August 4, 2009

Late to the gate

You arrive at the airport extra early at the crack of dawn for your 6 am flight. You have a tight 30 minute connection in New York to get to Fort Lauderdale, so you packed light and swore off your morning cup of coffee for a light jog to your next gate. The computers are down at check in, you wait, like everyone else, in the extremely long line at security. You watch the people around you worry and rush to their planes, yet you are still early. You know you are a pro, a prepared traveler.
They call for boarding and on you go, all bags in the overhead, you settle in and watch the overhead bins lock and the main cabin door close.
Then, it happens. The door re-opens. The Flight Attendant makes an announcement that they are letting a few last passengers on the aircraft. 8 and a baby to be exact, and they are not like you, they have strollers, bags and breakfast. The bags are too big for the overheads, they want to trade seats and sit together, they babies cry- where is the milk? You look at your watch as the minutes go by.... 5 late, 10 late... tick tock tick tock. The pilots have to change the paperwork, the bags still need to be loaded... what is going to happen to my flight?

This is what happened to us this morning, and no i wasn't the passenger. I was the Flight Attendant. We were in Burlington, VT heading to JFK. We closed the door right at departure time... all ready to rock out of there. The ground crew told the Captain that we were letting on a few more passengers, they opened the gate door and there they stood on the tarmac by the airplane. Now, normally the Captain has the final say in who goes. I was flying with a reallly nice guy. I've flown with him and few times and would fly with him again any day! He was a bit annoyed but chose to not be "the bad guy" this time and leave them since he figured that it would take less time to get them on than it would take to fight about wether to take them or not.

Now I hate it when people miss their flights and I will do almost anything I can to help them make their flight. Everyone is traveling because they have somewhere important to be... whether it is a funeral, wedding, work meeting, vacation... it is all important. But, this was not fair to my other passengers. We were going into a hub airport, early in the morning, with a lot of tight connections. (and please don't even get me started on why people book 30 minute connections in NYC EVER!!! Don't do it people, don't even think about doing it...) It was not fair for my passengers who got there early enough to get on the flight on time so that they could make their connections. I was thinking about this as I stood in line at Starbucks to get my morning cup of coffee in between my flights as all my passengers who missed their Fort Lauderdale connection passed by me for the re-booking line.

Sometimes the early bird doesn't get the worm.

1 comment:

Colleen Malia Wilcox said...

Hah, I hope I haven't been that person that tied up the plane before...I have been late to the gate...never missed a flight yet! You must see the funniest things in your adventures as a flight attendant.