TAMPA, Fla. — A trip home from Russia turned into a travel nightmare for a Tampa couple, but after figuring out the logistics, they finally made it back home.
“Glad to be back home,” said Jonathan Bush. “[I] had an amazing time except for that last week.”
Bush and his Russian-born wife were enjoying a visit to Russia for two months. Their trip got cut short as Russia invaded Ukraine.
On their initial flight headed from Moscow to New York, the unexpected happened.
“Mid-air, they announced that basically the Russian airlines are cut off from flying anywhere. They — literally in the middle of Greenland over the Atlantic Ocean — turned our plane around,” said Bush. “That’s when people started panicking. My wife had a panic attack. I got a little scared. I’m not really scared of anything, but I got almost feared for my life to be honest with you.”
ABC Action News is not mentioning Bush’s wife’s name or showing her picture because she fears repercussions from the Russian government.
The Tampa couple found themselves stuck in Moscow while trying to figure out another route back to the United States, settling on flying through the Middle East, but they ran into more problems.
“My card’s declining. It’s not even working. Then, even her Russian cards aren’t working, and we couldn’t book, and I was like, wow, so we’re just stuck here just like for months, but after like six tries, the Russian card finally worked, and they jacked those prices up. It was like $6,000 one way just to get back home,” said Bush.
After flying from Moscow to Qatar to New York, they touched down in the U.S.
Bush said he’s glad to be home, and through it all, he said he’s learned a lot too.
“So many lessons, honestly. I have a saying, ‘I don’t take L’s. I take lessons,’ so I’ve never been so proud to be American. The freedoms we have here. That’s my new message to people. We have a lot of freedoms and privileges here that we take for granted,” said Bush. “We think everywhere is like America, but it’s not. It’s really not, and you’ve got to be grateful for what you have and the things you’ve been granted in your life because everyone doesn’t have that.”