The Accidental Holiday by Mimi Deb | Magazine | General Fiction | Interviews | Women’s Fiction
Accidental Holiday

By Mimi Deb

The Accidental Holiday came to me by accident.

It was 2022, and New Zealand had just lifted its coronavirus restrictions and my husband and I thought: what better way to break our travel hiatus than to take a trip to the other side of the world?

My sister-in-law lives in Auckland, and it was on one of our family zooms that she mentioned that travel restrictions would be lifted before the start of their summer.

Without any hesitation, I booked our flight.

But, as the trip drew nearer, instead of being excited, I started feeling anxious. I wasn’t having second thoughts about my choice of destination: lake cabins, mountain hikes, and a fiord cruise had all been meticulously planned. What I was worried about, was the journey.

About the many, many hours I would be sitting inside an airplane.

Claustrophobia and I are childhood friends. We’ve had our fair share of ups and downs, including a phase, that unfortunately coincided with the beginning of international travel, where I wouldn’t venture into plane toilets for fear of being stuck inside with no way out.

Thankfully, I’d gotten over that particular fear, but the idea of being in an airplane for thirty hours didn’t exactly thrill me.

So, I started devouring online articles about preparing for long-haul flights, and soon bought comfy sliders and joggers, compression socks, and an ultra-long-haul neck pillow. Unfortunately, the impact of all that was more on my bank balance than my relentless anxiety.

The night before our flight, I went online early to ensure I secured us the best possible seats in economy. And that’s when I saw it: an offer to upgrade from Economy to Business at an unmissable price.

I opened two browsers, side by side, on my laptop, so I could upgrade both our tickets and be seated next to each other. I then clicked on both at exactly the same time, just in case someone else attempted to steal my steal

I thought it was genius…

… until an error message popped up on one of the browsers, and then, I received an email notification letting me know one ticket had been successfully upgraded.

I refreshed the page, but the error remained. I called the airline’s customer care number but reached an automated voicemail. On Live Chat, I met with a bot.

I went to my bank account then and found two transactions had been processed. Surely, alarm bells should have gone off then? But no, I was thrilled. The upgrades had gone through, after all.  

The next day, at the airport, I finally got my answers. The airline attendant at the check-in desk informed us that only one of our seats had been upgraded due to a technical glitch. Immediately, I opened my statement and showed it to the attendant, who shook her head, pitifully, and assured me of a refund in five working days.

Instead of kicking up a fuss, as I probably should have, I asked if another upgrade was available. She grinned and informed me there was just one remaining for the two major legs of the journey starting at Frankfurt. I couldn’t believe my luck, and in a moment of madness, following some invisible script for Dumb and Dumber, I swiped my bank card, again.

I left London City Airport with a printed upgrade receipt and renewed optimism.

At Frankfurt, the boarding gate was at the far end, and by the time we reached it, passengers had started boarding. I ignored the nerves threatening to spill, and confidently handed the steward my ticket along with the receipt. Instead of the warm reception I’d hoped for, I was met with scepticism and another pitiful shake of the head.

I couldn’t argue; there wasn’t enough time. And not if I wanted to get on the plane.

By the time I reached Auckland, I was exhausted. Yet, I dove straight into getting a refund, not only during our holiday but also for many months after we’d returned to London.

Until, one night, I chose to channel my frustration, and quest for justice (and compensation), into something positive. 

I turned my holiday horror into a romantic comedy, The Accidental Holiday.

I just raised the stakes a little: a cross-continental flight became a week-long holiday in Mallorca with two strangers, and total opposites, forced to share one room.

It made sense, especially since hope and optimism are a common theme in my novels.

In Love on the Menu, my protagonist Gia believed: ‘When life throws you a curveball, be glad. It helps to stare at the world from down on the ground.’

And, in The Accidental Holiday, a spontaneous Alex prods Maya, the planner: ‘Make your own story. We’re all just the stories we tell ourselves.’

So, next time life throws you a curve ball, flip the narrative. Who knows, it might just inspire your own next story…

(c) Mimi Deb

About The Accidental Holiday:

Accidental Holiday

Escape to Mallorca with this cute, forced proximity romcom – the perfect beach read

A totally gorgeous and escapist romcom. Fans of Beth O’Leary and Emily Henry will be totally hooked from the very first page.

Maya loves structure. She loves to plan. She never makes a decision without doing a pros and cons list first. She’s been planning her dream getaway for a long time.

Alex is laid back. He’s learnt the hard way that you can’t control what happens in life, so he’s stopped trying. When he sees an incredible offer on a luxury holiday, he books it without a second thought.

It is only when they arrive at the 5-star resort that they learn there’s a problem: somehow they’ve ended up booked into the same room.

With no other option but to share their suite, could Maya and Alex learn that opposites really do attract?

Order your copy online here.

About the author

Born in Calcutta, Mimi Deb has also lived in Singapore, Mumbai and now London. The one constant, in every place, was her love for books, both reading and writing. Mimi worked as a journalist before producing TV dramas and, later, feature films. In 2021, Mimi won the Avon-Mushens Commercial Fiction Prize for her debut novel Love on the Menu.
The Accidental Holiday is Mimi’s second novel.

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