My brother recently asked me, “Are you ever going to blog about that time that you missed your flight to Austin last year?”
“Why would I ever write about that?” I asked.
“To show the world that even travel blogger miss flights!” was his response.
I definitely wasn’t ready to write about this for awhile, but I think I’ve finally come to terms with the embarrassing truth: it’s true – I missed a flight to Austin last year… while sitting at the gate in the airport.
I recall the gate agent’s announcement that they were about to start the boarding process, but the next thing I knew the screen at the gate said “Boise.” Was I scatterbrained because I was running late for the flight? Was I a little tipsy from a pre-flight cocktail? Was I wearing headphones? The answer to all of those questions is “no.” I just flat out missed the flight.
Okay, let me explain. I was totally consumed by a really good book. But really, I think the thing that got me was that the plane was a lot smaller than the ones that I normally go on, so the boarding process was much faster than normal. Seriously, the time it took between pre-boarding the “final call” (if there even was one) couldn’t have been more than five minutes. Like I said, I was AT THE GATE without headphones on – I’d seriously like to think that if they called my name for final boarding I would have heard it.
Anyway, missing my flight wasn’t the end of the world. Yeah, I cried a lot to the United customer services rep, and he assured me that people miss flights “all the time.” I somehow said between sniffles, “But WHY are people missing flights all the time? Do you not call out their names?” I don’t remember how he responded, but luckily there was another United flight to Austin four hours later, so I just arrived extremely fashionably late to my friend’s bachelorette party.
So, what have I learned from the missed flight fiasco? If the terminal is busy or pretty noisy:
- Don’t wear headphones and listen to loud music. Although I was headphones-free when I missed my flight, the number one question everyone asked me was if I was listening to music.
- Notice how big your gate area is. The smaller it is, the fewer people on the flight. The fewer people on the flight, the faster the boarding time.
- If possible, sit/stand facing the gate agent.
Have an embarrassing travel story that you’re dying to share? Send them my way. If I get any really juicy ones, I’ll share them on the blog… anonymously, of course.