Hi there boys and girls, or should I also add in men and women?? (But if you-my friends want to be forever young, then the 1st set of classification is more than apt)
Anywho, I’ve come out of my 9 months writing sabbatical, to pen this post under the influence of… adrenaline 😁.
I’ve been wanting to write this post for a while now and today presents a good opportunity because I’ve just barely made it on my flight to Durban from Johannesburg. I’ve got a confession to make- I am not a morning person. Yes, I wake up in the morning, I go through the motions, but I am not fully functional until I’ve had my cup of lemon, chamomile or sweet Ginger herbal tea to start my day right and take on the world’s toughest challenges. But, I digress…
To part of my story for the day- today, very early morning, I had to catch a 45 minutes flight to Durban from Johannesburg. The admirable ‘night-before’ behaviour would have been for me to go to bed early enough so I’m alert early this morning. Alas! That was not to be, and so here I was at 5.40am, frantically dashing towards my Uber ride in 4°c weather to get to the domestic wing of O.R. Tambo airport for a flight, scheduled to take off at 6.15am.
Thankfully, today isn’t the day that I am going to miss my flight; largely due to the magic of online check-in. I tell you online check-in is the starting point for succeeding in a full or part time career in globe trotting… Hehehe. The only time you shouldn’t check in online is if that service isn’t provided by your traveling airline.
Appaz there are situations where online or offline check have no hand in ‘helping’ you miss your flight. It’s just other funny, inexplicable, unreasonable things that happen to you at airports. One such experience remains clear in my mind and is the fuel that drives me to ensure I never miss a flight again.
It was Summer of 2014. I had checked in my bags for the flight and while at the airport ‘waiting’for my plane to start boarding, I actually missed it. I mean I was already in the airport building, and I missed an international flight. Let me start at the very beginning.
I had been in the UK for 2 weeks during summer holidays visiting family. Part of the visit involved going to see my aunt and cousins in Manchester. Ideally on the night before, I should have returned to London because my flight back to Nigeria next day was scheduled for 7.45am. This trip however wasn’t one of those ideal situations. So instead, I was in Manchester, a good 3 hours, 30 minutes journey from London. Bright and early on the day of my flight, I woke up to my alarm set for 4am, to make this trip with the brother who was driving me there. We were functioning on less than 4 hours of sleep from the previous night,thanks to long-ass gisting with my cousins. Interestingly and without too much drama, we got to the airport in time for me to check in my 2 bags and get my boarding pass. Where everything blurs is the time from when I received my boarding pass to the time I was supposed to get my small behind on to the actual plane. You guys know when you are handed your pass and there are numbers on it and you just flip through carelessly? There’s a price to be paid for that my friends. My boarding pass said my flight took-off at 7.45am, and I read it as boarding started at 7.45am. Thus, off my brother and I went to buy a coffee and spend a few more precious moments before I boarded. I sauntered to the check in line at 7.40am waving my final good byes. As I attempted to get through to the secure area and clear through airport security, my pass blinked red! ‘ahn ahn’, I thought. Again, I placed it against the slot, it flashed red! red! The shock when I found out I had scrambled the timings on my boarding pass and had to go over to the airline desk to clear things up.
I went through the 5 stages of grief in a record 5 minutes.
Denial: ‘Oh sweet baby Jesus, this cannot be happening!!’. Anger because, I just drove a freaking 3 and a half hours to make this flight. Bargaining with the airline staff, ‘Sir, there has to be a way I can get on that flight, I really do need to be in Lagos by nightfall for my grandma’s cat burial’. Depression because I had to be back in Nigeria for a work commitment the following day, and finally Acceptance, when I watched another lady sob uncontrollably in front of hundreds of strangers. She’d been stranded on London’s tube trying to locate her missing laptop. Her missing laptop was not found and now also her flight had been missed.
No matter how dire your situation, you go everly see person you beta pass. In fact the lady cried so hard, we had to join in to comfort her as well. Thereafter, the brother and I then proceeded to brainstorm ideas of things to kill time with, in a city where we didn’t know too many people, or the ones we knew were either on the other side of London or on their way to Church on the other side of London.
That Heathrow incident haunts me. It’s the voice in my head frantically telling me to be at the airport 2 hours before my flight take-off because you can never be too sure. It’s the extra Ginger I need to quickly go through Customs & Immigration sooner rather than later, so that worst case scenario, I can hear the airport announcer call out my name if there’s an attempt for me to miss my flight.
For this morning trip to Durban however, the gods are with me, and it is only a near miss. It’s my 1st time in Durban; I have now adopted a Zulu name and will be milling through Downtown Durban as Gugulethu. P.S- check out that gorgeous view.
Sawubona everyone, and it’s peace and Akara balls until next time.