I packed all of my stuff into a backpack, I checked my checklist and looked at the map twice just to be sure about how to get to Killarney from Cork airport. I was going to TBEX Ireland 2017. Bruno couldn't take days off but I didn’t want to miss the travel bloggers conference so I decided to go on my own.
I haven’t travelled alone since I met Bruno (almost 5 years ago), it was exciting to take a flight somewhere out of the UK and experience solo-travelling again, but at the same time, it felt a little scary. I was used to travelling alone, but apparently, you can forget your habits easily if you don’t experience them from time to time. When we travel together we usually split responsibilities. He is usually in charge of the timings and keeping our documents safe while I am mostly in charge of choosing the places to visit and planning the trip. But in this one trip, the entire responsibility was only on me. I didn’t want to mess anything up. I went through my documents, set the alarm to an appropriate time and went to the bed early to be able to leave home on time.
I woke up around 6 am and the first thing I did was picking up my phone to check the time, but a message suddenly caught all of my attention. I jumped out of the bed. I was so shocked. My flight was canceled. My flight was from London to Cork at 9 am, and the message stated that I could either get a refund or change my flight online, without saying how nor providing any link.
I called Aer Lingus, the automatic answering machine was the only voice I could hear from the other side which instructed me to call during working hours! I couldn’t wait until 9 am, I needed to know whether I could get any flight to Ireland or not. I also wanted to be in Killarney for the welcome party of the conferences with was starting at 7 pm. When I didn’t get any answer, I went to the Aer Lingus website to try my luck online. It didn’t seem my luck was at its peak at that time. All the flights to Cork were already fully booked and the website didn’t let me change the destination for my flight. I couldn’t think of anything else apart from heading directly to Heathrow airport and talk to the Aer Lingus staff.
The airport situation
When I arrived at the airport I noticed a small group of people in front of the Aer Lingus desk. I joined the queue while I was reviewing the questions in my head several times, I was not even sure if I was at the right desk. It didn’t take very long before it was my turn. I didn't even have the time to start explaining my situation or ask any question, the girl behind the desk already asked me whether my flight was canceled, and she promptly gave me a few options: I could fly to either Dublin or Kerry instead. I had never been to Ireland before, so I didn’t have a clue about which would be the best choice. Therefore, I went for the most familiar name, Dublin. I thought that Dublin, as the capital of Ireland, would be well connected and finding a train or coach to my final destination, Killarney, would be simpler. As of now, I know it was not the right choice because Kerry is much closer to Killarney. She gave me an 8 pounds voucher to use on board with my boarding pass and she also recommended me to go to the Aer Lingus desk once reached Dublin airport.
Dublin to Killarney
I did what I was told. When I arrived at the desk in Dublin airport I just explained what happened and I was asked to wait for a taxi they arranged for me to go to Cork airport. The taxi arrived in less than 10 minutes and I was on a road trip just like that. I checked Google Maps and noticed that Killarney was almost the same distance from Dublin as Cork. I then asked the driver whether he would drive me to directly to Killarney instead of Cork airport by paying the difference. He replied kindly: “don't worry about it, I will take you to Killarney instead, it is only 30 minutes farther away”.
The journey took more than 3 hours, but it was not boring thanks to my charming and friendly driver. He was also acting as a tour guide, giving me information about the popular places we drove by. We also stopped a few times to take pictures, it was almost like having a private tour guide.
Finally in Killarney
The taxi driver dropped me in front of my hotel around 3:30 pm. I checked in at the hotel and, after a short break, I headed to the conference to get registered. I was really exhausted due to my long journey, but at the same time happy I could make it on time. I also had some time before the party started to stroll around the town centre. I had my lunch in the town and headed back to the conference.
The beginning of the trip didn’t go as I planned, but I managed to get to my destination on time. I also met a very nice taxi driver who shared a lot of stories with me on the road and experienced something very new, which better prepared me for the future. I am sure that if something like this would happen to me again, I won’t panic and would go straight to the airport to try and choose an alternative flight or destination wisely.
Have your flight ever been canceled? How did you deal with it? Please share your story in the comments. I would love to learn from your experience.