Friday, August 31, 2012

check your flight times

So as I promised.. The London Flight story from 2004...

The Sunday before I left, I called my friend Anna Maija and told her that I was leaving Monday afternoon.  She had told me that she had written an e-mail and that I should check it when I got off the phone with her.  I had thought to myself, "Oh she is just being motherly, I will check it in the morning". 

So...  Monday morning I wake up early and put clothes washing and drying, and went back to bed.  I got up then at 8:30 am.  I thought to myself, "This is wonderful, I am on vacation, and I don't have to worry about hurrying up, I have until 3:20 this afternoon before my flight leaves".  I then start packing a small carry-on suitcase.  I got three outfits into it.  One a dress outfit in case we went to church on Sunday, and two other general outfits.  I then pack one extra pair of jeans and some extra shirts.  After zipping up the bag, it dawned on me that I should check my e-mail.  The time is 9:00am, when I boot up my computer and sign onto the internet.  I check Anna Majia's e-mail in which she gives me which underground train to take from the airport to our place of meeting, where to buy the underground tickets and her cell phone number.  I then thought to myself, "I know I am being dumb, I know my flight leaves at 3:20 p.m. but I better check just to make sure". 

So at 9:10a.m. I sign onto Northwest Airlines, and check out my flight time.  It reads Departure from MSP 10:40 a.m.!!!!!  Immediately my heart rate increases to about 323 bpm, I start hyper-ventilating, I start sweating, and then I look down at myself.  I was in my pajamas, I had only one bag packed, the rest of the clothes I had planned on bringing were in the dryer, I didn't know what I was to do, all I knew is that I was leaving that day no matter what.  So... I grab my other suitcase and start throwing other needed garments in the bag, my hair products, etc.  I then grabbed what I call my prissy purse (because I hate carrying one around) which held my passport, credit card, debit card, and driver license, and shoved it into a carry-on bag.  I grabbed the NWA number and the general number for the airport slipped on some shoes and ran out the door. 

I shoved the car into reverse... RRAWRR and squeal out of the driveway.  I hop onto 169S and start driving 90-95 MPH.  I called NWA and the lady told me I'd have to wait until tomorrow and I thought that won't do.  So I called that general airport number (I could hardly talk I was breathing so hard and my heart felt like it was pounding a foot out of my chest) I tell the guy, ohmygoshI'mnotgoingtomakemyflightIdon'tknowwhattodo!  He tells me, "calm down honey, What time does your flight leave"?  I yell, "10:40"!  He states, "Ok, it is only 9:20 right now, how far away are you"?  I barely am able to tell him, "30 minutes" (in reality it should take me 45-50 minutes).  The guy calmly states, "Oh you'll be okay, you will make it here 30 minutes before your flight and you can check in at the automatic teller, but whatever you do don't get stopped by the police, slow down and don't put yourself in danger, I can hear you are worried".  I say, "OK" and start to calm down a bit. 

Meanwhile driving in and out of traffic as fast as my 4 cylinder puddle jumper will let me.  I reach the turn off for 494E and see that it is backed up for miles bumper to bumper.  A few explicits pop in my head and I think to myself, "Oh Rachael now is not the time to curse, just pray that you will make it to the airport safe and on time".  I got onto 494 and the congestion cleared up within 3/4 of a mile.  I then push the pedal down and flew the rest of the way to the airport, telling myself to behave, calm down, and that it isn't the end of the world if I have to pay a fine and leave the next day.  Meanwhile I looked down at what I was wearing, I had on a see through pajama top, which I sweated through, a pair of pants that don't match, and a pair of blue tennis shoes that I wear for cutting the grass.  My hair is uncombed, and I have not showered.  I couldn't believe it!! I started sweating again, I couldn't believe that I had left the house in such a state.  I then started to think oh I haven't showered I smell, and I am sweating what am I to do?  There was nothing that I could do. 

I make it into the airport parking lot at 9:45am I run into the airport and try to use the automatic check in, it won't let me.  It reads, "you must see an agent, your flight leaves within 30 minutes".  So I run up to the agent and tell her, "I have to check in".  She looks at me and says, "you have to use the automatic check-in".  I tell her, "It won't let me".  She said, "okay where are you going and what time"?  I say barely breathing, "I'm (wheeze) going (wheeze) to (wheeze) London (wheeze), I leave at 10:40".  She starts searching, she looks up at me and says "I can't find that flight and you are not listed on our direct flight to London today".  I couldn't believe it, "I tell her, "I go to Washington DC first, then to Amsterdam, and then to London".  She looks at me and yells, "your flight doesn't leave at 10:40 it leaves at 10:22, you were supposed to be here over 2 hours ago, I don't think I can let you on".  I look at her and say, "I'm awfully sorry I got my departure time mixed up with my return arrival time".  She tells me, "I DON'T THINK I CAN LET YOU ON".  I think to myself you have to try a different approach so, I slouch my shoulders, and put these huge puppy dog eyes on, and look extremely worried and say in just an audible whisper, "well what am I to do"? 

She grumbles and calls to the NWA counter, and yells something about a passenger at check in and then turns to me and tells me, "you have to take the tram to Concourse C, and then run up 2 flights of stairs go through security turn left and run down 2 moving sidewalks go down a flight of stairs at the end of the 2nd sidewalk turn right and then there is the gate, Now drop your bags over there and RUN".  I look at her unbelievable and say, "ok".  She looks at me and yells, "RUN"!!!  So I start running pushing past people, and suddenly I realized that they were all old people.  I thought oh gee, if I knock one of these guys down they'll break their hip.  I tell myself oh well I can't worry about that.  I get off the tram and run up the flights of stairs barely able to breath, sweating again, my heart is pounding out of my chest, I get to security, and it is empty with the exception of the guards.  They look at me and say, "Honey, what is wrong"?  I say wheezing, "I'm late, I'm late"!  One of the guards looks at me and say, "Oh sweetheart you'll be ok, what time does your flight leave"?  I wheeze again and say, "10:22".  He looks alarmed and says, "Oh my, RUN"!  They barely check my carry-on and direct me to the moving sidewalks.  I start running down the first moving sidewalk only to get to the end and notice in front of me was a lady standing in the stand lane of the second moving sidewalk with her carry-on blocking the path of the walk lane.  I think, there is only one thing to do.  So...  I take a running leap over her bags yell backwards 'sorry', and continue running.  I get to the flight of stairs to go down practically jumping down, and turn right into the gate.  There standing was an attendant with her hands on her hips, tapping her foot, looking completely unimpressed with me.  I hand her my passport and ticket the entire time, thinking, "oh my, I smell horrible, good thing I grabbed this fleece because I'm sure I have sweated through this shirt, my hair is uncombed, and I can hardly breath".  I make my way onto the plane sit down in my seat there was an empty window seat in my aisle, so the guy who was sitting in the middle looked at me and said disgustedly, "I'll move over... (long pause) give you room to breath".  I couldn't believe it I really did stink, my hair wasn't combed but I was happy I made it, I tell him, "Thanks".  Just as I was  buckling my lap belt the pilot came overhead and states, "This is Captain So-and-so, we seem to be delayed by some... (pause) luggage"!  Immediately 5-6 heads turn and glare at me.  I wanted to shrink down into my chair.  Nevertheless we were backing out within 2 minutes so I didn't feel so bad.  The moral of the story is... Check your flight times, that way you won't have to fly to London in your see through pajama top smelling horrible.  I laugh at the scene now, but at the time I was so anxious I couldn't believe I left the house looking like a mess.  I had a wonderful time there, it felt so good to take a vacation. 

 I must share that the details in this story are as they happened.  I wrote this story in an email to a friend while I was in London back in 2004, I happened to have saved that particular email. 

No comments: