Amazing Race's Abbie and Ryan: Flight Connection Drama Was "Bizarre"
Abbie and Ryan
Abbie and Ryan probably won't be traveling through Frankfurt any time soon — or its airport at least. Two weeks after missing a connecting flight there on The Amazing Race, double bad luck struck again when a ticket agent refused to allow the two to board their connecting flight and their backup connection had mechanical trouble. To top it off, the Chippendales, Jaymes and James, U-Turned them as part of a pact with Natalie and Nadiya, and Trey and Lexi. "We were dead men walking," Ryan tells TVGuide.com. "There was no way we were going to be safe unless it was a non-elimination." See what else the couple, who were the first team ever racing for $2 million, has to say about their "rough" couple of legs, working with Josh and Brent, and if they're really mad at the Chippendales.
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What was it like watching the episode?
Abbie: We were both pretty at peace. There were moments of where I got teary-eyed again, not because we were upset about going out, but it brought back a lot of emotions.
Ryan: Watching the show last night, I teared up for Abbie. And I already knew what happened. I was such a big baby doing the organ grinding with my head down, but Abbie was dancing in the streets of Amsterdam. It was incredible to see her shake off the frustration and do it. Because I couldn't do it. I was wearing my poopy pants that day. [Laughs] It was one of the many, many instances of watching Abbie throughout the Race that shocked me ... watching her do something I couldn't do.
What happened with the first connection? Why wouldn't she check you in if you weren't checked in? Was there a check-in time you missed?
Ryan: We have no idea. It was bizarre. Even today, I was reaching out to people that may know in the airline industry, like, "How did that happen? The plane and the gate attendant are still there. How did we not get on?" We had tickets. Maybe I should've said, "I don't understand the check-in procedure." But up until that point, whenever we bought our own flights, we always bought them at the originating airport and we were always able to board as long as we had tickets in hand. We never had a check-in problem. And we never got a good explanation as to this whole check-in procedure.
Abbie: It was baffling. We were half an hour early. The plane was sitting there on the tarmac, still connected to that [walkway]. We left since we booked a backup flight and we didn't have a problem getting on that one. And then it was the bad luck of the second plane breaking down. It was one of those planes where you have to board the bus to get on, so it was an extra 20 minutes. It was insanity.
You guys had a chance to catch up to the first three teams had you made that first connection.
Abbie: Yes! We had no idea at the time, but to watch and see that had we been on that first flight, we would've landed before Trey and Lexi — I was like, oh my God! We didn't see anybody at the airport that morning.
Ryan: We actually watched them open their clue the night before. It was horrific. [Laughs] It was, like, 10 o'clock at night and we had another, like, seven hours before we could leave. It was crazy. We had to go to sleep knowing that teams had already left hours before. We assumed that they might've flown out that night. ... It turns out they didn't fly until the next morning. ... People say to us, "You got so unlucky with the flights." I say, "It is as much part of the Race as the tasks themselves." Yeah, it's annoying, but I'm not going to get completely hung up on the flight situation because that's just part of the Race. I love that teams have to make their own flights and they're not forced on the one or two flights production chooses for us. I love that something like that can cost people the Race. To me, the show is about world-traveling.
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I think a lot of people were surprised at how closely you worked with the Beekmans this leg and the first Moscow leg, especially when you waited for them at the swimming task. Do you think that had any domino effect on your standing this leg?
Abbie: No, I think it would've only been a few minutes if we had left the swimming task without them. We had decided to run the leg with them. What was important to us was sticking to our word. Had we stepped out before they were done swimming, they probably would've caught up to us at the locks Roadblock because I had trouble and we would've been in a similar situation. It's not like it cost us hours. And I think people forget that the Beekmans had a four-hour penalty too, so we arrived together that leg, but we were four hours ahead of them the next leg. We really went to the airport this leg in the best standing that we could have under the circumstances.
You did bleed time in the time zone Roadblock last week, which was hilarious.
Ryan: [Laughs] Oh, God! That was incredibly stupid on my part. I couldn't believe it took me that long to figure it out!
You were under the correct assumption that you would be U-Turned and you would then U-Turn the Beekmans. Did you discuss this with them?
Ryan: Yeah. When we got stuck in Frankfurt the first time with the Beekmans, we strategized a couple legs ahead of that Double U-Turn. What we cared about was one of us two teams had to go on and win the Race. We hoped that if it was us that were U-Turned— we thought it would be the girls or Trey and Lexi doing it — and got out, then the Beekmans will go on and win. We literally spent the whole night talking about how to make this work and how to slingshot one of the two teams back up to the front because at that point we were seven or eight hours behind. We really connected with these guys on a much deeper level and hopefully it will go beyond The Amazing Race. Look, $2 million is a lot of money. We're not ever going to deny we wanted to win that. But if we want to look at the silver lining, apart from the time we spent together and seeing the world, we made some very, very, very great and deep friendships.
Did you know that they wanted to wait for you to do the other Detour?
Ryan: No. Well, we knew it was hard for them, but we didn't expect them to wait for us. People say, "Are you mad? You guys waited for them during swimming." We're not upset at all. This show — there are some things that are gimmicky with the editing, but they blew me away with how accurate they tell the story. They showed it exactly how I remembered it. It was Brent and Josh not wanting to leave us and feeling bad. What we didn't know was them delaying moving on to the Roadblock and hoping we would catch them.
Abbie: What would've happened then is we would've jumped on the mat at the same time again.
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How would they eliminate a team in that case?
Ryan: We looked it up and the rule said that the team that finished higher the previous leg would win.
You would've stayed then. So you would've definitely U-Turned them had the second one been available?
Ryan: Yeah. As you saw on the show, they wanted us to U-Turn them so we could do the second Detour together. I had said on the show — and they even said it — that they had sort of resigned themselves, like, "We've gone as far as we can go." I said, "Guys, that's not what we talked about. It's not OK to say this is good enough." We really wanted to empower them to continue and have belief. My hope is they got a real fire in their belly as Brent said on their ride to the Roadblock. I hope that we can take pleasure in their ongoing success if they maintain it.
Were you really that mad at the Chippendales or was it an "in the moment" thing?
Abbie: No. Initially, we were just shocked that it was them. What they didn't show was the alliance that we had formed with them from the beginning at LAX. Aside from Daniel and Amy, they were one of the first teams we befriended. We were helping each other out the whole Race and of course they don't have time to show all of that. That's why we were a little shocked it was them. But are we mad at them? No. It's a game. The U-Turn is part of the game. We don't fault them for making that decision. We're all competitors and we understand that trying to take out a strong team is part of the game. Of course, it stung right at the beginning when emotions are running high and you haven't slept or eaten, and you're trying your damndest to overcome all these obstacles in your own. I think we were both in disbelief as to who it was, but not in disbelief as to being U-Turned.
What do you think of their plan with the Double U-Turn? No one's really strategized like that before.
Ryan: That's a great idea. You got rid of a strong team and made a double U-Turn a single U-Turn. Well done. Just be prepared for the consequences. They're letting the Beekmans back in the game and they're thinking they're the weakest, but those guys have a legitimate shot to win. They come off as easy-to-beat and they're not dominating each leg, but there's a lot more to them.
What are you up to now?
Abbie: We're sitting in our pajamas and drinking coffee!
Ryan: I have a cabin in Lake Tahoe and we just got back from a week there. We were unplugged. We brought our black Labs and did the nature thing.
Abbie: Back to work today. I will have about 800 students who are going to ask me all sorts of questions at the dance studio. Mondays have been a ritual of recapping Sunday episodes, but this one, I'm kind of dreading and excited about.