Overnight in an Airport: A Cautionary Tale about Having a Backup Plan

Copenhagen: the place we were en route to when disaster struck!

Hey everyone, I’m back with another travel story from my semester abroad. Let’s dive right in!


This time, we’re going back to when I had to sleep in an airport overnight on the way to Copenhagen, Denmark; got zero rest because my lovely companions didn’t take a turn watching our stuff so I could sleep; and relied on lots of coffee to get me through our first day before sleeping through half of the evening. I should note, I do not drink coffee on a regular basis and too much of it makes me nauseous.


AWESOME.


So, how on earth did this all transpire? Read on…


The plan was simple enough: we had planned a 10-day trip through Scandinavia (Denmark, Sweden, and Norway). On what should have been the first day of our trip, we had an evening flight to Copenhagen on easyJet, so – since we lived in east London and every airport was at least 45 minutes away via tube – we decided to try and save money by taking a cheap bus to the airport, through a company called easyBus (you see the trend here). Everything was fine when we booked it: had our tickets confirmed and printed, we showed up to the bus stop early, and there were other people waiting as well so we knew we were in the right spot. What could possibly go wrong?


Oof. Lots. 


We waited for that bus to show up, and it never did. To make matters worse, we realized the company did not have any phone number listed in order for us to contact them! Rather, there was one lonely email listed for us to direct our questions. Yikes. One of my companions tried sending an email, but there was no way that would solve our problem in time. So, we quickly weighed our options, as the clock was ticking. We ultimately decided to go to the nearest train station and purchase tickets to the airport – which, in retrospect, we should have done the whole time (I’d like to think the bus was not my idea, but since I can’t confirm I’ll let us all share the blame). 


However, since nothing that night could be simple, of course there were no trains going to the airport for the next half hour! Mind you, our flight was around 7pm that night, and by this time it was pushing 5:30pm. And, yours truly was the only one with a checked bag, so this was a huge problem even if we did manage to make it in time to go through security.I know what you’re thinking: “Wow, what a diva. How did her friends manage to bring carry-ons and she just had to have a checked bag??” Well, (please) stop your judging, as I have an easy explanation. Due to #contactlenswearerprobs and #curlygirlprobs, I had a lot of liquids I had to bring with me – double the trouble. For those of you unfamiliar with either of these struggles, that means I needed two different bottles of contact lens solutions (I have two different ones because my eyes are complicated just like me), and hair products that would protect my hair when I straightened it plus products that would give it some much needed moisture in the cold February climate. Yeah, um, did I mention that this trip occurred at the end of FEBRUARY, since we had a reading week? No? Well, it did.


Now, this is something that I can 100% confirm was NOT my idea. Moving on.


As you can see, we were out of luck at this point. Our train didn’t arrive at the airport until a few minutes before our flight time, so there was no chance of making it. Our best bet was to go to the easyJet counter and try to reschedule – and see if they knew why our bus was a no-show. When we got to the airport, we found out three things:


1. The next flight wasn’t until 6am the next morning, so we would miss out on a night in our Copenhagen hostel (which was already paid for)


2. We wouldn’t be able to have the flight refunded at all (Shocker. But, it wasn’t the airline’s fault that our bus never came, so it was fair – the two businesses were just part of an umbrella company)


3. At that point, we’d be better off staying overnight in the airport versus going all the way back to campus because it was so far away. Yay, adventure.


With that plan in mind, we all settled in for a long night ahead of us after informing our parents about the mishap. Some of those calls went better than others…luckily, mine was one of the better ones. The night was not off to a great start. After we were able to go to the upstairs waiting area where the comfy chairs were (around 9pm), we had some dinner and then found some seats next to each other, in order to get some rest.
Now, the original plan was to take shifts sleeping so that we wouldn’t all be tired the next day, but our stuff would still be watched over. Ha, take shifts. Sharing. Right. 


I ended up on a night-watch, party of one. Add the fact that I’m a light sleeper to my anxiety of our (my) stuff getting stolen, and there was no chance of sleep that night. Thanks for the help guys, great team effort! I felt like living death by the time 4am rolled around and we were allowed to go through security, and was dreading the day ahead. Once we were through security, I got perhaps 30 minutes of sleep before it was time to board our flight. To sum up this story, I kept drinking coffee throughout the day. Like, one every couple of hours. And we (they) decided to do a walking tour on our first day because why not! We’re all well-rested! Well, two of us are, so that’s enough! And then it started raining. The day just kept getting better and better. Now, because of my ~unofficially diagnosed~ FOMO, I knew I had to tag along. I couldn’t bear to sleep away one of our only days in Denmark when we had already lost one. I made it through the day hanging on by a thread, ate dinner with them, and then passed out in our hostel for a glorious few hours before I woke up disoriented, wondering where I was and what year it was. Then, I ended up joining them out at a bar downtown. “Mama didn’t raise no quitter”, and such.

Phew, that was a long one. I’m sorry guys, guess I just had a lot of pent-up emotions about that trip!

Anyway, if you hung on for that less-than-wild ride, I commend you. And, I hope you enjoyed it. There are certainly takeaways abound from this story, so I’ll let you find the ones most applicable to your life. But for the love of all that is good, if you say you’ll switch off sleeping with someone, please: KEEP. THAT. PROMISE.
Well, to end on a positive note: it’s almost Friday!

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