Here follows a description of the most frustrating experience I’ve ever had as a consequence of not being on time. I can be sure that I don’t want to repeat this ever again.
I was rushing to catch a flight to PA yesterday afternoon, and waiting for my friend to show up at my place so we could get to the airport together. We had both agreed upon a time to meet. Shame on me because I was a few minutes late. What did us in, though, was that she was over twenty minutes late. I hurried her along as we caught a cab to the airport. Along the way, we were delayed by a motorcade of seven to eight tour buses full of a convention of apparently important people. We arrived one minute after check-in closed, and I flipped out because I had intentionally booked the last flight of the day to our destination. The ticketing agent finally managed to get us on a roundabout itinerary, with a switch to a different airline, in order to get us home. We were lucky to even get a flight home on the same day at all.
Meanwhile, I was stressing out because my luggage was fifteen pounds overweight, as I had brought home all my textbooks, and was frantically rearranging and repacking to get the suitcase under fifty pounds. I had anticipated this happening and wanted to get to the airport early in order to fix it, but that didn’t work out. In the process, I temporarily misplaced my boarding pass, then my ID card, in a flurry of agitation and distraction.
Lugging a huge carryon with my textbooks inside and multiple bags through security, I reached the gate and was asked to consolidate my bags (more hassle) and found that there was no more overhead space in the plane. I had to check my carryon into the cargo of the plane, and the flight attendants were confused by the roundabout itinerary. I feared they would end up losing my carryon. My seat was between two grumpy businesspeople late for their meetings, and when the pilot announced there would be delays because of the weather, they became even more disgruntled. My friend was seated a few rows back, similarly unhappy with her seat assignment. Luckily it was a short flight.
Lost and confused at the stopover airport, we had to catch a bus to a different terminal because we were switching to a different airline. The first bus drove by without stopping, but we caught the second one. My friend and I barely made it to the gate in time, and I was overwhelmed with the bags I had to carry. She ran off to buy a magazine last-minute, and we were the last ones to board – only to see that most of the seats were full of elementary school children on a field trip, and that we were seated across the aisle from each other (an improvement from the previous flight) directly in front of the lavatory, in the last row flush against the wall. I had planned to sleep on this long haul, but there was no chance of that happening with kids constantly in line for the bathroom, chatting and laughing incessantly and bumping up against the back of my seat. I usually enjoy being around the younger set, but not at that moment. Even the anti-anxiety/sleeping medication I took had little effect on me, and I was exhausted, frustrated, cranky, and depressed and crying (due to emotional wounds that were reopened during my stay). Leg room was minimal and my seat wouldn’t fully recline, and the space between our row of seats and the one in front of us was very narrow. In addition, the girl in front of me had reclined her seat all the way back. This made it extremely difficult for the heavy woman sitting in the window seat to squeeze past in order to use the restroom, and I was disturbed multiple times in my half-sleep. Finally we touched down at my home airport, much later than what we had told the people who were picking us up. We waited and waited and waited at the baggage claim as all the suitcases rolled out, and discovered that my fears had been confirmed – the unconventional route back home led to the airlines losing our bags in transit. Fortunately, they were located and they’ll eventually be delivered to our homes.
If only we had been one minute earlier.