers'Aide counter to have him paged.More time passed.Getting frantic-picture him being mugged and bleeding somewhere or having pb w/his diabetes-now almost an hr later. Tried having him paged once more-getting close to meltdown-he'd just gone to Traveler's Aide on HIS floor so we connected at last. He had both passports & the money, etc. It was both embarassing thinking of what do I do next if we don't find each other & agonizing worrying that he was not ok. Will never let a bus driver do that to me again.Bus RRs are to use !(He had a new group after letting us off & did not want to clean between groups.) And airport RRs should have signs on all floors!

Posted by: Gail | April 3, 2008 12:28 PM

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