Friday, 25 October 2019
Reading time 3 minute 31 seconds
I had arrived at the airport one hour early so that, in accordance with airline procedures, I could stand around. – Dave Barry
If I‘ve a 6am flight with my girlfriend we arrive at the terminal for 3am due to the just in case rule. The same rule is applied the moment our gate number is called, even if we have to sit there for 40 minutes, we’re ready to board. This is her idea, her anxiety, not mine and while I make fun of her for it, secretly I’m pleased. Very pleased.
I once used to commute to Germany and spent a lot of time in Frankfurt airport which is massive. It’s so huge the staff travel from one part to the other using bicycles. Bicycles through a terminal! Europeans are weirdly efficient and health conscious, maybe that’s why we’re leaving Europe.
I love Germany it’s an amazing country, they have vending machines that sells cold beer, strong good German beer available 24 hours a day in a machine that was outside the front door by my apartment.
Travelling home on a Friday night was my favourite part of the week The first time was the most memorable. I’d got to the airport with more than enough time to spare and went for a peek in the shops which back then were called Duty Free. I’d never understood this concept, but I guess I wasn’t the only one as it was scrapped a short while later.
My flight was called and was taking off in 45 minutes. Sweet. I started walking to the plane and thought I’d find me one of those vending machines.
I arrived at my gate and found out I was in the wrong part of the building and there was another gate with the same number and that it was a 45-minute walk away. What? I’m at an airport, not on a city tour.
I was told to run by a German man so I ran, like the wind. Sadly drinking Superb cheap German cloudy beer every night and the fact I’d never ran before produced very poor results. I stopped 60 seconds later coughed up a lung and vowed to quit smoking one day.
I started to walk as fast as my little legs would take me, 35 minutes later I arrived with minutes to spare. Hot, sweaty, flustered and knackered. Luckily I’d passed two vending machines so had a few cold ones ready.
I was ushered onto the plane feeling very pleased with myself. The plane was tiny and it was almost full it held about 20 business looking people. Each one of them glared at me. The pilot who was unable to glare had a pop at me by announcing that due to the late arrival of a passenger we’ve missed our take off slot and will sit here awaiting a new one. This may take a sometime. The back of my chair was hit. The man across the aisle from me referred to me as female genitalia. It sounds harsher and has more impact when the deliverer is in a cheap suit. He was right though I had delayed the flight. I was the reason these people wouldn’t go home to see their families until later. I was mortified and sat there red faced. People were quite rightly being passive aggressive towards me, passengers and crew and when that had run its course they were just aggressive.
We sat on that little plane all not wanting to be there. Time passed. Slowly, then my saviour arrived. Just as they had in 1941 a American sauntered in and saved the day in Germany. He was loud, remarked how big that damm airport was and that he went to the wrong gate with the same number. I was the only one to laugh in agreement.
It wasn’t me that delayed the plane, it was him, it was all his fault. The American looked at the angry faces and he had an expression that conveyed that he really didn’t care about them. He came and sat in the spare seat next to me. We finally took off. I gave him a vending machine beer and joined him in his couldn’t give a fig about anyone attitude.
As I got up for a wee, one of the angry passengers remarked that me and my new American friend were both sexed genitalia, which was something I’d not been called before.
These days I happily sit at the airport gate making fun of my other half for being a nice person to her other passengers.
Deep down though I’m pleased, just don’t tell her.
Picture: Unhappy commuter me