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’
In a most authoritative tone, I declared ‘I can sprint to the gate.’
'Ma’am the gate is thirty five minutes away.'
Thirty five minutes away? Where is this gate in Timbuktu? 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 I am wearing my most comfortable pair of Geox trainers plus no luggage to check, I can get there in twenty minutes. Please check me in,' I beseeched.
It was clear the authoritative tone had no flapping effect on Angela.
And then out of nowhere exclaimed ‘Emirates Airlines would have held the flight for me!’ (Well not quite but it feels like they do having previously checked me in twenty minutes to departure.) Suddenly, I realised the error of my ways.
(There is no way Angela will be checking me in now.) Angela gave me a 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.’
It was therefore time to fully turn on my Oscar award winning tears. But not even that worked.
'I can have you booked onto the next flight at midday tomorrow for an additional charge should you so wish.' Was Angela’s very next statement. It was then it sunk in. My best laid plans for the day ahead (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.
‘Ms Francis please come with me’ says the passenger service agent at the Emirates check in desk.
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. 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.
‘Ms Francis, I am afraid the flight is full and we may need to deny you boarding. We will be able to confirm in another 10 minutes.’
‘Please, I really need to be back in London for work tomorrow morning, upgrade me to the flight deck if you must.’
Halima chuckles and escorts us 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 their 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 returns but for the family of four and who are now on their way back to London.
Halima returns once more and this time is walking directly to me.
‘Ms Francis’ then she wavers
KHARA this is not sounding good was my little conversation in my head.
‘Ms Francis’ she starts again ‘Would you be willing to travel on the next flight out in the morning back to London? For that we will accommodate you in a hotel for the remainder of your stay here should you need a hotel; book you onto the next flight without any further inconvenience to yourself and offer a return complimentary ticket to Dubai.' What do you say?
‘Halima, I really need to get back to work tomorrow plus the it is too hot here and I do not wish to spend another minute' said no one ever. Halima, if you are certain that I cannot be upgraded to the flight deck, I accept being denied boarding on this flight and agree to travel on the next flight tomorrow morning!
What is the longest flight delay you have had to endure? Once had a flight from Abu Dhabi to London go so horribly wrong, the journey home took us from 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.
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 gets shorter and shorter. Desperate measures were calling and so 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 to scrutinise every item before returning it into the bag. A lipstick remains a lipstick that does not change. A scarf is held out for the third time to ensure it is not hiding the said thing I am in search of. 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.
'Do I need a passport to travel to France?'