Big Red Suitcase and a Canceled Flight


It was 3:00 PM, and I was waiting at the Madrid airport. As a European traveler, I was not the average flier –  I was the anomaly. I was used to carrying my big, red suitcase everywhere I went. I was used to waiting in long check-in lines. “Big Red” and I had bonded throughout my travels over the last couple of years. However, we didn’t know what would unravel in just a few moments.

Canceled Flight

I rolled Big Red up to the counter and slung her onto the scale to get weighed, hoping I had finally packed light. Phew, I thought Red was under this time. My packing skills had gotten so much better that year. A trip to Paris would have had my bag popping at the seams. The fashionista in me wanted to pack every shoe I owned. However, a voice went off in my head as I was packing. I reminded myself that each pair of shoes I took out could be replaced with a new memento I could bring back. Win-wins are always the way to go!

A Canceled Flight

Big Red suitcase

As I stood at the counter, the woman stared at Big Red. Then, after a glance at her computer, she stared at me and said, “Pardon, your flight has been canceled.” My first thought was that she spoke English. It took me a moment to realize what she had said. I knew then that my plans were off to a soggy start.

“Well, what now?” I asked as I looked at her incredulously.

She told me that the airline only flew families and preferred guests out, so I had to stay the night in a hotel. Thinking more about my fate and the already booked (and bought) tour and hotel room that I had waiting for me that evening, I gave her a mumbled “ok.”

“Are you sure?” I asked, an annoyed sigh building up. “How will I get reimbursed for the events I paid for this evening?”

“Call our helpline!” she said, trying to cheer me up while glancing at Big Red again.

The Nonexistent Shuttle

I walked away from the front desk like a middle schooler who was denied access to an R-rated movie. Big Red and I headed toward the outside traffic lanes to find the supposed airport hotel shuttle. She told me my new flight was at 0800 the next morning. I walked around for about 45 minutes, looking at every shuttle stop twice.

canceled flight paris travel abroad airplane landing tale board

I could not find the shuttle for the life of me. Maybe it was the fact that this had never happened to me before. Or, it could be the fact that I was wearing a Eurosock that kept riding toward the end tip of my toes, impairing my ability to walk. I had been abroad for a year, and yes, my footwear and euro socks (peds) always became an issue in the most dire situation. Regardless, I wanted to find the shuttle, and get this hiccup over and done with.

As I was looking around for the nearest cab, I saw another lost soul searching for what could have been a shuttle that didn’t exist. She turned around and asked, “Are you looking for the shuttle too? Was your flight to Paris canceled?”

I nodded my head and told her yes. “I’m about to take a cab. You wanna split one?” I asked, offering her a smile.

Tune in next time to find out what will happen during Leesa’s adventure in Paris!

map of Madrid