If you ever wondered, what it feels like missing a plane? Here's the story:
02.02.2012 - 02.02.2012
Today I missed my flight from Melbourne to Costa Rica. What a misery. Actually I planned my day to be really relaxed. Getting up very early, having a nice kick-start breakky and having my luggage packed already the day before, so nothing could possibly ever come in between. You reckon? Well, as you know about the end of the story already, let me go back to the beginning:
11:15 (1h 40min left till lift up)
Coincidentally I checked my flight schedules as I wanted it to be a VERY relaxed day. But I realized that I confused the departure time with my arrival time. I was actually meant to arrive at 15:05 and depart at 12:55. But I thought I depart at 15:05. I thought I'll have a really relaxed day, meeting with John, handing over my guitar, because he offered me to keep it while I'm in Central America. Once again: John you are legend!
11:20 (1h 35min left till lift up)
However, as I eventually found out that I confused the departure time, it started to get really hectic. I took my bags, left all food behind, which I had prepared for the waiting period at the airport. I took my guitar which I wanted to hand over to John, but as now there was no time left, I cancelled the meeting with him rushed to the train station, which took me to Southern Cross station from where the Skybus departed to the airport.
(1h 20min left till lift up)
Of course I boarded the train without a ticket because I was in a hurry. Then one station before I arrived to Southern Cross station two collar-shirted men boarded the train.They assembled themselves in the middle of the train. It was totally clear that those were train officers checking if everybody had purchased a proper ticket. They just waited a moment. Stood still. The doors remained open and I knew, that moment when the doors closed they would start their checking and I would be fucked up. History has it, that everything happened exactly like that. Apart from one thing: That moment when the doors closed John called me again to hear about my story and luckily the officers passed by me during the phone call without bothering me on the phone. Also I was talking extra loudly to John about my misery and that I just jumped on the train in a hurry rushing to the airport. I don't know if they just didn't wanna bother me on the phone or whatsoever. At least by the time I arrived at Southern Cross station they had already reached another carrier.
(1h 10min left till lift up)
Once again I jumped out of the train (imagine that picture: there's a ticket control and a guy jumps out of the train, would he be escaping the patrol or was he just in a hurry?). Anyway my next obstacle was the ticket control machine at the exit of the train station. When I boarded the train there was no such thing as a control-machine, but on the exit there was. So I didn't have time to explain myself to the train company employees. On my way to the exit I already made plans how to escape them: Just jumping over the machine in pretty much a "Jump'n'Run" Parkour-style game?
Or just squeez myself after someone who had already put his ticket into the machine and sneak through? (Which would have been quite a challenge having that big backpack on my back and the small one on my breast AND a guitar in the hand)
Luckily frequently there is at least one gate open with another control post. So I just ran through that open gate without taking notice of anybody. Obviously nobody seemed to be concerned about me. Now visualize that picture once more: A guy with a silly hat, a massive backpack on the back, another one in front of his belly and a guitar in his hand, obviously being in a rush. Seems that the patrol post couldn't be less bothered.
(1h 5min left till lift up)
Sweat. Finally I arrived at the Skybus station which took me to the airport. The last bus just left while I bought my ticket (19$) but the next left just 10 minutes later.
(55min left till lift up)
After talking to that woman who was working at the Skybus ticket office, if she knew any opportunity to let the airline know that I'm on my way, telling her about my misery, calling the airline which had no contact to the check-in counter at the airport, I was on my way. The bus would need 20 – 30 minutes. Could I make it?
(35min left till lift up)
The clock in the bus says it's 12:35 but my clock shows 12:20. I trust in my clock rather than in that one on the bus (did you realize by the way, that clocks on buses NEVER show the right time?). And in this case 15 min. do matter a lot!
(25min left till lift up)
I arrived at the check-in but everything is closed. Of course, they close the Check-in an hour before departure. So there I am. With all my luggage, right in time and still to late. So if you ever again watch people on the telly, arriving half an hour before their departure and boarding the plane last minute: That's Hollywood. Reality ain't like that. So employees I ask send me to the airline's office, which is down a very long hallway. I never felt like being on a walk of shame, this time I did. Just office guys around wearing nice suits and me. A guy with two big backpacks which could cover the sun and leave a big shadow (of course there was no sun in this office hallway), carrying a guitar and wearing clothes like I just left the beach, thongs (for the British amongst you, no that's no g-string, it's what they call Flip Flops or Havaianas in Down Under), shorts, a shirt and of course the silly hat.
(15min left till lift up)
I have a new ticket valid for the next day. Actually the schedule is even better than my former one. The long 24 hour stopover in Houston now swapped to a 2 hours stopover. I didn't even have to pay a new flight as “I showed up and tried to check-in”, like the United Airlines employee of the month (at least to me she is) stated to me. And also I don't have to pay for my guitar, which would also cost me some extra 70$.
As an experienced traveler you probably know, that running that late you would never make it in time to the check-in. But if in the end you wonder why I tried getting the plane I have couple of thousand reasons:
- new flight costs: approx. 2000$
- guitar postage: 70$
- long stopover swapped to a short one: invaluable