Travel Fail: A Shockingly Horrific Airplane Bathroom Incident

PHOTO: Jessica Gonzalez

All travelers, even professional ones (ahem, Fodor’s Editors) experience the woes of plans gone awry. In our column, Travel Fails, we’re highlighting stories where everything went wrong.

This month, we have two Travel Fails: one that anyone who’s ventured to Venice has had to endure in one form or another; and a second tale that serves as a graphic horror story set 30,000 feet in the sky.

Travel Fail: I Had to Break Down and Call My Dad

Who Failed: Audrey Farnsworth, Editor

Where Was the Failure: Venice, Italy

How Bad Was the Failure (Editors rate the failure across five categories in our 0-5 Fail Scale):

Gross: 0

Scary: 4

Time-consuming: 5

Humiliating: 3

Painful: 0

After about 30 hours of traveling, delayed flights, and missed connections, I landed in Venice at 12:30 am, just in time to catch the last water bus of the night. I was the final passenger to be dropped off–and somehow got off at the wrong stop. At this point, it was around 1:30 in the morning. I asked the driver if he could point me in the direction of my hotel and he pointed into a dark alley directly ahead. I lugged my stupid bright pink gigantic suitcase over cobblestones to a symphony of CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP CLOMP, directly into the darkness, and up some stairs and over a few bridges and realized… that I was completely lost. Groups of men passed by, laughing, and I was nervous because to be alone and lost at night in a city I’ve never been in before.

Jessica Gonzalez

I walked back to the water taxi stop and stopped into the only place that was open, which was another hotel. The nice concierge gave me a map and circled my hotel. I was on my way, but somehow went in a circle and wound up in front of the same hotel. At this point, I was just going to sleep on the street or perhaps take all of my clothes out of my suitcase and climb into it. But then a couple sitting on a nearby dock asked me if I was okay, and then told me that my hotel was too far for me to walk to alone. They offered to buy me a cab and handed me a glass of champagne. I praised them for “being huge angels,” to which they laughed and told me to relax and drink the champagne.

The taxi arrived and sped me away. I got out and knocked on the door of what I thought was my hotel but what turned out to be a museum. The caretaker answered the front door, told me that my hotel was [points in general direction] that way and slammed the door. Understandably–it was 2 am. I walked in that direction and found nothing, and then walked back out to the dock.

Where. Is. My. Hotel.

My phone didn’t have working data, so I couldn’t get the hotel phone number from my email or any information off the internet. So, I, a 32-year old person whose actual job is travel editor, did the only thing I could think of: I called my dad. I could’ve called my boss, I could’ve called a co-worker or a friend, but in my sheer panic, I called the only person who I knew wouldn’t call me an idiot, and that is my dad. He gave me the phone number to the hotel, I followed the concierge’s directions and eventually made it to my hotel.

Thanks, Dad. Love you.

Lessons Learned

You can’t always rely on the internet, because it’s not always going to be there–plan to be able to get to where you need to be without it.

Travel Fail: I Sullied an Airplane Bathroom Into Closing…and Then Things Got Worse [WARNING: GRAPHIC]

Who Failed: This story was submitted anonymously (and for good reason).

Where Was the Failure: A flight from China to New York

How Bad Was the Failure (Editors rate the failure across five categories in our 0-5 Fail Scale):

Gross: 5

Scary: 0

Time-consuming: 5

Humiliating: 5

Painful: 4

I was on a flight home from China to New York, and the plane had just leveled out [from turbulence] when I started to feel kind of claustrophobic and nauseous. I knew something was up so I went to the bathroom and had awful diarrhea. But that didn’t solve any of the bad feelings I was having. I finished and washed up, and was leaving the bathroom when I immediately turned around and went right back into the lavatory to violently projectile vomit–it went all over the bathroom….everywhere. I mean to the point where it was on the floor, it was on the walls, it was on the sink–there was no way that another person could come in and use this bathroom, it would be a health hazard.

When I finally left the bathroom, I needed to tell the staff. I told a flight attendant, “Listen you gotta close that bathroom, no one can use that. I just vomited all over it.”

Jessica Gonzalez

And so I guess the way that they closed the bathroom was to just tape up a piece of paper that said that “the bathroom is closed.” And so I kinda thought like, okay, that was violent and huge and everything, but I thought maybe the worst was over. I sat back down and was chilling, but then soon enough, despite the ginger ales and the flight attendants taking care of me and stuff like that, I realized there was no way I was done being sick.

So I got up. I knew something was brewing again, and I wasn’t sure how imminent, and there was a three-person line outside of the open bathroom. There were basically lines outside of all the bathrooms because it was that sweet spot in the flight where everything was calm and everybody was up stretching, and so everybody was using the bathroom. I was standing behind this old woman in line, debating whether I trusted her to be quick. Maybe she would be fast, I don’t know, but I wasn’t confident. And that’s when I realized it actually didn’t matter, either I got myself into a bathroom now or I was just going to be sick right here in the aisle.

The same flight attendant who I had spoken to early was nearby and I asked, “Hey you gotta reopen that bathroom that I had you close earlier.” And he did. It hadn’t been cleaned, so when I went in to be sick again, it was within these walls caked in my prior sickness.  It was the same exact thing again, I was sick all over the tiny stall. Just completely projectile.

For the majority of the rest of the flight, I stood in the back of this area where there was this little counter that the flight attendants weren’t using, and I drank ginger ale and periodically got sick again in this closed bathroom—my bathroom, at this point. All the flight attendants were rubbing my upper back and saying nice things, they all were sympathetic. The entire duration of the flight continued at this steady-medium level of turbulence. I don’t know if that made anything worse or not I’m not sure, but at least it seems like it did. I lost 15 pounds.

Lesson Learned:

Pretty sure this was all due to a turkey club I had eaten in the Shanghai airport. Never again.