16 Poor Souls Who Were Just Trying To Go On Vacation But Found Themselves Trapped Inside A Travel Nightmare

16 Poor Souls Who Were Just Trying To Go On Vacation But Found Themselves Trapped Inside A Travel Nightmare

Traveling and seeing the world is such a fun treat and a privilege. However, nothing is worse than a bad travel experience. I thought my recent experience with a flight getting delayed 24 hours was bad until I read some of the many nightmare travel stories people of the BuzzFeed Community shared. Here is what some had to say:

1."What I thought would be a quick two hours turned into 24 hours of frustration. Flew to New Jersey for a funeral over the weekend. The airline wasn’t budget or top-notch. The plan was to leave Thursday morning and get back to Atlanta Sunday morning. Leaving was no issue."

"As we returned, my wife and I sat next to a mother holding her screaming baby in the last row. She would play with a doll and slam the hard plastic toy onto my knee.

The plane just sat idle on the runway for 1.5 hours. A storm was coming into Atlanta, so the flight was diverted to Savannah. We sat for another hour and a half. Then they told us, 'The gas is too hot to take off.'

Naturally, the storm came down at that time, too. So now we’re being told we must return at 7 a.m. the next morning. So I had to find a hotel, get food, and carry luggage in a storm.

The next morning, some crew were late, and many people decided that driving four hours back to Atlanta was better than getting a $200 credit."


2."I went to Poland for three days and was flying home, from Krakow to Frankfurt to London. On this particular Monday, there was a massive air traffic control failure in the UK. This affected basically all incoming air traffic from Europe. This particular bank holiday is the end of August, a very common date for Brits to fly back from abroad. Thousands of people were stranded. I discovered this once my flight landed in Frankfurt and had my next flight canceled. I had to wait in a queue that was basically not moving. Finally, I sorted out my return flights to Luxembourg, spent the night in the airport, and flew into London early the next morning."

Flight information board showing multiple flight cancellations

—Fiona, UK

Ironheart / Getty Images

3."For me, it was when I returned from my Spain workcation. They delayed our flight and made us wait two hours to reach the location of the connecting flight back home. The worst part was we missed that flight in its original time and had to wait four hours for a UAE visa to have a one night (in this case three hour stay in the hotel) before going to our new flight."


4."I go to a college that’s about two hours away from the airport. I was going to fly out at 5 a.m., so I had to stay the night at a hotel near it. I woke up at about 3 a.m., took a $40 Uber to the airport, and went to print my bag tags. It says that my flight isn’t for another 24 hours. It turns out my flight was delayed until the next day, and I somehow didn’t get a text (this was after I had already had a delayed flight). I was young and still getting used to traveling alone, so I didn’t know what to do, so I cried at the airport for a little while. But then I gathered myself and called the hotel to see that they never checked me out so I could return to my room. The fire alarm went off when I lay in my bed."


5."I had the longest delay of anyone you'll meet — 21 days. My hubby was on active duty in the US Army and deployed to Iraq. When he had been there ten months of his 12-month deployment — they asked him to stay another year! So, I took a leave of absence from my job and took a job as a contractor in Iraq. Hubby and I could take a two-week leave to come home simultaneously, with me flying commercial and him flying military."

"We were leaving to return to Iraq the same day. I left three hours before him. As we were over the Atlantic, the volcano in Iceland blew (late March 2010). We were diverted to London, and we were the last plane that landed. Fortunately, EU regulations required them to get us a hotel. It took nine days for me to be able to fly to Iraq while hubby stayed home and had extra leave. Once we got to Kuwait, he could leave for Iraq in two days while I was there for another 11 days (they prioritized the military). Got to see a few shows in London, went to the zoo, took a tour bus, etc. So, it's not that bad. Staying in a tent in Kuwait sucked, though."

—Beth, Savannah GA

6."We went to Scottsdale, Arizona, on vacation. On our first night there, he'd removed his swim trunks and left them drying on the patio. We decided to go for another swim after dinner, and as he pulled his trunks on, he didn't realize that a scorpion had crawled into them. Needless to say, we went to the ER instead of the hot tub."

A surprised Steve Harvey wearing a suit and tie

7."My friend and I went to Nice, France, and stayed in a hostel that overlooked the city. We were in a dorm with other women, and someone forgot to lock the door after coming in one night. We awoke to an old French man in a blue bathrobe yelling at us to 'Allez!' Another woman in the dorm yelled at him in French, and he left, and we locked the door. The next morning, we went down to reception to ask them if they had an older gentleman staying on property, and they said they had no idea who it was."

"The same day, my friend and I took a day trip to Italy. On the train, a man was escorted off for having a butcher knife with him. We also ended up on the wrong train on our way back to Nice and had to take a taxi instead. It was a wild day, but we still laugh about it 17 years later."


8."The company trip to Mexico that wasn't meant to be! We boarded our first flight, taxied out, then turned around and returned to the gate for a maintenance issue. This flight was supposed to connect to Houston and then continue on to Mexico. They had us get off the plane, go to another gate, and change planes. Apparently, this new plane was not equipped with the correct gear to fly over water, so once we were on the new plane, they let us know that we were going to be spending the night in Houston to catch the next day's flight to Mexico since our current plane was no longer the connecting plane."

A woman sleeps on airport seating, leaning on a backpack, with luggage beside her. She looks tired and is wearing comfortable travel clothes

9."This was on a trip from Salt Lake to San Diego. I sat by the window to watch the takeoff and landing. We started to descend, but it seemed too soon, so I looked, and all I saw was desert — not San Diego. Then the pilot said, 'Ladies and gentlemen, we're having a problem with one of our hydraulic systems, and the company has diverted us to Las Vegas."

"The first thing that struck me was that the pilot didn't mention which hydraulic system was the problem. The second was that if we crashed in the desert, the bodies would be easier to recover.

We got to the head of the runway, and the emergency vehicles were driving as fast as possible next to us, trying to pace us. We landed but didn't slow down as fast as normal. We eventually stopped and got to a gate. The problem was that a line for the brakes broke, spraying the landing gear with hydraulic fluid. The fear was that the hydraulic fluid would ignite, hence the emergency vehicles. Five hours later, we continued our journey to San Diego."


10."Waiting in Paris to catch a train, I sat my wife down with our bags near the downstairs area. I went to get something to eat and came back. One bag was taken by a thief going downstairs. Undercover cops were watching and caught the thief at the bottom of the stairs. We had to go to the police station to make a statement (in French and had an interpreter) and collect the bag. During our time in the station (about 2 hours) we sat beside the thief and the police. We made a statement with the thief at the desk, which he argued and denied, but he was caught red-handed. We missed the train, but the police set up a second train. It was standing room only for two hours."


11."This wasn't for a vacation but was still a miserable trip. Years ago, I had to go to another city to do some medical work. I drove over the night before, so I wouldn't be driving early in the morning. I got to my hotel room, and everything was fine until it started to get dark. Then the noise began. There was a bird, or birds, outside very close that would not stop singing. It would go for a while, then be quiet. Then boom, the chorus started back up again. I was too tired and not feeling well to change rooms. So, I listened to this all night long. I have no idea what kind of bird sings all night long. I didn't get much sleep. I've dealt with loud people in the room next door, but at least they eventually went to sleep."

A neatly made hotel bed with a side table and lamp next to it. A black suitcase is placed upright near the bed.

—Sharen, FL

Pattarisara Suvichanarakul / Getty Images/iStockphoto

12."The room above us caught ON FIRE, and we had to evacuate — no glasses to see and clutching my 1-year-old daughter while running down five flights of stairs. We moved rooms on the other side of the hotel. We were evacuated two nights later when the fire alarm in the elevator went off. We stood for hours in our pajamas in the parking lot/lobby without being told what was happening. No one had anything on them — this was when a cellphone was a brick and didn’t have cameras."

"We stood there for nearly five hours without a diaper change, food, formula, or news about what was happening. No one had their wallets/purses, Apple Pay didn’t exist, and there wasn’t a store close enough to walk to — no one had car keys. The hotel general manager was cornered by guests at hour five to try and find out what was happening. He literally put his hand in my husband's face and said, ‘I don’t have to tell you s**t,’ and walked away. I’m glad my daughter doesn’t remember it."


13."I went to India for my best friend’s wedding, and it was a disaster from the get-go. On the way there, my flight was supposed to land in Dubai. However, it was that crazy storm where everything flooded, so we were diverted to Oman. After two hours on the tarmac, we were forced to deboard on the tarmac in the pouring rain. We were then brought to a waiting lounge with no information and armed guards at the entrance since none of us had tickets or visas for Oman. We all had to rebook our own flights and hope our bags were transferred. Spoiler: I did not see my bags again until ten days after I returned back to the US. By the time I got to India, until I forced myself to leave four days later, I threw up about every 20 minutes. I couldn’t eat. I was supposed to be there for two weeks. Didn’t even get to stay for the wedding."

A stack of various suitcases and bags on a luggage cart at an airport

—Allison, NJ

Kinga Krzeminska / Getty Images

14."I was traveling to Australia with my wife and college-age daughter. The first flight was delayed due to a flat tire. We sat at the gate for 30 minutes, waiting for a new tire. Then, a classic Midwest summer thunderstorm rolls in, delaying the tire change. We finally arrived in Dallas exactly the same time our flight to Australia was supposed to take off. The airline rep meets us at the aircraft's door, and he needs us to rush from one end of the concourse to the other. Did he bring an electric cart? Nope. While literally running with the rep, my daughter spies a wheelchair, grabs it, and puts my wife in it. They are now leading the way ahead of the rep, with me trailing behind and hauling our two carry-on bags. We get on board, and the door is literally closed behind us. Less than ten minutes later, we are airborne."

"Upon arrival in Melbourne, we found our checked bags did not make the flight (I knew they wouldn't make the whole flight down). We are told they will arrive the next morning. Because we were flying business class (lots of airline points!), they gave us new pajama sets, toiletry bags, and gift cards for $300 each. The next morning came, and no bags. They missed connections again so that they would be delayed another day. So I took the girls shopping for new clothes, even giving them my card as I was content living in my dress clothes and sports coat. The second morning comes, and there are no bags. Come to find out that they are stuck in Brisbane due to heavy fog. I was assured they would arrive the next morning. Yeah, right. On the elevator ride up to inform the girls of another delay, another in our group entered and remarked,'“Did you not bring any other clothes?' I replied straight-faced, 'No. I travel lite.' 'Impressive' was their reply as they got off on their floor. The bags did make it the following morning. The image of my daughter running my wife in a wheelchair at full speed, followed by the rep huffing it, followed by me laboring behind, hauling carry-on bags in each hand, still makes me laugh."

—Jon, St. Louis

15."We married in October and postponed our honeymoon to January to take advantage of my husband's winter break as a school teacher to go on a cruise from Miami to the Cayman Islands to Jamaica back to Miami. We live in a small city in California, so we had to take a small regional flight into SFO and catch a flight to Miami. The regional flight got postponed due to a faulty part in the plane that may arrive in time and get fixed in time to avoid getting canceled. During the wait on whether the plane would get fixed in time, we heard breaking news that there was a shooting at the Miami airport, and it was on lockdown with all flights being diverted to Fort Lauderdale."

"We get a confirmation that our SFO to Miami flight was indeed rerouted but not canceled. Meanwhile, we are still waiting for the regional plane to get fixed and eventually are told that the replacement part won't arrive in time, so the flight into SFO gets canceled. We decide to rent a car and haul butt all the way to SFO (about a 3-hour drive) to try to make it so we don't miss our flight into Miami. We made it just in time for the airline ticket person to tell us the cargo doors were closed and checked baggage was no longer accepted. We were told to throw our baggage away since we couldn't take it with us and had no one at the airport to take it. We pleaded with her, saying we just drove several hours due to a canceled flight and that it was our honeymoon. She found some compassion in her heart and gave us special tags to allow us to take our checked baggage with us on the plane. The flight attendants had to keep our baggage in the back near their seats, so we thanked them for doing that for us. We eventually make it to Fort Lauderdale and make it to our hotel. The next morning, we jumped on our cruise, and no further than an hour after departing, the Captain announced that there were really bad storms in the Caribbean and that we were no longer heading to the Cayman Islands but to Cozumel. We had our hearts set on the itinerary but made the best of it and had a great time!

As the trip progressed, the seas got worse. The waves were so bad you could feel it on a huge cruise ship! People were throwing up in the dining areas due to seasickness, and the movement was pretty bad, even in our cabins. The next port of call, Jamaica, got canceled, and we were told we were going to the Bahamas instead of Jamaica. Again, we were so excited about the planned itinerary, but either way, we had a great time there, too. We eventually returned to Miami and explored the City for a few more days. Our vacation ended, and we were so scared our flights would get canceled on the way back home, but everything went according to plan (surprisingly). After all our honeymoon ordeal, we wondered if our marriage was doomed since our honeymoon didn't go as planned. We're going to be married for eight years this year!"

—Delia, California

16."In 2022, my sister and I visited our mother and stepdad in Utah, flying back on December 26th. We had a layover in Las Vegas. We got stranded in Vegas for almost eight hours, sitting on the airport floor with hundreds of other people without answers from the airline. My sister has fibromyalgia, which made it even worse. They finally told us our flight to LA was completely canceled after moving gates several times, 'Just wait a bit longer, we just need a crew.' They couldn’t get a crew. I'm 18 years old, and we have no clue what to do. I can’t get a hotel under 21 in Nevada, so that’s possibly out. I called our dad; he wanted me to try getting the travel voucher they offered. I stood in line for an hour with my sister sitting elsewhere, literally on the verge, when I called my dad back and screw this. We’ll try to get our luggage, which has my sister's medical supplies and her medication (our mistake; we've never done it since)."

"They say our luggage, along with the HUNDREDS of other bags, will be on a flight back to LA without us. Okay, great, screw you, airline. My stepmom back home in LA books us a hotel and explains the situation, while my sister and I pay $50 for a cab, my dad, stepmom and brother booking it to this hotel to drive us back the next day due to a prior obligation. My boyfriend was also ready to drive out there. The only bright side? The front desk guy at our hotel didn’t charge me for the Stouffer's Mac and cheese I grabbed from the store there because of the day we had. He was awesome, and the airline was crappy. Never traveling right around Christmas by flying again. I’d rather drive."

—Alycia, California

Do you have a travel nightmare story? If so, share it with me in the comments below!