They Missed Their Flight

It was a Chinese fire drill of sorts around here this morning.

My son and his girlfriend awoke at a leisurely hour (10 a.m.). They had been to the symphony last night, and thought their plane was leaving at 2 p.m. Just to be sure, my son checked online. WRONG! They were supposed to leave at 12 p.m. and arrive at their destination at 2! They hadn’t even packed yet, so they rushed around the house trying to get dressed and scoop up whatever they had lying around.

My son’s girlfriend brought an enormous suitcase with her that she couldn’t lift on her own. She travels internationally, so I can see the need. Besides, they brought back some California wine for me, so at least on the return trip it was about 10 pounds lighter. Still, it was as if she’d brought her entire wardrobe. My son had a huge duffel, in which he jammed all of his clothes without folding. (I winced, but didn’t say anything.)

We are about 30 minutes from the airport, so we jumped into the car, intent on making it there in time. We pulled up to the departure area at 11:10. If they could get checked in and through security, they could still make it. While saying goodbye, my son found that he had forgotten his cell phone. He fretted. He felt naked without it. I said, I’ll mail it to you, get checked in so you can leave, and shooed them away.

I was still on the freeway when they called me about thirty minutes later. The lines were long, so they didn’t get up to a counter until after the plane had started boarding. The lines for the security check were even longer. They couldn’t find the reservation using my son’s driver’s license. Searching for it took a while. The plane was at the farthest most reaches of the concourse (of course). Getting to it at all was going to take time. The ticket agent suggested that they book for a flight this evening, so they took her up on it, and checked the big bags.

I wasn’t even halfway home, so I spun around and went to get them, again. We returned home, where my son retrieved his cell phone and then found a bunch of other stuff he forgot to pack.

They are out getting hamburgers even as I type this.

I’m going to go to the store one final time, and then come home and have a good stiff drink. I’m not going anywhere else today. My husband can see them off next time.

**thud** is the sound of me passing out.

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13 Responses

  1. That’s daft. My sweetie and I did something similarly daft once.

    The Dead (no Grateful — this was fairly recent — after 9/11) were playing a string of shows in Denver. We flew down to see them leaving the kids in the care of relatives. We carefully checked the time for when we needed to get back. We calculated how long it would take us to get to the airport and so forth. The flight was early in the morning. We got up just slightly late and went to the airport. The security line-up took forever. Security itself was bizarre. By pure luck, I got to be one of the people who had to pull down my pants to demonstrate that I didn’t have anything untoward hidden in them. The security guard seemed to be a mixture of pissed off and bored at having to check me in that way.

    Anyway, we missed our return flight. I blame security. I refuse to admit that it could have anything to do with our being clueless and disorganized.

  2. Shit! This made me want to have a drink FOR you!

  3. ME: Well, I’m glad it’s not ME. I’m rather anal about airports. Ours is a bitch, to put it bluntly. I like to allow more than enough time. That way, I can have a nice drink once I’ve rushed to the gate (only to find out the flight was delayed an hour because of mechanical reasons). That’s what always happens to me.

    Ina: Come on down, girl. You’re not far, I hear.

  4. Ah, yes, just another roadbump on the way to full adulthood….

  5. I was thinking that you might address me as YOU (with all caps). My thinking wasn’t all that clear. Maybe I need a new name real soon now.

    The real truth is that we were both idiots and simply didn’t think of the obvious fact that airport security at a hub airport in a major American city is going to take longer than they say. I inhabit world filled with illusion. I think everywhere is just like Canada.

  6. I wish everywhere were just like Canada. It would be far sweeter.

  7. I wish everyone was just like you. It would be far sweeter.

    OK. That doesn’t make sense. I just had to say it though.

    You know, if you and Ina came here, I’d have no problem with you talking me into drinking.

    Have you ever seen The Kids in the Hall skit called Girl Drink Drunk? I think I could do that for a weekend.

  8. What a mess! Hope they got away safely and you’re enjoying a drink and a nap.

  9. At least you weren’t all the way home yet when you had to turn around and go get them. And letting your husband run the second airport shuttle was a wise decision.

  10. Yes, very wise.

    I hope they are home now. They had to take public transportation from the airport to their houses. That probably takes an hour or more.

  11. This used to happen to me. Well, to my kids. I usually just ask them when they want to leave to the airport and the rest is up to them. I just drive. But sometimes they tell me the time they want to be there instead and it doesn’t get across to me that they want to BE there at that time, not LEAVE home at that time. So on more than one occasion we have missed flights. Usually we realize it and rebook while in route.

    My rule is that I don’t leave the airport area until l get a call saying they are actually getting on the plane. I just leave the airport and go hang around nearby until I get the call. We’re an hour and 20 minutes from either airport so I am not going across the bridge (paying the toll) and then have to come back for them. So I just hang til they call me.

  12. Punk-ass kids. I suh-wear!

  13. I’m with you. I hate SFO. I live a pleasant backroads drive from OAK, and love it when visitors fly in there.

    Unfortunately, my folks fly Northworst Airlines often, which only flies direct to SFO, not OAK, so I can’t blame them. (But getting in and out of SFO is such a nuisance … )

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