Is there even a graceful way to do this? It probably always sucks to miss your flight, but I feel like I’m especially bad at it.
The first time I missed a flight was in Turkey when I misread the military time-stamp “06:30” as 6:30pm.
I wasn’t even close – I was a good 12 hours late for that flight so the the solution was pretty clear: I needed to buy a new one. It was annoying, but it wasn’t the worst thing in the world because it wasn’t that expensive.
I REALLY paid for my mistake, though, once I arrived back in Istanbul and got tear gassed in riots in the streets while walking to my hostel. It was a pretty substantial setback, the tear gas, and I ended up waiting for the riots to die down in the upstairs room of a deserted shop while coughing and sniffling through the lemon-juice-soaked napkin the shop employees had provided me.
The second time I missed my flight was two days ago. I was leaving London for Spain and needed to get to Stansted airport for my 6:30 (pm this time!) flight.
Sweetest human in the universe – Mark – wandered the streets of London through twelve forms of public transport to help me get to the airport on time even though he was hungover and we were both beyond exhausted from Joe’s birthday the night before.
We took the tube to get to the coach station, but there were tube closures so we had to get out, then we took a bus to get to the coach station but exhaustion led to inattention and we missed the stop. So we got out and took a cab to get to the coach station, but by the time we got to the coach station, the coach wouldn’t have gotten me to the airport in time, so we took the tube to get to the train, where I then bought a train ticket to the airport.
I was cutting it super close already and the Ryanair people are assholes so I lost even more time in the security line as they picked through my nailpolishes and I stood there weeping, “I’m going to miss my flight, I really don’t care which colors you want to throw out.” They threw out my facewash and my contact lens solution, and sent my stuff through the scanner like three times; regardless, I was already too late. By the time I reached my gate, the plane was long gone.
I sat down and had a good cry, just because the day had been so stressful, expensive, and a complete failure.
Plus the sheer exhaustion of sleeping so little not just in the past night but in the two weeks prior when I was completely tied up working eight hours a day plus writing the following documents in my spare time:
- Cover letter
- Personal statement
- Research proposal
- A process evaluation of a respiratory disease NGO’s support groups
I was so burnt out I didn’t even have the energy to feel anything about leaving England and the whole transition thing coming up, which maybe is for the best since thinking/feeling–>anxiety in those types of situations. So I was pretty numb up until yesterday when I missed the flight. I have to admit, I really needed that public cry.
There was no part of me that wanted to pay the exorbitant fee I would have to pay to change the flight to the next one, or the even more expensive cost of buying a whole new flight. I was in such an emotional state I could no longer make rational decisions and I had my heart set on getting out of the airport and finding a bed to sleep in. ALTHOUGH looking back I should have just sucked it up and bought the next ticket. (Maybe that’s the only graceful way to miss your flight?)
So I had to figure out what to do, and Stansted is the only airport in the universe that doesn’t have WIFI at any of its shops; you get free airport WIFI for an hour then once it runs out you have to pay £10 for WIFI…I ended up in an electronics shop that was blasting top 40 dance hits from 2003 (Who doesn’t like a good Usher throwback when you’re trapped in the airport alone and you’ve missed your flight?)
When my Internet time had run out at the electronics shop and I couldn’t handle the negativity from the one employee who kept telling me they weren’t going to let me out of the airport since I had already been through security, I left in favor of the Information desk.
The desk lady was a hilarious character with her black penciled-in eyebrows and long pointy pink fingernails and all that bronzer!, but she was SO helpful. I ended up heading back to London and I’ve been in that cushy hostel I stayed in last year for the past two nights.
The universe conspired to keep me away from Mallorca. It literally confronted me with every single roadblock that it could (including the weirdly documented “Florentino” story if you’ve been keeping up), so I guess I just wasn’t meant to go there. Even though the island gets a bad rep because: Magaluf, lads, mindless partying, empty sex, drugs, etc. I have a feeling it’s like Koh Phangan: there’s the mad mad party scene (e.g. Haad Rin) and then there’s the rest of the island that’s actually quite beautiful, relaxing, and has a whole other local island culture. That’s my hypothesis anyway. Some day I’ll go there and see for myself but for now it looks like I’m headed to Barcelona. Ole ole ole! Aaaand I’ll try to not miss my flight this time…