If you’ve ever missed a flight then you’ll relate to these key moments of the experience…
The penny drops. Maybe your friend has called frantically wondering where you are, or you glance up at the timetable screen after treating yourself to a coffee and chocolate in Butler’s – whatever the scenario, you know that this is not good.
The frantic sweating as you wait in the queue/ run to the gate
Time is of the essence at this point, so the pressure is on. But you’re not quite sure whether it’s acceptable to skip the queue, or whether it’s really time to run. So instead you move from foot to foot, feeling anxious and looking at the board.
The blind hope
Here you evoke the speed of Sonia O’Sullivan and/or the brashness of Donald Trump in an attempt to get yourself on that plane. You can do this. Think positively. There’s no way you’re going to miss your flight. You are the little train that could.
The attempts to convince the staff that they’re the ones in the wrong
It doesn’t matter if you slept through your alarm, or somehow waited for two hours at the wrong gate, this is the part where you flip the blame onto whatever poor staff member in front of you. Common phrases include “this is a disgrace”, “it seems as if you just don’t want to help me”, and “look, if you let me on the flight then I won’t report you for your lack of professionalism here – kapeesh?”.
The disbelief that this is actually happening
No, you can’t just squish into the storage cabin, and no, the plane and it’s 200 passengers will not come back for you because you got caught up in the “self-improvement” section of W.H.Smith for longer than you realised. And still, you persevere with your pleas.
Coming to terms with the reality
Wow, this is actually happening, and as the reality of the situation sinks in, you start to wail and beat your chest like someone out of a Mexican novella.
The anger that this is actually happening
The injustice! The outrage! Wiping your tears away, you make it clear that from here on out anyone who crosses your path is met with fire and fury like the world has never seen (your suitcase later gets the brunt of this fury at each stairway you pass upon making your way back out of the airport).
The saddest sight in the world
Your luggage. Trailing around an otherwise empty baggage carousel (it was removed from the plane after three exasperated call-outs of your name over the airport intercom were left unacknowledged. Curse those free perfume samples! Curse the duty-free and their alluring array of goods!).
Having to inform the relevant people what has happened
This bit feels like throwing apple cider vinegar one a fresh wound. The sting of having to repeat the story over and over again in an effort to convince whoever was expecting your arrival that “no, this is not a joke, I did really miss my flight”; unpleasant at best, and gut-wrenching at worst.
Making/ cancelling accommodation arrangements
Bring on the onslaught of tedious life-admin.
And finally, that long, sad, crushing walk back out of the airport
Plod, plod, plod.
Let this be a warning for all globetrotters out there; take heed of your flight details, come with time to spare, and do not – under any circumstances – allow yourself to get sidetracked by free perfume testers or the self-improvement section of the airport bookshop.