Fear and Loathing at the Airport

I seem to be traveling more and more lately, but no matter how many times I do it, I always manage to get something wrong.

The drama usually starts at the airport. I arrived at the airport far too early on the last few trips, stupidly taking the public service announcements on Hong Kong television seriously, arriving three hours before flight time as instructed.

On a couple of occasions, the check in counter had not even opened yet. This time time I almost missed my flight. For the first time, I tried checking in on line. To put it mildly, that was far more complicated than I expected.

Because someone else had booked the flight for me, my reservation didn't include my frequent flyer number. While the e-ticket was under my name, the website didn't recognize the number when I input it, so the process came to a screeching halt.

"We do not have a reservation under that name and number," I was informed. I had to start all over again … and again … and again … Backing up was not an option.

Each time you had to start anew. I don't know how many times I had to re-enter the site before I finally managed to check myself in. I was starting to think it would have been simpler to just check in the old way.

Then I misunderstood the directions for what I was supposed to do at the airport. As a result, I arrived 10 minutes later than I should have. It was the first time I have ever arrived at an airport and have someone in a uniform greet me by name. "Are you Mr Taylor?" a man in a uniform inquired. Apparently they had been anxiously awaiting my arrival.

I was informed that it too late for me to check my bags. They said I should carry everything on board. "If you had arrived five minutes later, we would have had to deny you boarding," I was told That would have gone down well will the organizers of the press trip I was about to embark on.

Better Late Than Never!

Well, getting confused sometimes does have its own rewards. Rather than having to wait in lines and try to figure out which way I was supposed to go, a young lady was assigned to make sure I got to the gate as quickly as possible.

She led me past lines of waiting passengers to the front of the queue at immigration and security and showed me a short cut to the gate. I arrived as the final passengers were boarding. Interestingly enough, however, I wasn't the last one to get on the plane. There were a few more stragglers, such as the charming couple that was seated next to me.

While they had checked in earlier than I did, they had had to wait in line at immigration and security. And they didn't know about the short cut! Copyright: Michael Taylor 

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