Getting to Bijawar from San Francisco requires two full days of travel. Getting to Delhi alone, via Europe or East Asia, requires two flights and 25-35 hours, depending on how long the layovers are. From Delhi, you can either catch the Shatabdi train to Jhansi, which takes hours, or a commuter plane to Khajuraho, which is about a two and a half hour flight. From Jhansi, the drive to Bijawar is about four hours, and from Khajuraho, it’s about two hours.

Our Lufthansa flight from San Francisco to Munich on December 23 had to land in Canada on its way to San Francisco due to an onboard medical emergency, and it then experienced mechanical problems when taking off again. By the time our flight was supposed to take off from San Francisco, the plane hadn’t even arrived at the airport, and the Lufthansa agents were saying that it would take another couple of hours to determine whether the plane was fit to take off, with a 50% chance that the flight would be cancelled.

Either way, this meant that we would miss our Lufthansa connection on December 24 in Munich to Delhi. Theoretically, we might have been able to spend the night in Munich and take the next flight to Delhi on December 25, but the airlines didn’t offer this leg on Christmas Day. We would have had to take the flight on December 26, leaving us two days behind schedule. We also would have missed our next Kingfisher flight from Delhi to Khajuraho on the morning of December 26.

When we realized all of this, we tried to get rebooked on a flight from San Francisco to Frankfurt on December 25, with the hope that we could get a couple of seats on the always-full connection from Frankfurt to Delhi.

At the ticket counter, however, the agents managed to get us on a Singapore Airlines flight leaving at five minutes past midnight, going from San Francisco via Hong Kong to Singapore. We also managed to get seats on the Singapore to Delhi connection. This plan would get us into Delhi on the night of the 25th, about twelve hours later than we had originally planned to be there. We took it.

Thirty-six hours of travel later, we finally arrived at the Radisson near the Delhi airport, having spent Christmas in two planes and three different countries. (One of those planes, by the way, dripped brownish water from somewhere between the overhead compartments and the light panels on one side of the aircraft for a good portion of the six-hour flight. Good times).

I’m writing this on the plane to Khajuraho, which has maybe all of ten passengers aboard an Airbus 320. The first leg of this flight, to Varanasi, was almost full. I can’t figure out why Kingfisher even flies this second leg – my best guess is that the Indian government has mandated service to places that might not otherwise be served by an airlines.