Honey, I Missed My Flight!
Ms Francis you are correct. There is still thirty minutes to departure but you will not make it to the gate in time’
I can sprint to the gate. Desperation about me.
Ma’am the gate is thirty five minutes away.
Thirty five minutes away? Where is this gate? Hammersmith?
Angela (lets call her Angela) the British Airways passenger service agent does her best to restrain a smile.
Angela, I am Usain Bolt’s sister from another island and today, I am especially wearing my most comfortable pair of Geox trainers plus, I have no luggage to check. I can get to the gate in twenty minutes. Please check me in.
I will admit to begging. But it was clear that nothing had a flapping effect on Angela.
Emirates would have held the flight for me!
Well not quite but it felt like they did having previously checked me in twenty minutes to departure. Suddenly, I realised the error of my ways. SCHEISSE!
The frustration about me tempted that statement. Never do that. Always stay polite.
There is no way Angela will be checking me in now. She gave me the look. The one that said ‘I have had a long day and I would really like to get home to that left over lamb jalfrezi and a glass of wine.’
I fully turned on the Oscar award winning tears. And when those didn't worked, the genuine tears.
I can book you on the midday flight tomorrow for an additional charge should you so wish. Was Angela’s very next statement.
It sunk in. All my best laid plans - The Dubai Lovin cruise and all else - scuppered.
Uncertain of which I was most disheartened with (Angela for not allowing me the chance to prove my sprinting heroics; myself for not making the flight or the phone call I now need to make) I cried into my phone.
Habibi, I missed my flight.
At least, I had made it to the airport here. There were another two trips - one to Luxembourg where fire on the rails thwarted the journey and another to Switzerland for my birthday where I was too ill, even to get out of bed.
Actually, there was another, but I will leave that there. LOL!
Ms Francis please come with me.
Says Halima, Emirates passenger service agent at the check-in desk.
I am not liking this and my stomach churns the same way it did many Christmases ago when my adventurous self decided to try the soured milk my Finnish friends had just bought in the supermarket. Yes in Finland soured milk is an option. Already felt something was amiss when the online check in failed.
The flight is full (she continued say) and there's a possibility we may need to deny you boarding.
Sorry. Say that again?
Her perfectly good English suddenly incomprehensible to my very English ears. She repeated herself, my ears typing the words across my brain as she spoke.
As in you're bumping me off the flight?
Halima, please upgrade me to the flight deck if you must. I really need to be back at work tomorrow morning. Plus my other half is a pilot.
Halima chuckled, escorted my daughter and I to a seating area. There I discovered from a family of four that they too have been bumped off the said flight with what seems like another A380 aircraft load of passengers. It turns out our flight and another, was some ten to twenty percent overbooked according to the chatter. (And yes airlines do overbook their seats especially in peak season.) The said family of four had had a previous experience with another airline on their way to another holiday in the USA. They continue to tell us, the said airline offered them compensation and got them on the next flight out. Only today, they were at the end of their holiday.
Halima returned but only for the family of four and left again. My gut wrenched. Sometime later, I see her walking back to us.
Ms Francis. She wavered.
This ain't sounding good. That little voice in my head.
Ms Francis. She starts again. Would you be willing to travel on the first flight tomorrow morning back to London?
Do I have a choice?
No. Not quite but for the inconvenience we will accommodate you in a hotel for the remainder of your stay here; book you onto the next flight without any further inconvenience to yourself and offer you return complimentary tickets to Dubai. What do you say?
Halima, I really need to get back to work tomorrow. Plus I do not wish to spend another minute in Dubai. Said no one ever.
Well, if you're certain I cannot be upgraded to the flight deck, I accept being bumped off the flight and agree to travel on the flight tomorrow morning!
I could not believe my ears. Shukran Emirates!
Have you ever had your flight re-routed? Once had a flight from Abu Dhabi to London go so horribly wrong. What should have been non-stop Abu Dhabi to London, became Abu Dhabi to Doha to Istanbul to London. It felt as if we were circumnavigating the Middle East. We got home nearly twenty four hours later. Do you know where else I could have got to in that time? London to Papeete!
Fifth in the queue to the check in desk and I am rifling through my red hand bag. I don't remember picking it up but I must have.
Surely I did. I simply continued, going through every item in the bag, one by one as the queue got longer and longer. Desperate measures were calling and now my daughter was holding the entire contents of the hand bag in the busiest queue at St Pancras international for the first train of the day.
Seriously where were all these passengers off to at this time of the morning? Meticulously, I continued, scrutinised every item before returning it into the bag. A lipstick remains a lipstick, no chance of hiding passports in that. A scarf is held out for the third time to ensure it hides nothing. And then suddenly …
Bonjour madame, Welcome to Eurostar. May I have your passport please!
Ahh Oui, un instant s’il vous plaît. I replied without looking up.
Wait, do I need a passport to travel on a train?
Not just any train, Madame. Eurostar from London to Paris.
Learn from my mistakes. Ty not to get caught short in some of the instances that I did. But if you have, feel free to share your travel woes in the comments below. The not so good that lead to something great. Lets laugh or wallow in our past travel woes. Why not eh?