Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me innumerable times, shame on Hubs.
I love to travel. It excites and rejuvenates me, expanding both my knowledge and my waistline. It also allows me to experience the full range of my emotions, usually due to the airlines.
I am a salty/sweet type of person. I don’t think you can fully appreciate joy without sorrow, success without struggle, or holidays without travel woes. I can’t recall a foray out of the country where I have actually arrived when scheduled and gotten home when expected. Until this time … kind of …
We are travelling from Barcelona to London, then London to Denver. The first thing I do on a travel day is wake up and check the flight status. It’s 7 a.m. Barcelona time, our plane, coming in from London, has not yet left, and is already scheduled to be a half hour late. Not panicked, as we have a two hour plus layover, plenty of time. We arrive at the airport, breeze through security and passport check, chuckling about what Hubs will answer when they ask him, “A donde va?” He’s been having a little language difficulty this trip, once even receiving a German menu!
No gate assigned yet, not a good sign. Oh, well. But true to their word, we board the plane just 30 minutes past schedule. Okay, I think we’re going to make it! Wait, the pilot has just come on to announce we will be at the gate another 35 minutes, as we lost our space in line when the plane arrived late (due to bad weather, which there was none). Okay, panic time. Son 2 insists he will get home today, even if he has to fly to Reykjavik, Ontario, Dallas, New York, Las Vegas then home. I am most upset because I have not done due diligence on where to stay and what to do in London.
We are finally in the air, and it now looks like we will have about 45 minutes to catch our next flight. We ask our flight attendant about gate information to see if it is possible. She says she cannot find out for us. Okay, thanks.
As soon as we land, we get on our phone and find out that we are arriving at gate 4, our next plane is gate 1, same terminal. Hurray! Feasible and maybe even likely? Our helpful flight attendant gives us our gate number we already knew as we deplaned, telling us it’s “right next door,” and we should make it! She forgot to mention we have to go through security again. We now have 30 minutes.
We run down the terminal and are stopped by an airline employee handing out orange priority security passes. She did not have us listed, as they assumed we would not make the connection. She gave us passes, anyway, to try. Hubs gets to security first, I get behind a group of tourists that somehow, even though we are at a transfer security point in the middle of the airport, have not ever in their lives encountered such a thing. What, I have to take off my belt? Oh, this wallet? Sorry. My phone? Okay. We wave Hubs on to run to the next gate, for if anyone is to charm personnel into holding the doors, it is Hubs. I wait for the congealment of tourists to ooze through, then gather my belongings. I watch Son 2 get his usual extra screening due to his nefarious looks and threatening aura. He grabs his stuff and whooshes by, yelling, “See ya on the other side!”
I begin to run. And I don’t run. I have about five minutes left. Through the shops, down the long halls, dropping occasional naughty words and then … I see the gate, at the end of the long, long terminal, I’m almost there, jiggling and jostling in my c-string bra, as I anticipated about 15 hours of sitting, not a half-mile sprint. I’m on the last moving sidewalk gauntlet and find myself blocked by three cherubs playing ring-around- the-mommy. “Excuse me!” Nothing. “Scusa!” Nope. “Perdon!” Nada. “Beep Beep!” That works.
Hubs, meanwhile, is watching the show while chatting with the gate agents. One asks, “Is she the one wearing black?” Um, it’s Europe, everyone is in black. “Well, she’s the one running,” he replies. Have you seen those good sportsmanship videos where someone comes and puts an arm around a faltering runner, pushing, pulling and dragging them across the finish line? That’s what Hubs does for me. Where is Son 2? Every man for himself; he is already ensconced in his seat on the plane, has been for quite some time.
All three make it! We are drenched in sweat, out of breath, laughing and high-fiving while tissuing off the rivulets of sweat. The head flight attendant comes on and says, “Welcome to your British Airways flight with non-stop service to Seattle.” Normally this would be funny, not today.
In conclusion, I must state that although British Airlines personnel sound so friendly and polite, with their cute little accents and English humor, the flight experience, as a whole, still sucked. Isn’t it possible that anywhere along the way, an employee could have radioed ahead that we were on our way? Called for a golf cart? Any bit of help at all for a problem that was not ours in the making? I often wonder if airline employees just make people run for their own amusement. I would.