The Odyssey

Our trip home from Greece mirrored the trip Odysseus took home from the Trojan War. After delaying our depature once due to COVID, we had to delay it again due to mythic winds in the Cyclades that cancelled ALL ferries back to Athens for 3 days. That just doesn't sound like a modern thing.

We finally booked a 10-hour ferry to make the journey to Athens. It was uneventful. Except we arrived more than an hour late in Athens. We figured the hard part of the trip was over. We stayed in an airport hotel overnight and got to the airport in the morning.

Our plane into Heathrow was delayed and we missed our connection. The flight attendant announced that we got rebooked on another flight, but we didn't have any details. The siren song of this flight lured us to a long customer service line to find out we had to venture on a bus to a far flung terminal.

It was then that we encountered Scylla and Charybdis disguised as British security agents. They were definitely blocking our passage into the terminal. When we told them that we were running late and needed to get to our plane, they lied and told us they would hold the planes. And someone would come out to get us if the plane was close to leaving. None of this was true.

While one agent was harrassing a lady with a baby and ripping open her duty free bag, the other was insulting a passenger who accidentally left a bottle of liquid in their bag. It has been a regulation since 2006, he said.

We finally made it through this narrow channel and reach our plane only to discover that the door was closed and it had left. It turns out we were only sort of booked on the flight. We never checked in, because we didn't know we needed to. So they gave our seats away when we didn't show up. We were busy being lied to and harassed by rude security personnel. Now having missed two flights already we needed to get rebooked again. But the airline who owned our ticket was in a different terminal. Another bus ride. We thought we might have to fight a cyclops on the way.

We had to wait in another long line. Actually it was a short line that took a long time. We were eventually booked on a direct flight from London to Raleigh the next day. The woman helping us couldn't book a ticket on a partner airline, but had to call a colleague on a cell phone. Only the colleague could book the flight. And she was only supposed to book one flight per call. But the agents didn't hang up. They kept her on the phone and passed it to the next agent.

Since we were staying the night in Londo, we got a stack of comp certificates for the shuttle, hotel stay, meals at the hotel, meals at the airport, spending money at the airport. And by the time we left for the hotel, we had been at the airport for 4 hours.

Something was happening at Prime Minister's house. The local news was filled with stand-ups reporting from number 10 Downing Street.

It was long, uneventful flight home. By the time we got home, it had been about 60 hours since we left Folegandros. It was an odyssey indeed.

Jeffrey L Cohen

Jeffrey L Cohen