Well, I’ve been here in Spain for almost a little over a week. I finally had time in the whirlwind to sit down and really talk about how it all went down and what I did in my situations. Now, I’m not going to do a huge post so expect all of this broken up into bite size chunks of days or events.
My flight was booked through kiwi.com (not sponsored, obviously). I found them through the skiplagged site, I know a lot of people have issues with that site, someone recently got sued by united airlines for using it or at least using the method a lot, but I figured as it was a one off, I’d probably be okay. However, skiplagged linked me to kiwi, and while kiwi is affiliated, i guess, it is a separate site and they do not have you switch to different flights while in a layover. Instead they break your flight up into different legs and you can use their site to show you either the shortest amount of time traveling or the cheapest flights. I used a combination of both of these, and thats how I got into this predicament, I suppose.
One of the airlines that I booked through was a company I had never heard of, that being said, I’ve never flown to Spain, so thats not saying much. My two different flight plans were from Texas to Washington, DC and then from DC to Portugal then onward to Seville. Two different tickets, three flights. Plus, I was taking my cat, Bandit, along for the trip, so I was aiming for something both inexpensive and not a super long flight with long layovers.
I was lucky enough to find something that would make all the flights and layovers together be somewhere in the 15 hour range, possible, but not exactly comfortable. I packed and repacked my bags for weeks deciding which luggage I wanted to take in the long run and what I was going to take as a personal item and the like, but thats a whole other post.
The initial flight was to take-off on the afternoon of the 22nd, a Sunday in September. Officially the auxiliar program started on October 1st, so I was giving myself a little leeway to explore and find out how to navigate the city before being thrust into a daily situation. I managed to get on the plane and got the cat and I checked in to our flight, and said goodbye to the husband. I was ready to go and get this flight over with.
Unfortunately for us, the flight from Houston to Washington, D.C. was delayed, like by FOUR WHOLE HOURS or something. It was kind of ridiculous, but considering that the flight I was supposed to catch at the other end of this leg was by a company that only did that flight ONCE a day and at 10pm, it was a huge headache. Luckily, the kiwi company I used has a flight guarantee so they were on notice pretty soon after I saw how long the delay was. They told me to call them back when I was boarding my first flight to see if I’d make the next leg and that they’d try to rebook me then, so another hour or so after the initial call, I called back and they told me I’d have a new flight booked and a hotel accommodation by the time I landed in Washington.
Well they didn’t.
I arrived in Washington, having never been in the city before in my life, and I didn’t know where to go or how to maneuver around this giant airport. I somehow managed to find out how to get to the train to the other terminals and the luggage carousel for my flight. I got my stupid giant bags (thats another story) and was sitting there in an almost abandoned airport (it was after midnight at this point) refreshing my email waiting for all these hotel accommodations and new flight bookings.
I ended up just calling them again and after a brief hold on the phone, they told me where I was going to stay and were able to tell me that the hotel had a shuttle that runs to the airport every half hour or so… but I forgot the hotel name so I had to call the hotel and find out (hi, i’m embarrassing).
I was lucky enough that the hotel was great and that the room was just what I needed. I asked for a late check-out the next day of 2pm instead of noon, since my flight was on the same airline and I was going to be at the airport for 6+ hours waiting just to check in anyway, I figured a few more episodes of ghost investigators or whatever I was watching would suffice to make me happy.
The cat got to potty and sleep and I got to pack and repack my bags for the 600th time.
Fast-forward to the next flight, I waited in the lobby of the hotel for an extra hour after I checked out so that I could get the next shuttle back to the airport, then once at the airport, I sat right in front of the line for the airline I was taking for like 6 hours. It was intense, as I hadn’t eaten anything in like 2 days and my poor cat only had some snack paste that I had forgotten I even packed for him, but it came in handy.
Once we were finally checked in and I crossed security, I was able to relax a bit more and focus on looking for food for both of us, and we found a Wendy’s. I got the cat some random lunch meat at one of the little kiosk places and water and we did okay with preparing for the longest leg of the flight, the flight from DC to Portugal.
The cat barfed on the airplane. There IS a reason they tell you not to let your cat eat much before flying, but I let my “poor kitty hasn’t eaten” feelings get in the way and I put myself in the “my cat just puked on this airplane seat from his carrier” situation. Ugh, the regret was real.
I was lucky enough to have a the seat next to me empty so I didn’t have to apologize profusely while I made my way back and forth to the restroom in order to find napkins and supplies to clean up after the cat. Luckily it was solid chunks and nothing too horrible. It was still so yuck though.
We were supposed to land in Portugal and have an hour before the next flight from Portugal to Spain (the final destination), however, I had completely forgotten about the hassle of customs and the border, so the entire hour was me waiting in lines and answering the three questions at the window. That was it, once that happened, I got lost in the Lisbon airport trying to make the next flight, and when I finally found it, the airline themselves was like using so many different gates to try to get everyone on the plane, and it was dumb because we all had to just get on a bus and wait next to the plane to board since it was a tiny airplane. I banged my head HARD trying to put my backpack in the overhead bin and Bandit didn’t barf so it was what it was. I was sweating, there was no AC in that airport, which would’ve been fine if it wasn’t so chaotic and packed when everyone at the gate had to get in line at two different doors.
Once we landed in Spain, I was genuinely confused about everything and had to pass everything through ANOTHER X-ray just to leave. It was a huge relief once I was in a taxi headed to my airbnb an entire day later than intended.
I headed to the closest store and got cat litter and cat food and just went back and set up for Bandit and knocked out. It was insane how much I wanted to just sleep, though now that I think about it, maybe I had a concussion after that overhead bin incident.
Whatever the case, that was the way my flight to Spain went, with a few bigger stories left out. I hadn’t updated the blog in a while, and I figured I’d sit down and get it all out since its my first Sunday where I’m not freaking out and rushing everywhere.
Now that I’m here, I can actually sit down and talk about all of it, from how the cat moving is going and what the school and program is like. Stay tuned for those updates as the weeks come!