The worst plane trip of my life

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AKA: That time I flew to LA and ended up stranded in San Francisco.

In retrospect this is a pretty good story. At the time it was horrific!

Backstory: I had a trip to Chicago planned (I live in the UK) – I was going to Chicago for two weeks of intensive guitar training. Awesome. A month or so before, I’m planning my record and how to release it and figuring out all the things I need to get together. The record was being mixed at the time, so musically everything was sorted. But I realised I needed some decent photos of myself.

I thought that being a metal record, having a photo of me on the front, with my guitar, on fire, would look awesome. So I was thinking about the photographer I would get to do this and remembered that one of my favourite photographers ( super nice guy and awesome to work with) was in the States… why not see if he’s free? Turns out he was, and would be in LA the week before I was due to be in Chicago. We had a 24 hour window where our schedules overlapped – so I went for it! Booked him, booked a new flight to LA, and bought a nice pair of jeans.

So all I had to do was get on my flight and show up right? Easy!

If only.

My flight was London > Iceland > LA. I thought I would be smart and plan to land in LA the night before the shoot, then I could have a nice snooze at my AirBnB in the suburbs, and head into LA in the morning. However, at the connection in Iceland, in the middle of literally nowhere, we get told the flight would be delayed an hour. Ok no big deal. Then another hour… now I start to wonder if something is up… and then they tell us the flight is cancelled.

At this point everyone at the airport who was going to be on that flight swarms to the help desk, so well over 100 people are there. All they can tell us is that the plane has a broken part, she sort of mechanical failure and has been cancelled. The only other flight going to the US from that airport, that day, is heading to San Francisco. Well… San Francisco is closer to LA than Iceland, so they give me a boarding pass and I get on that plane. I figure being a responsible airline, Wow Air would have someone at the airport to meet us and you know… help us get to LA… like they were meant to. But no. (oh and also while I am now in LA, my luggage is on a broken airplane in Iceland…)

We land, and no airline person to help us, no-one at the desk. I’m wondering how the hell I’m going to get to LA. My options were:

Uber ($450)

Hire a car ($150 and slight chance I kill myself)

Fly out at 5am ($180 and significantly lower risk of death).

I seriously considered hiring a car and driving – which would have been dumb. Fortunately I had a friend in SF who saw a Facebook post I made and got in contact.. so I got a taxi to his place, slept for an hour, had a shower, then got another taxi back to the airport for the 5am flight to LA.

Landed at 7am. Got out of the airport and into an Uber at 7.20am. Uber arrives at the studio for 7.40am. Photo shoot at 8am.

Worst trip ever. Fortunately the airline did the decent thing and paid for all my costs.

And the photos came out great (thanks Mike and Christina!).

I’m sure there will be many more stories like this to come…

As a footnote, I flew to Chicago the next day, just as my luggage arrived in LA. My luggage finally reached me a week later!

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