See, our flight to Croatia was scheduled to leave at 6:30 AM the day after the wedding. It was originally scheduled to leave late in the afternoon, but we received an email a little less than a month before the wedding, informing us that our flight had been cancelled. They automatically moved us to the only other flight British Airways had going to Croatia that day...and, well, it left at 6:30 in the morning. We tried in vain to find another way around this flight, but nothing short of an extra 1,000 dollars would allow us to leave at any other time.
This meant that we had to go through airport security at 4:30 AM. Our original plan was to catch a few hours of sleep, and then drive to Manchester. The uneasiness that grew throughout the day had us reconsider that plan. We figured it was best to get there with an extra hour or two to spare so that we could try and track down our long lost bags. This ended up being the best decision we could have ever made.
We packed up what we had, and hit the road around 11:30. My job was to find the worst music possible to keep us awake as we drove on the other side of the road late at night. It's quite surprising how many bad American songs you can find on the British airwaves late at night. But that is neither here nor there.
We arrived at the airport around 1:00 AM, and entered the outgoing flights terminal, which was, well, closed. Did you catch that? Yes, the main floor of our terminal was completely empty. Well, except for the two maintenance men who were cleaning the floor. Being in an empty airport is about one of the creepiest experiences you can have. Airports are always bustling with activity, people coming and going, loud noises, etc. To enter an airport that is completely and utterly silent is like walking around in a haunted house. Eerie.
We tried calling the lost luggage center, but repeatedly got the answering machine. Since we couldn't get through security (as it wasn't open), we couldn't find out what was going on over there. After a while we walked over to the two maintenance men, who explained to us that the outgoing flight terminal didn't open until 4:00 AM, and that the lost luggage center didn't open until 6:30 AM (so much for the "open 24 hours a day" spiel that they told us on day one).
I'm pretty sure big, fat tears started running down my exhausted face as I squeaked out, "but we have to go through security at 4:30, and our flight leaves at 6:30." The poor men were either 1) super, super sweet or 2) completely freaked out by the hot teary mess they had standing in front of them. Whatever it was, they got on the phone with a friend who worked unloading luggage from planes. He was able to confirm that our luggage was in the airport, albeit in a completely different terminal. He said he would bring it over to us around 3:00 AM, when he had his break.
We could not believe how blessed we were. Had we come to the airport at any other time, we most likely would not have run into these guys, and most likely wouldn't have had our luggage for the rest of the trip, as we were traveling all over the place for the next 7 days. It was kismet, and a huge answer to our prayers.
We headed over to the couches and tried to rest a bit. Around 2:45 AM, our favorite maintenance men in the whole wide world, came over with a cart carrying our much missed luggage. We even tried to tip them for everything they did for us, and they wouldn't even consider taking our money. They truly were our guardian angles!
Want to see what it looked like when we were reunited? Warning...it isn't a pretty sight when you've been up for 20 hours, been to a wedding, a reception and had a 2.5 hour drive to the airport. But I'll keep it real...
Could it be? Our luggage? Unbelievable!
What are the chances that this is how we would find our bags?
Needless to say, we were reunited, and it felt soooooooooo good.
Yup, I went there.
Next Up: Croatia!