Missed Flight Chronicles

I pride myself on being a pretty organised and efficient person. Some people will disagree with me, but they’re haters and you should ignore them.

Fine, I’m pretty organised about 70% of the time. MS Excel is bae, and I think it’s perfectly normal to have different folders in the Notes app on my phone for different aspects of my life. Some of the folders I have on my phone include: 

  • Showers: I’ve planned quite a few bridal/baby showers and at this point it just makes sense to have programme templates, budgets and to do lists in one place.
  • Spiritual: Notes I take in church, during my personal study or while listening to a message. More of an archive though as I’ve started using my journal to do this.
  • Planning: In this folder I have my daily to do list (on really busy days I tend to plan my day down to the hour). Future plans, talking points for meetings I’m attending or conversations I want to have and other random items I research.
  • Trips. In this one I have packing lists. One for international trips, another for domestic. I’ll store things like vaccination details here, screenshots of my flight details, my itineraries etc
  • Blog: This is the most recent addition. Ideas for posts, post drafts that sort of stuff. I'm really proud of it *pats self on back*

And so on.

The other 30% of the time, I either plan and completely ignore the plan or I don’t plan at all and act like a vagrant. This is when I do things like get out of bed at 850am and convince myself that I’m going to shower and somehow leave my house not looking like a hobo at 9am, and be at work by 930am. It never happens. Anyway I digress. My point is, on the average day I’m very organised! So you might understand why missing flights (or trains, buses, okadas, tuk tuks or whatever else) grinds my gears.

I have to tell you though, there is one missed flight in particular, that blows all the others out of the water. I made reference to it in this Instagram post a while ago.

 Shameless plug: You should totally follow me on Instagram (@femiluwa). You might find me interesting.

Shameless plug: You should totally follow me on Instagram (@femiluwa). You might find me interesting.

Let me give you the complete story.

 My face when I think about nice English breakfasts.  (Mexico, Feb 2018)

My face when I think about nice English breakfasts.
(Mexico, Feb 2018)

I lived in Montreal, Canada when this happened. I don’t remember what I was visiting London for, but I remember I was spending my last night at a friend's and had to be at Heathrow pretty early the next morning. She was worried taking the tube would be too hectic so early in the morning and so she kindly booked me a cab and even paid for it as a treat. That night I got all my stuff organised and enjoyed the peaceful slumber of one who doesn’t have to spend £60 on a cab to Heathrow the next day. My alarm went off at about 6am, I showered, got ready, cab came on time, I said my good byes and off I went.

Everything was perfect. Roads were clear, airport lines were sensible, getting through security was a breeze. I took a leisurely walk through duty free and sampled all sorts of things. At some point I got tired of looking at nice things that I had no plans to buy and decided to walk to my gate. Empty. I looked across from the gate, saw a restaurant, and figured I could go treat myself to a nice English breakfast since I had about 1.5hrs to kill before the flight.

 

I sat down, ordered my meal and enjoyed every last bit of it. I took my time to catch up on news and do some reading, and then 30mins before my flight I walked to the gate. It was still empty. “Hmm, that’s odd” - I thought to myself. “Maybe the flight is delayed.” There happened to be an airline attendant there so I asked her what was going on, and she gave me the news. “The flight is closed.” Closed ke? I’m not understanding. We still have 30mins, girl quit playing.
So in my most diplomatic tone of voice I said to her “Oh I’m already checked in. Luggage already checked in too. I still see the plane - can’t you please just open the door and let me run in quickly?” I even smiled politely.  She responded -  “We announced your name multiple times to no avail. Your luggage has been deplaned.”

 This is EXACTLY how I felt when I heard my luggage was deplaned.

This is EXACTLY how I felt when I heard my luggage was deplaned.

Deplaned?!?! I was in shock. I went from pleading, to anger (you can’t do this! I have to be on this flight), back to pleading (please I have to be at work tomorrow, I promise this will never happen again) until the flight attendant left me alone at the gate.

So I had to walk back. Past the restaurant with my breakfast, past duty free, back through security. Imagine how stupid I felt when I had to explain to the security official that I missed my flight because I was eating breakfast. Breakfast! Bacon and baked beans!All sorts of thoughts were running through my mind “Femi, see yourself. Missed flight on top of food. The sausage was even burnt sef. I know those people didn’t announce my name. They probably saw my long name and got discouraged. Kai, my enemies o!”

I went back to the airline counter and picked up my luggage. I kid you not, it was the most demoralising thing ever. Now it was time to talk options. I was given two:

  • Catch the airline's next flight to Montreal 2 days later (it was an American airline so they didn’t have daily flights to Montreal). As I actually had to be at work the next day to chair a meeting, this wasn’t going to work for me.
  • For a "low" fee of $300 I could catch a partnering airline's flight leaving out of a different terminal in about an hour and a half. 

The second option was the lesser of the two evils given my situation, so the race began! I took my luggage and ran as fast as I could to catch the train to the other terminal. I got there, found the counter and frantically explained to the lady that I really needed to get a seat on this flight.

Long and short, it was too late for me to get on that one as well. I eventually had to buy a brand new ticket, fly to New York, spend the night there and catch the first flight out to Montreal so I could be at work.

The moral of the story is, it's not enough to be at the airport a couple of hours before your flight. Plan to be at your gate early, because some airlines will leave you and your luggage even when you're already checked in! And they won't feel bad about it either, no one told me sorry.

Oh, except you're flying on your own private jet. If you are, feel free to take your sweet time and waltz through the airport looking like this. 

 Post lunch, pre Chichen Itza tour  (Mexico, Feb 2018)

Post lunch, pre Chichen Itza tour
(Mexico, Feb 2018)

So that’s my story. Do you have (or know of) any funny missed flight stories? Please share so we can laugh with/at you.

Thank you for reading! 

Fun and Sun,

Femi