Our overweight luggage is checked-in and we pass security and wait with mixed feelings at the gate for our plane to Amsterdam. I quickly head off to the toilet, never to make the flight.
Sorry, I’m a lady
This is the first time in my life that I’ve missed a scheduled flight. When I walk back from the toilet – where, just for the record, I did not correct my make-up, but tinkled – I pass a desk as yet, unaware of any problem, until I see an ominous sign that says ‘one way only’. My instincts immediately tell me that something is wrong and, with a growing sense of trepidation, I walk up to an information desk.
Keep calm and don’t cry
A member of staff explains that I have unwittingly emerged back on the wrong side of check-in and she can’t let me go back in. I’m trying to stay calm, but this becomes increasingly difficult and, as the minutes tick away, I break down and cry. Unfortunately my tears trigger no emotion in the woman whatsoever. Even though I look cute, young and innocent – if I may say so myself – post 9/11 safety measures are, with good reason, taken very seriously.
Get your facts straight
With the above I mind, the best travel advice I can give you: make sure you know the full names of your travel companions. I can describe the faces, but only remember first names. This makes it very difficult to call them on the intercom. If you’re lucky, a member of staff will look for your bag in the screened area so make sure you know exactly how it looks. An anonymous grey Eastpak backpack did not do the trick for me.
Security won’t let me in
If you’re not carrying a driver’s license, a passport or other form of identification, you might just as well be the enemy. At least that’s how I felt when not allowed to pass security, as I don’t have a bag to scan or boarding card to show. It seems the procedures have the upper hand, no matter what I do. I suggest entering with a member of airport security staff, but that’s also a definite no-go.
Philadelphia here I come
Finally: Hallelujah! I’m saved. My travel buddies eventually hear the message on the intercom and walk up with my bag. Thankfully we are booked on another flight – without additional costs – and at last head to Philadelphia. Once reunited with the others, and after some good laughs, the mood changes quickly for the better. A new adventure awaits in Philly.
Travel tips to avoid missing your flight
• Always take your passport, boarding pass, phone or iPad with you. Even if you are just around the corner grabbing a coffee or snacks. You never know what might happen.
• Look where you’re going. If you see a sign with ‘one way’ be warned it probably really is ‘one way’! Stop and think and above all trust your instincts.
• You travel more relaxed, if you’re prepared to be rescheduled. If your flight plan changes you are supplied with toiletries, but this is just a small and limited supply. Always take overnight essentials, like medicine, deodorant, knickers, socks, a hair and toothbrush.
Have you ever missed a flight? Do you have tips to stay calm and cool?