September 23, 2015

How To Miss a Flight in 3 Easy Steps (Rebooking Fees Guaranteed!)

Step One: Leave six hours before your flight even though it's just a two and a half hour drive to the airport.

Step Two: Hit dead-stop traffic on the top of a mountain with no exit ramp for miles (or kilometers, in this case).

Step Three: After two and a half hours of inching forward on the autobahn, admit defeat and call the airline to re-book for a later flight.

Bonus: Extra points if you're pregnant, need to use the bathroom, haven't eaten in four hours, and/or are driving a manual transmission. If you qualify in each category (as I did), it's the recipe for the most misery possible!


Our whirlwind trip to London and Germany last week brought another first to our travel experiences! But unfortunately it was a first that I'd hoped never to experience.

Yes, we did indeed miss a flight.

Yes, there were more than a few tears shed, some stunned silence as the reality of the situation sank in, and a few muttered exclamations when we discovered the cost of re-booking. But I'm getting a little ahead of myself.

Not even highway views of the Marienberg Fortress could alleviate the pain in
our wallet. Or the pain in our bladders.
As my easy to follow steps above have revealed, we left our hometown in Germany, the medieval, fully-walled small town of Dinkelsbühl in the Franken region of Bavaria, with plenty of time to spare.  Dinkelsbühl is approximately 227 kilometers or a two to two-and-a-half hour drive from the Frankfurt airport on any given day. Being the type who always arrives ridiculously early for a flight, we scheduled ourselves to leave Oma's house at noon in order to make our 6pm flight in Frankfurt. Plenty of time, right? I mean, under ordinary circumstances, that would put us in the terminal by 2:30 or 2:45p at the latest.

On our way to Oma's from the airport at the beginning of the week, we had noticed that there was construction on the autobahn, which we figured would extend our drive by an hour or 90 minutes, tops. Still plenty of time to get there, right?


We hit dead-stop traffic just outside Würzburg on the A3 at 1:30p. In the following three hours, we moved approximately 15 kilometers (9 miles). That's a whopping max speed of 3 miles per hour, folks. By about 4pm, we realized that there was no way we'd make it to Frankfurt by the 5:20pm checked baggage deadline and had to call Lufthansa to reschedule for a later flight. Cue the weeping and wailing...

Ain't nobody happy. Well,
I'm sure the airline was happy.
After forking over an ungodly amount of money to repurchase a flight that takes roughly 70 minutes, we hit the highway once more and finally made it to Frankfurt. The ultimate kick in the pants? We got through checked baggage, security, passport control, and made it to the furthermost gate in Frankfurt just in time to see our original plane push off from the gate.

The moral of the story is that apparently six hours is not enough time to drive 227 kilometers (141 miles) in Germany and still make your flight on time. Although I don't possibly see how we could have avoided this situation, it does reinforce why we budget so much extra time to reach the airport. And with a potential visit to Germany in March while on maternity leave, we'll be sure to reroute or arrive at the airport the night before just to make sure this doesn't happen again!

Have you ever missed a flight? How did you handle it and could you have done anything differently to avoid it?


P.S. Sorry for the silence around the blog, folks! We returned late last Sunday, but due to added responsibilities at work, I've been too tired to do much writing when I get home in the evening. I have a few posts ready to hit the blogosphere in the coming weeks just as soon as I add pictures. Stay tuned and thanks for your understanding!

Linking up for the #WeekendWanderlust!


  1. The first time we went form Hamburg to KL we hit dead stop traffic too, it's the worst, I'm sorry this happened to you.

  2. Brutal! Glad you eventually got home okay, but those fees....ahhhhh I weep with you!!!

  3. I'm so sorry you have experienced all that! I have never missed a flight. And hope this will never happen to me. But I did stop a train once, for 10 minutes, to wait for my friend ;) Luckily, the train drive could understand the situation ;) And I know what it means to get stuck on German autobahn! For hours! And on a long drive :/ Not what you could wish for.

  4. You have my sympathy. At least you were in your home country though. We missed a flight in Egypt once. Like you we arrived just in time to see it take off. Like you it wasn't our fault. Our connecting flight to Cairo from Aswan had unbeknown to us been cancelled. By the time we arrived in Cairo our international flight to Rome was taxiing down the runway. It was one of the worst travel experiences we have ever had - just awful and made many times worse by Egypt Air. Egypt Air kept offering to help us out, wasted our time for hours and then just dumped us saying it wasn't their responsibility. They didn't even offer to help us find a hotel for the night. It was Thursday evening and most businesses had shut down by the time we realised we were on our own. Friday is the holy day in Egypt and nothing is open. To make matters worse the Haj was on and Cairo airport was jam packed with fat, middle-aged men wearing nothing but white towels. Do I sound a bit traumatised - it was almost ten years ago and I still shudder when I think about it.

    1. Holy cow!!! Yes, I would be traumatized, too! That scenario is the stuff of nightmares, and yes, although the high rebooking fees were hard to swallow (especially with the doctor bills and a baby due in three months), we definitely know it could've been a LOT worse, like missing a transatlantic/transcontinental flight.


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