My husband and I travel. We have had what we call ''charmed'' trips where everything goes according to schedule. We have also had what we call ''doomed'' trips, where nothing goes right. However, our friend, Tracey Roscoe, wins the prize for the worst all-time-ever doomed trip.
All Tracey wanted to do was to come home. She had been teaching in Turkey for the past 10 months and was anxious to get home for the summer.
After much difficulty with the website of United Airlines, she contacted her mother via Skype in Brookfield to book the tickets for Wednesday, June 20. She was traveling with her boyfriend, Burak Ribar, who would be starting a summer internship at Sharon Regional Hospital on Monday, June 25.
Diane Roscoe spent the better part of a day trying to confirm the reservation. ''They kept telling me that there were too many lines in the Turkish address, that their computer would not accept the address.'' Finally, it was accepted.
Two days before they were to leave Istanbul, Tracey got an email stating that her reservation was canceled due to the same problem with the Turkish billing address. In a panic, she contacted her mother again via Skype.
Diane again called United Airlines, which could give no explanation nor connect her with a person of higher authority. Diane insisted that the airlines rebook the couple on their original flight and eventually agreed to pay with her American Express Card.
When the United representative said that Diane's credit card did not go through, Diane had her husband Tom call American Express. They confirmed that the reservation had indeed been billed four times. Diane got, then repeated, the confirmation number to Tracey on Skype.
Tracey and Burak left Istanbul on schedule early Wednesday morning. They landed in Washington, D.C., at Dulles Airport, on Thursday and were told upon disembarking that their connecting flight to Pittsburgh was canceled; they would have to register as ''stand-by'' passengers.
Going through security, Burak was randomly stopped and asked to step aside for questioning. Tracey was told she could not wait in the same area. They had returned their cell phones in Turkey. Two hours later he found her, only to wait in the stand-by line for six hours.
When they reached the desk, they were told that other flights had been canceled and the next flight to Pittsburgh was already overbooked. Tracey asked for a food voucher and was given $10. The couple had already been awake for 27 hours. They took turns sleeping in the airport, with one of them watching their bags.
Early Friday morning, when they got to United customer service, they were told that their flight to Pittsburgh had been canceled until Monday, four days from the day they landed. When they asked United if they were supposed to wait until then, they were told, again, only that that was the date the flight had been rescheduled.
So all day Friday they languished at the airport to continue their wait on stand-by, eventually being booked on the last flight of the day. At the gate they were told it, too, had been canceled.
Facing another night in the airport, they Skyped her parents. Tracey's sister contacted a college friend living in the Washington, D.C., area. He picked them up and drove them as far as the Breezewood, Pa., exit on the Turnpike.
Tracey's sister and her boyfriend met them there. The exhausted foursome arrived in Brookfield about four o'clock Saturday morning, nearly 48 hours after landing and three days ahead of the flight United Airlines initially offered them, which was then rescheduled until Wednesday; a total of six days after the original flight.
Since then both Diane and Tracey have contacted United Airlines asking for answers, going so far as to write directly to the CEO. What they received was a curt reply from his assistant and a voucher for $150.
''I am not looking for a refund, only answers,'' Tracey said.
I think I too would be looking for answers and a different airline.
O'Connor is a Brookfield resident.