After the bad news of the delay, things need to go smoothly for this to work out so I make my connection. The gate agent Eleanor was optimistic and said I should have no problem and I’m now over the minimum connection time by several minutes. As long as everyone cooperates it’ll be fine…
They go to board special needs people first. Oh my God, five wheelchairs? It’s like a Special Olympics team is heading for a competition. God bless them but this is not a speedy process.
They’re making announcements practically begging people to check their carry-on bags free of charge. Take them up on it, people! One thing in my favor is I opted not to bring a carry-on bag, just my backpack with all my electronics. Last time I traveled with a carry-on it was a nightmare because I was among the last to board the plane and Boeing doesn’t build enough bins. It was a tense battle for space. People are not cooperating and don’t want to relinquish their carry-on bags. What, are drug mules? Cough em up!
Geezus, how many boarding groups are there? Special assistance, active duty military, First class, Sky priority something or other, Medallion Members, families with infants. Main cabin 1. Finally, my group, Main cabin 2 gets the green light. Delta is still asking people to check in their carry-on bags. That means trouble. Come on Delta, take the gloves off. Oh God, the problem people in line are slowing things down! Move it, you bastards because unless this plane doubles as a time machine, I don’t have any time to spare on your nonsense.
It’s now 5 minutes before the new departure time and they still have 40+ people to board and things have ground to a standstill. My gamble is not looking good.
Finally, I’m on the plane but the line is still slow as people engage in a game of Tetris trying to manipulate their carry-ons to fit in the overpacked bins. Some of them have no sense of geometry and are wildly over-optimistic and are relying on an application of brute force.
Now some lady is going against the stream of boarding passengers like a weakened salmon trying to jump its dumb ass up a waterfall to spawn. She has everything at a stop. People are grumbling.
Finally, I’m at my row. An older woman is in the aisle seat. She’s bundled up in a blanket and buckled in. She seems surprised and then reluctant to let me in. The guy in the window seat has a laptop occupying my seat. He’s twisted toward the window talking to the lady behind. She appears to have dropped something and both are looking for it. I wait for a few seconds but he isn’t acknowledging me and the situation doesn’t appear to be resolving itself and the line behind is getting impatient. They don’t know the details. The only thing they know is I’m now the asshole holding up the line. I finally have to tap him on the shoulder.
So, 10 minutes past the revised departure, we pushback. It’s okay, I tell myself, we can make the time up in the air. The pilot even says so. Just relax. It’s at that moment I realize I can’t find my Atlanta to Manchester boarding pass. I look everywhere in my backpack. Nothing. I think I handed Eleanor both of my passes by accident when she printed out my new Phoenix to Atlanta pass. She must have kept my international one by mistake! Fuck.
Man, I’ve got a stabbing pain in my skull. They’re handing out drinks. I really need a bourbon but go for a ginger ale. I’m going to really need my wits about me when I get to Atlanta.
I decide to pay for internet to see if I can get my Virgin Atlantic stuff on their app. $10 but it’s worth it. Yes, this is going to work!
A flight attendant stops by and is looking at a tablet. She looks at me and says, “Sorry, you aren’t going to make your connection.” Apparently, the idiot passengers dicked around so long that I only have 10 minutes to make my plane. I’m not the only one. The flight attendant is missing the next flight she is supposed to work. One passenger is still determined to pull an OJ Simpson (Hertz rental car OJ, not murderer OJ) and dash to his next flight.
“You can try if you want to, honey,” drawls the attendant in her Southern accent. “But you ain’t gonna make it.”
Maybe I’ll have that bourbon now.
What happens if I don’t make my connection? I Hate Traveling: Paris Edition