Being slightly OCD it is only natural that I value punctuality. After all, this is what separates us from animals. Well, punctuality and the ability to fly through the air at 30 000 feet at a speed of 600 mph that is. And the fact that we can blow shit up. So imagine my surprise when I actually managed to miss my flight yesterday even though I was at the airport four hours ahead of time. Now you may ask yourself “How the hell did he manage to do that?” And the answer would be rather complicated so let me explain.
Yesterday I had to fly from Cape Town back to Johannesburg. I was in Cape Town for work and by yesterday morning I had finished what I needed to do there and decided to go to the airport early. I had some work to do on my laptop and decided that I might as well do it at one of the airport lounges and the fact that they had free Wi-Fi would also help.
So I arrived at the airport four hours before my flight and checked in. The lady at the check in counter looked at me funny and we had a slight altercation about my luggage. This is totally normal as there is always some kind of issue: If I don’t set off the metal detector then I forget that I have a knife in my hand luggage; if that doesn’t happen then my luggage is classified obese or looks suspicious for drugs. I am used to being harassed at airports. I have now come to expect it.
As I was busy working minding my own business about an hour before my flight, I heard an announcement. Apparently my flight was delayed and was now to board at Gate C12. I was a bit annoyed as I was looking forward to arriving in Johannesburg at 4pm and now I was going to be thirty minutes late. About half an hour before my flight was due to depart I packed up my stuff and proceeded to Gate C12.
There was nobody there so I assumed the flight was delayed even further. As my flight’s departure time neared and eventually passed I got suspicious. I thought “What the fuck is going on? Has it been delayed again? But if they were boarding surely they would have been calling my name?” Nobody called my name. Not even once. As I proceeded to go to the viewing deck I was also surprised that my plane was no longer on its spot on the tarmac. It was gone. Could it be that they left without me?
I promptly went to information and was told that my flight had indeed left. Without me! Now I had to go and get my ticket transferred to the next available flight. I could feel a panic attack looming but decided to just stay calm, compose myself and that it was not the end of the world. I have never missed a flight in my life and was mortified that my once clean record had now been stained, especially since I had been at the airport for four hours now.
As I proceeded to the flight controller counter I immediately thought about my luggage. Where was it? Was it on the plane? Has it been molested? Will I ever see it again? If it is broken into will that person judge me?
As I got to the front of the counter I told the lady about my predicament. She got on the phone, bashed away on her keyboard and then looked at me with concern. “It seems that there is a problem. According to my computer you boarded the flight, so why are you standing here?” she said while giving herself unsightly frown lines. “Well, I don’t know. I am not on that flight” I replied sarcastically.
Apparently there was another passenger booked on the same flight who had the same name and surname as mine and they checked off the wrong person. As if this was not bad enough there was a problem with our luggage as well.
I was told that they kept my luggage onboard the plane and had bumped his luggage off. So my luggage would arrive in Johannesburg two hours before me and his two hours after him. “Well isn’t this just great. You know this is how planes blow up, don’t you?! Aren’t you supposed to match passengers to their luggage?! Just wait until the terrorists discover this loophole. It will be 9/11 all over again” I screamed. Softly. As I didn’t want to get arrested and I really wanted to make my next flight.
Eventually I made it onto the next flight, dripping with sweat and smelling like a funky monkey. Seeing as I was a last minute addition to the flight I was banished to the very back of the plane where all the degenerates who have punctuality issues are seated. And to make matters worse I had the middle seat.
As I sat down the person to my left was some kind of far right Afrikaner bearded man in kaki clothes and to my right was a nice Indian lady. I apologized to the lady about my odor and told her I just had a very rough day. I did not apologize to the kaki bearded man. All three of us were reading. I was reading Chelsea Handler’s Uganda Be Kidding Me, the lady was reading 50 Shades of Gray and the kaki bearded man was reading some book on Siener van Rensburg (a right wing profit). This made me rather paranoid.
The flight was rather uneventful as we did not crash or go missing. Our pilot was a rugged, tall and a ridiculously good looking man. The only problem was that he was finger fucking his iPhone before and after the flight. Possibly also during the flight as it is apparently not necessary to tell people to fasten their seatbelts when there is severe turbulence, which we had! But I forgave him because he was gorgeous.
After arriving in Johannesburg I immediately went to the baggage claims counter. Also there was a young woman who lost her glasses. They are still missing. There was also a woman who just flew in from Washington DC on a Delta Air flight who lost her blood pressure medication on the plane. Her description of what she kept them in was rather vague and she may have suffered a stroke since. We should all really pray for her as she seemed really distressed.
Eventually, I was reunited with my luggage and it is a miracle that nothing was missing from it. Well, actually the only things they could steal from it were dirty laundry, my toiletries and prescription medication that would not even make them high.
I arrived home last night just after 7pm; meaning that I was technically in transit for six hours instead of three. This was the first flight I have ever missed and it was not even my own fault. How was I supposed to know that there were two Gate C12’s and that some other person on the same flight shared my name?
I am however impressed with myself for not having had a panic attack, breaking down falling on the ground crying like an emotionally disturbed child and for keeping my shit together. Sometimes you just need to relax and say fuck it. This is what I did and it really helped. I however still hate airports.
Till next time.