There is very little that would give a feeling of shame on board an aircraft. Most people tend to be quite polite and pleasant and understand that everyone wants to get to the other end with a minimum of fuss.
I am a person who likes to board the aircraft first as it means the airport experience is over and time to fly. As an aviation geek, I love being on planes so the sooner I get on board the better. Except that one time.
Being Seen Off By Friends
In Australia, when flying domestically, you can go through security even when you’re not flying. This means your friends or family can come to the airport with you and hang out before you head off on your flight. I really like this aspect of the Australian airport experience.
Many years ago, I was scheduled to fly somewhere and friends offered me a ride to the airport. Of course, that meant they came in to the terminal with me and we headed over to an outlet to have some lunch.
Relaxing Chit Chat
Naturally we ate our meal and at one point I got up and checked the flight information screens. Realising I had plenty of time, I wandered back to my group and continued the discussion.
After a while, I got a funny feeling that we had been sitting around rather too long. Curious, I went back to the screens and my stomach dropped as I saw the dreaded red FLIGHT CLOSED notice next to my flight. Needless to say, I ran back, said a hasty goodbye and ran to the gate.
Shame On Me!
As I rounded a corner and sprinted towards the podium, I got a “Mr. Trent?” from one of the desk staff to which I nodded and hurtled towards the boarding gate. Another, “Mr. Trent?” from the agent there who did not look impressed as my boarding pass was scanned.
Down the aerobridge I went, still at quite a good clip and I arrived panting at the aircraft door. “Mr. Trent?” queried the cabin crew to which I nodded. They checked my boarding pass and turned away.
The Walk Of Shame
In those days I always selected seats as far back in economy class as I could. It’s a more sporty ride down the back and on this flight I was down in row 40 something on the Boeing 767.
Down the aisle I went, running the gauntlet with every Australian passenger giving me daggers for delaying their departure. Through business class and through all of economy class to my seat down the back. It felt like I was walking to row 102. I quickly sat down and wished I could disappear into thin air.
Apparently I was paged repeatedly in the terminal and on board before I arrived I got the “If Mr. Trent is on board, please make himself known to the crew” announcement we have all heard at one time or another. How embarrassing!
Looking back, this experience is probably why I am so prompt for flights nowadays. Lesson learned – read the screens properly and don’t mistake your flight for another.
Has this ever happened to you? How did you feel? Thank you for reading and if you have any comments or questions, please leave them below.