Easy. Here’s a story that happened to me when I was travelling to London when living in Berlin.
When I was booking my bus tickets from Stansted airport and back (we are still into budget travelling, remember? no ‘taxi’ word in here) I simply didn’t take into consideration that London is the bloody capital of England. A capital. The capital. A big city. And what does happen in such a megapolis? Right: traffic!
I booked a ticket for a bus from Liverpool station. The bus was 30 min late. And it had more stops on the way. And traffic. And at 5 pm we still were in London. I was texting my friends in Berlin saying that we had to cancel all the plans for that Saturday. I had a look online and be prepared to buy a new ticket for the following morning and spend a night at the airport. Oh well.
The gate was to close at 17:40, the flight was scheduled for 18:15. Well, they normally never close the gate on time, but still, the chances for me to make it on time were getting very close to minimal.
The bus arrived at the airport at 17:43. But well, I decided to give it a try. I ran to those machines that scan your boarding pass, it opened. Great.
Then they asked me to wait cause there were too many people in the control line. ‘Excuse me ma-a-am, you have to wait’ even though I was begging to let me in because ‘I’m getting extremely late’. Nah, I had to wait for a few minutes (ages when you think of my situation).
Then this other lady didn’t like my plastic bag for liquids with a zipper and was soooo very slow repackaging it. I was like, ‘m’am, please! I’m super duper bloody late’. No reaction.
Anyways, I got scanned, grabbed my stuff, and started running! On the way thinking, how long would the passport control last… But kept on running.
And then there was this massive duty-free area with tons of shops and thousands of people walking there chaotically. I was shouting ‘EXCUSE ME MAM SIR I’M SO SORRY EXCUSE ME… ‘ Etc. and jumping through the people and suitcases.
Then I saw the directions to my gate, init said: “10 min walk”, daaamn! And the gate turned out to be 10 min run! Running! Not walking. Running! The very far end of the airport (of course..) Through all those people who were walking chilled and random (the smart people arriving on time at the airport).
So finally I was running downstairs where my gate should have been. I saw that there were no more passengers, my gate was again at the very end of the hall, blinking red, they were about to say my name in the mic hah, I was just ‘Heeey, I’m here, so sorry!’ I think it was like 18:10, so basically 5 minutes before departure.
The Ryanair girl was super nice, like ‘just in time’ hahah I told her the bus story, she scanned my ticket, checked my visas and was like: ‘ok, relax, you can breathe out now, all fine’.
I couldn’t believe I made it, I started smiling widely-wildly, my face was burning red, sweating, entering the airplane, trying to get to my seat and the flight attendant told me ‘you can take this one if you want’, and pointed to an emergency-exit row with no more people.
And I’m still wondering why don’t they have passport control on the way FROM the UK. But well, thank god they don’t, otherwise, I’d be chilling in Stansted all night.
Whoh, an amazing experience hahah
So, if you wanna get to the airport on time, here are my TIPS:
- in a big city do think about the traffic. You can save money on a bus FROM the airport, on the way TO – a train is safer.
- don’t panic. When I realised that the bus was just leaving London at around 5 pm (when boarding closes at 5:40), I just accepted the situation. They usually have wi-fi on board. So I relaxed, checked the flights for the following morning, there were quite a few 60 euro ones. Which is still money, but not a fortune to lose your nerves on.
- and RUN! Whatever happens, RUN. Even if it feels impossible, at least try. I mean, my example shows that there are always chances to make the unmakeable, but you have to give it a try. And even if after all those kilometres at the airport you still don’t make it, give yourself a high five for a nice workout. There’s always a positive side.
Have a funny story about being late to the airport? Let me know in the comment section! Maybe we can learn from each other!